Toxic Parents

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker  

Unconditional love is the birthright of every child. Parents don’t have to be perfect, but they need to be good enough to “produce” well-adjusted off-spring. Finding self-compassion is the key to improving the quality of your life. Self-compassion is often absent when children receive parenting that is not “good enough.”

Pre-verbal children can’t express their needs, therefore toddlers – ages 1 – 2 years, are entitled to unconditional love. “His Majesty – The Baby.” Not getting enough of this love is a great loss and will require serious grieving therapy.

After the age of 2 years, parents then need to gently start setting boundaries. As the child grows into adolescence, they will learn to balance their needs over other peoples’ needs. It limits are not set, the child develops a sense of self-entitlement and narcissistic behaviours become more common. R

Recognizing the kind of trauma you have experienced is the first part of healing. It is important to recognize “toxic parent” behaviours. Parents who have traumatized their children by neglecting their children’s emotions, or by being physically and verbally abusive, can cause repeat trauma by a mere phone call.

Just as toxic parents should be recognized, if you have angry and contemptuous behaviours, common in complex PTSD, these behaviours should not be accepted by anyone else. Changing these behaviours is usually only possible once healing starts, as these behaviours are legacies of your past.

In order to heal, you will likely have to go through a process of “re-parenting yourself.” To heal, you need to feel love and you need to feel protected. A traumatized childhood leaves you feeling unlovable and unsafe. You can address the traumas that happened during your development, and find a way to heal the trauma experienced by your inner-child. Find a way to have the hurt child realize they are loved and protected.

Pets can be a great source of unconditional love. Learning to work with a therapist is important, but trusting someone is hard if you have complex PTSD. It takes enormous courage to do something you feel afraid to do.

Be mindful of your thoughts. What you think is what you feel. “Thoughts –  just mere thoughts – are as powerful as electric batteries – as good for you as sunlight is, or as bad for you as poison.”

Complex PTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker

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