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.
3. Your parent(s) wants to spend more time with you than their spouse.
If you haven’t read up on what it means to be a people pleaser, or to be in a codependent/narcissistic relationship, and you are reading this article, then it is time to do so.
If your parent depends on you for emotional support, in any way gets upset when you put your immediate family or personal needs ahead of theirs, threatens to get worse if you are not around, or blames your other parent (behind their back) for all their problems, to you, then it is reasonable to say you may have a narcissistic or codependent parent.
I knew someone once whose mother actually gave them a ring that looked like an engagement ring. Do not let your parents marry you. When you have a parent who has or does live their emotional life through you, the apron strings must be severed.
4. They are, in any way, abusive.
If you’ve ever been beaten by a parent, molested, berated through the use of manipulative and violent words, or been used as a cerebral punching bag, you may always suffer from #1 above. This is a difficult scenario to make a recovery from if this parent is always in your life.
Cutting ties with murky water, as far as I know, has never been an unhealthy endeavour, so long as there are fresh fountains coming from elsewhere.
Abuse is the clearest exit sign we can find in the world of relating.
5. They are unable to see the impact of their words or actions, even though you’ve thoroughly, or even tearfully explained it to them.
“How could that upset you?”
“No I saw you, you weren’t sad, you were angry.”
“Yeah well if you would see it from my way you’d understand.”
“You’re scary/strange/messed up etc.”
Imagine yourself expressing a vulnerable state just before you hear any of the above statements from a parent. They may have recently just co-signed a loan on your first house, helped you get that car, or drove several miles to help you out with your newborn, and yet this is what you experience.
This is a tough place to be in. If you try to explain to a parent how their actions and words hurt you, and they cannot, for whatever reason, see where you are coming from, then distance is necessary.