parent manipulation

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.


It’s not okay to have your child be scared of you. That isn’t respect. That’s control. 

It’s not okay to have your child obey you at all times in order for you to love them. That isn’t high standards. That’s manipulation.

It’s not okay to force your child become what you wanted to become. That isn’t wanting the best for them. That’s living vicariously through them.

It’s not okay to take away your child’s basic needs as a punishment. That isn’t teaching them. That’s hindering them. 

It’s not okay to dictate your child’s sexuality or gender. That isn’t normalizing them. That’s repressing them.

It’s not okay to berate your child’s appearance or intelligence for being what you think is sub-par. That isn’t toughening them. That’s bullying them.

It’s not okay to take out your stress on your child. That isn’t parenting. That is abusing.

It’s completely okay to distance yourself from your parents. That’s not unloving. That, sometimes, is self care.

Be wary of those who claim if you don’t trust them, you’re hurting them.

Be wary of those who insist you are obliged to give them more than they offer in return, and if you fail to do so, you’re not doing enough.

Be wary of those who accuse you of being cruel if you don’t give them everything they want.

Be wary of those who lure you into comforting them after they’ve hurt you.

Be wary of those who demand forgiveness without ever admitting they hurt you.

Be wary of those who claim to not remember their actions that scarred you.

Be wary of those who insist they’re “human” after you confront them on their cruelty.

Be wary of those who’ll use your empathy against you, who see your compassion as a toy for them to play with.

Those do not care about your well being. They don’t care how much they’re hurting you. They wont care if they scar you permanently. They’ll take as much as they can for you, and abandon you when you need them the most.

“Emotionally abusive or manipulative parents often make a practice of constantly questioning their child’s reality and experiences. Our childhoods were full of moments of being told that problematic parental behavior “never happened,” that a problem our parent created doesn’t matter because they “did the best they could,” or that an event that traumatized us “didn’t happen like that.” -Gabrielle Moss (Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Not Talking to Your Toxic Parent)

A Spell To Stop Manipulative Parents

What you need: 

-A black (or white) candle

-A piece of paper

-A marker or pen with black ink

What you do:

-Light the candle

-Write down the name of the parent and everything terrible they’ve done

-Light the paper on fire either with the flame from the candle or another source of fire

-Say “As this paper burns, so does your ability to be a piece of shit parent. Once it has burned away so has your desire to be controlling and manipulative.” as the paper burns

-Collect the ashes and wash them down a sink to symbolize the parent’s negativity being washed away. 

Side note: This can be used on your own parents or on someone else’s parents who you know are being bad at their job. 

Why do my parents say that everything I do is their business?
They give me no room to have my own thoughts, personality, feelings or privacy. They’ve given me no room to grow and now I’m dependent and lost, and they’re so frustrated that I can’t do anything on my own- but it’s THEIR fault for never giving me space.

when I say “abuser” I don’t mean “a person who hurt someone once or twice” or “a person who made a mistake” or “a person who means well but communicates badly”, what I mean is a person who has continually and systematically treated another person as less than human. They will absolutely try to portray themselves as a person who only made a few mistakes or someone who means well and doesn’t realize what they’re doing, but that’s not who they are. This person had no problem taking someone’s emotional, mental and physical health for their own benefit, they convinced themselves and even their victims they have the right to that much, they act if there’s nothing wrong with taking away human rights from another, and permanently lowering the quality of another’s life, they will even act as if other’s owe them that much! Even if they act completely unaware of what kind of consequences their victims are suffering, the truth is - they don’t care, because if they did, they wouldn’t jump to blame everything and everyone and the victim for how badly they’re suffering.

You don’t have to ever show empathy for abusers. You don’t need to treat them as human beings. You do not need to consider their point of view. You don’t need to cater to their feelings. You don’t have to watch out not to hurt their feelings. You don’t need to protect them from what they’ve done. You don’t need to make excuses for them. You don’t need to take responsibility for any of their actions. You don’t need to forgive them. You don’t need to humanize them. They’ve proven to be lacking basic humane qualities. You don’t need to look at yourself from their point of view. You don’t need to judge them based on how nice they are to other people, if they’re cruel to you. You don’t need to give them benefit of the doubt. You don’t have to consider their past. You don’t have to understand them. All and every thought and action should be aimed towards protection from them. By dehumanizing you, they made themselves into monsters. By traumatizing you, they became a danger to your life. You don’t need to be considerate to a danger to your life. You don’t need to spend time making sure you don’t hurt someone who caused tremendous damage to your life and acted like it was their right to do it. Abusers aren’t as human as they think they are. Abusers are nothing but a burden on society, no matter what they pretend to be. They deserve to be abandoned, to have everything they’ve taken from victims withdrawn from them, and to experience every bit of pain they’ve caused to others.

The Abuse Double Standard

I was discussing the idea of people thinking of Harley as an innocent angel the other night with someone and I just had an epiphany. It’s something I’m pretty sure I’ve seen before, but I never paid any mind to it.

Let me start off by giving you a list of Batman villains that have been abused in their backstory (or currently in one case).

  • Jonathan Crane - Bullied relentlessly and abused by his grandmother.
  • Thomas Elliot - Suffered emotional abuse at the hands of his mother even before the car accident. His father’s death just made it worse.
  • Harleen Quinzel - Continually abused by the Joker both physically and psychologically.
  • Oswald Cobblepot - Mocked for his appearance both by other children and his own parents.
  • Pamela Isley - Manipulated and experimented on by Jason Woodrue.
  • Edward Nigma - Beaten by his father often.
  • Roman Sionis - Dropped as a baby and his parents paid off the hospital to pretend it didn’t happen. And his parents were overall neglectful.
  • Waylon Jones - bullied for his appearance and had an abusive alcoholic aunt.

