Parents are to love, guide, and protect their children. They should help their children grow up and become independent people. Unfortunately, there are parents who mistreat, abuse, neglect or abandon their children. When you feel that your parents don’t love you, it causes emotional and sometimes even physical pain. The best way to deal with this is to accept that you cannot change other people and that you need to focus on yourself.
Table of Contents
- 1 Develop coping strategies
- 1.1 Talk to trusted friends or family members.
- 1.2 Find a mentor.
- 1.3 Get help from a therapist or school psychologist.
- 1.4 If possible, do not compare their behavior towards you with that towards your siblings.
- 1.5 Try not to take it personally.
- 1.6 Be nice to yourself
- 1.7 Write yourself a positive cheat sheet.
- 1.8 Leave the house more often.
- 2 Stay healthy and safe
- 3 Recognize bad parents
- 3.1 Consider how your parents react to your successes.
- 3.2 Think about controlling the behaviors of your parents.
- 3.3 Notice a lack of emotional attachment.
- 3.4 Consider the boundaries between you and your parents.
- 3.5 Consider verbal abuse.
- 3.6 Identify
- 3.7 Consider whether you had to take on the role of parent.
- 3.8 Value actions over words.
- 4 Tips
- 5 Warnings
Develop coping strategies
Talk to trusted friends or family members.
Sometimes just talking to someone about their problems is enough to make them feel better. Talk to a trusted friend or family member about what’s happening in your home. For example, you could talk to a close friend about how your parents make you feel. Choose someone you enjoy talking to and who you know won’t talk to your parents about it. However, avoid relying too much on this person for your emotional needs. Speak up only when you really need someone to listen. If you find yourself calling someone multiple times a day, then you may be developing a codependent relationship with that person. Talk to a school psychologist or therapist if you find yourself becoming more and more dependent on others’ judgment.
Find a mentor.
A mentor can help you make important life decisions and teach you things that your parents are not willing or able to do. A mentor can help you develop new skills to deal with difficult situations, succeed in school, or advance your professional career. Ask a trusted, responsible person in your life to be your mentors, such as a coach, teacher, or boss. If your coach or boss offers to be your mentor, then you should accept the offer. You can also ask someone to mentor you, for example by asking, “I admire your success in life and would eventually achieve many of these things myself. But I don’t know how to do that. Would you be willing to be my mentor?” But be careful not to become overly dependent on your mentor. A mentor cannot take the place of your parents, so you should not expect parental guidance from them. A mentor is someone who can help you achieve your goals in school, work, or other areas of your life.
Get help from a therapist or school psychologist.
Dealing with your parent’s behavior can be difficult, so you may want to seek help. A professional can teach you to develop coping strategies so that you feel better. If your school has a school psychologist, make an appointment. If this makes you uncomfortable or you don’t know how to do it, ask a trusted teacher for help. You can also ask the school psychologist if you can get therapy. For example, ask, “I’ve been struggling with a few things lately and I’d like to talk to a therapist about them. Can you help me find one?” Remember that if your parents abuse you, a therapist or psychologist needs to report it.
If possible, do not compare their behavior towards you with that towards your siblings.
Just because your parents prefer a child doesn’t mean they love one more or less. It could be because of the situation at hand that they give a child more attention or energy. Most of the time this happens unintentionally and your parents don’t even realize that they treat you differently. Most of the time, they don’t want you to feel unloved. They just don’t realize how their actions affect their children mentally and emotionally. Try not to focus on how your parents treat your siblings, but on your relationship with them.
Try not to take it personally.
It’s hard to take criticism and bad words from people who are supposed to love you, even when you know what they’re saying isn’t true. Remember that words and actions have nothing to do with you, but with themselves. The next time your parents say or do something mean, tell yourself, “I am a good, loving person who is beautiful and worthwhile. My parents are dealing with their own issues and that’s why they say/act like that.”
