Sunday, October 7, 2018

Abusive Parents, Toxic Parents, and Not-Perfect Parents

If you are brave stupid enough to confront toxic parents about how they have hurt you during your life, they will respond in various ways.

They might laugh it off.

They might tell you that what you remember, didn't happen. Or it didn't happen the way you remember. OR it might have happened but come's not that big of a deal. Get over it, already.  You're too sensitive. You're paranoid. You're overdramatic. 

They might reluctantly admit that what you experienced might have actually happened. Though it's likely they'll claim not to remember.  It's more along the lines of, I don't remember it happening. But I'm not going to argue with you. If you remember it, MAYBE it happened.  

BUT they'll defend themselves by saying something like, I'm not perfect. Okay. And neither are you. That's what families are about.  We ALL make mistakes.

And we, their children, should just be thankful that they're not abusive. We should be grateful that we didn't have parents that raped us, beat us, or starved us.

SO....this is my personal list of the toxicity I've experienced through my life and how I'd compare it to outright abusive parenting and so called not-perfect parenting.

Note: it's all a matter of perspective. Some people would say the toxicity I experienced IS abuse (emotional) Other people would laugh at the toxicity I mention and say this is just normal.  Probably because for them these things ARE normal. They probably do it to their kids. Their parents did it to them. And they see no harm.

Not-Perfect Parents don't notice their daughter has an eating disorder. Once they find out, they feel terrible, and give her the support she needs.

Toxic Parents don't notice their daughter has an eating disorder, and when she tells them this, they scoff at her. They tell her she was just doing some yo-yo dieting. They tell her people with eating disorders weigh like 40 pounds, have tubes in them, and are hospitalized.

Abusive Parents force their daughter to be on a diet, to the point that she's malnourished.

Not-Perfect Parents unintentionally expose their daughter to something that terrifies her. Once they see her looking terrified, they feel horrible and immediately remove the scare. They comfort their daughter. They help her avoid the scare until she is old enough and brave enough to face it.

Toxic Parents purposely expose the child to something that is terrifying and age-inappropriate. They ignore the child's cries and refuse to remove the scare.  Months later, they continue the game by re-exposing the child to the scare, so they can see her reaction and have a good laugh. Later when the child is older and tries to talk about this, they play a new game: Gaslighting.

Abusive Parents tie their child to a chair and force her to see scary things.

Not Perfect Parents don't know that their daughter has a health issue. Because in not-perfect families, communication is not 100%,  and sometimes there are secrets—temporary or permanent. Once their daughter tells her parents about her health issue, they show a lot of interest and a lot of concern.

Toxic Parents show very little interest or concern when their daughter finally tells them about her health issue. After a lot of pressure, they finally show interest. But it's in the form of, we don't really think there is anything seriously wrong with you, but we will use our power to help you anyway. So don't forget how caring, generous, and helpful we are.

Abusive Parents cause their daughter to be ill by poisoning her...via Munchausen by Proxy

Not Perfect Parents don't notice that their daughter is in emotional turmoil. When she tells them, they give her a lot of extra TLC.  They help her in various ways but most importantly they listen.

Toxic Parents-don't notice when their daughter is in emotional turmoil. When she outright tells them, they give no response. They completely ignore it. They go about their business. When she gets angry about this, they remind her once again how much they have given her throughout life and how much they have sacrificed.  They are not concerned for her sadness. They are concerned for the lack of appreciation that she gives them. (Even though she has said thank you many times)

Abusive Parents-Lock their daughter in the attic. They starve her, scream at her, and kill bunny rabbits in front of her.

Not Perfect Parents-Forget their daughter's birthday. Or they remember and give her a present she already has. Oops.

Toxic Parents-Cancel birthday dinner plans with their daughter because of illness, and instead leave a large check in the mailbox so she can go out to dinner without them. Even though she has let them know many times in the past that she doesn't want financial birthday gifts from them.She wants more love and attention. Toxic parents have never heard of a thing called a rain check.

Abusive Parents-Sell their daughter for sex so they can MAKE money from her.

