107 Toxic Parents Quotes (When Mother and Father Are Abusive AF)

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Toxic Parents Quotes

Whether your mother, father, or both parents are toxic, selfish, neglectful, or downright abusive, this post covers all the quotes you could ever need on your inner child healing journey.

Reading these 107 quotes can give you the push you need to break away from your harmful family and to find self-love once and for all.

I know you might feel alone, but I promise, you are never alone in your trauma.

When you’re struggling with childhood trauma, it might be helpful to talk to an online therapist. I always recommend Online Therapy, because it’s a complete online counseling toolkit, and you can get incredible therapy from the comfort of your own home. Get 20% off your first month.

What is a toxic parent?

The fact that you’re looking up quotes for toxic and abusive parents is pretty evident that your mom or dad (or both parents) are toxic ― this, of course, includes step parents as well!

But in case you need further proof, here are some telltale signs of a toxic parent. ⤵️

Signs of a toxic parent:

💥 They are physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive.

💥 They repeatedly talk down, belittle, or bully you.

💥 Your boundaries are constantly violated.

💥 They are selfish and self-centered.

💥 They manipulate you and others.

Of course, this is just a small handful of a large laundry list of traits toxic parents possess.

But for now, strap in for the next 107 quotes about toxic parents.

And speaking of toxic parents, have you downloaded your free inner child healing workbook yet? 👇

107 Quotes on Toxic and Abusive Parents

Want to skip ahead?

Toxic Parents Quotes
Toxic Mothers Quotes
Toxic Fathers Quotes
More Toxic Parents Quotes
Quotes for Bad Parents
Selfish Parents Quotes
Failed Parenting Quotes
Neglectful Parents Quotes
Abusive Parents Quotes
Letting Go of Toxic Parents Quotes
More Quotes About Moving On From Family

If you’re looking for quotes about healing your inner child, head over here: 70 Healing Inner Child Quotes (to Help Overcome Childhood Trauma)

Quotes About Toxic Parents

1. “Our family was stuck in a cosmic hamster wheel of toxic love, making the same mistakes, saying the same words, being hurt in the same ways generation after generation. I didn’t want to keep playing a role in this tragedy of errors.” ― Yamile Saied Méndez (Furia)

2. “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

3. “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.” ― Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)

4. “A lot of people who have experienced trauma at the hands of people they’ve trusted take responsibility, and that is what’s toxic.” ― Hannah Gadsby

5. “People can forgive toxic parents, but they should do it at the conclusion—not at the beginning—of their emotional housecleaning.” ― Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

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

7. “This toxic pattern within the broken family system will continue from one generation to the next, until one brave survivor finally ends the cycle of abuse. The dysfunction, bullying, and abuse didn’t start with you, but it most certainly can end with you.” ― Dana Arcuri (Soul Rescue: How to Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse & Heal Trauma)

8. “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

Toxic Mother Quotes

9. “When a mother shares adult concerns with her daughter, a healthy dependence becomes impossible; the daughter feels insecure and alone because she has no parent on whom she can depend.” ― Karyl McBride (Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)

10. “What cannot be communicated to the [m]other cannot be communicated to the self.” ― John Bowlby

11. “We want desperately to believe that every mother falls in love with her baby at first sight and that the complexity of relationships, so evident elsewhere as part of the human condition, is totally absent from the connection between mother and child.” ― Peg Streep (Mean Mothers: Overcoming the Legacy of Hurt)

12. “We are all born same, we are completely cute, innocent, sweet, and we need that reflection of ourselves as little human beings to live, and I was not receiving that from my mother.” ― Anneke Lucas

13. “More than one new personality was created in response to Mother’s unexpected fury.” ― Joan Frances Casey (The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality)

14. “Your mother doesn’t need a diagnosis for you to determine that your relationship is unhealthy.” ― Diane Metcalf

15. “Our society has a twisted sense of motherhood. They believe that all mothers are kind, tender, gentle, and loving. Unfortunately, not all women who give birth to children are a good parent. Not all women are fit to be mothers.” ― Dana Arcuri (Soul Rescue: How to Break Free From Narcissistic Abuse & Heal Trauma)

16. “I wanted my mother to love me. Despite all the torture and brutality.” ― Wendy Hoffman (White Witch in a Black Robe: A True Story About Criminal Mind Control)

Related podcast episode about toxic mothers:

More Toxic Mom Quotes

17. “My mother was already an abandoned soul, a misguided young woman who would subconsciously put herself into situations that starved her soul. The worst feeling in the world is to love someone who cannot love you back, to care about someone who can only care about themselves.” ― LaTasha “Tacha B.” Braxton

