1. How does one distinguish between parents who are “blamed unfairly”, parents so lacking in self awareness they normalised neglect and abuse, and abusive parents who actively gaslight their adult children about their own behaviour?

    The fact a child has grown into an adult lacking the requisite skills to self-regulate and cope with life such that they can manage anger safely, don’t need drugs to cope, and can maintain healthy interpersonal relationships undermines any notion that their parenting was “good enough”. They are not responsible for their child’s recovery or resolution, but blame falls at least partly at the parents’ feet. Denying this only makes the situation worse by reinforcing the child’s introjected false narratives of being defective and/or unlovable, and adds fuel to toxic scapegoating dynamics.

    The fact they’ve raised such a dysfunctional person, and are so incapable of empathising with that person’s experience that they attend therapy incredulous and baffled, says it all. Any therapist who can’t see that and approach their claims of “good enough” with compassionate scepticism isn’t credible. Frankly, the whole premise of this article is flawed and reveals a concerning lack of understanding of, and prejudice against, some very vulnerable people.

    1. You ask a very good question Aiden. And it can difficult to discern what’s normalization of poor parenting even abusive parenting, and what’s going to be helpful now to that parent (or an adult child by a parent… this can go both ways). If you read a bit more carefully, my advice isn’t to abandon, but to set appropriate boundaries as well as to use some emotional detachment.

      1. I have to say I agree with Aiden. While as adults, our issues to process and reconcile and change are OUR responsibility, it doesn’t mean that our parents are without accountability for their actions. It’s very difficult for someone to be expected to work through their issues AND at the same time be asked to contend with a still-dysregulated parent or one who expects the adult child to maintain an image of themselves that they have created and are trying to manage. I agree that we need to have compassion for our parents because they often passed along whatever they were taught and had their own struggles that led to the parenting styles that they used, though we need to be base ourselves in reality that can enable us to integrate the whole of the situation.

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