50 Toxic Parents Quotes to Help You Let Go & Move On

Start your journey toward a more carefree life by reading these toxic parents quotes we’ve compiled.

Our parents should be our guiding light in this crazy world. However, what happens when the very people who should protect us go astray and instead become the source of our pain and negativity?

Sadly, there are many toxic parents in this world. They abuse their children mentally and emotionally; some even gaslight them and make them think everything is their fault.

This relationship is detrimental to one’s well-being, especially one’s mental health. If it continues without intervention, toxic parents might cause their child’s depression and breakdown.

So, before it’s too late, we must all identify the signs of having toxic parents. Once we do, we must build the courage to cut them off to lead happy and meaningful lives.

To help you out, we’ve gathered the best toxic parents quotes in this list. Aside from helping you identify the red flags, it’ll also help you find the courage to break free from their control!

And don’t forget to check out these toxic mother quotes and toxic father quotes.

Best Toxic Parents Quotes

1. “When you grieve toxic, abusive parents, you don’t just grieve the abuse, you grieve everything you didn’t have.” – Lily Hope Lucario

2. “Bad parents see no wrong in the way they treat their children.” – Anonymous

3. “Toxic parents care more about how you make them look than how you actually feel.” – Anonymous

4. “Dysfunctional parents do not apologize. It is one feature that the children of narcissists would instantly agree on. They will lie and justify themselves, but never accept they did anything wrong.” – Diana Macey

5. “You can’t change the toxic behavior of your toxic parents, but you can decide how you respond.” – Anonymous

6. “Toxic parents are the root cause of all dysfunctional families because the fish rots first at its head.” – Anonymous

7. “The family drama may look and sound different from generation to generation, but all toxic patterns are remarkably similar in their outcome: pain and suffering.” – Dr. Susan Forward

8. “Most adult children of toxic parents grow up feeling tremendous confusion about what love means and how it’s supposed to feel. Their parents did extremely unloving things to them in the name of love. They came to understand love as something chaotic, dramatic, confusing, and often painful—something they had to give up their own dreams and desires for. Obviously, that’s not what love is all about. Loving behavior doesn’t grind you down, keep you off balance, or create feelings of self-hatred. Love doesn’t hurt; it feels good. Loving behavior nourishes your emotional well-being. When someone is being loving to you, you feel accepted, cared for, valued, and respected. Genuine love creates feelings of warmth, pleasure, safety, stability, and inner peace.” – Dr. Susan Forward

9. “Children who are not encouraged to do, to try, to explore, to master, and to risk failure, often feel helpless and inadequate. Over-controlled by anxious, fearful parents, these children often become anxious and fearful themselves. This makes it difficult for them to mature. Many never outgrow the need for ongoing parental guidance and control. As a result, their parents continue to invade, manipulate, and frequently dominate their lives.” – Dr. Susan Forward

10. “The toxicity that comes from them is often the result of their own unmet needs, insecurities they have, which they project on their children to find solace.” – Anonymous

Thought-Provoking Quotes About Toxic Parents

11. “In order for parents to be present to and suffer with their children, their children need three simple things from them: time, love, and attention. Toxic parents provide none of these things—certainly not in any healthy ways.” – Sherrie Campbell

12. “Getting angry when something about their behavior is challenged in the nicest way, is a typical reaction of a narcissistic parent.” – Diana Macey

13. “Abuse grows from attitudes and values, not feelings. The roots are ownership, the trunk is entitlement, and the branches are control.” – Lundy Bancroft

14. “In the narcissistic parent’s eyes, they do no wrong nor do they feel they should be held accountable for the bad and wrong things that they have done.” – Katherine Childress

15. “Many toxic parents compare one sibling unfavorably with another to make the target child feel that he’s not doing enough to gain parental affection. This motivates the child to do whatever the parents want in order to regain their favor. This divide-and-conquer technique is often unleashed against children who become a little too independent, threatening the balance of the family system.” – Dr. Susan Forward

16. “I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do.” – Dr. Susan Forward

17. “Manipulation and control are favorite weapons abusive dads often use on their children for control.” – Anonymous

Emotionally Abusive Parents Quotes That’ll Break Your Heart

18. “Family is supposed to be our safe haven. Very often, it’s the place we find the deepest heartache.” – Lyanla Vansant

19. “Narcissistic parents will try to hurt you in any way they can, emotionally. Be aware that if they can’t get to you directly, they will try to hurt you through your children.” – Tina Fuller

20. “Controlling parents will always assume their children are their property they can possess.” – Anonymous

21. “The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are—a subtle kind of murder.” – Jim Morrison

22. “If your parents ignored you, or if they are just not emotionally available, or if they yell a lot, that is a type of trauma.” – Tucker Max

23. “In a normal family situation, parents are concerned about how their children are doing, and what they’re feeling. Narcissistic parents don’t care about their children’s feelings at all. Only their feelings matter.” – Anonymous

24. “It is of no use arguing with toxic parents who have manipulative and controlling behavior. To them, they are always right, and you are wrong.” – Anonymous

25. “They should love you, just as you are. Parents should love their kids, right? You’d think so.” – N.R. Walker

Toxic Parenting Quotes to Think About

26. “Toxic parenting leaves scars. Every child deserves good parenting. It is a parental responsibility, not a privilege.” – Anonymous

27. “A narcissist parent is easily frustrated by a healthy independent child that they can’t control through parental emotional manipulation.” – Shannon Thomas

