Toxic Parents book quotes

Last update: 1 February 2022

personaltrauma

Quotes from Toxic Parents book:

“It’s amazing how people can change behind closed doors.”

“Instead of promoting healthy development, they unconsciously undermine it, often with the belief that they are acting in their child’s best interest.”

“An unpredictable parent is a fearsome god in the eyes of a child.”

“What makes a controlling parent so insidious is that the domination usually comes in the guise of concern. Phrases such as, “this is for your own good,” “I’m only doing this for you,” and, “only because I love you so much,” all mean the same thing: “I’m doing this because I’m so afraid of losing you that I’m willing to make you miserable.”

“Children who are not encouraged to do, to try, to explore, to master, and to risk failure, often feel helpless and inadequate. Over-controlled by anxious, fearful parents, these children often become anxious and fearful themselves. This makes it difficult for them to mature. Many never outgrow the need for ongoing parental guidance and control. As a result, their parents continue to invade, manipulate, and frequently dominate their lives.”

“Most adult children of toxic parents grow up feeling tremendous confusion about what love means and how it’s supposed to feel. Their parents did extremely unloving things to them in the name of love. They came to understand love as something chaotic, dramatic, confusing, and often painful—something they had to give up their own dreams and desires for. Obviously, that’s not what love is all about. Loving behaviour doesn’t grind you down, keep you off balance, or create feelings of self-hatred. Love doesn’t hurt, it feels good. Loving behaviour nourishes your emotional well-being. When someone is being loving to you, you feel accepted, cared for, valued, and respected. Genuine love creates feelings of warmth, pleasure, safety, stability, and inner peace.”

“Unhealthy families discourage individual expression. Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of the toxic parents. They promote fusion, a blurring of personal boundaries, a welding together of family members. On an unconscious level, it is hard for family members to know where one ends and another begins. In their efforts to be close, they often suffocate one another’s individuality.”

“Perfectionist parents seem to operate under the illusion that if they can just get their children to be perfect, they will be a perfect family. They put the burden of stability on the child to avoid facing the fact that they, as parents, cannot provide it. The child fails and becomes the scapegoat for family problems. Once again, the child is saddled with the blame.”

“Denial is the lid on our emotional pressure cooker: the longer we leave it on, the more pressure we build up. Sooner or later, that pressure is bound to pop the lid, and we have an emotional crisis.”

“I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do.”

“People can forgive toxic parents, but they should do it at the conclusion—not at the beginning—of their emotional housecleaning. People need to get angry about what happened to them. They need to grieve over the fact that they never had the parental love they yearned for. They need to stop diminishing or discounting the damage that was done to them.”

“You can learn, but you’ve got to give yourself time to pick up the basics, to practice, and maybe even to fail once or twice.”

“Children soak up both verbal and nonverbal messages like sponges—indiscriminately. They listen to their parents, they watch their parents, and they imitate their parents’ behavior. Because they have little frame of reference outside the family, the things they learn at home about themselves and others become universal truths engraved deeply in their minds.”

“Abused children have a caldron of rage bubbling inside them. You can’t be battered, humiliated, terrified, denigrated, and blamed for your own pain without getting angry. But a battered child has no way to release this anger. In adulthood, that anger has to find an outlet.”

“The family drama may look and sound different from generation to generation, but all toxic patterns are remarkably similar in their outcome: pain and suffering.”

“In this way she perpetuated the pain she had experienced as a child. Not unexpectedly, her enormous accumulated rage had to find a way out, but since she was afraid to express it directly, her body and her moods expressed it for her: in the form of headaches, a knotted-up stomach, and depression.”

Special thanks to my special parents! Link to facebook post.