Kids who grow up in abusive households develop all sorts of coping techniques just to get by, which is understandable. Sometimes these behaviors even carry over into adulthood, where they can show up in unusual ways. But once you know more about the weird habits of people who grew up with a toxic parent, these seemingly strange behaviors will make a lot more sense. It's sad that anyone has to grow up in this type of environment, but toxic parents are an unfortunate reality for many people.
Although it's a somewhat broad phrase, toxic parents may display signs of narcissism or other personality disorders, as noted in Psych Central. Mental, physical, or emotional abuse is not uncommon. Lastly, symptoms of addiction such as alcoholism are also often present, as further explained in Psych Central. To put it mildly, toxic parents are very difficult to be around, and their parenting skills tend to be less than stellar.
When a kid grows up with a cruel, demanding, and viciously unsympathetic parent, they have to develop all sorts of strategies to survive, basically. So much time and energy gets devoted to placating the out-of-control parent that these behaviors just become second-nature. Here are a few ways these behaviors might show up in adulthood.
1. Super Sensitive To Others' Moods
Kids who are survivors of this abuse often develop an almost uncanny ability to read other peoples' moods. Even minor shifts in a person's tone of voice or facial expression will register, as Shahida Arabi wrote in Thought Catalog. Arabi is also the author of POWER: Surviving and Thriving After Narcissistic Abuse: A Collection of Essays on Malignant Narcissism and Recovery from Emotional Abuse. Don't be surprised when these people can be observant and empathetic to point where it's kind of freaky. It was just a survival habit they developed long ago.
People who grew up with toxic parents are often perfectionists. After all, these kids had to be intensely vigilant about doing their chores or monitoring the unstable parent's behavior, as noted in Psychology Today. As a result, these people may grow up to be intense perfectionists about seemingly mundane things.
3. People Pleaser
Acting subservient can become second-nature. Basically, people who grow up as parent-pleasers can go on to become people-pleasers in general, as explained in Psychology Today. Although they may seem extremely kind and helpful on the surface, people-pleasers can neglect self-care and build resentment over time, as also noted in Psychology Today. It isn't a healthy habit.
4. Accepting Of Unacceptable Behavior
Sometimes kids who were raised by toxic parents have a very high tolerance inappropriate behavior from others. Basically, they were raised to put up with a whole lot of BS, so they just keep accepting it later in life. In particular, people who grew up with manipulative or narcissistic parents will put up with crappy behavior from others because they didn't develop healthy boundaries at an early age, as explained in Forbes.
5. Conflict Avoidance
Sometimes these kids never really learn to put their dukes up, so to speak. Conflict avoidant behavior is very common among adult children of abused children, according to Very Well Mind. Even when they're clearly in the right, these people might have a lot of trouble standing up for themselves.