Toxic Parents: 15 Signs You Might Have Them and How to Deal

Suffering and Healing

Toxic Parents: Signs to Look Out For

Growing up under the care of parents is an essential part of life. Parents are supposed to provide guidance, love, and support to their children.

However, not all parents are the same. Some parents can be toxic, and unfortunately, it can take a while for their children to realize it.

In this article, we will be discussing the signs of toxic parenting, so you can identify if any of it relates to you.

Definition of Toxic Parents

Toxic parents are those who impose their will on their children without considering their boundaries. They make their kids feel unloved, unsupported, and insecure.

When you have toxic parents, you’re likely to experience a lack of boundaries, little or no freedom to express your feelings, and a lot of emotional pressure.

Attributes of Toxic Parents

Parents who are toxic come in different forms. Some of the attributes include being selfish, abusive, intrusive, and manipulative.

Toxic parents tend to prioritize their needs above the well-being of their children. They can be abusive, either physically or emotionally.

They interfere with their children’s lives without considering their privacy or consent. They also manipulate their children’s thoughts and feelings to fit their agenda.

Indications of Toxic Parenting

Emotional Disbalance

When you have toxic parents, your emotions will always be unbalanced. You switch from happy to sad, angry to frustrated, or even confused.


Toxic parents tend to overreact to situations. They blow things out of proportion, and it makes you feel like walking on eggshells around them.


Toxic parents always want to control everything you do. They want to dictate your life, your beliefs, and even your actions.

Harsh Criticism

When parents are toxic, they tend to criticize their children harshly. Even when you try your best, it is never good enough for them.

Emotional Blackmail

Toxic parents may even use emotional blackmail to get their way. They threaten to cut off love and support if you do not comply with their wishes.

Emotional Manipulation

Toxic parents will manipulate your thoughts and feelings to suit their agenda. They use your emotions against you.


When parents are toxic, they may have a favorite child. They shower them with love and attention, leaving the other children feeling neglected.


Toxic parents may even sabotage their children’s efforts to leave the nest. They may make their lives difficult to force them to stay home.


They show little to no respect towards their children, treating them as inferior beings. They don’t care about their feelings or opinions.


Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that toxic parents use to make their children question their sanity. They make you feel like you’re losing your mind.


Toxic parents interfere with their children’s lives without their consent. They may pry into their personal lives, read their journals, or even spy on their social media accounts.


Toxic parents may use material possessions such as gifts or money to control their children.


Toxic parents may even derail their children’s goals and ambitions.

They may discourage them from pursuing their dreams or even sabotage their efforts.


Toxic parents instill fear in their children, making them too afraid to speak up or stand up for themselves.


When parents are toxic, they can behave childishly. They may throw temper tantrums, act petty, or even refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

Unhealthy Family Dynamics

Home as a dreaded place

In a toxic household, home can feel like a dreaded place.

There might be negative energy, always shouting, and quarreling.

Lack of Independence

Toxic parents tend to control their children’s decision-making, leaving them with little or no independence.


Toxic parents make their children feel insecure and dependent, making them lack self-confidence.

Parental Priority

When parents are toxic, their priority is usually themselves.

They may use guilt trips or even emotional blackmail to get their children to do as they wish.

Maturity Issue

When parents are toxic, they can behave childishly, and this can cause their children to be people-pleasers, lacking responsibility.

Sabotaging Relationships

Toxic parents can interfere in their children’s relationships, causing them to have trouble maintaining healthy relationships in the future.

Parents as the center

Toxic parents make themselves the center of their children’s attention, leaving little or no empathy for their children’s needs.

Criticism over Appreciation

When parents are toxic, they tend to criticize a lot, leaving little or no room for appreciation.

Punching bag and laughing stock

In a toxic household, children can end up being a punching bag or laughing stock for their parents, causing verbal and emotional abuse.

Unheard and Unspoken to

Toxic parents tend to ignore their children’s needs, leaving them feeling isolated and disrespected.

Intrusion of Personal Space

Toxic parents may invade their children’s personal space, leaving little or no privacy.

Their children feel like they have no boundaries.

Bribery for Control

Toxic parents use bribery as a means of control, using it to manipulate their children into doing what they want.

Derailing from Goals

Toxic parents can derail their children’s goals by interfering with their actions and even manipulating them.

Scary Parents

Toxic parents instill fear in their children, making it hard for them to stand up against them.

Never Grown-Up

When parents are toxic, they tend to act immaturely, leaving their children feeling disrespected and dependent.


In conclusion, having toxic parents can be a difficult experience to deal with. It is crucial to understand the signs of toxic parenting so that you can protect yourself from the emotional trauma that comes from living in such an environment.

This article has shown different signs of toxic parenting and the unhealthy family dynamics that come with it. If this article resonated with you, it might be time to seek professional help to heal from the damage caused by toxic parenting.

Remember, you are not alone, and you deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life. Toxic parenting and unhealthy family dynamics can be detrimental to a child’s emotional and mental well-being.

Growing up in an environment where parents are self-centered, abusive, intrusive, manipulative, and lack boundaries can cause long-lasting psychological damage. It’s essential to recognize the signs of toxic parenting, protect yourself from emotional trauma, and seek professional help when necessary.

This article has highlighted the signs of toxic parenting and the unhealthy family dynamics that come with it. Remember, you deserve to live a happy, fulfilling life, and it’s never too late to take steps towards healing.

Don’t be afraid to seek help and prioritize your well-being.

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