Not Perfect Parents-Are busy and not always there for their daughter. But when she does very much need them, they do what they can to put her as a priority. They feel and act like doing things for her, and with her, is a deep pleasure.

Toxic Parents-Are busy and not always there for their daughter. But when they are there, oh is she going to hear about it. They let her know that doing things for her or spending time with her is a sacrifice. Any assistance whether wanted, unwanted, or unsolicited is presented as martyrdom.

Abusive Parents-Drive their daughter out to the forest of grizzly bears and leaves her there. They never even return to look for her body.

Not Perfect Parents-Compare themselves to the fathers on This is Us and feel they come up a little short. They strive to be more supportive, more gentle, more fun, and more passionate.

Toxic Parents-Compare themselves to parents who have abandoned their children, raped their children, starved their children, or caused gross bodily harm to their children. Then they think and say, I'm a great parent. It's terrible that you don't appreciate how wonderful I am.

Abusive Parents-Well, they're the ones who rape their children, starve their children, and cause great bodily harm to their children.

Not Perfect Parents-Miss their daughter's graduation because they have an event they feel they can't cancel. They feel very guilty about this and spend the rest of their lives trying to compensate for it.

Toxic Parents-Miss their daughter's graduation because they have an event they feel they can't cancel. Then they lay a guilt trip on the daughter, because her graduation caused the rest of the family to miss their event.

Abusive Parents-Lock their daughter in a closet on graduation day.

Not Perfect Parents-Are sometimes tormented by their daughters fighting among themselves. They struggle to decide whether it's best to intervene or stay out of it.

Toxic Parents-Complain that a sibling drama is causing them to lose money. Ugh, they say. Even though they are very wealthy and the financial loss would actually be quite minimal (in the scheme of things).

Abusive Parents-Force one sibling to poke out the eyeballs of the other sibling. They film it and upload it to YouTube.

Not Perfect Parents-Sometimes secretly intervene in the background. For example they might know that one daughter is depressed. So they suggest to another daughter that it might be a good idea for her to email her depressed sister.  Or if one daughter is being irrationally angry, they might privately write an email to the family asking people to be patient with this daughter, because she's going through a difficult time.

Toxic Parents-Sometimes intervene in the background. But they make very sure it doesn't stay secret. They let their family know that they orchestrate the kindness and good deeds that are done within the family.

Abusive Parents-Force one sibling to tear off the fingernails of another sibling.

Not Perfect Parents-Wonder if a man or woman is good enough for their daughter. They're a bit overprotective at times.  And on other occasions, to their shame, they sometimes worry that their daughter might be pushing above her weight.

Toxic Parents-Write an email to the daughter's husband describing the awfulness of their daughter.  He proclaims that he is the victims of relentless abuse from his daughter. But let's be fair. The daughter HAS done horrible repeatedly bringing up a father-caused trauma during her childhood; complaining that the father brags too much, complaining that the father wasn't there for her during difficult times, daring to remind the father that he is not actually the heroic victim he imagine imagines himself to be.  And worst of all, this horrible, horrible daughter refuses to believe in her father's gaslighting attempts. The shame! The poor father! 

Abusive Parents-Murder their daughter's husband and hide his body in the wall of their trophy room.

Not Perfect Parents-Sometimes say things to their grandchildren that their children feel is unkind or inappropriate. They listen to their child; then either express understanding that they made a mistake or argue their point.

Toxic Parents-Scoff at the parent for interfering; then turn directly to their grandchild to say, Your mother has no sense of humor.  

Abusive Parents-Feed their grandchildren apples with razor blades inside.

Not Perfect Parents-Are terrified by the thought of their children dying and try not to think of it. If the subject comes up, they might try to change the subject. But if attempts at the conversation are persistent, they assure the child they will be horribly sad yet willing to help in the aftermath.

Toxic Parents-Blurt out that they heard something about grandparents having to raise their grandchildren because the parents have died. The toxic parent complains that this would interfere with his golf hobby. When the daughter expresses a problem with this attitude, the toxic father acts annoyed. He dismisses the daughter's concern, assuring her that he'll most likely die first. Because the toxic parents live in a la la land where only the elderly die.

