If you have a toxic, narcissistic, or dark triad mother or father you can relate to feeling the “I think I miss them” feeling because that is what “good kids” do. They miss their parents. They love their parents. Or maybe you miss the version of your parents that you wish you had and then the reality of their toxicity hits hard when you’re with them.
This blog is for educational and awareness purposes only. The terms narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath are used as descriptors to identify types and levels of toxic behavior. The said terms are not intended to diagnose anyone with any disorder.
Personally, I have felt a lot of guilt in the past because I didn’t miss my family if I wasn’t near them when I did go away to college. When I wasn’t near them, I felt free. I felt relaxed. The area was quiet. No one was screaming. No one was throwing things or hitting each other. It was peaceful, but that guilt of not loving or missing my parents at all ate away at me. I even googled it and the responses said what I was always told that I was “ungrateful,”
“Something is wrong with you,”
And other similar phrases.
To me at that time, I felt like that was confirmation that I was a bad daughter, but that is not true at all. If someone had a loving and caring parent and they said they hated them, that’s a completely different story, but when there is toxicity and clear abuse in the family dynamic, of course, you would never want to be around the people who inflict pain onto you after you are away and begin to notice that things are not right.
The truth is that if you don’t miss or love people who mistreat you, intentionally harm you, purposely instill fear, shame, humiliation, and guilt onto you, they are the one with the problem. It is normal to not want to associate with someone causing you continuous pain, but the trauma bond that comes with this form of abuse by parents or parental figures is very conflicting, and that conflicting feeling will then follow us to other relationships because that is all we know. That uncomfortable feeling that tells us something is wrong, but we ignore it because it must be okay because that’s how it feels when I was with my own family.
The child-to-parent relationship is very conflicting in a toxic situation. We need at least one of our parents or another caregiver in order to survive as an infant and then clear up until we are 18 and often older. Sometimes these toxic parents don’t even allow their children to stay with them until 18. Sometimes these parents kick their children out when they’re 15, 16, or 17 and try to sabotage their child’s life or punish the child because they didn’t want to become parents in the first place. When we are born, it’s natural to love the person - regardless if they are biological or not - who takes care of us. That is our first connection. That is our first relationship. So when our parents decide to abuse - yes. Decide. It is a choice.
The parent-child relationship becomes confusing. The child thinks that this toxicity is love. When the parent says “I love you,” or maybe lack of saying the actual phrase and it is a cultural difference that love is shared with food or being in the same room, but the parent does not show love. They show these often dramatic bursts of “love” when the child does what they want and every other time the child is punished for mistakes, being a child, learning to express themselves, and growing up.
Toxic parents complain and shame their children and demand that they need to, “Get a job and pay the rent,” or that the child acts “too grown” if they have an opinion or want anything other than to serve their parent as a personal cleaning service or a babysitter for siblings.
Society shoves the phrases, “but they're family.”
“That's your mom.”
“That's your dad.”
It doesn't matter who they are, toxic is toxic and your feelings and experiences are valid. You do matter even if you don't feel like it right now. Know that if you don’t miss your family, and feel like you’re only missing the version of your family you’ve created in your mind, we have to learn to understand why that is and what we can do to keep our peace and protect our energy.
I know that we feel guilt for having these conflicting feelings, but when we feel freedom when we are away from someone and then feel miserable when we are with them, your body knows.
Trust your gut.