You have all the rights to break up with your toxic parents as an adult, even though it might seem selfish. After all, your mental peace and emotional well-being should matter the most, over keeping your ties with your toxic parents.
I want to emphatically state that breaking up with your parents, also known as detaching physically, mentally, and emotionally from the people who made your bodily life possible (or raised you), is a terrible endeavor.
One only hopes (at least) for a set of familiar older bodies who know you and validate you as your shadow and light unfold well into your adult years. Not having that in your life is dreadful.
I also want to affirm that in the infinite expansion of each individual life on the planet, not all parent-child relationships are going to be healthy and validating. Call it ill fate, or shit luck, but poisonous environments and their legions are not above choosing parents or siblings to set siege upon.
Life is irrevocably about living one’s full potential, and sometimes that means parting ways with acrimony and toxicity, even when all the “shoulds” you’ve ever been given on what relationships are “supposed to be” say otherwise. Simply put, venom is venom and should be avoided despite its outward appearance or the input of others.
Breakups with parents can be permanent, but they do not have to be permanent, and they can also involve contact but in varying degrees. There is no right way to break up with a parent, and each situation is different.
Here are five scenarios where splitting off from your acorn tree, and rolling far, far, and perhaps farther down the hill, may prove beneficial for all.
5 Signs You Should Break Up With Your Toxic Parents For Good
1. You shrink in their presence.
You’re all grown up and you’re on your way. Perhaps your parents have gone through their own transformations and may have responded in ways that are helpful and encouraging. Yet in their very presence, your heart and spirit shrink a size.
You hesitate to tell them all the really exciting things in your life (even though you want to), because it is not met with the same praise as in the company of friends or colleagues. You may find their shortcomings or defects hard to digest.
Being with them for more than a couple of hours leaves you tired, confused, and disoriented. Especially if dissociation occurs, and even looking in their eyes brings deep but subtle drums of panic, you may want to consider a breakup plan. These are most likely moments when you are spreading your wings and taking flight into your own path.
It’s not about them being “bad” per se, but about you maximally thriving. Respect your wing space—make a break.
2. Conversations involve substances, not substance.
If you have a parent who is a heavy drinker, narcotic user, or even a chain smoker, there is a good chance they will have difficulty seeing you for who you really are. This doesn’t mean they don’t love you, but the use of substances is a good sign that your parent is hiding from some serious pain.
If you try to bring your pain to them, which is a beautiful and enlivening thing to do in healthy situations, the addicted parent will most likely avoid the pain they see in you, beat themselves up for seeing you in pain, or invalidate you outright in an attempt to ward off any distress. After all, they’ve invested so much in their sedation that breaking it would be intense.
If your parent was an addict while growing up, but has since recovered, you may still suffer from the first reason (above) and it may be wise to break up as much as you need in order to feel safe in the world again. You’ve probably invested a lot in finding out what that safety means and how that works for you—keep it up.