1. “Many toxic parents compare one sibling unfavorably with another to make the target child feel that he’s not doing enough to gain parental affection.” – Dr. Susan Forward

2. “Toxic parents care more about how you make them look than how you actually feel.” – Anonymous

3. “The toxic parent sees the child as a threat to their own ego and having the child overshadow the parent is not an option in their mind.” – Shannon Thomas

4. “The family drama may look and sound different from generation to generation, but all toxic patterns are remarkably similar in their outcome: pain and suffering.” – Dr. Susan Forward

5. “You are learning to trust your own perception of reality. You will discover that even when your parents don’t agree with you or don’t approve of what you’re doing, you will be able to tolerate the anxiety because you don’t need their validation anymore. You are becoming self-defined.” – Dr. Susan Forward

6. “In order for parents to be present to and suffer with their children, their children need three simple things from them: time, love, and attention. Toxic parents provide none of these things, certainly not in any healthy ways.” – Sherrie Campbell

7. “Many children of toxic parents find it exceptionally difficult to identify who they are once they grow up.” – JR Thorpe

8. “Most adult children of toxic parents grow up feeling tremendous confusion about what love means and how it’s supposed to feel. Their parents did extremely unloving things to them in the name of love. They came to understand love as something chaotic, dramatic, confusing, and often painful—something they had to give up their own dreams and desires for.” – Dr. Susan Forward

9. “Controlling parents will always assume their children are their property they can possess.” – Anonymous

10. “To all you parents out there, don’t make your little girls, or little boys, so thirsty for love that they will want to drink water that will poison them.” – Lisa Bedrick

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11. “When you grieve toxic, abusive parents, you don’t just grieve the abuse, you grieve everything you didn’t have.” – Lily Hope Lucario

12. “No child should ever have to bear the burden of parenting their own parents. To toxic parents, you existed to serve them all the time.” – Kim Saeed

13. “Dysfunctional parents let their children know how burdened they have been by their children and how many sacrifices they had to make in order to raise them.” – Dr. Marita Sirota

14. “Narcissist parents don’t care about their children’s feelings at all. Only their feelings matter.” – Kim Saeed

15. “Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do.” – Dr. Susan Forward

16. “It has been my observation that parents kill more dreams than anybody.” – Spike Lee

17. “They are not sorry for harming you. So, don’t feel guilty for cutting them off.” – John Mark Green

18. “Once you understand what love is, you may come to the realization that your parents couldn’t or didn’t know how to be loving. This is one of the saddest truths you will ever have to accept.” – Dr. Susan Forward

19. “Parents wonder why the streams are bitter when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.” –

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20. “They should love you, just as you are. Parents should love their kids, right? You’d think so.” – N.R. Walker

21. “What makes a controlling parent so insidious is that the domination usually comes in the guise of concern. Phrases such as, ‘This is for your own good,’ ‘I’m only doing this for you,’ and, ‘Only because I love you so much,’ all mean the same thing: ‘I’m doing this because I’m so afraid of losing you that I’m willing to make you miserable.’” – Dr. Susan Forward

22. “Children who are not encouraged to do, to try, to explore, to master, and to risk failure, often feel helpless and inadequate. Over-controlled by anxious, fearful parents, these children often become anxious and fearful themselves. This makes it difficult for them to mature. Many never outgrow the need for ongoing parental guidance and control. As a result, their parents continue to invade, manipulate, and frequently dominate their lives.” – Dr. Susan Forward

23. “A narcissistic parent will provoke an independent child to anger in order to feel superior and prove the child’s flaws.” – Shannon Thomas

24. “Instead of promoting healthy development, they unconsciously undermine it, often with the belief that they are acting in their child’s best interest.” – Dr. Susan Forward

25. “The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.” – Jim Morrison

26. “Toxic parents are the root cause of all dysfunctional families because the fish rots first at its head.” – Anonymous

27. “Children soak up both verbal and nonverbal messages like sponges—indiscriminately. They listen to their parents, they watch their parents, and they imitate their parents’ behavior. Because they have little frame of reference outside the family, the things they learn at home about themselves and others become universal truths engraved deeply in their minds.” – Dr. Susan Forward

28. “Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of their toxic parents. They promote fusion, a blurring of personal boundaries, a welding together of family members. On an unconscious level, it is hard for family members to know where one ends and another begins. In their efforts to be close, they often suffocate one another’s individuality.” – Dr. Susan Forward

29. “A child’s shoulders were not built to bear the weight of their parent’s choices.” –

30. “Most of the time, such jokes can be relatively harmless. But, as in other forms of toxic parenting, it is the frequency, the cruelty, and the source of these jokes that make them abusive. Children believe and internalize what their parents say about them. It is sadistic and destructive for a parent to make repetitive jokes at the expense of a vulnerable child.” – Dr. Susan Forward

31. “All of us develop our expectations about how people will treat us based on our relationships with our parents.” – Dr. Susan Forward

32. “Your toxic parent may charm the pants off perfect strangers, your friends, and more distant relatives. All of which just appears to make you out to be the bad guy.” – The Bright Hill Lanterns

33. “The truth is, if we rebel in reaction to our parents, we are being controlled just as surely as if we submit.” – Dr. Susan Forward

34. “The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.” – Nathaniel Branden

