- Jennette McCurdy’s memoir sheds light on toxic mother-daughter relationship.
- The star’s trauma memoir reveals how she battled her abusive experiences and nurtured her mental health.
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy has been making the rounds recently for its in-depth depiction of traumatic childhood experiences against the glamorous background of Hollywood.
She disclosed how her late mother controlled her life choices and pressurized her at a young age to land acting gigs for financial gains. She also talked about how her mom’s abuse negatively impacted her mental health, leading her to develop body image issues and eating disorders.
Understanding Toxic Parenting
“Toxic parenting” refers to self-centered and unhealthy parenting practices that put parental needs before the child’s or children’s needs. Also known as negative parenting, it is associated with negative personality traits like narcissism, aggression, manipulation, etc.
Research has narrowed down the characteristics of toxic parenting to:
- Emotional abuse
- Extremely authoritative behavior
- Unjust criticism
- Over-spilled personal boundaries
- Projection of insecurities on the child
- Oversharing of inappropriate details
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Parental neglect
- Parental manipulation
- Exploiting the child for selfish ends, etc.
Parental Abuse And Mental Health
Research shows that people who have grown up with toxic mothers or fathers are exposed to negative emotions and unpleasant developmental experiences.
Their childhood trauma has long-term consequences on their well-being as well as their quality of life and interpersonal relationships. In most cases, toxic relationships with mother/father/guardians can turn into severe cases of mental disorders like:
- Anxiety disorders
- Stress disorders (like PTSD)
- Eating disorders
- Personality disorders
- Substance use disorders, etc.
Studies have, time and again, shown that toxic parenting affects approximately 20% to 50% of adults around the world. However, owing to the sensitivity of the issue, victims seldom seek professional help. In fact, as little as 2–5% of people worldwide report parent-inflicted childhood trauma to a physician.
Addressing Toxic Parenting
Experts recommend the following measures to address toxic parent-child relationships:
- Get rid of the guilt of being a ‘disappointing child’ to your toxic parent
- Quit trying to change your abusive parents for the better
- Draw healthy boundaries and stick to them
- Practice detachment and self-care
- Get rid of the need to ‘explain’ to them why you are doing what you are doing. They don’t deserve any explanation!
- Develop a strong support system outside of family
- Take control of the narrative and try to live a more healthy and positive life
- If needed, seek therapy and practice self-help coping strategies
It takes courage and strength to stand up against one’s parents, even if they are wrong. However, such a stance can go a long way in helping you achieve happiness and a fulfilling life.
For example, take McCurdy. Elaborating on how she healed from the after-effects of the toxic mother-daughter relationship outlined in her book, she said: “I had done therapy for at least six years and had really excavated so much of my emotional and mental health history privately … I’ve been so touched by how much the emotional thrust of the story [in the book] has connected with people, which I see as being my relationship with my mom. That’s an important and complicated relational dynamic to explore, and to see that people are responding to it has been amazing.”