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A Letter To My Daughter As A “Toxic Parent”

A Letter To My Daughter As A “Toxic Parent”

“Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.”

Last night I put all four of you to sleep in your own cots. Waking up in the morning, in my bed, I’m arrested under a tangle of limbs in all directions and at the oddest angles. I was vaguely aware of them, one by one, crawling into my bed at different times in the night. Some parts of me feel truly sore from having stayed weighed under in the same position for the last few hours. But my heart feels so full and warm as I watch all of you cuddled up together.

As I reached out to ruffle your hair, my dearest daughter, remorse washed over me. Little one, am I being a good mother to you? Teaching you responsibility and independence at such an early age. You turn six next week. Just six! You are so much more responsible than your eight year old brother.

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Your mother, your younger two sisters, spending time playing with them, helping me bathe them and dress them up. You even help me tidy up the rooms and fold the laundry in your own little ways. I love the way you tidy up the shoe rack, searching and collecting shoes scattered around the house, pairing them like you are solving puzzles and arranging them in neat rows on the rack. You make such a mundane task seem like a fun thing to do.

Making your Own Sunshine

But I worry little one. Am I doing it right? Your grandparents did what they thought was best for me as they raised their children.

But as Virginia Satir said “Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth. It is sad that so many parents don’t realize what messages they are sending.”

I write this letter to prepare you my dear child, to learn the good lessons from the bad experiences caused by toxic parenting. Parents also make mistakes despite their best intentions. But you, my sunny-natured one, can still come out shining from behind any cloud.

He who controls your purse strings, controls you

My best advice to you dear daughter is to stand on your own two feet. Be independent. Be strong. Let no one bully you. Not even your own parents. As you grow up, begin your career, get married and raise your own children, be in control of your finances. Today, you see me typing at my computer, working on articles, despite the pressures of raising four children. I am indulging in my passion, I have an outlet for my creativity and most importantly it gives me financial freedom.

Your father is the provider in our home, but I am not dependent on him for my personal needs. Fathers and husbands don’t quite understand a female’s unlimited fancy for clothes, makeup or shoes. But they tend to leave you alone as long as you don’t trouble them for the money. My weakness is buying pretty dresses for my children and cute plastic containers for the kitchen.

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On a more serious note, financial independence gives you the means to take care of yourself, it equips you to handle better the obstacles life will throw at you. But remember, money is never enough and it shouldn’t be the goal.

Let Go of the Need to Seek Approval

Seeking validation from anyone, even parents, will only lead to harm and low self esteem. Correcting children’s mistakes is a an important part of parenting, but sometimes people don’t know where to stop. When parents are overly critical, the child tends to develop a harsh inner critic and many children end up with anxiety disorders as they grow older. Validating your own thoughts and feelings will help you manage your emotions more effectively.

Learn to Deal With Guilt and Manipulation

You are responsible for your own happiness. Expecting others to make you happy will only give you disappointments in life. The same rule applies to your parents too. Some toxic parents place unrealistic expectations on their children’s shoulders by repeatedly drilling in stories of sacrifices made to raise them up. Such parents may demand their children give up their own desires in order to do what the parents want.

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Learn to deal firmly with anyone, even parents, if they use manipulation, guilt, and self-pity to make you do whatever they want.

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Even I had my share of grudges against my parents, especially my father. But when I became a parent, I was better able to understand that no parent is perfect. I learned to stop judging them and blaming them for not understanding me better. They were times I felt abandoned, when they didn’t realize I needed them desperately by my side.

Finally getting through those troubled times by myself, solving my own problems, have actually made me a stronger and independent person. Even if they are unwilling to understand or acknowledge their mistakes, forgiving them and yourself, is the best way to begin healing.

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These are valuable insights in any relationship. It applies to emotional dealings with all the people in your life, from your boss to your mother-in-law and your own children. Let no one dictate your life, your emotions or your happiness.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life

How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life

Loneliness is a feeling I know very well. I live in an apartment with no one but my dog, and I don’t get a whole lot of company because most of my friends have moved to another town, got married and had a family, or simply lost touch due to life happening.

As someone who considers himself a loner, I loved the peace and quiet at first; but I found myself feeling very lonely within a few months. My space went from clean to chaos, my productivity crashed and burned, my thoughts took a turn for the worse, and I couldn’t find much interest in anything more than watching movies on Netflix.

After living a few months in a haze of sloth, I realized I had a serious problem and decided to learn how to be happy alone and enjoy my life. This article tackles 6 key things I learned along the way.

1. Take Care of Your Home

When you’re not around other people, it is easy to lose interest in tidying up your home. You might find yourself with a sky high pile of dishes and mountains of clutter everywhere you turn if you’re not careful. Even if you don’t have a roommate or company that frequently walks in your door, it is in your best interest to clean house at least once per week.

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If your home is a disorganized wreck, expect to feel stressed out as soon as you walk in the door. A clean home free from clutter will help you feel happy and organized.

2. Find Beauty in the Ordinary

If you don’t see beauty in your world, you’re not looking hard enough.

If you’re home alone and feeling down, walk outside and spend some time with nature. Watch the birds fly and admire their elaborate flight formation. Listen to dogs barking at each other in the neighborhood and think to yourself, “I wonder what they could possibly be talking about?”

Look at that big, old tree that is the size of a giant (and if you’re feeling limber, why not try to climb it?). Plant some flowers, a vegetable garden, or a small tree in your back yard.

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Go to the park, walk on a nature trail, clear your thoughts, listen to the sounds of the forest, and be in awe of the beauty that’s right in front of you.

3. Watch Out for Noisy Thoughts

Your thoughts can be your best friend and worst enemy. Have you ever noticed that if you find yourself thinking even a single negative thought, it inevitably spirals out of control until you have a nasty chorus of Mental Monsters taking over your brain?

If you find yourself thinking, “I feel so lonely right now,” it’s easy to keep that thought process going in the wrong direction until thoughts like, “I will always be alone,” or “no one will ever love me,” creep up on you.

Be aware of what you’re thinking about and stop your negative thoughts before they grow into Mental Monsters that are much harder to control.

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If you find yourself stressing out, do something that relaxes you. Light some candles or incense, take a nice hot bubble bath, perform some gentle yoga poses, or play soothing music.

4. Reduce Mindless Consumption

Being aware of world events is totally okay, but becoming addicted to the news is a sure-fire way to sink your mood.

Limit your news consumption to a small handful of articles per day because there is no reason to bury yourself in depressing news stories for hours on end.

Watching television is fine in moderation, but spending all of your free hours in front of the tube will do nothing to help you grow or feel better.

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Read a classic novel you adored in high school, go to a local community theater to enjoy a racy comedy or Shakespearean tragedy, and exercise at least every other day to keep your mind and body at the top of their game.

5. Create Something of Value

The best way to feel happy alone is to spend your time creating something that brings you joy. You could write a novel or self-help book and self-publish it on Amazon, start a blog about a topic that fascinates you, go the the park and paint a landscape to hang on your wall, or learn a new language, like German or Spanish.

Sometimes, it is hard to motivate ourselves to get to work creating at home; so if you’re feeling a lack of inspiration, pack up your notebook and laptop for a field-trip to a park, coffee shop, or downtown bench. A simple change of scenery can do wonders for your productivity.

6. Treat Yourself to a Hot Date

Who says you can’t go to a movie or eat out by yourself? I love treating myself to hot dates because I can choose to go wherever I desire without considering anyone else’s opinion.

Going out by yourself will help you become comfortable with being alone.

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Featured photo credit: Caleb Frith via unsplash.com

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