Real Talk #2 - The Pain Of Loving A Toxic Parent

in #realtalk2 years ago

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I have never been more nervous about writing a blog post before. I'm not even sure if writing this is a good idea or not, or if it will have any major consequences, but there are some things that I need to let out somehow and I want you guys to listen.

I might take a little time to talk openly about it because honestly, I feel really vulnerable right now and also because pointing fingers at someone else isn't really something that I like to do, especially when that someone is my family.

But like I said, I have to let it out somehow. I can't keep letting this grudge build up. I know I might get a fair share of hate and judgement for talking about it, but whatever. I have to stop giving fucks about what people think of me.

As you read in the title, this one is going to be about toxic parents. More specifically, the difficulties in trying to love them. I feel like this isn't something that is talked about nearly as enough as it needs to be.

Bad Influence

Mainly because children who do have to suffer from a toxic parent(s), are often too scared and ashamed to talk about it openly with others, just like how I was. I felt like I was bothering other people or wasting their time by sharing these things with them.

"They wouldn't understand" is what I would usually think before reaching out to someone. That's the thing about the influence of bad parenting: even though some people actually do care, your mind still doesn't let you believe it, because you've been emotionally neglected by your parents, and it left a mark on you.

This is the part where some idiot would say crap like, "But they are your parents. You should always respect them no matter what. You should be grateful that they are letting you live in their house and paying for your expenses and buying you things that you want."

To which my reply is, just because someone gave birth to you, doesn't mean they automatically deserve your respect without actually earning it. Yeah, of course you should be grateful, but only if there are enough reasons to be grateful about.

And about the "paying for your expenses" part, let me just remind you that it is a responsibility of a parent to provide for their children. You aren't doing them any favor by keeping them alive if all you are giving them is a traumatic childhood.

Just buying new stuff for your children doesn't automatically make you a good parent if you are not there for them emotionally when they need you. In any kind of close human relationship, emotional availability and empathy is way more valuable than materialistic offerings and possessions.

But I still love them

Part of the reason why it's so hard and dangerous to love a toxic parent is because they fuck up your idea of love and what it is supposed to feel like. I remember there's a saying which my mom once told me, "We fight the most with whom we love the most", and though it sounds good, but in my honest opinion, that's complete nonsense. Sorry, mom.

If majority of the time that you spent together with someone you love is spent on fighting and arguing, then that's not love. That's grudge. That's the collective anger of all the unresolved issues that are kept avoided because they are too much to handle.

Now here's the problem: even if they are really toxic at times, you still want to have the desire to love them (if that makes sense) because after all, they are your parents. The need for a good and healthy relationship with your parents is what every child is this world has.

Everybody wants to love and be loved, but it becomes a lot harder to do so if their idea of love is completely different from yours. Love becomes more of a task because you constantly have to find middle ground where both you and your parents are comfortable.

This is something that a lot of parents do wrong. They automatically assume that they know everything about parenting from the moment they become a parent. They ignore or simply don't understand the fact that parenting is a skill and just like any other skill, it has to be learned and practiced first to be mastered.

Just... be there!

I might not know what good parenting really is because well, I'm not a parent myself, but I do know what it isn't. It's not about how much you can give to your children, but about how present you are when they are creating some of their life's greatest memories.

Maybe I'm getting a little too personal here, but my dad was never there when I participated in any of the school events, he never came for parent-teacher meetings, he didn't show up when I anchored for my school's annual function, and never congratulated me for any of my achievements, and I fucking hate that!

Now, as a college student who is on his way into adulthood, I often feel like I'm missing guidance and direction. The thing is, I want to love him but he never gave me enough reasons to do so. But still, I want to love him hoping that he might understand someday. I want to love him, even if I don't ever want to become like him.

I'm not saying I want perfect parents, hell no. I'm obviously not a perfect son either and I don't think anyone can be. The only thing I do want from my parents, honestly, is to just be more emotionally present and try to understand things from my perspective.