Abusive Parents-Take their children and grandchildren on a boat ride in shark infested waters. Then the parent throws their grandchildren and children off the boat. He sails back to shore, singing a happy song. Then he goes to the country club and plays some golf.

Not Perfect Parents-Have some moments of insanity during a traumatic time. They say cruel things to their children; then feel awful about it. They forever feel ashamed for what they said. They feel sad, conflicted, and undeserving whenever someone compliments them as parents.

Toxic Parents-Have many moments of insanity during a traumatic time. In a public place, they say cruel things to their teenage daughter, including that they hate her. Years later they happily, proudly, and hungrily accept a community father-of-the-year award.

Abusive Parents-Write a text to their daughter everyday saying "I hate you. I wish you were never born".

Not Perfect Parents-End up having a child with cancer. Because they have the wrong genes. Or they drank the wrong water. Or they have bad luck. These parents are devastated. But they deal with it.

Toxic Parents-Pretend their child has cancer, because this blatant lie gives them an excuse to bother a very famous celebrity at a restaurant. They use emotional blackmail to get an autograph.

Abusive Parents-Purposely give their child SYMPTOMS of cancer by feeding them poison so they can get attention from doctors, nurses, celebrities, etc.

Not Perfect Parents-Sometimes have huge fights with their children. They end the fights and fix the relationship by either apologizing if they're the ones mostly in the wrong or GRACIOUSLY accepting their child's apology if their child is the one mostly in the wrong.

Toxic Parents-Sometimes have huge fights with their children. But it is never, never, never their fault. How could anything ever be their fault?  They use a family drama...such as a biopsy to try to illicit feelings of fear, sympathy, and guilt. This, to them, is the way to win someone over.  This is their way of trying to end a fight.

Abusive Parents-Sometimes have huge fights with their children. They end things by chopping off their kids head and sticking it into a fish tank. Now they're kids can't talk back to them anymore. Problem. Solved.

Not Perfect Parents-Feel sad when their children remind them of their imperfections. Sometimes they might even get a little defensive. But then they take the time to think about their mistakes, face their mistakes, and grow from their mistakes.

Toxic Parents-Become furious and disgusted when their children remind them of their imperfections. They say things like I feel sorry for you and/or all you see is the negative.

Abusive Parents-Do not hear about their perfections from their children because they have stapled the mouths of their children shut

Not Perfect Parents-Are usually exited about their child's future and sometimes imagine big things for their child. Yes, sometimes they have doubts and worries. They might say things like, It's important to have a back up plan. Or they might push their child a bit in directions their child is not so interested in.  But then they realize their mistake and back away.

Toxic Parents-Let their children know that they really don't have much hope in the child's success. They actually say to their kids that they should enjoy this lifestyle they are currently living in, because they won't have it in the future. The too-obvious underlying messages: You will never be as successful as us. Your biggest success in life will be having us as parents. 

Abusive Parents: Have a very specific career in mind for their children. That is, being a drug mule. And if their child refuses, they beat them with a stick. 

Not Perfect Parents-Struggle to find the balance between neglect and intrusiveness. Usually, they do a very good job of it.  But every so often, they help when they shouldn't or they don't help enough. It's an ongoing battle.

Toxic Parents-Undermine their daughter's self-esteem, during a fight, by telling her she's never accomplished anything on her own.  It's all about what HE has done for her. All the hard work she did during her childhood, high school, college, etc? Apparently, it was all in her mind. Yeah, there are apologies after this particular drama. But periodically, throughout life, it's shown that this was probably not the case of people saying things they don't mean when they're in a fight. Occasionally he gives attention to her work but he gives more attention to his own accomplishments and more attention to what he has given to her, what he has done for her, or what he is willing to do for her.   

Abusive Parents-Don't do anything for their child. Their child does everything for them. The child is their slave. 

Note: This post is edited/added to when I remember more stuff, new stuff happens, or I have new insights or comments.