Growing Up With Toxic Parents

This quote by Susan Forward from her book Toxic Parents captures the essence of the emotional wound toxic parenting inflicts on children.  Recovery as an adult takes layers of patience and compassion as well as the context of sustained “healthy love” that allows self-hatred to dissipate as a new self-worth begins the healing from the edges inward…

“Most adult children of toxic parents grow up feeling tremendous confusion about what love means and how it’s supposed to feel. Their parents did extremely unloving things to them in the name of love. They came to understand love as something chaotic, dramatic, confusing, and often painful—something they had to give up their own dreams and desires for. Obviously, that’s not what love is all about. Loving behaviour doesn’t grind you down, keep you off balance, or create feelings of self-hatred. Love doesn’t hurt, it feels good. Loving behaviour nourishes your emotional well-being. When someone is being loving to you, you feel accepted, cared for, valued, and respected. Genuine love creates feelings of warmth, pleasure, safety, stability, and inner peace.”

Susan Forward, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

2 responses to “Growing Up With Toxic Parents

  1. I enjoyed your article very much and your book on “How To Say It To Seniors” was informing. I wish I heard about it and read it about 5 years ago. It would help me alot in dealing with my senior parents.

    I was wondering if you had done a blog on a AWOL sibling in caring for their parents. I have had some discussions with caregiver support groups on the fact that it seems to be 1 sibling that does 90% to 99% of the work.

  2. Hi Paula…I have one blog post about sibling issues at this link:

    Also, I have found in the support groups I facilitate that AWOL siblings are very common and come in many varieties. The disinterested, too sensitive, too busy, too bitter about childhood, too far away, and too controlling. Bottom line, they opt out of the hands on work but remain available to judge and comment from the sidelines.

    With your permission, I would love to write a blog borrowing your descriptor AWOL siblings. It’s a very common complication of caregiving in families….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.