The triad of pathological families’ system:
Beliefs Rules and Blind Obedience.
In our childhood the family system forms the completed reality; on this basis of world concept made-shaped in this system we create a picture about ourselves, who we are and what kind of relations we make with others. Yet healthy system encourages and inspires competency and self-esteem to support building independence, personal responsibility and individuality, the unhealthy system suppresses individual expressions.
Characteristics of nosogenic (pathological) family: alignment with the parents’ thoughts and actions; rigidity; symbiosis-merging personal boundaries into one another; strangling each other’s personality. The merged into one another family keeps the illusion of stability till no one tries to step out and everybody keep the rules. In crises situations toxic parents respond with calling to account. The responsibility falls to the lot of the child.
Our family beliefs define our moral values, relationships, sexuality, and choice of career, nurturing style and our relation with money as well. Well matured and attentive parents’ beliefs are like “children should feel that they are allowed to do mistakes”, or “improper to cause pain to a child”. On the other hand toxic parents are driven by beliefs like “child must respect parents in every time and in any case” and “there are two ways to get things done: badly or how I think should be or do”. Unfortunately children are not able to discern the true reality and the distorted reality made by toxic parents and when they get adult they carry their own distorted beliefs and passing them to their own children. The most difficult is parting with those beliefs which existence we do not know and not aware of them.
Toxic parental beliefs become rules which must be kept by everyone and might seem ridiculous most of children from toxic families obey them.
Blind obedience is the motive for the system
We obey the rules of family otherwise if we break them we become betrayers. Blind obedience develops our behaviour schemas in our early ages and prevents us from escaping from them. So often there is a great gulf between parents’ expectations and the child’s desires. Unfortunately the subconscious force to obey often overcome. Nobody starts his/her life establishing destructive relationships all the time, but toxic parent’s child do very often again and again, repeating schemas.
Here is a questionnaire, a “toxicological” test to check your relationship with your parents and its influence:
Childhood relationship with your parents
- Did they tell you that, you are bad, worthless? Did they call you names? Did they criticize you often?
- Did they cause you physical pain to discipline?
- Were they alcoholic or drug addicted?
- Were they seriously depressed or unapproachable?
- Did you need to take care of your parents, or your brother or sister because of your parents’ problems?
- Did they do something what you must have kept in secret?
- Were you often afraid of your parents?
- Were you afraid to express your anger towards your parents?
Here is the second questionnaire of the “toxicological” test, to check how your toxic parents or a destructive childhood influences you:
- Do you often get into destructive or offensive relationships?
2. Do you think if you get too close to somebody that person will hurt or leave you?
3. Do you expect the worse from people and from life usually?
4. Do you have difficulties to get to know your own feelings?
5. Are you afraid of if someone get close and get know you that person will not love you?
6. Are you anxious when you succeed?
7. Do you often feel anger or sadness without any particular reason?
8. Are you a maximalist or perfectionist?
9. Do you have problem to relax and let it all hang out?
10. Do you experience even if you try hard not to, you behave “like your parents”?
The last questionnaire
Adulthood relationship with your parents:
1. Do your parents treat you like you are still a child?
2. Do you need or feel the need their approval in your important decisions?
3. Do you experience intense emotional or physical reaction after meeting your parents?
4. Are you afraid of resist of your parents?
5. Do they manipulate you with threats or sense of guilt?
6. Do they manipulate you with money?
7. Do you feel responsibility related to their feelings? Is it your task to take care of them, feeling or being better?
8. Do you feel no matter how hard you try or do, nothing is enough or satisfactory?
9. Do you believe in they might be better?
If you answered yes for more than one third of the questions in all three questionnaires, follow me here to know more about toxic parents. If you know that you had a destructive childhood and you are suspicious your current problems are connected to that, do not hesitate to ask an appointment.
Our parents most likely cannot be changed but our perspective can and after breaking chains we have a chance to have a good quality of life!
Since you have recognized it happened with you, it is your responsibility to change it! Patterns caused by toxic parents are repeated, subconsciously you can do the same with your own children or partner as well.
Toxic parents plant seeds of sense of guilt, fear, shame and compulsion. It doesn’t matter if they did under the umbrella of “they did not mean hurting” or “they did what they could”, “We wanted the best for you”, toxic parents deprived their own child/children from the enough good parental care. In the last two decades role of parents has changed dramatically, but still they have the same parental obligations as before. Parental obligations:
- Obliged to satisfy the child’s physical needs.
2. Obliged to protect the child from physical abuse.
3. Obliged to protect the child from emotional harm.
4. Obliged to satisfy the child love, attention and emotional needs.
5. Obliged to give moral and ethical guidance.
Toxic parents are not able to meet these requirements, so often they cause hurt with not doing specific things. Most of the time those hurts are invisible and toxic parents also had similar destructive childhood and went through serious abuses as well, which can generate a regret in the child towards the parents.