18 Tips For Setting Boundaries with Toxic Parents

Tips For Setting Boundaries with Toxic Parents

Setting Boundaries with Toxic Parents

If you are a teenager, it is almost certain that you are having a hard time getting along with your parents. 

Constant conflicts and disagreements with your parents need not imply that your parents have undesirable or toxic behavior. However, these definitely are signs of toxic behavior.

This article will help you identify whether your parents are toxic. You will also find here tips and suggestions on how to deal with toxic parents, whether you are a teenager or an adult.

Setting boundaries is considered the best method in dealing with toxic parents. This is easier said than done as parents sure have the upper hand in the relationship. This article explains how to make it possible and diverse choices you have to set boundaries with toxic parents.

Do you have a toxic parent?

The family has a huge impact on how a child turns out as an adult. From the general perception of the world and their behavior to self-image, self-worth, confidence, and their ability to deal with adversities, all aspects of an individual are impacted by parenting, both good and bad.

Unfortunately, as a child, you are helpless in the fact that you cannot choose your parents. Nor do you have any control over them. On the contrary, the reverse is true in most cases. As a child, you are dependent on your parents for your survival.

Don’t worry, all is not lost. Let’s see whether you have toxic parent/s. 

Toxicity in parenting is not well-defined for a reason. Each child and each parent are different. This makes each parent-child relationship unique. What works for some may be toxic to others. Despite this, certain behaviors can be classified as toxic no matter the kind of relationship between the two.

Parents too are human beings and they may make mistakes and have good days and bad ones. They may raise their voice, make unreasonable demands, and do things that can potentially harm their child. All these don’t make them toxic parents. They are just being human. Remember the saying? To err is human….

Here are some signs to look out for to identify the real toxic parents.

  • Selfish and self-centered behavior
  • Tendency to control the lives of their wards
  • Abuse, both physical and verbal
  • Manipulative behavior and neglect
  • Emotional blackmail, unreasonable demands, constant criticism
  • Unwillingness to listen and take responsibility
  • Disregard for your feelings and needs
  • Unwillingness to admit their mistakes or apologize
  • Absence of boundaries

This kind of behavior may continue even after the child enters adulthood. If you do nothing about it, it can cause permanent damage to your mindset, your relationships, and the way you live your life.

How to deal with toxic parents?

To escape toxic parents is not easy if you are still a child and you need their support for survival. So, it is not productive to consider how to get away from toxic parents. Instead, you can form strategies to deal with toxic parents when you live with them.

Whether you have to deal with manipulative parents of adults or children, the guidelines remain somewhat the same. As you cannot change their behavior, you have to think in terms of how to protect yourself from the harmful effects of toxic parenting.

One of the most significant damages of toxic parenting is that the child is unable to take charge of their own lives. They are always waiting for permission from their parents for every single thing. In worst scenarios, a child would even seek permission to escape from their clutches.

The first step in the journey towards freedom is to acknowledge and accept that you deserve to be free and you don’t need to seek your parent’s permission.

Just the fact that you are reading this article is a positive sign. This means you understand that there is something wrong with your relationship with your parent/s and you want to do something about it. Use that as a starting point and work towards your freedom.

Here are some ways to free yourself from the influence of toxic parents.

  • Stop seeking approval and permission.
  • Stop trying to please them.
  • Detach from them. This means stop reacting, stop feeling responsible for their feelings, and stop taking things personally. 
  • Assert yourself, set firm boundaries with parents, and enforce them.
  • Be aware of things you share with them.
  • Don’t try to reason with them or change them.
  • Know their boundaries and limitations and accommodate them if you find this necessary.
  • Stop adjusting your daily life to suit your parent’s demands.
  • Focus on yourself and heal your wounds.
  • Take good care of your needs and desires.
  • Devise your own exit strategy.

None of the above suggestions will come easy for a child who has been under influence of a negative parent all their life. It is all the more difficult if you have already reached adulthood. You will feel scared and your parents will put up stiff resistance. 

You need to remind yourself that these are tough but necessary steps you need to take to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life. This is your only path to freedom. 

Tips and suggestions for setting boundaries with toxic parents

Irrespective of your age, for some parents, their children always remain children and they treat them like children and not as adults.

Unwanted advice, tips, suggestions, and guidance – some parents believe they can’t stop themselves from parenting duties, no matter how old you are.

The ideal method to deal with such parents is to set boundaries and limits. Here are some examples of boundaries with toxic parents you may consider setting up to deal with them. 

  • It is not okay to visit unannounced. If you are living in the same house, they need to knock and ask for permission before they enter your room.
  • You can agree to disagree. But this doesn’t involve shouting, cursing, insulting, interrupting, disregarding, or ignoring your views. Nor can they brand you as stupid or idiot.
  • You are not interested in being their friend. You don’t want to listen to their personal accounts and secrets.
  • You are not available to listen to them badmouthing and gossiping about others. You are not interested in this.
  • You don’t want to be lectured or preached. Help is ok only when it is explicitly asked for.
  • You don’t want to be subjected to silent treatment as a punishment. It is unfair and cruel.
  • You don’t want to be used as a punching bag. It is unfair to take the anger and frustration out on you.
  • Your “no” means “no”. You have the right to say “no”. You will not be made to feel guilty for saying “no”.
  • You value your privacy and don’t want them to poke their heads in your personal affairs.
  • You don’t want them to snoop around your personal belongings in the guise of concern about your welfare.

Some parents may have trouble giving up their control over you and overstep the limits set by you. This may lead to tension and conflicts. Here are some suggestions to smoothen the process.

  • Make it known that setting boundaries is not disrespectful.
  • Have a heart-to-heart talk with your parents about your problems and concerns.
  • Place the facts on the table. Don’t sugarcoat them or delay the inevitable. 
  • When you talk, talk with clarity and purpose.
  • When nothing works, meet them midway. Make compromises.
  • If your resolve is wavering, just remember that boundaries are necessary for a healthy relationship.
  • If all your efforts are being ignored, take a break from the relationship by keeping your distance and gain some space for yourself.
  • If you have reached a dead-end and are at your wit’s end, get the help of a professional. You can do this earlier as well.

Concluding thoughts

Setting boundaries with parents, toxic or otherwise, is not an inconsiderate or discourteous gesture. It is one of the vital components of a healthy relationship. Boundaries are helpful to protect your personal space and meet your emotional and physical needs. 

As you grow older, both you and your parents need to realize the changing status of the relationship. Setting boundaries and respecting them can help you build a strong and loving relationship with your parents as an adult. 

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