IWill 2023-09-17 11:34 - 6 minute read

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5 signs you are in a toxic parent-grown up child relationship

IWill blogs

Toxic parent and grown up child relationships can be one of the most limiting and suffocating ones, as opposed to enriching and nourishing and caring, these start with control, possession, disgust of others and eventually lead into endless resentment and lack of respect for each other as well as many broken dreams for the adult child trapped in this and an endless cycle of blame game but pain never heals.


Hence it's important to identify if you are in one such relationship, or creating such a relationship and also learning how to come out of this 


1. There is little space of adult child's independent relationship

In such relationship, the parent is constantly comparing or internally bitter with the adult child's partner. It starts with finding reasons how they are not good enough, or dragging the person away from their goals or happiness but eventually it becomes obvious to them internally deep down that they have hard time accepting a new person who arguably is too special for the adult child and the child also starts recognising. First they try to ignore, resist or try to balance but if relationship is truly one where parent asserts control, or passive aggressive behavior, such adult children either create a lot of bitterness in their relationship and start ignoring and many times it just ends in bitterness, comparison or becomes highly toxic and causes high dysfunctionality.

2. There is little regard for adult child's individual career or growth preferences 

The control that stops relationships plays and stops growth too. Growth is what the parents wants, where parent fits in, place wise, space wise, work type wise. Everything else that child wants to do attracts ridicule or even constant attacks or reminders on small failures that the adult child has made poor choices.

Rather than supporting, there is breaking of the person. Even if the adult child chooses career, they never get admiration of the parent, only reminder of how they have let them down, leaving the adult child longing for pat on the back or the support that a normal parent- adult child relationship would give 

3. There is lot of emotional dumping and guilt tripping 

The adult child feels burdened by emotional dumping, it's like child is there only to now solve the problems, long held traumas of the parents, on small things they do for themselves, there is a reminder of how they are not doing enough. The adult child feels pressured and suffocated and may in turn become resentful and start doing the same to the parent, thereby creating the perfect complete toxic cycle.

4. Praising other to attack self esteem of your own 

It starts with adult child or even young child being compared directly or indirectly with others and attacking child's self worth and making them feel insecure. Eventually adult child may repeat this same thing in a grown up phase, leading to self esteem issues on both sides and a generally toxic tie.

5. Dependence beyond the normal 

After a point, a young adult should be able to make their decisions, make life choices and also be able to handle their own matters. But in such toxic relationships, they never have the right emotional maturity developed to be able to take these decisions and when they do, usually they land up the wrong way.

Parent child is a beautiful relationship, one of the closest. It should create more love, not less, it should protect, not expose to vulnerability, it should help grow, not become stagnant or clone of parent's fallen desires for self.


A toxic relationship like this is leading cause sometimes of

1. Broken or problematic marriages 

2. Unsuccessful careers and lack of general satisfaction 

3. Vicious two sided emotional abuse eventually 

Seek iwill therapy today if you are struggling with this. Therapy can help save your love life, growth, you and also enable you to be a caring son/daughter or parent without smothering and breaking yourself loved one.


It needs coming to terms with what's happening, courage to break it and feeling not guilty while doing the right thing and needs mental wellness, all four that come directly from iwill therapy 

For therapy at IWill, download app link from below, start assessment and book sessions with your paired IWill therapist or click "Start IWill journey" from top right corner 


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