“I Still Barely Speak To My Mom And Dad”: People Are Sharing How Growing Up With “Toxic” Parents Affected Them Later In Life

As much as some of us love our parents, it can be difficult to admit when they may have negatively impacted our mental health in some way because of their parenting styles.

A dad yelling at a child while they're at school

But even though this may be true, having the self-awareness of our behavioral traits and how it may impact our relationship to others is a great first step from healing past wounds — especially since some people may not have the ability to do this.

But whether you’re new on this journey or been down this road for a couple of years, it always helps to better understand what these behaviors are and where some of them come from, plus how certain parenting styles may impact a child and their future adult selves.

So when Reddit user u/snoofle-science asked the r/AskReddit community: “What is a sign you grew up with [bad] parents?” I figured some of these answers would provide validation for those who grew up in similar environments.

And if you have experienced similar situations, you can connect with the BuzzFeed Community below by sharing your story with us and others. 

So I rounded up some of their heartfelt and completely honest answers below:

However, please note that the below behaviors and their causes can vary significantly from person to person — and no two experiences are exactly alike. For more, we recommend consulting with a mental health professional. 


“You are in your 40s and still crave attention and validation from anyone at all because you were ignored all the time.”

a middle-aged adult sitting on the couch and looking down


“Silent foot steps. When you grow up with parents that will yell at you for existing, you develop the ability to hide your presence as much as possible and always try to keep your noise and visibility to a minimum.”


Childhood and adolescent PTSD, which is what you’re describing, can almost be completely eradicated through EMDR. It’s not magic; you must work with your therapist, but it can work fast.”


“I need this. “EMDR doesn’t involve talking in detail about the distressing event/issue or doing homework between sessions. Instead of rehashing the issue, EMDR therapy lets the brain heal trauma from within.”



“Being surprised when people apologize and want to talk it out and deal with an issue instead of screaming and pretending everything is fine and never mentioning why there was a fight or argument at all.”

parents fighting in the background and a child sitting on the couch upset


“Always being anxious that people are mad at you/ignoring you if they’re being quiet/not responding. Not being able to deal with confrontation/conflict in a constructive/healthy way. Basically you get shitty people skills and emotional damage.”


Anxious attachments carry into our adult relationships (i.e. platonic, romantic, professional, etc.), and there’s so much we can learn about ourselves and how to cope by better understanding our attachment styles. Took me too long to learn that it’s not normal to feel panic at intrusive, irrational thoughts about your loved ones all hating you or something.”



“You feel intimidated by everyone around you, you feel like you’re never good enough for anyone, no matter how much they tell you that you don’t need to try so hard, and you generally have low self-worth.”

a woman looking at her phone upset


“Not being able to recognize affection or how to show it healthily.”


“Could this be seen as being very quiet around family but having the ability to speak your mind with friends?”


“Yes, and sometimes being unable to not speak your mind to anyone at all. A lot of times they seem to avoid friends, too.”



“You apologize for everything you do, good or bad.”

two woman sitting on the couch and one ignoring the other


“Being a people-pleaser to the point of it being detrimental to yourself.”


“This is me. I literally get shakes and an adrenaline rush even verbally standing up for myself or talking someone down because my parents punished me for ‘talking back,’ especially if I was right. It always came down to ‘We are right because we’re your parents. Now go to your room and think about what you said.'”


“Preach. The adrenaline rush is so annoying, it’s like my body is self-sabotaging.”


“What I found helps is deep and slow breaths while in the confrontation. Arms to the side. Don’t think about your argument, just let the knowledge of your argument flow out like you’re ranting to a friend about why the situation is bullshit.”



“Even at 31, feeling like if I get close to anyone, they’ll find a way to take advantage of me.”



“Emotional numbness especially in the face of bad things. Once you’ve seen enough shit certain things just don’t faze you anymore.”

a loved one holding another loved ones hand


“Lot of anger problems.”


“It took me a while to learn my anger was mostly anxiety that I didn’t know how to deal with. I’m much better now.”



“You don’t talk to them anymore or want them in your life otherwise as an adult (e.g., not inviting them to your wedding, or want them around any potential children you may have).”


“You know. You’re right. I didn’t realize how they really were toxic until I left. There was a reason they sometimes don’t want you to leave because secretly they know you won’t be back.



“A fantastic sense of humor.”


“Humor is often a coping mechanism. Those coping mechanisms get us through things that otherwise would have turned us into psychopaths.”



“Being really good at hiding things (physical or mental). Being able to sneak something to my room, being able to look like I haven’t cried even though I was five minutes ago.”

a person hiding money under a mattress


“Doing everything yourself and not asking for help because you knew no help was coming.”



“Feeling like a child stuck in an adult’s body.”


“Same. I’m 29 and feel like an older teenager at best and am easily developmentally 10 years behind my peers at least. The fact that I also happen to look very young for my age does not help with that dynamic, and I legit have been mistaken for a high school kid multiple times in the last few years.”



“When you are telling a story which you think is funny from your childhood, only for someone to turn around and tell you ‘That’s not normal.'”

two friends catching up at a coffee shop


“You can’t stick to your boundaries.”



“Depends on the person. Some people will take their shitty upbringing and take it out on others who had nothing to do with it. Other people will use their past as motivation to be better people than their parents.”



“Someone raises their voice. It doesn’t even have to be in anger; they could just have a deep voice. But suddenly, its loud and your first reaction is to either shrink in on yourself or focus on anything but their face and wait for your throat to stop feeling so tight or for your eyes to stop watering.”



“Not reacting appropriately to ordinary situations. Usually an overreaction to a normal situation or under-reacting to very messed up situations.”

A person feeling frustrated while they work


“Over-explain the tiniest issues because of a compulsive need to justify every thought, action or inaction.”


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