Friday, January 23, 2015

Toxic Parents:Part Two - How to recognise a toxic parent?

The aim of my previous post READ HERE was to ascertain what 'toxic' means before making a comprehension of what a toxic parent is.

To summarise, toxic is a substance that can poison, noxious and contaminate through infecting it's surroundings. A toxic parent; distorts, alters, affects and harms their children.

How to recognise whether someone is a toxic parent?

There are two main types of a toxic parent; The Sociopathic Parent, and The Narcissistic Parent.

The Sociopathic Parent will never say sorry to their child for any wrong doings they have inflicted onto their child, and that is because they believe they are never wrong. They have the ability to justify everything they say and do and because of this they are expert manipulators. They will make the child feel like the child is to blame and because they are generally insensitive and have total disregard to other people's feelings, they lack empathy and often find a crying child extremely annoying, and that may cause them to punish the child further.

Being self-centred is the driving force behind their core behaviour. This makes them demanding, controlling and dictatorial. It can also make them cold, calculating and sneaky, using emotional blackmail to get what they want.  They are incredibly deceitful, irresponsible and impulsive, because of this, they have a tendency to break promises or betray their child.

Sociopathic parent's do not truly care about their children. Because of this, they are more likely to abandon or neglect them.

The Narcissistic Parent will essentially see their child as an extension of themselves. Something they can put their name on or to build themselves up to make them look better, this makes them controlling, manipulating and demanding. They are egotistical, self-centred and threatening, essentially they use their child to feed their ego. However, the parent deploys their child, this is usually because they regret having the child. Most narcissistic parent's have children by accident or by mistakenly thinking a child would increase their self-serving purpose

Noticing a narcissistic parent can be tricky as they wear different masks in public. They are very charming and likeable at first. Those close to them, but mainly their children, will know their many faces as they are more likely to let their guard down around those close to them. They will behave differently in different social settings, often to gain friends, lovers, etc. and once they've gain the trust of others and a relationship is well formed, the narcissist return to their true nature. Another example, everyone thinks the mother or father are the most wonderful people (parent's) in the world, and yet at home the child is left to feel isolated, confused and scared as they put up with the narcissist's constant out bursts, dis-interests and put downs. Narcissist's are great story tellers, they will retell an event in a over exaggerated and often untrue way to others and can sound so convincing that the child is left to appear as the lier.

The narcissist will be in direct competition with the child and jealous of them, they can at times find their child quite psychologically threatening. This is increased as the child starts to grow into the age of reason from around the age of 7 years old or when the child enters into puberty and starts to stand up for themselves. It's common for the narcissist to become more abusive and sarcastic towards the child during this stage, and their aim is to break down the child. One way to achieve this, is, nothing a child does is ever good enough, and the child will often be meet with constant put downs; you're hair is a mess, you look fat in that, stop being so stupid, why are you always miserable? or they will behave like the victim, such as; look what I've done for you, I'm always helping you, you never tell me you love me, why don't you call me? etc. 

In addition to this, when the child is doing well in school, at home, out and about, the narcissist would not praise the child, but instead they will take the credit for it and tell others how wonderful they are at parenting. However, when a child does something wrong, or not up to the standards the parent expects, the result of the behaviour towards the child will be; blaming, shaming, patronising and demeaning for making the parent look bad and this can often lead into physical, psychological and emotional abuse. And because the narcissist is self-centred and egotistical, more often than not, the child is perceived to be never doing anything right, which perpetuates the cycle of the abuse. 

A child will gain a sense that their parent isn't quite like other parents, but will never fully understand why? This may stay with them well into adulthood, constantly experiencing years of emotional abuse. This maybe due to the many faces and the manipulation of the narcissist parent. 

An example of how a narcissist behaves towards their child can been seen in the character 'Jonathan Flynn' played by Robert De Nero in the film Being Flynn. 

