Our society establishes family as the core institution of a person’s life. It’s true. Family shapes the first years of our lives. And this upbringing is crucial to the kind of people we become as adults. However, not everyone is blessed with a healthy, loving home.
There are many people you can choose in your life and get rid of if needed. You can pick your friends, and if there’s a problem, you can always choose to part ways. However, you can’t pick your family, and you can’t leave them if you’re a minor, or if they’re your only source of living. Sometimes, your family can have qualities that you don’t like, and it can be hard to deal with them.
It’s normal to have arguments between family members. No matter how much we love each other, we all have differences. However, a healthy and loving family knows how to handle these conflicts and differences with trust, respect, and open-mindedness. You’re in a good and loving home if you’re allowed and encouraged to have your own thoughts, to speak up, and to live your own life according to your own terms.
A toxic family is the opposite. Toxic families are rife with patterns of abuse, discrimination, manipulation, verbal violence, etc. Toxic family members come in many forms, but one thing that’s common to all of them is: you don’t feel happy around them, and you feel emotionally drained in their company. It can feel heavy and burdensome and confusing. Because while you probably have love and care (of some type, to some extent) for your parent(s), you also realize the way they have imposed hurt, pain, and ignorance on to you and you may have felt that heaviness when they’ve unfairly talked down to you, mocked your accomplishments, or shamed you for your choices. You might have felt angry, frustrated, and trapped – especially if you are living with them. Much of the residual pain and anger we feel comes from the fact that we know we deserve to be treated with love and respect, and if we don’t get what we believe we should, we’re socialized to blame ourselves – as if we are somehow responsible for our parents’ behaviour.
I knew something was wrong with my mom, for years I’ve been struggling to understand her. I’ve wrestled with her conflicting feelings for decades. So one day I decided to Google her symptoms (now Google has this habit of diagnosing cancer for any ailment), luckily this time Google realised I was miserable and helped me and that’s when I realised not only my mother but almost every family mother from my maternal side is a malignant narcissist.
It’s hard to love someone who triggers the ugliest part of you. It’s a pattern I cannot escape. My heart pains for the deserving love it has yet to receive. As a result, I grew up with the belief that such an arrangement is normal and accepted it as a part of my life. I began forming unhealthy relationships. I became a people’s pleaser. As a result of being abandoned, I feared disappointing people. I went to great lengths to please people. I believed that if I was nice to them, they would not abandon me. So, I would sacrifice my own needs to please others.
I felt guilty even when it was not my fault and assumed that it was my fault when others were upset. This was due to the mistaken belief that I was responsible for their feelings. I wanted to do anything to make others happy even if it was at my own cost.
I felt responsible for others. I took up the responsibility of others while ignoring my needs. By doing all this, I lost my identity as I lived in a codependent relationship.
I was/am harsh to myself. I judged myself because I was judged as a child by my mother.
Growing up and living in a toxic family and a toxic mother is exhausting. Every day is a challenge.