Be nice to yourself
Some children who are mistreated by their parents also act badly on themselves, such as cutting themselves, drinking alcohol or using drugs, or intentionally failing at school. These unhealthy, harmful activities will not make you feel better in the long run. Instead, take better care of yourself by: Eating healthily. Do some exercise most days of the week. start meditating. Quit smoking and do not use drugs or alcohol.
People raised in unloving households are often prone to negative self-affection and need to overcome low self-esteem. To train your brain to think positively about yourself, replace negative thoughts with positive ones. For example, if you find yourself repeating things your parents said like, “You’re stupid if you can’t do the math,” replace it with, “Some math problems aren’t easy, but I can do them if I do a lot.” practice I can also ask my teacher for help.”
Write yourself a positive cheat sheet.
This is how you can recognize negative thoughts that prevent you from loving yourself and replace them with positive ones. First write a table with four columns. In the first column, write a list of your negative attitudes, such as, “I’m not good at making decisions.” or “I’m not very smart.” In the second column, write why you believe this. Did your parents say that or are there other reasons why you feel this way? In the third column, write what this is costing you emotionally and in your personal life: Are you depressed, withdrawn, afraid of new things and failing, have trust or intimacy issues, etc.? List in detail what you’re missing from continuing to believe in your negative self-image. Then, in the last column, write how you can turn it into a positive thought. For example, on the subject of intelligence, you could write, “I am an intelligent, capable person, and I have managed many things with my brain.”
Leave the house more often.
A happy, fulfilling life outside of your home makes you happier, even if things aren’t as nice at home. When you find useful ways to contribute to the world around you by being an active part of the community, you build self-esteem and self-confidence because you focus on your well-being and happiness. Volunteer at a nonprofit, find a job you enjoy or join a youth organization or sports team.
Stay healthy and safe
Report Physical or Sexual Abuse If you are being abused, get help immediately. Talk to a teacher, your doctor, a psychologist, or call the police/social services and ask for help. Chronic abuse is harder to spot the longer it goes on. Don’t allow people to abuse you, even within your family, resulting in permanent physical or emotional damage. Try to escape as quickly as possible. Call a local child emergency service or contact the sexual abuse hotline on 0800-22 55 530. Don’t hesitate to call the police if you think you are in imminent danger or a family member is at risk. You won’t get in trouble for reporting someone breaking the law.
Cut the relationship if possible.
If you can cut ties with your abusive parents, do so. It’s hard to give up on someone you care about. This is especially true for the family. But first you should think of yourself. Don’t feel guilty if you cut ties with your parents if you think it’s for the best. If you’re not sure if you really should cut all ties, weigh how much suffering there is versus how much happiness. Dysfunctional parents sometimes show love, usually when it serves their own best interests. But a little love here and there isn’t enough to stay in a bad relationship.
Resist the desire to isolate yourself from your peers or other adults.
You may think that by avoiding relationships entirely, you can avoid hurt. But humans need social interactions to grow. Children who grow up without loving parents or an alternative parental figure are often less successful as adults, less happy, and more likely to be physically ill. Keep in touch with friends and other family members, spend time with them, and be open to new friends and trusted adults. Not every adult or loved one will treat you the way your parents did. Don’t be afraid to give others a chance to love you. Long-term loneliness can seriously damage health. Diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and neurological disorders can be caused or exacerbated by it. It can even cause cancer to spread faster.
If your parents aren’t teaching you how to take care of yourself after school, ask another adult you trust to prepare you for the “real world.” Learn to set your own budget, do laundry, or turn on the water heater in your first apartment. Estimate what independent living will cost you and what you will need to get started. Get a job and save money to pay the deposit for your first apartment and some furniture. Despite the problems at home, try to do well in school so that you have good prerequisites for an apprenticeship or study later. Ask an advisor at school to help you apply for a scholarship.
Recognize bad parents
Consider how your parents react to your successes.
