When you have abusive parents, it’s easy to mistake the comments and actions they do for love or make excuses for them. However, there’s only so much you can do to convince yourself that your parents are not toxic and have good intentions behind all their actions.
In a healthy parent-child relationship, both parties are respectful, kind, and open with one another. Your parent perhaps might not be your best friend who shares all your interests but they must respect your identity, choices, and opinions in life. That is not the case with a toxic parent though.
A toxic parent is someone who is deliberately hurtful to their child or other family members; usually as a way of getting revenge on them for some real or imagined slight. They use fear, cruelty, and manipulation to control the other person so that they can get what they want from them almost all the time. Below are some things toxic parents might say to their children and how you can respond to it.
5 things toxic parents say & how to react to them:
1. “Why aren’t you more like your friend/sibling/relative?”
One thing that toxic parents do is constant comparisons. For them, you will never be good enough and they don’t see you making any efforts to change, so they will compare you to people in your life so that they can convince you to change. In reality, your parents are probably frustrated with their lives and it bothers them to see you at peace.
What to say back when being compared to someone else by your parents can be very confusing. You may be in shock as it is happening or feeling devastated and so heartbroken that you can’t even think or process their words.
But, being flustered and believing that you’re not good enough as you are will be a big mistake. Instead, simply tell them that you are happy with who you are and that you don’t resent the person your parents are comparing you to either. Let them know that they need to accept you for who you are because you appreciate them for who they are yourself, despite not having had the choice to select who your parents were.
2. “Your dreams are useless, do what I tell you instead”
Perhaps your parents didn’t make an effort to understand what you want to do with your life career-wise, and due to their toxic nature, they would rather force you down a path of their choosing. To accelerate the process, they will tell you that you are only wasting your time trying to pursue what you love, so they pester you until you do what they want instead.
What to say back, in this case, is simply that you will find your calling sooner or later. You should stand your ground and believe in your dreams, because once you achieve your goals and prove them wonrg; your own parents will realise they were wrong and give you the respect you deserve.
So think about things from that angle and it will give you the strength to discuss it all with your parents and convince them to let you be. It will also be useful to tell your parents that you don’t find their suggestions useful and that if they’re not going to encourage you then they should at least not hinder you.
3. “You are ugly/too fat/too slim/you have bad hair”
When parents criticize their child’s physical appearance it usually comes from insecurities they have and never worked on solving themselves. If they criticize your weight, your skin, or your hair for example it probably means that they were bullied for the same features when they were younger. And now they feel bad for having passed on such a bad gene or feature to you so you try to make you do something about it to “fix it”.
that’s why they see these features as ugly, and since they could never accept and appreciate them themselves, it will give them anxiety and frustration knowing that their child chos to do that. Thay may think you don’t care enough to take care of your looks but the truth is that you may just be more in peace with your physique than they ever were.
What to say back here is for them to get over it. Our parents are the first people in our life responsible for strengthening our confidence, and when a toxic parent criticizes our appearance instead, it’s hard for us not to focus on it and become anxious about it.
However, you have to defend yourself from these kinds of comments and one thing you can say and do is that you appreciate your physical appearance as it is. Say that you were able to find beauty in yourself and you do not wish for something in your body or face to look different than it does.
4. “I promise I won’t lie to you again”
Toxic parents tend to use lies and manipulation instead of a rational conversation to get their children to do what they want. They don’t mind the negative impact that can have on that child’s overall trust in people.
Usually, these parents will tell you that you are going to do something or you will be rewarded after something but it turns out they simply lied and manipulated you. Then, when you start losing your trust in them they will make empty promises about never lying to you again.
What to say back in this scenario is that they’re destroying your trust in them. When a toxic parent lies and tries to manipulate you, you need to establish that they don’t respect you enough to have a normal human interaction with you without any games.
So, the next time you catch them in a lie or you can’t trust them anymore because you don’t know if they are going to lie to you or not, simply tell them that. Tell them that it’s useless trying to discuss something until they show that you can trust them again.
5. “Go away! If it weren’t for you I could be doing this”
Unfortunately, toxic parents can tell their children that they regret having them and they are nothing but a nuisance to them. Truth be told, if your parents tell you this, it means that they are unhappy with their lives and don’t possess the right tools to deal with all that frustration.
Your presence bothers them simply because virtually anything will bother them when they are in a certain mood. What you should say back here is that now you exist already and so there’s nothing they can do about it.
Nevertheless, it’s very hurtful when you know that your parents essentially wish that you were never born. To make your thoughts and feelings about this clear to them say that you had no choice in the matter. You didn’t ask to be born, and if you did, you would not have chosen them as parents.
It can feel like a betrayal when you hear your parents say they wouldn’t want to have you, but in this case all you can do realistically is prove to them with time that you’re a blessing and not a curse. This way they will oblige and be forced to respect you.