8 Signs You Grew Up With a Toxic Parent

grew up with a toxic parent

How do you know if you grew up with a toxic parent?

Short answer: 

The primary sign that you grew up with a toxic parent is you’re unhappy any time you see or think about your parent, you feel:

  • Anxious
  • Sad
  • Depressed

Generally speaking, parents play a very significant role in the personality development of their children.

The behavior and attitude of parents towards their kids have a long-lasting impact on their mental, physical, and emotional health.

The truth is:

Good parenting produces good human beings in society, whereas bad parenting produces bad human beings in society.

But wait…

Do you think that you grew up with toxic parents? 

Here are some signs that will help you determine if you grew up with a toxic parent.

Make sure to read them all and then compare them with your parents’ behavior to find your answer.

1. Your parent make mean jokes about you

Mean Jokes are one of the hurtful traits that affect any individual deeply.

The question is: 

Did your parents always make mean jokes about you?

If the answer is a resounding Yes, then you grew up with a toxic parent!. 

Bear in mind that toxic parents tend to pick on their children quite so often in which they make mean jokes about their children’s personality or physical appearance, which can lead to self-hatred.

In fact, these jokes also affect children’s self-esteem as they grow thinking that they are not good enough.

The solution?

If a parent is concerned about any traits or appearance of their children, they should be honest about it towards their children instead of making mean jokes, which can lead to emotional problems in their adulthood.

2. Your parents criticize you too much

Guess what’s even worst than mean jokes? An overly critical parent.

Generally, criticism isn’t bad. 

Bear with me, because I’m going to explain why:

Parents often criticize their children whenever they do something wrong, terrible, and miserable. 

It keeps the children accountable and also makes them learn from their mistakes.

In fact, healthy criticism teaches children to do certain things the right way. 

In other words:

If there were no criticism at all, the children would never learn how to do things the right way because there would be no one to criticize them and hold them accountable for their wrongdoings.

But, too much criticism is a sign of toxic parents. 

Such parents criticize their children for everything. 

It includes the smallest things that do not even matter.

This stops the children from being productive and creative. 

In fact, it restricts them from performing to their fullest potential. 

They become shallow-minded and resentful of their parents.

Read on: How to stop criticizing yourself

3. If they demand too much of your attention

As you probably know, children and parents giving attention to each other are completely normal. 

It is a sign of a strong bond of love between them.

But, all of this becomes toxic when parents start demanding too much attention from their children. 

They want their kids to invest all their time and energy in them.

Due to this, the children cannot focus on the other useful and productive things in life, such as: 

  • Skill-building
  • Studies
  • Learning new things


It’s because the parents are consuming all of their time and energy like a parasite. 

Hence, the children fail to progress in life.

This is also a sign of toxic parents.

4. They never let you share negative emotions

Here’s the truth:

The primary role of parents is to support their children through every thick and thin. 

While they celebrate their children’s success, they should also support them whenever they are feeling down.

Unfortunately, there are some toxic parents out there who never allow their children to express negative emotions. 

Here’s an example:

A child is going through extreme stress, anxiety, and depression. 

He shares it with his parents that he’s going through bad mental health

But the toxic parents ignore that and instead start mocking and throwing toxic jokes at him.

This is also a perfect example of toxic parents.

So, my question to you is:

Do you felt selfish or ashamed any time you needed your parent’s comfort? 

Do you feel nervous approaching your parents with your problems?

If your answer is yes, then it means you grew up with toxic parents.

5. They don’t respect your boundaries

Let’s face it:

All the parents keep a close eye on their children because it is their responsibility to keep them safe from all the bad stuff around.

However, certain boundaries need to be respected and must not be violated.

Toxic parents ignore and disrespect all such boundaries. 

They violate the privacy of their children and interfere in their private matters. 

In fact, it has a seriously negative impact on children.

Now the question is:

Do your parent used to snoop through your personal things?

If your answer is yes, then it signs you did grew up with toxic parents.

6. They don’t talk much with you

Parents and kids always talk to each other about different things going on in life. 

They share all of their thoughts, emotions, and jokes with each other. 

This healthy communication creates a strong bond of love and understanding between the parents and children.

If your parents never talked to you openly, then it is a sign of toxicity.

Such parents stop communicating with their children to make them do what they want.

It is an immature act that affects children in so many ways.

7. Their love is conditional

Good parents love their children unconditionally. 

They celebrate their achievements and support them with love during tough times.

On the other hand, toxic parents do not love their children unconditionally.

Why do they do that, though?

The short answer is toxic parents use love as a bargaining tool to get something from the children or make them do something. 

For example, toxic parents will love their child as long as he’s getting good grades at school. 

But the moment he gets bad grades, the toxic parents withdraw all their love and support. 

Instead, they start mocking and discouraging the child.

This is a perfect example of toxic parents and how they use unconditional love as a bargaining tool for accomplishing their objectives.

8. They always try to put you down

The job of parents is to appreciate and support their children as it helps build self-confidence.

Toxic parents are narcissists, and they always try to put their children down instead of supporting them.

You will always find them competing with their children and trying to put them down every single time.

For example, if you tell them that you run faster, they’ll say that no, I used to be faster than you at your age. 

If you tell them that your hair is silky, then they’ll say that my hair was even silkier than yours. 

The examples are just unending.

This behavior of toxic parents makes the children feel inferior and less confident. 

The question is:

Did your parent made hurtful remarks to you, such as “You’re stupid” or “You’re such a loser.”?

Do you often avoid telling your parent about your successes because they put you down?

Believe it or not, if your answer is yes, it means toxic parents raised you.


There you have it.

Let’s quickly recap what you’ve learned:

  • Your parent make mean jokes about you
  • Your parents criticize you too much
  • If they demand too much of your attention
  • They never let you share negative emotions
  • They don’t respect your boundaries
  • They don’t talk much with you
  • Their love is conditional
  • They always try to put you down

So now you know signs you grew up with a toxic parent. 

Let’s take a deep dive into seven types of toxic people to stay far away from.