One sign of a dysfunctional parent-child relationship is that parents do not adequately acknowledge achievements. This could mean that your parents are either refusing to acknowledge your accomplishments or belittling your achievement. Some parents even make fun of it. For example, if you got a good grade on a test, then your parents should congratulate you. Bad parents ignore what you said, change the subject, make fun of you for being a nerd, or say something like, “So? That was just a test.”
Think about controlling the behaviors of your parents.
It’s normal for parents to want to guide you. However, parents who want to control you are harmful. This can range from small decisions, such as what to wear to school, to larger ones, such as where to go to college or what to study. If you feel like your parents want a lot of control over your decisions, then your relationship with them is probably unhealthy. For example, parents who want you to make your own decisions will ask you where you want to study and why. Controlling parents tell you where to study what.
Notice a lack of emotional attachment.
Parents who have healthy relationships with their children show their emotional connection through eye contact, smiling, and affection, such as in the form of a hug. In an unhealthy relationship, they show none of this. Parents with an appropriate bond with their children will comfort them when they cry. In the absence of this bond, the parent ignores the crying or yells to stop crying.
Consider the boundaries between you and your parents.
Healthy boundaries are important in the parent-child relationship. Good boundaries don’t make you feel like your parents’ life and your own are one and the same. For example, a parent with healthy boundaries might ask their child how the child’s friends are doing, but would not insist on spending time with the child and their friends.
Consider verbal abuse.
This is another indication of an unhealthy relationship. When your parents call you names, put you down, or say things to hurt your feelings, that is emotional abuse. Your parents should tell you things that will lift you up and make you feel good. But if they tell you something like, “You’re worthless!” or “I don’t want to be in the same room with you,” then you’re not doing well. Some parents are kind and affirmative one day and critical the next. Remember that even if your parents aren’t always cruel to you, it’s still verbal abuse.
Parents who are too self-focused to notice their children and treat them properly can also be harmful. If your parents ignore you completely or they only acknowledge you when you do something that they can brag about in front of friends, then this is narcissistic behavior and is harmful. For example, your parents should encourage your interests. However, a narcissistic parent will only pay attention to you if they can show off your interest, such as because you won a scholarship, although they never ask or encourage you about your studies. Sometimes narcissistic parents suffer from a personality disorder (PD). Such a person is selfish, refuses to take personal responsibility, constantly justifies himself, shows high standards and few feelings. Parents with PS often treat children as a burden or an obstacle to their own goals. The parent will typically always try to emotionally manipulate their children in order to control them. Such people are often overly critical of their children and may physically abuse them or endanger their children’s well-being.
Consider whether you had to take on the role of parent.
Some parents are too immature or have other issues (like an addiction) that they cannot be functioning parents. Then children often take on this role. Consider whether this was the case for you because your parents were unable or unwilling to provide for you and/or your siblings. This could include tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and child care. Sometimes parents give their children chores like cooking or cleaning to teach them responsibility. However, incompetent parents delegate this task to a child because they do not want to do these things themselves. For example, an incompetent parent may not feel like cooking or doing the laundry and avoids that responsibility, and then forces a child to do those things.
Value actions over words.
Some children feel unloved even though their parents regularly tell them they love them. That’s because that love isn’t reflected in how they are treated. Be careful not to assume you know how your parents are feeling without good reason. For example, a parent who regularly says, “I love you,” but often ignores their children is not acting like a loving mother. On the other hand, a parent who tells their children to be independent but never allows them to make their own decisions is not acting according to what they say.
Put yourself in your parents’ shoes. While there is no justification for being abused and hurting yourself, your parents may have had many personal issues growing up as well. Try to show compassion instead of hate. Pray that they will recover from their hard times and find happiness and peace for themselves.
Don’t take your frustration and hurt out onto others, including siblings. If you are mistreated, that doesn’t excuse your mistreatment of others. Don’t copy your parents’ negative behavior. Many children of bad parents internalize their parents’ behavior and treat others the same way when they grow up. Once you’ve identified their behavioral patterns, regularly review your own relationships to make sure you’re not inadvertently repeating these behavioral patterns yourself.