18. “His mother, who had never been able to manage him, sent him to school to get rid of him, lamented his absence till he returned, then writhed and fretted under his presence until again he went.” ― George MacDonald (Mary Marston)

19. “Toxic moms pollute and contaminate everything good around them. So be careful when you are in their presence so that you don’t get contaminated as well.” ― Anonymous“

20. If all toxic moms understood the difference between healthy motherly love and toxic destructive love, they wouldn’t be toxic in the first place.” ― Samuel Zulu

21. A toxic mother talks but never listens, and she gives advice but never takes any. And we have to deal with all of this because she’s our mother.” ― Sherrie Campbell (But It’s Your Family…: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath)

22. “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“

23. “I will give my toxic mother one thing she never gave me—the truth.” ― Rayne Wolfe

24. “There are no shortages of drama in the house if toxic mothers are present.” ― Anonymous

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Toxic Father Quotes

25. “Parents are the centre of a person’s solar system, even as an adult. My dad had a stronger gravitational pull than most, so his absence was bound to leave a deep and lasting void.” ― Justin Trudeau

26. “The little girl’s dependency on her father made [his] abuse more insidious.” ― Joan Frances Casey (The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality)

27. “If there’s no relationship with a father who’s absent, nobody talks about it.” ― Charles B. Rangel

28. “Her father had given her life, and then taken every scrap of joy or freedom, and even now that he was dead, all he had left her with was a deep, abiding hatred for what she was.” ― Brenna Yovanoff (Fiendish)

29. “Real dads support their children without the law telling them they have to.” ― Anonymous

30. “For a father like mine, it was normal to chop off his daughter’s hair with sheep shears, and to beat her with a belt or a cane or tie her up in the stable all night with the cows.” ― Souad (Burned Alive)

31. “An absent father needs to realize his child’s needs before it is too late.” ― Unknown

32. “Toxic fathers view their children’s love for them as automatic—something they deserve for just being fathers.” ― Sherrie Campbell (But It’s Your Family…: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath)

More Toxic Dad Quotes

33. “When a father, absent during the day, returns home at six, his children receive only his temperament, not his teaching.” ― Robert Bly

34. “Even if you understand, on one level, that your father was wrong to beat you, you may still believe he was justified.” ― Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

35. “There’s nothing worse than a man that can be everything to everybody else except a father to their own child.” ― Anonymous

36. “No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.” ― Plato

37. “Toxic fathers get the majority of their gratification outside of the family.” ― Sherrie Campbell (But It’s Your Family…: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath)

38. “Manipulation and control are favourite weapons abusive dads often use on their children for control.” ― Anonymous

39. “My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.” ― Alice Roosevelt Longworth

40. “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” ― Wade Boggs

More Quotes on Toxic Parents

41. “In a certain sense, members of a dysfunctional family are participating in a ‘consensual trance‘, i.e., a ‘survival trance’ supported by false narratives, toxic shame, anxiety, and egoic defense mechanisms, such as denial and projection.” ― Rebecca C. Mandeville (Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Understanding Family Scapegoating Abuse)

42. “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

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

44. “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.” — Susan Forward, Craig Buck (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)

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

46. “Your toxic parent 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.” — Unknown

47. “Fighting became a way of life and seemed perfectly normal for your family.” ― Steven Farmer (Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused)

Quotes for Bad Parents

48. “What’s so sad is when we’re younger, if you have a bad parent, that is normal to you and that’s what you think of as healthy.” ― Jennifer Lawrence

49. “Good parenting give headaches but bad parenting gives heartaches.” ― Shiv Khera

50. “In the minds of my parents, they are the victims; I am the abuser.” ― Christina Enevoldsen

51. “The majority of parents, without knowing it and without intending it, give very bad examples to their children.” ― Anne Robert Jacques Turgot (The Turgot Collection)

52. “What’s so sad is when we’re younger, if you have a bad parent, that is normal to you and that’s what you think of as healthy.” ― Jennifer Lawrence

53. “The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.” ― Carl Jung

54. “Why didn’t I feel that I belonged to my parents? How early could I have known that I was not right? I think it has always been part of me.” ― Joan Frances Casey, (The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality)

55. “Parents wonder why the streams are bitter when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.” ― John Locke

Selfish Parents Quotes

56. “It is the selfish parents who are to blame. Pay attention, be involved in your children’s lives. They are your legacy, your only hope.” ― Aaron B. Powell

57. “Parents. Honestly. Sometimes they really do think the world revolves around them.” ― Randa Abdel-Fattah

