Many abusive parents put too much responsibility &/or inappropriate responsibility on the shoulders of their children. Sadly children in these situations are often oblivious to just how wrong this is. They feel responsible for their parents, even when they become adults. They may feel anger at their parents periodically, but that anger is quickly pushed away as the feeling of responsibility takes over. If this describes your situation, today’s post is for you.
Are you the one who takes care of everyone in your relationships? Somehow you end up taking care of others with whom you are in a relationship. You bend over backwards for them, giving them too much of your time & energy while receiving little or nothing in return. This behavior comes from being forced into an adult role as a child. It programmed you to be a caregiver in your relationships, lacking healthy boundaries.
Are you afraid to tell people you are in relationship with no? Are you willing to compromise or give too much of yourself to appease others rather than risk upsetting people? This survival skill stems from childhood. It comes lacking the choice to say no as a child, from having to please your parents to prevent them from abusing you & to get them to meet your needs.
Do you continually find yourself in relationships with friends or romantic partners who are toxic & demanding? This happens often with people who were abused as children. They don’t know what it is like to have someone treat them well. They naturally gravitate to toxic people because their behavior is familiar.
As you grew up, did you rush into traditional landmarks of growing up, avoid them or some combination of both? For example, maybe you couldn’t wait to get your driver’s license & got it as soon as you legally could, yet didn’t move out of your parents’ home at an appropriate age.
Do you feel excessively protective of your parent? If someone says something about them that is less than positive, are you quick to jump to your parent’s defense without even considering that maybe there is some truth in what this person said? Or, if your parents have disagreements, are you quick to take the side of one parent over the other?
If any of these describe you, you probably were a victim of parentification.
Parentification is common with narcissistic parents. It describes the situation where parents treat their children as their partners & caregivers instead of children. They force their children into this role, which causes them to accept not only too much responsibility for a child to bear, but completely inappropriate responsibility. The result of such behavior causes this abused child to have very skewed views of their roles in relationships. They often become caregivers for the people with whom they are in relationships. They can go in the other direction as well, refusing to do for others because, although they don’t realize it, they are burned out on taking care of people because of their parent. Other people’s needs feel incredibly burdensome to them, so they quickly feel suffocated. Either way, their relationships in adulthood are far from healthy.
If this describes you, then I would urge you today to learn all you can about parentification. It also is known as parentalization, emotional incest & covert incest. I’ve written a book on the topic, & it’s available on my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com. The more you learn, the better your chances of breaking free of the bad patterns your parent taught you. Also, learn about healthy boundaries & what healthy relationships are truly like.
Most of all, I recommend you turn to God. Ask Him to show you the truth & to help you to be healthier. He will be more than happy to help you & He won’t let you down!
You must be logged in to post a comment.