The narcissist parent is generally more dangerous, damaging and toxic towards their child than the socio-path, although both types tend to overlap. 

To summarise: How to recognise a toxic parent?

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other presenting behaviours a toxic parent will display. Mainly look for- Demanding, Manipulating, Immature, Controlling, Jealous, Abusive, Neglectful, Critical, Egotistical, Martyrdom, Oppressive, Sarcastic, Threatening, and Insulting behaviour towards a child and adult.

In a future post, I will write about-How to overcome a toxic parent?

If you are affected by what I have a written and feel you may need some help, do please visit.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Toxic Parents - Part one

To understand what a toxic parent is, we must first examine what toxic means.

Toxic is something that is poisonous, noxious, contaminated. In the following text, I aim to outline what this means in relation to a toxic parent of both children and adult 'children', (the inner child). 

Let's first look at the affects of something poisonous. In hindsight, something that is toxic only becomes poisonous when consumed by the body, either through digesting, injecting, or breathing. For example, a snake itself is not poisonous, it's its venom that is poisonous and only when it enters the bloodstream of a living being. However, if we talk about 'someone' being poisonous, we're alluding to said person as being malicious or spiteful. The affects of malicious or spiteful behaviour can have the same damaging results as if the poison were consumed, as our sense of well-being emotionally or psychologically is affected negatively as the poisonous behaviour penetrates out mind. Toxic parents poison us when there is a clear aim to hurt us, through neglecting, physically or sexually abusing, and far less recognisably, through emotional abuse (being noxious).

The noxious part of a toxic parent, is when they're being harmful to the mind, or causing moral corruption, (blackmailing, embarrassing, name calling, etc.). In some cases, when the mind has been affected by a noxious entity, depression maybe a consequence as the child/adult is subjected by an attack of negative language about their character.and feelings of inadequacy manifests as a result. In the case of corruption, this is essentially the destruction of someone's honesty or integrity about oneself, causing self perception to become distorted and the result could develop into toxic shame, which I shall write about at a later date. Fundamentally, a person who is noxious, primarily attacks or hurts another individual's core being and self perception. 

A toxic parent can contaminate in two ways. Firstly, they contaminate the environment around the child; by displaying unhealthy anger, drinking too much (being a drunk daily), being promiscuous, playing the victim or martyr, etc. As a result of a contaminated environment, the child may feel scared, confused, ashamed, insecure and anxious. Secondly, they place the child in a state of being contaminated as a result of the condition of the mind becoming impure and altered by the influence of a toxic parent through, unclear boundaries, lack of support or encouragement, unacceptable social etiquette, taunting, patronising, teasing, and illegal behaviour.

The phrase Toxic Parent, was devised through the obvious and apparent negative behaviour of a parent who grossly inflicts emotional damage to their child (whether young or old). Toxic parenting can continue throughout a child's life and way into adulthood. It is therefore my aim to illuminate others about the possible affect a toxic parent may still have on their life. 

In my next post, I will write about what a toxic parent does. In the meantime, if you feel affected by what I've written or feel you might need some professional help, please visit

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Adult Temper Tantrums

Do you know why toddlers have temper tantrums? It's fundamentally because they are unable to speak properly and find it hard to tell you what it is they want or need. Most adults know what their toddler wants or needs and are able to provide it for them before the toddler realises they want or need it themselves. However, as the toddler starts to grow and become more aware of the world around them, their wants and needs become different to what the adult assumes what their wants and needs are. 

So when the adult doesn't provide the toddler with the toddler's own set of wants and needs, the toddler who may or may not be able to speak properly, can't verbalise the name of the want or need. Toddlers, are also not emotionally mature enough to understand their thoughts and feelings exactly, they are only able to rely on their instincts for 'survival'. When their wants or needs are not met, their fight system (anger) kicks in and their survival instinct tells them something isn't quite right and so their body gets ready to fight, and throws itself into a temper tantrum. They don't actually know why they're angry or even name it as that.

