The demand for the services of psychotherapists keeps growing every year. Alas, not each person is lucky enough to be born with parents who resemble the characters of a book about a happy family. Sometimes mothers and fathers criticize and mock their children, ignore them, or compare them with other siblings.
We at Bright Side studied the literature about psychology carefully and found out that many phrases that we hear around us reveal people whose childhood wasn’t that simple.
Kids raised in a toxic environment oftentimes forget what self-care is. This is because the interests of their parents were always a priority. That’s why the simple actions of their colleagues, like taking sick leave when they are not feeling well, can be perceived as something extraordinary by them.
Parents that are too overprotective like to hold their kids on a shorter leash. They don’t care about the fact that their offspring have already grown up. Moreover, this control is often hidden behind the mask of worry.
A son or a daughter keeps hearing, “It’s for your own good!” and “I do it because I love you a lot.” But according to psychotherapists, the “translation” of these phrases is actually: “I am so afraid to lose control over you that I am ready to make you unhappy.”
The toxic parent’s habit of competing with their children creates offspring that can seriously downplay their accomplishments or see themselves as unattractive. For example, a mother can trigger their children by comparing their looks to hers.
Children who have been constantly taught to please their parents at all costs find it difficult to set personal boundaries. Moreover, they often call their parents “best friends” and even start to care for them like for little kids. The issue is that their own family takes a back seat at the same time.
People with a difficult childhood oftentimes suffer from low confidence and blame themselves for everything. They even manage to apologize for the mistakes made by someone else. And this is all because they were regularly blamed in childhood on any occasion — from the “C” on their test to their mother’s bad mood.
Most children of toxic parents grow up without knowing what love is. It seems to them that they need to constantly sacrifice themselves and give up their own desires.
Kids who used to be scolded for any initiative grow into adults who feel helpless in this “scary world full of difficulties.” Eventually, they find it difficult to gain independence from their parents. This situation can occur even if a kid is living in a separate apartment.
Oftentimes, kids adopt their parents’ attitudes toward their body, age, and weight. In other words, if a mother was scolding herself for extra weight and was sure that her issues with those around her would disappear once she loses weight, her daughter will be sure that a person can only be loved if they are attractive.
Some families manifest a true competition between their kids to make them fight for their parents’ love. At the same time, one of the kids is proclaimed “the golden child” while the other is “a loser.” Following this method leads to a situation when grown-up kids fail to build friendly relationships with each other. The merits of the “loser” are always belittled and they don’t even understand that they can simply escape this game.
A child raised in a toxic family can suffer from low self-esteem and become painfully attached to other people: parents, spouse, or their own children. Eventually, they can develop a need to literally “grow into” others and they can’t imagine their life without these people. A break-up or even the wish of a family member to go to another city and start living separately becomes an unbearable tragedy and is perceived as a betrayal.
As a kid is growing up, they inevitably make mistakes. The issue is that in a destructive family, any mishap from a kid is perceived as the end of the world because perfect kids don’t behave this way. As a result, the matured child continues to scold themselves for every wrong action.
It seems there is nothing special about parents’ jokes. But it’s only on the condition that those mockings don’t get repeated regularly and don’t destroy a kid’s self-esteem. Some parents don’t stop “trolling” their grown-up offspring in a seemingly kind way, making fun of their weight, appearance, or family status. When they hear a negative response, they tend to get surprised, explaining it by “Come on! We do it because we love you!”
A kid from a toxic family often tries on the role of the rescuer and starts to help, even when they are not asked. This happens because they are used to bearing responsibility for everything happening around them from a young age.
Have you noticed similar reactions in yourself? Do you think those are echoes from your childhood?
Bright Side/Psychology/10+ Phrases That Reveal People Who Had a Not-So-Simple Childhood