Healing from "Toxic Parents" (Part 1)

Parents plant psychological, emotional, and spiritual seeds in us.  Seeds grow, as we do.  Some parents plant seeds of love, truth, and faith. But many other parents plant seeds of fear, guilt, and ungodliness.  If you've been raised as a child from the latter group, you may had been wounded by "toxic parents." The parental seeds that had been planted in you grow into invisible weeds, undermining your self esteem, relationships, and other areas of your life.

Of course, all parents are only human. They have difficult problems of their own. I spanked my children and tried to instill discipline in them, which is just normal for all parents to do. But, from time to time, I made mistakes that brought pain to them as well as my self.  I'd have momentary lapses such as inappropriate outbursts of anger or yelling at my kids. In my case during those momentary or occasional lapses, I learned and saw to it that I make up for them with humility, love, and understanding.

Now, such is quite different from parents whose negative (even evil) patterns of behavior and example are repetitive and dominant.  Like chemical toxin, these are the parents who do harm. They inflict deep wounds through ongoing trauma, abuse, shame, and denigration of their children.  They set a bad model, making it hard for the children to develop a positive self image. The resultant damage then colors every aspect of the children's lives, even when they become already grown-up.

Therapy and recovery is most effective when it proceeds to detoxify from the toxins of past (or even ongoing) harmful parenting.

What and how then does one first figure out whether one's parents are, or were, "toxic?"