I know this is a rather different kind of article, but that's the whole point of this series - to talk about the real shit. To be totally unfiltered and to pay attention to the things that are usually left unattended and need to be said out loud.

I want to know what you guys think about this. Let's have an open talk in the comments. Peace!

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Previous Talk:

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@ayushjalan

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I agree with you 100%. Life is tough and as a kid, you need not only guidance but support as well. I don't believe in "tough love" that's toxic, not helpful at all.

I remember there's a saying which my mom once told me, "We fight the most with whom we love the most", and though it sounds good, but in my honest opinion, that's complete nonsense. Sorry, mom.
If majority of the time that you spent together with someone you love is spent on fighting and arguing, then that's not love.

You're right, when you love someone, you talk everything through and make things work, that's love. Fighting is not love.

I'm sorry you have to go through all this, it's knot pleasant, I know that first hand. Try to find your way and try not to let these feelings destroy you. you can't chance your parents but you can change your future. Good luck.

Thank you. I've been trying to be more open about these things with my parents and communicate with them more often to try to create that mutual understanding.

Thank you for such a supportive comment :)

My pleasure and I hope you can clear things with them. These things hurt. Have a nice day/evening :)

Can we have the inverse of this article, please? Traits of healthy parents who enrich their children's lives?

I went through all of this and more and let me tell you kids out there: your life is going to be a million times better once you have your own place and steady income. I never thought I would experience this much freedom. I just felt trapped and hopeless. But you just have to keep swimming until you're free.

I feel that my friends are more family than my real family.

I'm sorry you had to face such horribly scenarios, but like you said, it gets better eventually when you are on your own. That's what I've been trying to do: become independent so I can raise my voice and no longer have to tolerate the irrational behavior of my parents.

Glad you're doing a lot better now. You are an example that things can change if you work on them. I remember reading a quote somewhere that said "Family isn't who you live with, it's who you die for" and I think that perfectly describes your relationship with your friends.

Maybe I will make an inverse version of this article in the near future. Thanks for dropping by!

This is something my wife and I both have had to deal with. I will say this ... as you get older and you put more distance on your childhood, you'll begin to see things differently. You'll likely see that your parents provided for you in ways that you weren't really aware of. They probably did the best they could.

That said, there's no excuse for toxicity. Some people are addicted to drama. Other people are overconfident of their abilities. Mix the two and you have a really destructive personality. As a Christian, my God has called me to forgive. Yeah, there's hurt when your parents don't live up to your expectations, but forgiveness gives you a brand new perspective. You can't change them, only God can do that. But if you live to honor your parents despite their flaws, you'll find that there is great satisfaction in that honor and that's often enough.

You'll likely see that your parents provided for you in ways that you weren't really aware of.

I agree with that. It's only when you no longer have your privileges, do you learn how to value them.

They probably did the best they could.

Sorry to say, but I'm gonna have to disagree with that part. You're looking at it from an optimist's point of view, or rather, just the financial aspect of parenting, I think.

Some parents really do need to learn how to be better parents by actually learning about it because like I said, parenting is a skill and it needs to be learned and practiced.

but forgiveness gives you a brand new perspective.

Can't argue with that. I've learned that forgiving, even though someone doesn't deserve it, is really important because it lets you finally end that grudge that you've been holding against that person.

Thanks for your comment. You made some great points :)

Some parents really do need to learn how to be better parents by actually learning about it because like I said, parenting is a skill and it needs to be learned and practiced.

I don't disagree. It is a skill. I held a grudge against my parents for a long time. After a while, I learned they simply didn't know how to go about certain things. They didn't have the resources available to them, and it wasn't all their fault. A religious environment that made it difficult for them to understand their parental responsibilities before they jumped into them gave them little support. Looking back, today, they'd tell you they did some things wrong, but they love their children. Always have.