58. “If you can’t make sacrifices for your kids, you don’t deserve them. A true parent would give their life and their very last breath. ― Unknown

59. “Did you have parents or just some people who thought they should own somebody?” ― Catherine Lacey

60. “They should love you, just as you are. Parents should love their kids, right? ‘You’d think so.’” ― N.R. Walker (The Spencer Cohen Series, Book Three)

61. “Children shouldn’t have to sacrifice so that you can have the life you want. You make sacrifices so your children can have the life they deserve.” ― Unknown

62. “Dysfunctional parents let their children know how burdened they have been by their children and how many sacrifices they had to make in order to raise them.” ― Dr. Marita Sirota

63. “Being a parent shouldn’t be when it is convenient for you. It is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year commitment.” – Unknown

Failed Parenting Quotes

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

65. “It has been my observation that parents kill more dreams than anybody.” ― Spike Lee

66. “Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being.” ― Kittie Frantz

67. “Parents who rely on their children for happiness make both their children and themselves miserable.” ― Dennis Prager

68. “A child’s shoulders were not built to bear the weight of their parent’s choices.” ― Toby Mac

69. “My parents loved us but I wasn’t always sure they liked us.” – Tahereh Mafi

70. “Your children vividly remember every unkind thing you ever did to them, plus a few you really didn’t.” ― Mignon McLaughlin

Neglectful Parents Quotes

71. “Children who try to be good enough to win their parents’ love have no way of knowing that unconditional love cannot be bought with conditional behavior.” ― Lindsay C. Gibson (Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents)

72. “Parental Alienation is an emotional act of violence that is aimed at an adult but critically wounds a child.” ― Steve Maraboli

73. “Someone from an unhealthy family is filled with fear and self-doubt.” ― Christina Enevoldsen

74. “If I, as a child, claim that something awful has happened—that someone has done something terrible to me—and everyone around me acts as if nothing is the matter, then either I must be crazy, or all of them are. And when you’re a kid and your life depends on all these people, there is no choice: of course, I must be crazy.” ― E. Sue Blume (Secret Survivors)

75. “In troubled families, abuse and neglect are permitted. It’s talking about them that is forbidden.” ― Marcia Sirota

76. “I’m worried about parents who aren’t parenting.” ― Barbara Bush

77. “Our parents were our first gods. If parents are loving, nurturing, and kind, this becomes the child’s definition of the creator. If parents were controlling, angry, and manipulative, then this becomes their definition.” ― David W. Earle LPC (Love is Not Enough)

78. “You shouldn’t do that. Not to your child. You should-carry your own burdens.” ― Cassandra Clare

Related TikTok about neglectful parents:

Abusive Parents Quotes

79. “If the abuser is a parent or caretaker, the abuse may be the most attention the child has had from that person. To the child, withholding attention can be a powerful form of coercion.” ― Rick Moskovitz (Lost in the Mirror: An Inside Look at Borderline Personality Disorder)

80. “Parents treat an abused child as if the child were older than the parents. A parent often turns to the child for reassurance, nurturing, comfort, and protection and expects a loving response.” ― Benjamin James Sadock

81. “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.” ― Beverly Engel (The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused — And Start Standing Up for Yourself)

82. “Abuse manipulates and twists a child’s natural sense of trust and love.” ― Laura Davis (Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse)

83. “I no longer look to my abusers with any expectation– of remorse, or apology or restitution or restoration or relationship. I’m at peace, accepting that they won’t and can’t help me out of the mess they created. But, I’m the best qualified for that job anyway and I’m happy with the job I’m doing.” ― Christina Enevoldsen (The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal)

84. “Repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality.” ― Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)

85. “If mental abuse was a punishable crime, a lot of parents would be in jail serving a long term.” ― Maddy Malhotra (How to Build Self-Esteem and Be Confident: Overcome Fears, Break Habits, Be Successful and Happy)

86. “When you were abused, those around you acted as if it weren’t happening. Since no one else acknowledged the abuse, you sometimes felt that it wasn’t real.” ― Beverly Engel (The Right to Innocence)

Related TikTok on abusive parents:

More Quotes About Abusive Parents

87. “Emotional abuse is the sustained, repetitive, inappropriate, emotional responses to the child’s felt emotions and their accompanying expressive behaviour.” ― Kieran O’Hagan (Identifying Emotional and Psychological Abuse: A Guide for Childcare Professionals)

88. “Unfortunately, because emotional abuse is often tolerated or because the abusive parents are very secretive in their abuse, emotionally abused children will assume that how they were treated at home was natural.” ― Veronica Jarski

