How To Understand That You Were Raised In A Toxic Family

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How To Understand That You Were Raised In A Toxic Family

“Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” -Oprah Winfrey

Everyone should appreciate how important family is. A family is the center of most people’s lives and it is where they feel safe and secure. Imagine if you found out later in life that your family was not as great as you once imagined. They say the early years of all of our lives are crucial to how we think, feel, and see the world. So, this makes our family, especially our mother and father critical in the way we are. 

As we grow older and are responsible for ourselves, we sometimes come to understand that our upbringing was not ideal. We understand that we come from a toxic family, a family that did not give us the emotional support we needed. There are many forms of abuse in a family. The most common is physical, or you could have come from a verbally abusive family. This is where your ideas and thoughts were laughed at or ignored.

Another way your family could have abused you would have been to smother you. This is also a common thing and is something not recognized as abuse. When you are smothered by a family member, they are making your life much harder than it needs to be as you grow up. This is because of their fear of something happening to you. They will prevent you from going places, doing things alone. They are not allowing you to grow, learn, and mature into your own person.

What Are The Signs of a Toxic Relationship?

There are many cases of family members neglecting other members, not showing them any attention or love. This is toxic behavior and is normally past down by someone that has had the exact same happen to them. So it turns into a circle, where the abused actually becomes the abuser without knowing it. But when you have time to reflect in your later years, you can see the signs of toxic behavior.

Manipulation is something that is very common with toxic families. Someone in the family always wants to get their way no matter what. This can cause many issues for other family members. When someone manipulates others to want something that they want it is abuse and it can leave lasting impressions on that person. When you’re doing things to make your mum or dad happy, as you know if you do not, they will be sad or complain. This is manipulation, you are being manipulated. 

Emotional neglect is something that can happen very easily within the family. You can feel alone and like everyone else is getting attention and love. This can make you feel isolated and insecure. You may cling to people as you grow older as you feel so alone. You will often lack emotional skills as you were not shown any when you were growing up. So a lack of empathy is common with people who come from a toxic family. 

Not allowing children to make decisions by themselves and always wanting control of every situation, is another form of toxic behavior. Many parents believe they know best, they will not allow their kids to even have a say in a situation. This takes away the confidence of children and makes them feel insecure. There are huge health implications when you have grown up in a toxic family. 

Those that have had issues with families when growing up are more likely to be depressed in later life and have health problems. Those that have been brought up in a positive, loving family are more likely to be healthier and happier when older. So, to have toxic parents or family members has long-lasting effects. It affects not just the person who was abused but it can cascade down to others and cause a domino effect.

Conflicts and Arguments

Conflict and arguments are the easiest ways to recognize a toxic family. Every family argues and disagrees. But when it is every single day and it gets loud and there are hurtful, negative words being used, then there is a problem. Many children see their mum and dad verbally shouting words at each other, some see physical fights. These forms of behavior are negative and have massive consequences later in life for the children.

Many children who see their parents fighting whether it be verbally or physically are scarred. They will often feel depressed as they get older and have a warped view on how to treat other people. When children have seen their mum and dad verbally abuse one another they have not learned the correct way to treat others. This often leads to the child not having successful relationships and often leads to them getting into trouble with the law.

If only family members knew and understood the long-lasting effects their actions have had on their children. Children are like sponges, they suck up everything around them. If everything around them is negative, they will learn that. They are destined to make the same mistakes as their parents did. It seems that the circle goes around and around. The abused one often becomes the abuser. 


There is a way out of this and that is to treat everyone with respect and be honest. If you allow your children to make mistakes but not shout negative remarks at them, but support them and allow them to learn from it. This is how the cycle can be broken. Be aware of how someone else feels, do not allow your own insecurity to cloud your judgment. Be generous with your love but do not smother with love. Love should be free and open. Not fearful and scared. 

There are signs to look for when thinking about a toxic family. You must be honest with yourself and admit if your family were toxic to you when you were growing up. If you are able to admit to yourself, then you can start the change in your life and the people around you.


Guest Writer Bio


Lilian O’Brien is a passionate journalist who enjoys writing about psychology and human relationships. Over the course of her career, she was a regular contributor to major media publications, and currently, she serves as an editor for

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