When an Abusive Parent is the Parent You Love

Mar 02, 2023
When an Abusive Parent is the Parent You Love

 Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


We often think of abuse as physical or psychological harm inflicted on a person, but what do we do when the abuser is our own parent? It's a situation that many of us may find ourselves in. A parent who treats their child as if they are an extension of their own narcissistic needs can have crippling effects on the child's sense of identity and security. This blog post will discuss some strategies for creating healthy boundaries with your abusive parent while also maintaining connection and love.

Navigating a Relationship with an Abusive Parent

It can be difficult to know how to handle this type of relationship. The desire to maintain connection and love while also protecting yourself from emotional harm can create inner turmoil. One strategy is to set boundaries and take time away from the situation in order to reset and establish new parameters for communication. For example, you could decide to limit visits with your parent or end communication altogether if it begins to feel unhealthy.

Understand Your Emotions 

An important part of creating healthy boundaries with your abusive parent is understanding your own emotions. When we are faced with difficult situations such as this one, our natural instinct is often to run away or ignore the problem completely. However, this is not a viable solution because it does not allow us to process our emotions or learn from the experience. Therefore, it is important to take time to reflect on what happened and identify what emotions you are feeling towards your abuser. This will help you gain clarity on how best to move forward in your relationship. 

Changing Communication Patterns

Another strategy could be changing how you communicate with your parents. Instead of trying to reason with them, try expressing your feelings instead. Speak honestly about how the situation makes you feel without blaming or attacking them; focus on what you need rather than what they should do differently. This may help them understand that there are consequences for their behavior and that it’s ok for you to have different opinions from them without feeling guilty or ashamed about it.


Photo credit: Sarah Cervantes @Unsplash

Practice Self-Care 

In order to maintain a healthy relationship with your abuser, self-care should always come first! Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is essential during this process as it allows you to stay grounded while also providing you with strength during difficult conversations. Make sure that you practice self-care regularly by engaging in activities such as yoga or meditation which bring peace into your life and help reduce stress levels associated with toxic relationships like these ones. 

Finally, consider getting professional help if you’re struggling with an abusive parent relationship; speaking with a therapist may provide insight into how best to handle the situation and equip you with tools to manage any negative emotions that arise as a result of your interactions with your parent. If possible, find someone who specializes in trauma-informed care so that they can work with you on both healing from past experiences and navigating current relationships more successfully in the future.


Abuse at the hands of a parent can have devastating effects on our sense of self-worth, safety, and security. It's important to remember that it's ok to take time away from these situations in order to protect yourself emotionally—it doesn't mean that you don't love your parents anymore or that you're being disrespectful towards them! Setting healthy boundaries, communicating honestly about your feelings rather than trying to reason with them, and seeking professional help if necessary are all important steps towards creating healthier relationships between parents and children while still maintaining connection and love between both parties involved.

Photo credit: Tim Mossholder @Unsplash

Sign up for our Newsletter

Keep up with our latest offerings and events. Stay connected with community.

No spam. Ever.