Toxic Parents vs Absent Parents
You must think by now an "Uninvolved Parent" is the Absent parent, right? Of course! — but a Toxic parent is just as "uninvolved" in parenting as the Absent parent!
There are absolutely no distinctions whatsoever. While one is considered physically unavailable, the other is emotionally unavailable and it is only a matter of time before toxic parents become absent parents.
"But I provide for her/him, I kiss her/him goodnight and make sure she/he has everything she needs" – toxic parent. Well yeah, typically! But you wouldn't stop making her/him feel like she isn't
good enough though. Her self-esteem drops by a notch each time she sees you. Now tell me, are you still that loving parent??
—Didn't think so!
Growing up, it always felt like our parents just wanted to work two jobs to give us "the life" and to be honest, they did give us the life but in the long run, they didn't give us "them."
Parenting isn't limited to just paying bills and trying to enforce punishment for wrongdoings— in fact, it's far from that!
Parenting is being available for your kids physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and a host of other things that isn't disrespecting the privacy of your teenage kids or treating your adult children as though they're never capable of making their own decisions—Yeah, an aspect of parental toxicity that is least talked about!
Toxic Parents and absent parents pretty much produce the same kind of children—Children with a rollercoaster of traumatic emotions they never signed up for and probably still have no control over!
"Children of abusive or toxic Parents become their own abusers and soon abusers of others; because a person is not themselves anymore, they're only an extension of the family system."
While it's easy to dismiss the many experiences a child witnesses firsthand, it's almost impossible to extinguish the aftermath these experiences have shaped us into even as adults! I am pretty sure you can relate with this; you either had an absent parent— "was never there, love from afar kind of parent, always working or busy, you never got to spend time with them, never had a father-daughter dance or mother/father - children relationship and the only evidence of their being around was breakfast on the table and lunch In the fridge"— Absent parents are marked by abandonment, neglect. OR toxic parents who pretty much were physically available but were never emotionally available—" It was a lot of physical or verbal or sexual abuse on the kids or the other parent, a long trail of domestic fights, drug abusive parents who invariably became dependent on the children rather than the other way around"
As adults, surprisingly, we carry a strain of behavior picked up from our parents while growing up as kids. You would be shocked at how much holes we have because childhood was not exactly what they say it was. It was supposed to be a "Life-in-the-park kind of life, swinging like a pendulum each time, we were on the swings or probably eating from a cone of ice cream on the rollercoaster and screaming our voices out" Apparently yes!
Although, it wasn't the actual life most of us had. It was usually a façade from the actual life. For most of us, it was the one time our toxic parents had hit us so hard that they felt they should make up for it, not because they wanted to but because they either wanted us to go to school the next day or not skip our meals! Or our absent parents who forgot to show up for your basketball game despite having tried to tell them all week!
Well, a parent may be absent for many reasons and in different ways. Not all absent parents are physically absent. The reasons for a parent’s absence range from the avoidable to the unavoidable: loss or relinquishment of parental rights, abandonment, negligence, preoccupation with grief or the illness of another child, work, death, incarceration, divorce, mental or physical illness, drugs or alcoholism, or hospitalization. Some parents are physically present, but they are emotionally absent and do not fulfill their roles as parents. Others may be narcissists or are otherwise psychologically unsuited to be a parent. They may be cold and distant or verbally and/or physically abusive.
For whatever reason, some parents fail to fulfill their parental duties. In some cases, the child absences herself from her parents, often because her parents were either emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive or harmed them in some way. Even though a child makes the choice to leave, they still experience the absence of their parents.
What are the Effects of Having Toxic Parents or Absent Parents?
The effects of toxic parents and/or Absent parents take play a huge role in our childhood. But the problems aren’t always identified until .. well into adulthood. You were hardwired to love the people who raised you. Therefore, it can feel strange to “unlearn” toxic patterns of behavior you absorbed as a child and change the dynamic with your parents.
Here are a few signs to look out for;
● Mental health struggles
● Low self-esteem
● Sexual, emotional, or physical abuser
● Drug Abuse
● Crippling feeling of fear and guilt
If you test positive to these signs, then you most definitely have picked up a strain off your parents growing up.
Now here's the big deal—Getting over the experiences or long gone effects of having had toxic parents or absent parents is not a linear equation or process. You can't get over it all at once by crossing out figures—habits like it's math!
Set your boundaries with toxic parents and Let yourself heal from the negligence you suffered from absent parents, might seem like a little but it sure is a lot!
Healing is the first step to getting better and you cannot get better by yourself. You might have ruined your relationships prior to this time but now that you have a clearer understanding, you should put efforts into fixing them — seek support, love and care from friends and family. See a therapist or counselor too!
Learn to be critical about your decisions, say "Yes" to your Mental Health needs and a big "NO" to anyone or anything trying to zap you out of your happiness including your toxic or absent parents.
You deserve that much good friend!
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