HARMFUL ‘innocent’ Parental Phrases (Part 1)

PREVIOUS: Alan Sayings #5

SITE: “13 Things You Should Stop Saying to Your Kids Now”

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), in the long run psychological abuse in childhood can be just as damaging as sexual or physical abuse.

To shed some light on what “innocent” comments actually hurt,  author JULIETTE VIRZI – turned to the mental health community at ‘The Mighty” for suggestions ➡️.

It’s important to remember that what may seem innocent or teasing comments to some adults are actually hurtful or abusive to children. No matter what anyone thinks, your feelings are valid, & you deserve support. The following are phrases you too may have heard growing up. They’re listed here by the people who suggested them.

1. ‘Children are meant to be seen, not heard.’
“Appearances were important – my thoughts, emotions or opinions were not.” — Keisha D.

2. ‘If you don’t behave, no one will love you.’
As a child, my dad & stepmom said so many hurtful things, & this one caused the most damage. To this day, some 40 years later, I still believe I’m unwanted & unloved, especially if I do something wrong.” — Tammy Z.

3. ‘You’re not the daughter I expected.’
“My mom said this constantly. I’m adopted, so it was heartbreaking, making me even more depressed & anxious. I don’t talk to her anymore. If I’m not wanted, I’ll stay away.” — Benedicte V.

4. ‘Never be a burden to anyone.’
“This seemed like good advice, but I grew up keeping everything to myself, & trying to help everyone. When someone did something nice for me, I felt obligated to reciprocate, not wanting to be a burden, thinking I was a burden.” — Florence N.
5. ‘Don’t be so dramatic.’
“This was said every time I expressed any emotions not pre-approved by my stepmother. I repress them to this day because of that instilled fear.” — Lea L.

“Throughout my entire childhood whenever I expressed emotions, I was told I was ‘being too dramatic,’ so when I was abused & assaulted, I couldn’t tell my parents. It’s affected my entire life, struggling to express emotions because of it.” — Natasha A.

6. ‘Sometimes I wish I never had you kids.’
“My mum told me as well as my brothers & sister.” — Christina F.
7. ‘You’re my perfect child.’
“My mom favored me over the other 4 kids.” — Brooke L.

8. ‘Why can’t you be more like your siblings?’
“- like my sister. But we’re very different people. Mum was very controlling of my looks until I got a job & could do what I wanted. Then she lost control.” — Sarah W.

9. ‘It’s like you don’t want to be happy.

“‘You can choose to be happy, you just don’t want to.,’ said my mom while I was trying to ask for help during a suicidal episode.” — Darian K.

10. ‘You should be thankful.’
“It’s what my mother tells me every time I have depressive episodes: “You survived college. You’re abundant with food, money and shelter. You have us. Your sisters actually love you. So, there is nothing to be depressed about! You’re just brokenhearted because someone you like just rejected you.’

Yes, it may seem harmless to anyone, but for me, even though I have everything, depression is still there & won’t go away just like that. I’m sorry.” — Pamela J.

11. ‘You are the sorriest youngin’ that ever lived.’
My Mama even said this on my wedding day. I responded, ‘That’s OK because after today you won’t have to worry anymore!’ Some years later I confronted her with this & she said, ‘Well I was just joking, couldn’t you tell I was joking?’ I was a child. How was I supposed to know?” — Marsha S.

12. ‘You’ve always been so difficult.’
“I heard this anytime there was a difference in opinion.” — Marie V.

13. ‘You’re really filling out your bra now, aren’t you?’
“‘You’re a woman now. You know what that means, right?’ my dad said when I got my first period at his house, at age 9. Followed by, ‘You sure are filling out your bra…’
Every weekend thereafter for the next 3 years.” — Kristy B.

14. ‘That’s silly, you shouldn’t feel that way.’
“When I was a child (& still as an adult), when I’d get the courage to tell my mom how something she did / is doing made me feel, she’d say, ‘That’s silly’ & proceeded to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way. It made me feel bad then & even worse now, so I’ve stopped telling her things.” — Jen D.

NEXT: Parental Phrases – Part 2

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