Adults too can experience a temper tantrum. Although adults can speak properly, most are unable to verbalise their thoughts and feelings accurately, this is primarily because they don't quite know or possibly understand exactly what their wants or needs actually are. This may be due to suppressed feelings based on an incident that happened long ago, or because they never had the opportunity to talk about their thoughts and feelings when they were younger and never actually learned what their own wants and needs are. An adult maybe emotionally mature, but if they're not emotionally intelligent, and their anger has been triggered, a 'tantrum' manifests, causing the adult to behave in an unhealthy or inappropriate manner. 

The diagram above displays how someone can increase their emotional intelligence starting with 'Perceiving Emotions'; becoming aware, conscious, realising what you're feeling. Once perception has been established, the adult will then begin to 'Understand Emotions'; comprehend, familiarise, and grasp the meaning of their emotions. With perception and understanding the adult is able to 'Use' their emotions to achieve their wants and needs. This is only successful if the adult 'Manages' their emotions in a positive and productive manner. It is then that 'Emotional Intelligence' is established. Having emotional intelligence, is having the comprehension of what an individual is thinking and feeling and being able to verbalise them. 

The key to helping an adult with temper tantrums, is to start with asking them to think about what their wants or needs are and how they or others could help to meet those wants and needs. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Anti-journal Journal

My husband John bought this for my birthday. 

For many years I'd kept a journal as part of my anger management. Keeping a log of any patterns or triggers for what may be the cause of any negative thoughts and feelings that I'd been having. It had been very helpful, and I truly advocate others to keep a journal too. However, for the past year or so, I've slacked a little on writing things down and as a consequence, negative thoughts and feelings have built up a little. I'd much prefer to paint rather than write, but I've also neglected my personal painting time too. 

I paint professionally and I'm also a designer/maker for my gift boutique. When a client gives me their brief for a gift or painting, I know exactly what the finish product will look like and how I'm going to start it. 

It should be easy for me to just create emotionally for my own well-being. Although, when I set out to be creative on a personal level, I often experience a creative paralysis. Some of you may be able to relate to this and know it as 'artist's/writer's block'. 

When I'm presented with a nice clean, unmarked, fresh canvas board or plain piece of paper I'd find myself sitting there, wondering what to paint or write. Then an uneasy feeling emerges from deep within, and my thoughts become, I can't 'mess up' the new canvas board, thus triggering creative paralysis. 

I tell myself, 'just do it, paint something, anything!' But a sense of fear overwhelms me and the feelings turn into negative thoughts of 'what if I make a mistake?' 

Eventually, I rationalise my thoughts as I know there are no mistakes when expressing ourselves creatively, and I make a mark on the canvas. Now it has a blemish, time to transform it into something beautiful. 

I love the first page, it says to throw a tea bag at it, then frame the consequences. 

The anti-journal John gave me, is truly a fantastic tool to have for anger management, creative paralysis, emotional well-being and just to sit and have a little freeing and expressing time with yourself. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Year's Resolutions-Moving the goal posts.

New year and another set of new resolutions, but just how many of us actually reach our goals? 

Setting goals, can be a positive goal in itself. Knowing that change is required, is the first step to determining a course of action to make something different. The mere fact that we want to make a change in our life, habits, behaviours, is a positive achievement. 

How can we get past the setting goals part, and ultimately reaching goals?

I came across a very interesting read on TED about 'The science of setting goals', and four tips written by Kelly McGonigal which you can read here.

When I set goals to achieve change, potential or growth in my life, I often move the goals posts. For example, I wanted to lose seven pounds in four weeks. Days before the end of the four weeks, I'd only managed to lose five pounds and I know I'm not going to reach my target of seven pounds. But I did achieve a weight loss of five pounds so I was 'achieving' my goal. Instead of giving up, I extended the four week mark to six weeks (moving the goal posts). Six weeks later I'd managed to loose a total of nine pounds.