Recognizing toxic traits and behaviors in your own family and parents is one of the most difficult moments in life. Because, we all love our families, but sometimes they’re simply not good for our mental health.
And so, this Reddit thread that we’ve come across, where people have shared when they realized their parents were toxic, seems quite relevant.
We hope these confessions guide you and help you find some clarity as well. Here, read on:
1. “I wouldn’t call my parents ‘toxic’ per se but they both certainly have things about them which are very toxic traits and combined, they make them quite unbearable to be around. I would say I realized how bad they were when I started to see versions of what was healthy around me. My mom for example constantly comments on people’s bodies, positive and negative (she’s very insecure), and doesn’t understand why that’s not something you should do.
I know better by reading and watching other women and listening to how that affects them. My mom also cannot handle any criticism – again, watching how other people have normal conversations where criticism is productive. My dad on the other hand has become the stereotypical angry boomer – hating everyone and everything. Again, having healthy relationships in my life has made me realize how awful he is. Thankfully watching my miserable parents has made me reach for 180 degrees in the opposite direction – working hard to have stable healthy relationships in my own life.”
2. “I grew up with my parents being so toxic with each other. No affection between each other, and not affectionate towards me. I never felt like I could be emotional or honest with them about anything. They would have huge yelling fights, mostly initiated by my mom but my dad was extremely emotionally unavailable so it’s not like he’s innocent either.
But would scream about getting divorced and then take my sister and I out of the house to a hotel. Then return later that night, and act like nothing happened after. I would have to go to school the next day and just be confused about my life, and put on a happy face. Not once did they explain themselves or shelter me and my sister from this. They slept in different bedrooms and I never saw them embracing or having any kind of normal conversation. I would always secretly pray that my parents would divorce so I could be free of the negativity. Now I see parents obsessing over the right things to say to their kids, and arguing over the best way to support them…and I think damn is this what parents are really like?”
3. “I realized when I was around 14 years old. I went to the movies and ran into a classmate. She was with her mom and their interactions were very loving and wholesome. I was baffled because I had never experienced that with my parents. They never showed affection or spoke kindly to me. I thought the constant berating and bullying was normal.”
4. “I was 18 in 2016 and my parents had been divorced for a couple years. I was working at the mall, living primarily with my mom who worked at the local hospital making $15/hr. My dad, a master electrician, was making $100k+, had moved in with the woman he cheated on my mom with (she was also married with 2 kids).I was in and out of the hospital a lot in the years leading up to this, ultimately finding out I have Type One Diabetes. He was mad over $200 worth of my medical bills that came to him because I was on his insurance and took my mother to court over that and tried to get me kicked off his health insurance plan.
Once I heard the whole story, I texted him telling him that he was a pathetic excuse of a parent, I would pay the $200 with my first paycheck, and I never wanted to talk to him again. I blocked his phone number and haven’t had a real conversation with him since.”
5. “Around the age of 7-8. The constant arguing alongside the many dangerous situations I was put into made me realize pretty damn quickly that this was not normal.”
6. “My dad was mildly-to-moderately emotionally abusive the whole time I was growing up. But it really wasn’t until I was about 28-29 that I started actually realizing how shitty it was and how much it has affected me, even to this day.”
7. “I’m 20 and only figured this out a couple of months ago. I’ve had anxiety and have been experiencing panic attacks since I was 10, but whenever I tried to tell my mum she said that if I was ‘really’ having a panic attack I would feel like I was dying etc. So I stopped mentioning it when I was about 13. Recently it’s come to my attention that I’m probably neurodivergent, and that I’d like to get tested for ADHD.
Mentioned it to my mum, she said she ‘would have noticed’ and when I brought up her previous dismissal of my anxiety symptoms, she and my stepdad accused me of calling her a bad parent. I’ve also never had a hug from my parents, and have always been discouraged from asking for help in any sense, ‘to build independence.’ Well, it worked! I am now someone who does not know how to express intense emotions or realize I need help until I implode. I am going to therapy now and will be having some tests done to try and get more clarity. I honestly just feel pity for them more than anything else, I wish my mum had had the opportunity to go to therapy long ago, but she may be too set in her ways now to consider it.”
8. “I think I didn’t REALLY realize it until I got together with my current SO. I realized the kind of ‘love’ I was used to wasn’t healthy. I still keep in contact with my parents, but since moving out my mental health has been getting better by the day, and I’m so grateful to my partner for loving and caring about me the way he does.”
9. “When I started going over to other friends’ houses.“
10. “I think around the ages 10 or 11. I realized that my mom wasn’t like the others. I was brainwashed to believe that her anger issues came from her thyroid problems. When she got her thyroid removed, I thought that it’d get better. It didn’t (she continued to blame the medication, though). After I moved out at 23, I fell into a deep mental health hole. Basically like someone who’s left a cult, suddenly finding themselves in a secular world. I was STILL telling people the thyroid was the problem.
I learned my mom might have a personality disorder from Reddit at around 24. That’s when I got professional help and my therapist agrees that that’s likely the case. He also made me see that my dad’s quite toxic, too, just not in a loud, angry way.”
11. “Whenever I told others something they did and they would stare at me slack-jawed.”
12. “I didn’t realize up until I passed school and was going to get into college. From early childhood, I remember my father disliking me for my complexion and making me feel insecure. I also saw a lot of domestic violence against my mother for years. Now, I am in my early 20’s but I don’t feel any emotional attachment to my parents, I can’t even remember the last time I felt loved or a sense of belonging to them. Due to this I’ve grown emotionally detached and socially anxious.”
Although, it’s saddening to hear these confessions, we’re also glad that they were able to find clarity and healing regarding their family. And hope that anyone who is in a similar position finds healing and recovery, too.