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Therapy Advice: Dealing with a Toxic Parental Relationship

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Dealing with a toxic parental relationship can be a difficult and emotionally challenging experience. It might be something that you feel have have become used to, as they have been that way all the time. It could be something that you have only been more aware of since becoming an adult, or perhaps a parent yourself. There can be mixed feelings with this, as they're your parent, and it can feel hard to step away. So don't worry or feel alone if you find it hard.

a family with two children and two parents walking.

Here are some steps that you can take to help navigate this situation:

  1. Set boundaries: It's important to establish clear boundaries with your parents. This could mean limiting the amount of time you spend with them or choosing not to engage in certain conversations or activities that make you uncomfortable.

  2. Seek support: Reach out to friends, family members, or a therapist who can offer you emotional support and guidance. The support you might need might just be reassurance. However, the support you need may be more complex, which is where therapy could come in. Talking through your experiences with someone who is qualified to offer strategies to help, will help you to thrive and make the best choices for you.

  3. Practice self-care: Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Engage in activities that bring you joy and make you feel good about yourself. Give yourself the boost that you need, that you may not be getting from your parental relationships.

  4. Communicate assertively: When you do interact with your parents, try to communicate assertively, meaning express yourself honestly and respectfully while being clear about your boundaries and needs. if you don't say what you feel and stick to what you want to express, then it will just mean going back and forth in circles, and nothing will really change.

  5. Consider professional help: In some cases, a therapist or counsellor can help you work through the complex emotions and dynamics involved in a toxic parental relationship. This is what we can do at The Wellbeing Therapy Hut, as we offer therapy online, over the phone, or face-to-face in Epsom and Kingston. Get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help.

Remember that healing from a toxic parental relationship takes time and effort, but prioritising your mental and emotional health through therapy is worth it in the long run. It will have a positive impact on your life going forward, and if you're a parent yourself, or want to be, will help you to navigate that aspect of your own parent and child relationship too.

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