Overcoming Toxic Parenting – 5 Quick Lessons

Overcoming Toxic Parenting by Rick Johnson is most definitely one book worth considering. It touches on some heavy loaded themes that I most definitely needed to read. It’s an insightful read that is both interesting and practical as well. Here are 5 Quick Lessons I’ve learned from the book of the week Overcoming Toxic Parenting : How to be a GOOD PARENT when yours wasn’t.

It’s not enough to say we don’t want to do what our parents did– we have to have a positive model to fill that void or we fall back on what we know. In times of stress or pressure, we fall into old habits, emulating what was modeled for us as children by our permanent caregivers. This results in pain, guilt and shame.

Overcoming Toxic Parenting – Rick Johnson

1 – We turn into our parents

Overcoming Toxic Parenting exposes the harsh truth I think every parent has already felt to some capacity, we turn into our parents! Why is that? Because of how the brain works, it creates relationships between the family we grew up with and the family we’re raising. Our new roles as the parent doesn’t change the original memories. Without a conscious attempt to change that, we are designed to turn into our parents, it’s a survival mechanism that often serves us, but victims of abuse don’t reap the same benefits.

Rather than repeat what was modeled by our parents for us as children, wouldn’t it be nice to understand how to ‘turn the tables’ and learn to become the kind of parents we long to be and wish we’d had?

Overcoming Toxic Parenting – Rick Johnson

2 – Why can’t we just ‘Be Better’ than our parents?

Overcoming Toxic Parenting helps us with the “How” part, how do we change what is seemingly biologically inevitable? We do the work outlined in this book, and work on creating new neural connections for parenting. When we are comfortable, content and well-adjusted making the conscious decision to be better than our parents is easy. However, parenting often comes with heavy doses of sleep-deprivation, stress and a relentlessness that can inspire uncontrolled automatic responses that may surprise us. This book details steps we can take to rewrite our stress-induced reactions.

Many victimized people still believe their parents behavior is justified “I guess I probably deserved it” or “Sure I was beaten, but I turned out okay” Abusive parents have a propensity to deny that any abuse happened or they justify it. Just because inadequate parents “didn’t mean it” doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt or cause harm.

Overcoming Toxic Parenting – Rick Johnson

3 – We are wired to forgive our parents despite it all.

To protect us, our brains endlessly rationalize for other people when we don’t understand things. Especially when it comes to our own parents, we are constantly making excuses for them and their behaviors. Overcoming Toxic Parenting calls it what it is by helping us understand the different and complex ways a parent can abuse their child, it’s not always physical or obvious, but it’s all quite harmful and affects us well into adulthood.

We were all raised in dysfunctional families. Some were more healthy than others, some were more destructive than others, but because we are all sinners, all were dysfunctional. The more unhealthy a family, the more damage done to the children. And that damage affects our adulthood.

Overcoming Toxic Parenting – Rick Johnson

4 – ‘Normal’ is a fallacy

When there’s neglect, abuse, addiction or undiagnosed mental health illnesses at play, our sense of normalcy is skewed. There is no perfect family, and what is considered typical isn’t even close to universally accepted! What is normal? Is it TV families like Simpsons, Family Guy and the Cosby Show? Is the family that is the most normal closer to a TV family? Which TV family is the “perfect” family? All of these questions put things into perspective, that ‘normal’ isn’t reality, its a semblance of something that doesn’t exist, like perfection. Overcoming Toxic Families helps us let that word go, and embrace different revolved ideas around family values.

Our parents plant mental and emotional seeds in us— seeds that grow as we do, In some families those are seeds of love, respect, and independence. But in many others, they are seeds of fear, obligation or guilt.

Overcoming Toxic Parenting – Rick Johnson

5 – You are allowed to be unsatisfied with your upbringing.

There is so much fear and guilt around this topic, unspoken rules against speaking-ill on your upbringing especially around the perpetrators. Overcoming Toxic Parenting speaks about giving yourself permission to admit this. You are allowed to be unsatisfied by your upbringing and feel let down by your parents. This doesn’t mean that you’re “ungrateful” or “terrible” it simply means you love and respect yourself enough to know that you are deserving of something more. This book isn’t a proverbial FU to your parents! It’s a “thank you, more please”.

There you have it! 5 Quick Lessons from this incredibly important book: Overcoming Toxic Parenting. Please read the book as I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface here, and the things that resonated with me may be completely different from what you will pick up from the same words. Do yourself a favor, and work on being your best-self because there is nothing more fulfilling.


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