28. “No child should ever have to bear the burden of parenting their own parents. To toxic parents, you existed to serve them all the time.” – Kim Saeed

29. “Unhealthy families discourage individual expression. Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of their toxic parents.” – Dr. Susan Forward

30. “Too bad for any parent who has become accustomed to ruling by force, because at some point, the kids just get too big to slap around.” – Barbara Ehrenreich

31. “Are you a controlling parent? Are you devoting too much attention to your child? If the answer is yes, then turn some of that attention toward your parents. If you are good to your own parents, then your child will learn how to treat you in the future.” – Haemin Sunim

32. “Great parenting happens when you start controlling yourself and stop controlling your child.” – Anonymous

33. “The toxic parent sees the child as a threat to their own ego, and having the child overshadow the parent is not an option in their mind.” – Shannon Thomas

34. “Toxic mothers plant seeds of guilt, low self-esteem, and low self-worth into their daughters which further manifests when those daughters get into their own relationships, making them extremely needy or even toxic, just like their own moms.” – Anonymous

35. “Your toxic parents may charm the pants off perfect strangers, your friends, and more distant relatives. All of which just appears to make you out to be the bad guy.” – Anonymous

Letting Go of Toxic Parents Quotes to Help You Move On

36. “Family is where you’re meant to be most free; don’t let blood chain you down.” – Michelle Meleen

37. “Family or not, I will cut you off. That saying, ‘But that’s family,’ means nothing if a family is toxic and means you no good.” – Morgan Sharee

38. “Let’s get out of the habit of telling people, ‘That’s still your mom, your dad, or your sister.’ Toxic is toxic. You are allowed to walk away from people that constantly hurt you.” – Anonymous

39. “You can always leave your childhood trauma, your abusive mom or dad behind. Never be a victim.” – Anonymous

40. “Just because someone is your family doesn’t mean you have to keep them around if they are toxic or abusive. Don’t let people guilt you.” – Winnie Nantongo

41. “Sometimes, using no contact is the best way to be safe from abusive parents.” – Anonymous

42. “They are not sorry for harming you. So, don’t feel guilty for cutting them off. You have the right to protect yourself from people who are toxic to you—even if they are family members. They already had their chance and showed their true colors, over and over.” – John Mark Green

43. “Once you understand what love is, you may come to the realization that your parents couldn’t or didn’t know how to be loving. This is one of the saddest truths you will ever have to accept. But when you clearly define and acknowledge your parents’ limitations, and the losses you suffered because of them, you open a door in your life for people who will love you the way you deserve to be loved—the real way.” – Dr. Susan Forward

44. “People can forgive toxic parents, but they should do it at the conclusion—not at the beginning—of their emotional house cleaning. People need to get angry about what happened to them. They need to grieve over the fact that they never had the parental love they yearned for. They need to stop diminishing or discounting the damage that was done to them.” – Dr. Susan Forward

More Toxic Parents Quotes That Zoom in on the Negativity They Bring

45. “All parents damage their children. This was their life together. Neglect. Violence. Silence.” – Mitch Albom

46. “Adult children of toxic parents have an especially difficult time with their anger because they grew up in families where emotional expression was discouraged. Anger was something only parents had the privilege of displaying.” – Dr. Susan Forward

47. “Many neglected and abused children grow up to be adults who are afraid to take risks of striking out on their own. Many will remain dependent on their abusive parents and unable to separate from them. Others leave their abusive parents only to attach themselves to a partner who is controlling.” – Beverly Engel

48. “Many children of toxic parents find it exceptionally difficult to identify who they are once they grow up.” – JR Thorpe

49. “All of us develop our expectations about how people will treat us based on our relationships with our parents.” – Dr. Susan Forward

50. “The hateful and stinging words of a narcissistic parent can linger in the mind of an adult child long after the adult has left home.” – Shannon Thomas

Are You Someone Who Suffered From Having Toxic Parents?

No matter what age you are now, if you grew up with toxic parents, we’re sure that some of the trauma is still with you. After all, it’s hard to forget the pain and suffering you went through when you were a kid.

However, we can’t erase or go back to the past. We only have the present moment and the future that awaits us.

So, we must learn how to cut ourselves off from yesterday’s pain, be it in the form of our toxic parents or the memories of how they treated us. We must move on from that and be conscious of our decisions today.

If you have a family, learn from the mistakes of your parents. Never let your own child suffer in the same way as you.

Many people say it’s selfish to cut off ties with family, even if they are abusive. But that’s not true at all; it’s a form of self-care and self-love.

Don’t wait before it’s too late; when you recognize the red flags you’ve learned from the quotes above, find the courage to cut off the problem from the root! Learn from the toxic parents quotes we’ve compiled, and stop the abuse and pain from spreading!

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Karen Danao

Hi, I’m Karen, a content curator and writer for Quote Ambition; I’m also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, I’m someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics I love writing about! However, my true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

With the many places I’ve been to, I found that love, inspiration, and happiness are some things that bring people together. No matter how different we are on the outside, I’m a true believer that our emotions don’t lie; if you dig deep into our psyche, we’re all the same inside.

This belief was further amplified when I joined Quote Ambition. Through the quotes I’ve read, collected, organized, and written about, I found that humans are resilient, creative, and compassionate.

We take from each others’ hearts and courage, and it’s through our individual experiences that we learn how to rise above our challenges and pain. In so many ways, Quote Ambition is a platform that allows people from all over the world to gain the inspiration they need anytime, anywhere!

You can find me on MuckRack and LinkedIn.