Lack of resources gets a lot of people, and they don't necessarily know they lack the resources. That's why forgiveness is so important.

That makes a lot of sense. I guess what the new parents of today can learn from this is that they should try to plan out things before they start having kids. It's much more safer that way when you know what resources you already have, and the ones you are missing.

People back in the days, especially where I live, didn't think it through, at all. They just went ahead and had children because of their parents' pressure of wanting grandkids. Parenting today, needs to be and should be a lot more systematic and creative because the same strategies that worked out before, don't workout anymore.

Totally. People should think about it first, and plan it. I agree with that. We live in a tough world. It's getting more crowded, the complexities keep mounting, and who knows what the economy will do from year to the next? Planning is very important. Parents should learn as much as they can about the potential challenges before they have children.

I think that this is a very difficult topic to talk to and you would get different replies from people who have loving parents and from people who have similar issues like you.

I agree with you that parenting is not born with a child. It is a skill that needs to be learned. Some of us are better, others need a little more guidance in it. I also truly believe that some people don't have parenthood in their 'veins'. What I want to say is that even though they do their best it simply doesn't come out the way they would love to.

I am sorry to hear about the situation that you're facing with your parents. Myself, I didn't have the best childhood either so I can understand your feeling. I do wish that you relationship with them becomes better over time and that you will love them and be loved by them.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Have a nice day and congratulations on your curie vote!

What I want to say is that even though they do their best it simply doesn't come out the way they would love to.

I think it goes back to how your parents were parented in their childhood. What I mean by that is they are likely to have picked up on the qualities that their parents had which they are now reflecting upon us.

If your grandparents are difficult to deal with, a part of their bad quality was unconsciously and unwantedly adopted by your parents when they were young. The same happens with us too.

And it becomes really difficult to get rid of that bad quality if you don't realize it soon enough as it slowly becomes a part of your personality. That's, I think, one of the main reasons why toxic parents are toxic in the first place.

Thank you for you kind words. Really helps to know that other people are sharing the same problem. I wish you the best :)

When I finished this post I really did not know where to start because I felt very identified with many of the things you said about your father. You're right when you mean that the most important thing is to spend quality time with your child because those moments are those that are recorded in childhood in a meaningful way When you're a child.
However, it is necessary that there is economic stability and affective emotional stability because many of the moments that imply "quality time" influence: The environment where you are, the activity that is done in the place, but in spite of this what is important for the children is that they can share with their parents.
It is usually very difficult for them to recognize the mistakes they have made but always expressing it with a person and examining why they behave that way does help overcome many difficulties and above all to make decisions regarding your feelings.I mostly talk with my brothers about how we feel about some relatives and this helps us in some way to express what we feel but above all we have to have spiritual maturity because the Bible teaches us and is very clear about this issue.

we must bear in mind that it does not matter how old we are, we will need that characteristic love that only comes from them, even if they make us angry. It is not bad to talk about what we feel, because this also allows us to be more emotionally intelligent because We reflect on what we feel and what others experience. the Bible teaches us a little about it

Ephesians 6: 2-4
2 Honor your father and your mother, which is the first commandment with promise;
3 that it may go well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
4 And you, fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.

the order is for both, and this type of experiences make us grow in maturity, in spite of that we must remember not to be like that when we have to assume that role and be the best version of ourselves.
my appreciation and regards

I mostly talk with my brothers about how we feel about some relatives and this helps us in some way to express what we feel

That's exactly what I mean. We all need people in our lives who we can share our thoughts and feelings with and with whom we can experience new things and talk about stuff that we usually don't talk about with other people. The need for deep emotional connection is what every one of us have, but not all of us are lucky enough to foster and experience such relationships.

Even the greatest of experiences, if enjoyed alone, still don't feel as good as enjoying them with someone you care about. There's something about seeing them happy that gives you this strange relief and comfort and joy which makes you enjoy the moment in a much greater depth. The validation that this moment is worth it for them, makes it worth it for us.

