Psychiatrist Dr. Cassandra Boduch, chief medical officer at PsychPlus, told Newsweek that a toxic person is typically defined as „someone whose conduct brings aggression and upset into your day-to-day existence.“
Being around toxic people can be detrimental for your health and well-being. But what about when these people are your own parents? How does this impact your life as an adult?
A November 2022 study in the International Journal of Social Health found that there is a relationship between toxic parents and mental health in children.
The study said that the family is the first and most important factor in the child’s development and the family environment will significantly affect children’s mental health, namely the parenting pattern of parents and family conditions.
The study’s findings showed that the relationship between children and their parents can support the formation of social competence and the existence of children in general and affect self-esteem, emotional maturity and physical health.
It’s important to note that being raised by toxic parents doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to become toxic later in life, Boduch said.
However, the psychiatrist warned that toxic parents „could have a significantly more harmful and long-term effect on you than most other people. In fact, it could stay with you for your whole life, and play a significant role in the type of person you become.“
Below, mental health experts unpack some of the signs that you’ve been raised by toxic parents.
Struggling With Self-Esteem
Matthew Schubert is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) based in Boise, Idaho, specializing in child therapy, parenting support and other areas. He told Newsweek that low self-esteem is a common struggle among those raised by toxic parents.
„An individual’s self-esteem is developed over an extended duration of time through learned stimulus. A parent constantly belittling, criticizing and/or emotionally abusing their child will present a set of stimuli that significantly impairs that child’s self-esteem for the rest of their lives,“ said the LPC, who is the CEO of Gem State Wellness, which offers counseling services in Idaho.