Darius Cikanavicius explains “Most parents are usually able to meet the child’s physical, basic needs, yet they are either emotionally unavailable, severely lacking, overbearing, or selfish. This feedback that the child receives in a form of punishments and controlling treatment is damaging to their sense of self-worth and identity.”
7. They blame you for their problems
Toxic parents often blame, shame and pressurize their children for their own misfortune. This is a manipulation technique used to make you comply. They also hold you responsible for their happiness by using strategies like emotional blackmail, showing superiority and psychological control. They keep telling you about how much they have sacrificed for you and compel you to do what they want, even if it’s something you don’t want to do.
Entrepreneur Holly Chavez writes “If one of your parents spent a lot of time telling you how much they gave up for you in connection with their unhappiness, then they were placing unrealistic expectations on your role in their life. No child should be held accountable for their parent’s happiness.” She adds “Parents should never demand that children give up things that make them happy in order to even out the score.”
8. They don’t respect you privacy
Toxic and pushy parents often fail to understand the importance of healthy personal boundaries. A controlling parent will refuse to give you any space and will constantly invade your personal space. They will never give you any privacy and may even stalk you on social media. Although parents should supervise their child’s online activities, there is a fine line between guiding your children to keep them safe and stalking.
Holly adds “Everyone needs to be able to set boundaries for themselves, especially teenagers. Parents who are toxic override these boundaries at every turn, and this causes numerous problems.”
Apart from these, there are many other signs of controlling parents, some of which are listed below:
- They tend to be passive-aggressive
- They try to control or approve your relationships
- They do not allow you to question or disagree with them
- They make you doubt yourself
- They are ignorant or unaware of the pain they cause you
- They constantly demand attention from you
- They make decisions for you without asking for any suggestions
- They communicate with others on your behalf
- They don’t allow you to express negative emotions like anger, fear & sadness
- They are more concerned about their own feelings, instead of yours
- They try to monopolize your love, affection and time
- They always fight your battles for you
- They are too involved in your personal and professional life
- The refuse to provide you affirmation, validation, safety and security
- They control you by using money and guilt against you
- They discourage you from taking decisions on your own
- They never admit their mistakes
How to deal with controlling parents
If you can identify with some or all of the signs of a manipulative parent mentioned above, then don’t feel discouraged. There are several coping mechanisms that can help you to deal with the toxic behavior of your parents.
Here are a few ways that can help you get started.
1. Empower yourself
Start by setting personal boundaries even though your parents might be used to violating your privacy. When you set boundaries, you take a step making the parent-child relationship more tolerable and agreeable. Educator Michelle Liew, B.A. says “You may have parents who try to keep you in an Alcatraz-like, emotional prison, but you are responsible for your actions. Develop a plan to set boundaries and gain control of your life.” Make your own decisions and learn to stand up for yourself.
2. Stop pleasing them
You don’t need to seek affirmation, affection, approval or validation from your parents. Despite how hard you try to make them proud of you or to gain their love, they will never express it the way you want them to. Michelle suggests “Do not obsess over pleasing them; remember that you have your life to live.”