Thanks for the brilliant comment :)

There are two kinds of family. The one you choose (friends, wife...) And the one you didn't choose and have to accept as it is. Having said that, I think you should come clean and talk straight face to them about the issues you're having in a serious manner. It's better to do this now before you all accumulate pain ad resentement. If you feel like this is something is affecting you too much, and have the chance, seek for professional counceling, too. Sometimes we keep things to ourselves, damaging us in the inside. Communication always work. Regards.

I've tried talking to them about it, but they hardly ever want to sit down and genuinely try to understand and resolve the issue. Like @himalayannomad said, their ego is a bigger priority for them. They don't wanna be told of what they are doing wrong because it makes them feel threatened and reveals their own insecurities.

I feel bad for saying these things about my own parents. I feel like I'm being a bad son for revealing all this personal stuff even though I know it's important and beneficial in the long-run.

And about the counseling part, it's not a developed profession where I live and it's not worth the cost from what I've heard. But I'm trying to be my own therapist though. I have these little techniques that I use to balance out my feelings when they get too overwhelming and making myself more emotionally intelligent by studying about human emotions and how you get to choose what your feelings mean and all that stuff.

Thanks for the advice :)

I just took a minute up standing and clapping for you after reading every single word in there. I even had to go through the pain of reading it three times.
Most children all over the world are suffering from these toxic parents like you said and it has made these children lose hope in the great things they wanted to do.
But for the courage to man up and let it all out like you did is the very best first step to do, since keeping them in you can cause serious sickness. One thing which is always constant after saying all you did or letting out all from your chest is, you begin to calm down like a normal human being. Deep down within you a sense of hate that was in you all moves away and you begin to wonder where they actually went.
I really admire your courage and the bold step you took. You and I can cause a better tomorrow.

Lastly I loved how you ended by saying even after everything they do you still love them. Yes.... Love is always to live with. And no matter what they do we must keep on loving them.
I wait for the real talk 3😁😀

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One thing which is always constant after saying all you did or letting out all from your chest is, you begin to calm down like a normal human being. Deep down within you a sense of hate that was in you all moves away and you begin to wonder where they actually went.

Totally agree with you on that one. There's something about writing it out that just sucks out all the hate and grudge that you've been holding in. That's also the reason why I keep a journal. Makes me feel understood for some reason. Kinda strange and weird, but also quite amazing.

Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Hope to see you in Real Talk #3! :)

I glad you are free now. And yes you will see me around on the 3rd.
You are humbly welcome too

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Hi! Just letting you know the third part of #RealTalk is out, since you seemed to like it so much :)

Oooo I see....... Let me get to the fun there. I really don't want to miss them

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You've brought out really a critical issue here. Parenting indeed is a skill that develops while being present to the children and their life.

But, unfortunately, most of the parents are not able to know about it because of their 'parent-ego' trip. The basis of this ego is the presumption that they are superior because they have given birth to you and brought you up.

It's like all other ego trips in life. We all have them. If people do not listen to such kind of ego trips, their personality feels threatened. So, the result is the behaviour you've talked about.

But, I would suggest you to not take it as a negative thing. As you will go ahead and experience your life , you'll come to know why life gave you such thing and why it was important. Each and every life experience has a hidden lesson. Once you learn it, the equation changes.

Glad you wrote about it. It was worth reading. Have a great day :)

I believe so too and I know there are a lot of people out there who have had it so much worse than I have and I empathize with them. I understand their pain and I tell them the same things that you just told me, to look at that horrible experience as an opportunity to become stronger and better than those who hurt you. That's how you take your revenge: by proving to them that you survived their abuse and came out even better.