Okay now. There are a lot of villains that happen to be abuse victims. However, there are only two of them who are consistently treated as innocent in spite of the horrible things they’ve done. And I think you know which two they are.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.

Black Mask, Scarecrow, and Hush are almost never excused for their abhorrent actions (Scarecrow on very rare occasions). And the Riddler, the Penguin, and Killer Croc don’t have nearly the same outcry of victimhood as Harley and Ivy do. This is one of the reasons why I believe that it’s based on the idea that people (especially on Tumblr) cannot accept the fact that a woman can be just as cruel as a man or need to be pushed into it. Therefore they cling to this idea of victimhood as a means to justify whitewashing the morality of (originally) intentionally morally complex characters.

The idea that Harley chose to join the Joker is immediately shot down because of the idea that it perpetuates victim-blaming and makes it look like she asked for the abuse. Clearly, she didn’t ask for the abuse. She asked for the criminal lifestyle. The excitement of causing chaos and destruction to get into the spotlight. She only puts up with the abuse because of her mad love for him and that desire to cause chaos and be seen. It’s not like she always wants to hurt people, but she does sometimes enjoy it. And it’s an aspect that is often ignored in favor of her sympathetic traits.

Same thing goes for Poison Ivy. Ivy is an ecoterrorist with good intentions. However, people see her “protector of mother nature” thing and emphasize that aspect. They often forget or ignore the often borderline genocidal methods that she has used to carry this out. And they’ve forgotten the fact that while she deserves some sympathy, she’s still a homicidal maniac at the end of the day. And no amount of good intentions can justify that.

When’s the last time you ever saw someone defending Hush in spite of him cutting out Catwoman’s heart? Do people ever try to bring up the abuse victim defense for him? No. He’s almost always considered a horrible person with no consideration taken for his past. Probably has something to do with his misogyny and racism. When’s the last time you ever saw anyone defending Black Mask in spite of him sadistically and brutally torturing a teenage girl? Do people ever try to bring up his neglectful parents? …Well, now that I think about it, people barely bring him up at all, which is a shame.

And how about Scarecrow, huh? I have yet to see someone try to use his past of bullying and abuse being used to justify performing horrific experiments on innocent people using his fear gas. Never. Even the people who acknowledge his past never sugarcoat his actions. He’s still portrayed as fairly sadistic and often remorseless. The only one who gets any kind of consistent pass is Croc and yet rarely will you ever see anyone ignoring the fact that he eats people. But as a whole, the male villains don’t get that consistent pass.

So you can’t tell me that Harley being an abuse victim is a good reason to excuse or ignore her villainous qualities. In spite of her good qualities, she has aided in some terrible things and done terrible things on her own. She isn’t an innocent angel who was corrupted and needs to be protected. She was already shady. Batman even says she was no angel in Mad Love! If you wanna bring up the fact that she was abused (and this includes bringing up Ivy as well), think of all those other villains I mentioned and tell me if you would extend the same sympathies to them as you do to the female victims.

PSA to teens with shitty parents

Please please remember that even if your parents treat you like actual shit right now, when you’re old enough to leave you will be able to cut them out of your life. even if they feel the need to emotionally, physically, or verbally abuse you, you don’t have to deal with it forever and you will be able to leave and start a new life somewhere else. you are an amazing person no matter your background and you  can change your surrounding with your needs  please if you are going to sleep or waking up dreading what your parents will do/ say please try to hold on because this hell wont last forever, I love you all and stay safe

Abusive parents

I am not able to imagine how sad and miserable your life is that you have to control every aspect of the lives of your children. You are disabling them from experiencing independence, soul and identity searching.
Doing so, not only you bring further misery in your own life, but you also bring your unhealthy lifestyle in your children’s life.
Acknowledge you children as independent, autonomous individuals and not as your reflection. They are not you.

Your abusive parents can’t tell you who you are. They can’t see past their own projections, for them you were never even a person. They haven’t even met you. They met a mirror. All they ever said about you, every single thing, was a lie.
—  even if they said some good things, it was likely to manipulate you rather than acknowledge who you truly are.

My mom tells me it’s wrong to not want to hug your own mother.  I’ve told her I’m only comfortable showing a lot of affection towards my best friend.  She says she’s my mother, it’s different.  It is different.  My friend has never hurt me the way she has.  My mom has told me I’m sick for a lot of the ways I think and feel and that some of my thinking and feeling is wrong.  Am I wrong?

If abuse happened long time ago, every second they spent blaming you for it, pretending it wasn’t real, forcing you to act normal, forcing you to be around those who hurt you, forcing you to give them attention and approval, all of it is abuse. They never stopped abusing you.
—  being exposed to abusers and forced to bottle it up and act normal is torture.

The most frustrating thing about the saying ‘boys will be boys’ as justification for awful or hurtful behavior is that the parents who say it know it’s not true?? Like any mother of boys will be the first to know that little boys are just as emotional, sensitive and feeling as little girls are. They cry, get hurt, feel left out, act sensitively and want to be loved just like girls do but it’s the parents that scold them for emotions and crying and mold them into emotionless, hyper masculine beings. Parents know that boys aren’t that way naturally, because they’re the ones who scold sensitivity out of them. 'Boys will be boys’ is especially disgusting because it’s a lie made to cover the way that parents will manipulate their sons into becoming something they aren’t.