Your mixed feelings about your parents are valid.

Shout out to people like me who have parents who are loving but are black holes of emotional labor… It took me a long time to realize that it’s okay to have mixed feelings about your parents, about your relationship with them.

Sometimes parents can love you but be somewhat toxic to you and your growth, and that’s a very hard realization to come to if you, like me, grew up extremely close to them.

Sometimes parents can love you genuinely but lack emotional maturity, forcing you to perform disproportionate amounts of emotional labor. Some parents manifest symptoms of their mental illness in ways that are toxic to your mental illness.

Some parents, like mine, try so hard to be good parents but fall back on habits of emotional manipulation because they haven’t processed their own traumas and are modeling behavior they grew up with. That doesn’t make their behavior acceptable, and it’s okay to feel exhausted and hurt when they betray you. You don’t have to forgive every mistake.

I want you to know that it’s okay to protect yourself, to need some space apart from them. The love you have for your parents is still valid, and you are making the right decision.

Placing a safe emotional distance between myself and my parents has been one of the most difficult, heartbreaking processes I’ve ever gone through… it hurts to try to curb the strength of your own natural empathy around people you love. It feels disingenuous to your heart’s natural state.

But I promise you, you are not hard-hearted or ungrateful, and you are not abandoning them. You are making a decision about your own emotional, mental, and spiritual health.

I know what it’s like in that confusing grey area of love mixed with guilt and anxiety, of exhaustion and quasi-manipulation and unreciprocated emotional labor, and I promise you, you are not alone.

Your mixed feelings about your parents are valid.

How to Deal with Emotional Manipulators

1. Don’t negotiate with them. For emotional manipulators, it’s all about having, exerting and gaining more power. So they’ll always push for more and they’ll never compromise.

2. Don’t engage with them. Don’t try to talk, or reason, or discuss some matter with them - as they’ll try to twist your motives, and leave you feeling “bad”.

3. Don’t confront them. They’re quick to take offense and they love an argument. They’ll then turn and attack you – and never let things go.

4. Know your own personal buttons. They’ll aim to press your buttons to get a strong reaction. But knowing yourself well means you have the upper hand. Plan how to “not react” and to stay detached and calm.

5. Refuse to accept help as they’ll treat you like “you owe them”. You’ll then be in their debt – so it’s hard to feel you’re free.

no more apology texts. no more reckless highway speeding. no more scribbled poetry in the back of spanish class. there is nothing left to lose. there is nothing left for you.

you haven’t seen me since i dyed my hair and it’s nice to have something you didn’t get to ruin. i’m dressing different too and lipsticking my way out of the girl you tore apart. i can finally breathe easy. i can finally be grateful that i never really meant it when i kissed you.

look, it’s me without you. look, i’m doing just fine. look, goddamn it, i’m lighter than i’ve been in months. there are seven billion people on the planet. i don’t think you matter so much anymore.

—  I MET SOMEONE WITH YOUR NAME AND DIDNT FLINCH // s. osborn

Shout out to the verbally abused kids who are told it doesn’t count because there are no bruises.
Shout out to the abused kids who aren’t taken seriously because they were acting up/asking for it/there are no marks to ‘prove’ it.
Shout out to the manipulated kids whose parents guilt them into thinking they deserve those shitty words and actions they get.
Shout out to everyone and anyone who is abused or has been abused.
You are strong and wonderful and I hope that one day you can get away and be happy and have the life you want.
No one deserves that kind of treatment. I love you.

i really am all about people reclaiming their own lives after abusive/unhealthy relationships. realizing that they’re a complete person on their own. realizing that there’s much more to life than another person. realizing that they’re worth a lot more than they were made to feel like. it’s refreshing to see.