Divorce your mother? Five instances when it’s ok to severe ties with your parents

It is ok
  • It is imperative to cut ties with toxic people, even if it is your parent
  • One, if you are still scared of them even as an adult
  • Two, if they don’t respect your boundaries

A friend of mine was telling me how her mother likes putting her down because of her weight.

 She told me that her mother constantly comments about it and it has really affected her self-esteem. When I suggested that maybe she should cut ties with her mother, she was shocked.

How can one cut ties with their own mother regardless of the issues in their relationship?
In our African culture, we are taught to revere our parents.

We are taught to never criticise them, no matter what. We are told to always support them and be there for them.

But what if you have a toxic parent? All parents slip up but there is a difference between making a mistake and being a toxic parent.

 It is imperative to cut ties with toxic people, even if it is your parent. Here are some signs that your parent may be toxic.

They make hurtful ‘jokes’ about you

Like my mother’s friend above, if your parent constantly comments about something she knows you are sensitive about, she is toxic.

They could be picking on you about your weight, height or even your income. I know of someone whose mothers constantly comment on how dark they are to the point of advising them to get skin lightening products.

Making such comments is a tactic to undermine you and make you feel bad about yourself. You should never accept this kind of behaviour from a parent.

You are still scared of them even as an adult

Do you dread meetings and even phone calls from a parent? If you answered yes, you probably have a toxic parent.

African parents are known for instilling the fear of God in their children. There is a fine line between fear and respect.

 If you grew up with overly strict parents, chances are you fear them rather than respect them. Children don’t need to fear their parents to respect them.

Discipline is important, but if your child is afraid of you, you are a toxic parent.

You get the silent treatment

The passive-aggressive tactic of giving someone the silent treatment is unhealthy in any relationship. It is even more damaging in a parent-child relationship.

Toxic parents use this tactic to manipulate their children into complying with their wishes. It leaves their children feeling desperate to fix things even if they are not the ones in the wrong.

They don’t respect your boundaries

Toxic parents don’t recognise boundaries.

It doesn’t matter whether you are thirteen or twenty-five, a toxic parent will snoop on you and feel they can say anything they want to you, whether in public or in private.

If you try to assert some boundaries with them, they will react negatively with anger or passive-aggressiveness.

They demand to be taken care of

There is nothing wrong with a child support his parents, but if your parents act like the reason for your sole existence is to serve them, you are dealing with toxic parents.

 I know parents who demand a huge cut out of their children’s paychecks. They use guilt to get their children to give them money.

They can go on and on about the hardships they underwent to bring you up and educate you.



The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sde.co.ke