Monday, February 9, 2015

Toxic Parents

There's a book with this title.  I've thumbed through it in a bookstore years ago, but I've never read it.

What got me thinking about this is a post by Cameron.  His divorce is impending.  He has many concerns.  A major one is telling his parents.  I felt the same way.  In the end I didn't tell them, and they found out from someone else.  I would have told them eventually, but I dreaded even thinking about it.

I'm wondering why it's so easy for some people to tell their parents anything, and for others they would rather jump into a fire.  Please don't say the latter group are cowards.  It's far more complicated than that.  I still don't understand. Maybe this is not the fault of the parents, and it's happening for some other reason.  I don't mean to jump to the conclusion that toxic parents are the cause.  I don't know what Cameron's situation is.

Could it be an intense fear of disappointing your parents?  Fear of a horrible reaction?  Fear of irreparable harm to the relationship? Maybe it's a fear that's all in our own head and unfounded in fact?


  1. It's complicated, or at least it feel that way.

    My parents have very low emotional IQs. They don't know how to be genuinely helpful or supportive. My mother says the weirdest things and my father turns everything into a very unfunny, inappropriate joke. I could be standing in front of them, bleeding to death with a sword piercing my body, and my mother would say, "What strange thing did you do to make that happen?" My father would say, "Well I guess you got the point, didn't you!"

    Neither one of them would ever do or say anything that was helpful or comforting - which would make me feel even worse because why was I stupid enough to open myself up to them in the first place??

    I don't need to be vulnerable to them for their idle amusement.

    Your reasons for not wanting to tell your parents, I'm sure, were entirely different.

  2. My brother came out to me a few years before my father died. (My brother does not know that I'm gay, but that's immaterial to this comment.) Anyway, my brother asked me if I thought that he ought to tell our father (mom died many years ago). I counseled him not to say anything to our father. Our father was a great guy, but pretty conservative on social issues like homosexuality. I believe that my father would have taken the news just fine; my guess is he would have said something like, "Whatever." So, my brother never told our father, and our father died two years ago without ever knowing (about my brother or me). I still think I made the right recommendation to my brother.

    1. Probably best that he didn't tell him. Seems there wasn't a reason to tell him.