Thanks for the amazing comment! Hope to see you again :)

Hi ayushjalan,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

Thank you so much, Curie! Really grateful :)

this post came to my heart. It does not happen to me the same as you, but I have friends and acquaintances who go through a similar situation. You are quite right in what you write, even I said things that I read in your post. a reading that I will undoubtedly show them so that you can get comfort in your words. it's definitely a real talk

Thank you for sharing my work with your friends. It's always nice to have more understanding and relatable people around :)

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partly I felt like I've been reading an article about my life. Toxic parents made a huge influence on me. I am not sure if I was so unlucky or we can find the similar situations in many families, but they carefully try to keep it quiet. Unfortunately working class in the Eastern European Countries is very deeply rotten and dead inside, generating more harm than good for the next generations. Same as you, I've also heard many times that I suppose to be grateful for the people which gave me a birth and raised me, but it is nonsense when you are later bullied by those people and only receiving pain or ignorance. Thanks to them I am calling myself "emotionally retarded" because I can only find feelings and emotions through the music which also isn't the easy one. Now I am thinking that music was very often my only way to escape. Also I suppose to thanks to my girlfriend, @MissFoxy, for her great effort, patience and hard work on me. She is more than saint

It'd be ironic for you to call yourself "emotionally retarded" because the first step of solving a problem is recognizing there is one, which you did. I'm sure you won't become like your parents because like you said, you have your girlfriend as a big support.

I hope everything works out for you man. Cheers! :)

just because someone gave birth to you, doesn't mean they automatically deserve your respect without actually earning it.

I totally agree. My father was an abusive alcoholic and even though he was a "responsible" provider, it wasn't until my elder brothers disrespected him, after he hit our mother, that he started to actually act like a father, stopped drinking and hitting. Then, only then he earned our respect.

Now here's the problem: even if they are really toxic at times, you still want to have the desire to love them (if that makes sense) because after all, they are your parents.

Noup. It does not make sense. Some parents never change and harm beyond repair. They deserve nothing. Children of this kinds of parents grow and live only after they've given up that link.

I know this is a rather different kind of article, but that's the whole point of this series - to talk about the real shit. To be totally unfiltered and to pay attention to the things that are usually left unattended and need to be said out loud.

I think you did a great job at bringing this touchy subject for discussion.
I think that a parental figure may be waiting for us in many loving people around us. Perfection does not exist in most things human, but parenting has some fundamental principles none of which includes hurting your children purposefully, which some parents do. Like parents, other relatives also screw up all the time because they know that there will always be some idiot saying "they are family, we have to love them no matter what". It's like forgivign and forgetting about priests' sexual abuse because, for god' sake they are priest, we are supposed to love them and respect them, they represent god on earth, they are holy, bla bla bla.

Respect and love must be earned.

I wish you and your family all the best!

There's no big deal when you share this on Steemit.
And there are posts that I read that were much more intense in terms of anxieties, worries and much more depressions.

There are actually many cases similar in your situation now, plenty of them I knew.
I just hope that you persevere and be patient long enough to endure pain in the name of love.
For me a true a lover is the one who loves unconditionally.

Actually, we're all being loved first in the first place.
Why we were born? Its because of love.
Why we grow and become mature person? Its because of love.
Are we not grateful of this love?
There's no such thing as toxic parent. If parents are toxic, then the children or child will obviously becomes toxic as well. But you Ayush is a good son. There are no toxins in your parents.
I may sound very literal but toxic is not the appropriate or correct description of your parents. Maybe you could change that.
Your parents have an inordinate character and behavior that displeases you very much.
As I could see it, you can bear it. You're a good son and you'll be the one who can change the attitudes of your parents.
Maybe its not gonna be easy and maybe it takes much time. But hopefully you'll make it.
Just be patient, time will heal. Stay focused on your good intention.
You may experience more and much more pain in your heart but take courage to fight the battle. Life is not always pain. Some even finds joy in pain but seldom people have that.

If you get married, do the right thing. When your parents will see you and your own family who love one another then, your parents will be happy with you and eventually will approach you and make sorry and all will be happy.

Have a happy and blessed day!

Thank you for the validating words :)

You're very much welcome :)

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