There are a lot of toxic behaviors you learned or experienced as a child that have a great impact on your thinking and living today.
When you become an adult and leave home you feel as though you leave the problems you experienced in your childhood behind you. Yet, often, you experience the same (or at least similar) problems.
A supportive environment will leave children confident in themselves, and emotionally mature. However, sometimes, our parents fail to provide us with the right environment growing up. It’s a sad fact, and this toxic behaviors can influence your adult life heavily.
There are different types of toxic behaviors within families. Do any of these describe your upbringing?
• One or both of your parents had a compulsion or addict that heavily influenced the rest of the family. It might have been gambling, alcohol, drugs, emotional eating, promiscuity or overworking.
• One or both of your parents threaten or apply physical violence to control the behavior of the household. Some parents don’t just expose their children to violence, some may force children to participate in that violence by punishing their siblings.
• One or both of your parents treated you as a possession and your sole purpose was to cater to their emotional or physical needs.
• One or both of your parents were unable to provide you with the financial and physical care required. It may also be a case of them threatening to withdraw that care if you didn’t behave in a certain way.
• One or both of your parents exerted control over the family. This typically enforces a particular belief, whether it’s personal, religious, financial or political. There is no flexibility on the rules, complete compliance is required.
There are all kinds of variables at play in how this behavior occurs within families, and of course the severity of it.
The patterns described above are typically the norm in the home as opposed to being the exception. This fosters neglect or abuse and often, children in the home are treated in a particular way.
• Children are forced to take a side when there is a conflict between parents.
• They experience shifting reality when parents deny something that the child has observed. For example, a child witnessed abuse, but the parent is adamant it never happened.
• Children’s thoughts and feelings are often criticized, ignored or, discounted.
• Parents are intrusive, over-protective or overly-involved in their children’s lives.
• Children are inappropriately uninvolved or distant.
• Parents place excessive demands on friend choices, time, and behavior. Conversely, parents offer no structure or guidelines.
• Children are restricted from directly communicating with other members of the family.
• Children are locked out of the house.
• Children are physically abused.
This type of dysfunctional behaviors heavily impacts on a child’s ability to trust other people, themselves, and the world around them. Later in life, these are the people who struggle to trust their judgment, actions, and people.
They struggle in school, they struggle in relationships and struggle with their identity. This leaves them struggling to interpret normal. They make accommodations to make their upbringing appear normal.
So, they reframe the abuse they suffered by saying it was a spanking. They explain parent violence away by saying it was their way of showing love. This leaves them more likely to misinterpret their own negative behaviors.
You have to be the change. You can start by identifying the particularly painful experiences that you went through in your childhood.
List the behaviors you are repeating that you’d like to change. Next to each behavior write out a belief or behavior you can practice instead. Start by choosing one thing to work on, the easiest one.
Practice that behavior as often as possible and once it becomes a habit you can begin on something else. It takes time to change behavioral patterns. It might be slow, it may be gradual, but just keep practicing.
You are not guilty of what your parents did to you, don´t ever forget that! But you are responsible how you act as an adult and when your friends or your family telling you that you changed dramatically, hear them out!
It could be a depression, a burn-out or some mental illness and in every possibility you can be helped.
I know that from experience. A greatly beloved person in my life had toxic parents and suffered in silence. He has a drug addiction and a psychosis. For two years I tried everything to help him, but he still is convinced that all is my fault.
It was a hard time with more downs than ups and today I´ve finally resolved for me that there is no future for us.
So please if you had endured toxic family behaviors, talk to your friends, talk to a therapist, a coach. Work on your issues and don´t punish yourself for the mistakes of your parents.
You still got your life and when you seek help you will find it.
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Please be so kind to yourself and take the time to really get to know you. You are the person you spend the most time with and it´s so important that you love yourself.
The course will start in a few days, so please inform you first on my newsletter, there will be more informations about your self-reflection journey.
Wish you all the best
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