Q+A: A toxic home
Written by: Chereen
Q: Dear Chereen,
I grew up in a toxic home. Where both of my parents suffer from a mental illness. It’s so hard to constantly take care of them and very often I forget to take care of myself. My dad always verbally abuses my mum and I’m constantly stuck trying to fix their marriage. I’m praying one day things will change. Do you have any ways to cope in my situation?
A: Dear Friend,
While I understand that it’s important for you to have parents in a happy marriage, I think it’s time you let them work on it themselves. Offer support, but you need to take care of yourself.
You are your own responsibility, and if your entire focus is making sure you alleviate the toxic energy, then you forget that you matter, and you lose yourself. You need positive energy to keep yourself going so that you can be supportive. Your responsibility is to be a kind and loving daughter, but you aren’t responsible for fixing everything. Care for your parents, give them love and affection, but give yourself time when you need it.
I want you to understand that you’re allowed to be happy and do things that you love, so focus your energy on that. Sometimes things don’t change until you make a change. As for your parents, do they want things to change? Have they sought treatment for their mental illnesses? It might be time that they do, because that’s a heavy weight to carry if you’re responsible for making sure they’re always happy.
Be supportive, but don’t lose yourself in the process. Give when you can, but please focus on yourself. Invest in self-care and do more of what makes you smile. I don’t want you to think about coping, I want you to understand that a toxic upbringing does not transfer to a toxic life.
What can you do now to give yourself the happiness you so rightfully deserve?