89. “For many children, any expression of feelings, even a single tear, is cause for more severe abuse. Again, the only recourse is to shut down. Feelings go underground.” ― Laura Davis (Allies in Healing: When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse)

90. “The child trapped in an abusive environment is faced with formidable tasks of adaptation. She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness.” ― Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)

91. “The most challenging aspect of psychological/emotional abuse is that is deniable by our family members and impossible to prove.” ― Sherrie Campbell (But It’s Your Family…: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath)

Related abusive parents post:

Letting Go of Toxic Parents Quotes

92. “She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she reencounters the trauma.” ― Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)

93. “I am done looking for love where it doesn’t exist. I am done coughing up dust in attempts to drink from dry wells.” ― Maggie Young

94. “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.” ― Susan Forward (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

95. “It is a rare person who can cut himself off from mediate and immediate relations with others for long spaces of time without undergoing a deterioration in personality.” ― Harry Stack Sullivan (The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry)

96. “We are so used to our own history, we do not see it as remarkable or out of the ordinary, whereas others might see it as horrendous. Further, we tend to minimize that which we feel shameful about.” ― Patrick J. Carnes (Sexual Anorexia: Overcoming Sexual Self-Hatred)

97. “To heal from childhood wounds, recognizing our emotions is powerful. Exploring what they are telling us and how they are affecting our lives is the big step that makes all the difference.” ― Jeanne McElvaney, (Spirit Unbroken: Abby’s Story)

98. “You must let go of the responsibility for the painful events of your childhood and put it where it belongs.” — Susan Forward, Craig Buck (Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life)

99. “I explain to my patients that abused children often find it hard to disentangle themselves from their dysfunctional families, whereas children grow away from good, loving parents with far less conflict. After all, isn’t that the task of a good parent, to enable the child to leave home?” ― Irvin Yalom (Momma and the Meaning of Life: Tales of Psychotherapy)

Related post on healing from childhood trauma:

More Quotes About Moving On From Family

100. “About the expression “Hurt people, hurt people”.. Hurt people are not going to stop HURTING other people until they receive the memo that it is WRONG, (or if there are actual consequences for their behavior.) Feeling sorry for them and understanding where they ‘came from’ is not helping to stop the cycle of abuse.” ― Darlene Ouimet

101. “The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.” — Nathaniel Branden (The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field)

102. “Fear of breaking family loyalty is one of the greatest stumbling blockages to recovery. Yet, until we admit certain things we would rather excuse or deny, we cannot truly begin to put the past in the past, and leave it there once and for all.” — Ronald Allen Schulz

103. “You don’t get to choose your family, but you do get to choose how they’re allowed to treat you.” – Anonymous

104. “Recovering from family scapegoating requires recognizing that being the ‘identified patient’ is symptomatic of generations of systemic dysfunction within one’s family, fueled by unrecognized anxiety and even trauma.” — Rebecca C. Mandeville (Rejected, Shamed, and Blamed: Understanding Family Scapegoating Abuse)

105. “The black sheep blazes the trail for other family members to follow when they finally see the wolf.” — Anonymous

106. “If we are their children, their abuse started on our first day of life and will only deepen as we age or for as long as we remain connected to them.” ― Sherrie Campbell (But It’s Your Family…: Cutting Ties with Toxic Family Members and Loving Yourself in the Aftermath)

107. “It’s okay to cut toxic family members out of your life. Blood ain’t thicker than peace of mind.” — Anonymous

Where to put toxic parents quotes

The best part about quotes for toxic mothers and fathers is how painfully validating they can be.

And because they are validating, keeping these healing quotes nearby can always spark a reminder of your trauma, neglect, and abuse when your inner child needs it the most.

Here are my favorite ways to use quotes:

⭐ Print them out and put them in a picture frame

⭐ Write one on a post-it note and stick it on your mirror

⭐ Have one as your phone background

⭐ Rewrite some in a journal every day

Quotes About Toxic Mothers and Fathers

As you can see, reading toxic and abusive parents quotes can give you the kick needed to cut ties and let go of your harmful family once and for all.

They remind you just how important you are and just how much you never, ever deserved the pain and neglect your parent inflicted on you.

We could all use more inner child healing, and the quotes above can help you start to build that vital relationship with your younger self.

Your childhood trauma and neglect is valid

Having a bad childhood filled with abuse and neglect can feel incredibly isolating.

But I promise: You are not alone.

If you want to feel less alone, head to my TikTok, where I share countless childhood trauma stories and how I’ve overcome them.

💭 Which quote resonates with you the most?

💾 Bookmark this page to return to over and over again!

More posts about toxic parents:

More quote posts:

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Quotes About Toxic Parents