35. “It was bad enough being teased, but sometimes he really scared me when he’d say things like: ‘This boy can’t be a son of ours, look at that face. I’ll bet they switched babies on us in the hospital. Why don’t we take him back and swap him for the right one.’ I was only six, and I really thought I was going to get dropped off at the hospital.” – Dr. Susan Forward

36. “Direct control usually involves intimidation and is frequently humiliating. Your feelings and needs must be subordinated to those of your parents. You are dragged into a bottomless pit of ultimatums. Your opinion is worthless; your needs and desires are irrelevant. The imbalance of power is tremendous.” – Dr. Susan Forward

37. “Whether adult children of toxic parents were beaten when little or left alone too much, sexually abused or treated like fools, overprotected or overburdened by guilt, they almost all suffer surprisingly similar symptoms: damaged self-esteem, leading to self-destructive behavior. In one way or another, they almost all feel worthless, unlovable, and inadequate.” – Dr. Susan Forward

38. “An unpredictable parent is a fearsome god in the eyes of a child.” – Dr. Susan Forward

39. “My parents loved us but I wasn’t always sure they liked us.” – Tahereh Mafi

40. “You can’t change the toxic behavior of your toxic parents but you can decide how you respond.” – Anonymous

41. “Sometimes, narcissistic parents are also better loved from a distance to avoid further emotional damage.” – Anonymous

42. “It’s no use to argue with parents who always think they are right all the time and you are always wrong.” – Anonymous

43. “Your parents may be toxic but you need to love and respect them as your biological parents who had just the right gene combination to have you.” – Anonymous

44. “Too bad for any parent who has become accustomed to ruling by force, because at some point the kids just get too big to slap around.” – Barbara Ehrenreich

45. “When you clearly define and acknowledge your parents’ limitations, and the losses you suffered because of them, you open a door in your life for people who will love you the way you deserve to be loved—the real way.” – Dr. Susan Forward

46. “As you gain more control over your past and present relationship with your parents, you will discover that your other relationships, especially your relationship with yourself, will improve dramatically. You will have the freedom, perhaps for the first time, to enjoy your own life.” – Dr. Susan Forward

47. “Narcissist parents want total control. Take back your control. If possible, don’t accept any money, favour, items or anything from them.” – Tina Fuller

48. “People can forgive toxic parents, but they should do it at the conclusion—not at the beginning—of their emotional house cleaning.” – Dr. Susan Forward

49. “Wherever there is a major deficit in parental love, the child will—in all likelihood—respond to the deficit by assuming itself to be the cause of the deficit, thereby developing an unrealistically negative self-image.” – Sherrie Campbell

50. “Bad parents see no wrong in the way they treat their children.” – Anonymous

51. “Toxic parenting leaves scars. Every child deserves good parenting. It is a parental responsibility, not a privilege.” – TCMD

52. “Nobody plays the parental alienation card quicker than the abusive parent who’s lost control over the survivor’s mind.” – E.S

53. “Narcissist parents do not know their children; they aren’t interested in what they have to say unless it affects them.” – Tina Fuller

54. “The toxicity that comes from them is often the result of their own unmet needs, insecurities they have which they project on their children to find solace.” – Anonymous

55. “In the minds of my parents, they are the victims; I am the abuser.” – Christina Enevoldsen

56. “What lingers from the parent’s individual past, unresolved or incomplete, often becomes part of her or his irrational parenting.” – Virginia Satir

57. “If our parents were toxic to us, why would they be any less toxic and dangerous to our children and spouses?” – Sherrie Campbell

58. “In some sense every parent does love their children. But some parents are too broken to love them well.” – Paul Young

59. “Perfectionist parents seem to operate under the illusion that if they can just get their children to be perfect, they will be a perfect family. They put the burden of stability on the child to avoid facing the fact that they, as parents, cannot provide it.” – Dr. Susan Forward 

60. “The hateful and stinging words of a narcissistic parent can linger in the mind of an adult child long after the adult has left home.” – Shannon Thomas

61. “No one, however powerful and successful, can function as an adult if his parents are not satisfied with him.” – Frank Pittman

62. “I have a gaping painful hole in my soul where good, loving parents and a normal, safe childhood should have been.” – Lily Hope Lucario

63. “Being in a family where you were neglected sucks but that shouldn’t define you.” – Anonymous

64. “Adult children of toxic parents have an especially difficult time with their anger because they grew up in families where emotional expression was discouraged. Anger was something only parents had the privilege of displaying.” – Dr. Susan Forward

65. “Unstable and dysfunctional homes are offshoots of narcissist parents ruling them.” – Anonymous

66. “It is a violation of trust to use your kids as caulking for the cracks in you.” –

67. “Unfortunately, because emotional abuse is often tolerated or because the abusive parents are very secretive in their abuse, emotionally abused children will assume that how they were treated at home was natural. They have no frame of reference. And so, the child will develop a skewed sense of what a healthy relationship is.” – Veronica Jarski

68. “I built up so much hatred for my parents, like so much anger for the life they had given me.” – Tana Mongeau

69. “Positive humor is one of our most valuable tools for strengthening family bonds. But humor that belittles can be extremely damaging within the family. Children take sarcasm and humorous exaggeration at face value.” – Dr. Susan Forward

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