Sunday, November 28, 2021

Living With Toxic Parents

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Esther Jacqueline
Esther Jacqueline Alabi is a writer, blogger and advocate. Her writing is majorly influenced by her passion for feminism and gender equality.
For leisure, Jacqueline writes on her blog and watches romcoms.

Having toxic parents or relatives can be such a terrible nightmare. Mostly because we’d generally expect that they would be our support systems, and be there to love, cushion, and protect us from the world. However, it becomes quite excruciating when the people who should protect you are the ones you need protection from. 

How to Deal With Toxic Parents When You Live With Them

Dealing with toxic parents can be quite tough, especially because there are family bonds and emotional attachments involved. How then do you cope with toxic parents?

Define what toxicity is and determine whether your parent’s behaviour is toxic

Parents can be a handful most times, true. However, be careful before you tag your parents toxic. We all have quite different personalities so try to define what toxicity means in your situation and see if your parent’s behaviour is truly toxic. For example, having a fight with your parents that leads to a confrontation may not be toxic, as both parties could have been raging with emotions and only reacted based on that. 

Create a support system

After determining that your parents’ behaviour is toxic, you need to create a support system. If your parents used to be your support system, sorry to break it to you but you need a new one. If you don’t have any at all, it’s time to get one. A typical support system should be people who truly understand you, your situation and can be emotionally supportive and available for you. 

Create a distance and a safe space

If you can afford to, move out. If you can’t, perhaps make your room a sanctuary. Either way, you need a safe space your parents can’t infiltrate and this is very important because you’ll need this space on days when the situation becomes overwhelming. Try to also enforce boundaries as much as you can, it will help you shut out some of the toxicity. 

Take care of yourself

As much as you love your parents it is important to note that you are the priority and nothing or nobody comes before you. Take care of yourself, your mind, and ensure you don’t get caught up in the toxicity that you start to lose yourself in the process. Always protect yourself and your energy. 

Go to therapy

If you have dealt with toxic parents for an extended period you may start projecting some of their behaviour on others, become defensive or even start internalizing the toxicity. Going through therapy will help you articulate your emotions, deal with the impact and still learn to be a better person. If you can afford it, please explore this option as getting professional help is always a great start to dealing with toxic parents. 

Living with toxic parents can be exhausting, but you can deal with the situation by taking charge of your emotions. Turn to your support system and remember to take care of yourself. Affirm yourself as often as you can, and know that your current situation with your parents does not define you as a person and you’ll get through it. 

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