Toxic Families and the Disorders They Can Cause

December 6, 2018
The problem with toxic families is that they end up dumping all their insecurities on the children, making them unable to see their own worth later on.

Have you ever imagined that toxic families could be all around you? You might have come across people who have had experiences with them.

Moreover, because it’s common but humiliating, you tend to think it’s normal and embrace it. You can become so entangled in a complicated situation that you feel this is the normal way of doing things. Unfortunately, toxic families can be a source of mental disorders.

Let’s take a deeper look at this.

Toxic families and mental problems

Cactus-shaped pacifier.

Family is very important, and it’s the first school in a child’s life. In their families, children learn certain abilities including communicating with others.

Discover: What is a Dysfunctional Family and How Does It Affect Children?

Thus, it’s easy to see how too much toxicity could create severe disorders if there is no balance or healthy emotions.

Out of the many family types, destructive families tend to overprotect their children. This negatively affects small children, causing them to suffer from psychological disorders that we may fail to understand later on.

That’s why we decided to talk about some of the most interesting and real relationships between toxic families and these mental problems. Let’s take a look!

1. The Pygmalion effect and its influence on children

The Pygmalion effect consists of the roles that children adopt by being influenced by their parents. Basically, children convert into reality things that their parents fear or want for them.

So when you label your child with statements like “You’re so lazy” or “You have a bad personality”, it sticks in the child’s mind. And it becomes a reality.

Families are ignorant of the negative effect that name-calling has on a child, which exhibits through adulthood and may contaminate their behavior. It’s a silent killer that slowly eats up a child’s self-esteem and erodes a child’s self-worth.

2. Lethal love

Woman with a caged heart.

Parents commonly use some phrases like “No one could love you more than we do”. These make the children feel loved at home but makes them feel like they don’t deserve to be loved any more than that.

The big problem with this is that it may cause children to be withdrawn and be silent in extreme situations such as emotional abuse or mistreatment.

Sometimes, family love can be unhealthy and toxic too.

3. Overprotective parents

Over-protection can cause emotional dependency. Children may continue to struggle with it throughout their adult life. Families should maintain a balance and nurture children into independent adulthood.

In extreme cases, emotional dependency results in insecurity. It may also lead to loss of self-confidence. In addition, it can lead to other severe emotional problems that aren’t easily fixed.

This article may interest you: Toxic Family Members: How can You Defend Yourself From Them?

Everything that happens in childhood affects us.

4. Projected wants and insecurities

How many times have you seen a couple in conflict position their children in the middle of it? We may deny it, but, as parents, we get consumed by our problems. Thus, we tend to ignore the effect this has on the people around us, including children.

Many families project their frustrations and insecurities onto their children, which puts them under a lot of unnecessary pressure! They aren’t responsible for adults’ problems.

Kid with a cat sitting on a window.

All these situations could lead to depression, limited personality disorders, emotional dependency, and many other psychoses that become complicated and hard in one’s adult life.

Have you been involved in a toxic family? What problems did it cause you? We can’t choose our family, but at least we can choose to be aware of their problems and thus prevent repeating history with our own children.

  • Altarejos, F. (2002). La relación familia-escuela. 113 ESE Nb003.

  • Valdivia Sánchez, C. (2008). La familia: concepto, cambios y nuevos modelos. La Revue Du REDIF.

  • Garcia de Herrera, L., & Caceres Manrique, F. de M. (1989). Atención primaria en salud mental para escolares: segunda parte TT  – Primary care in mental health for students: second part. Rev. Univ. Ind. Santander, Salud.