The Toxic Psychology of Parents Who Abuse their Children

lessons on breaking the cycle.

Emily Stroia
4 min readApr 21, 2019


Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

“Hope’ is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops — at all“ — Emily Dickenson

Every child needs unconditional love, safety and support to thrive as a healthy human in the world.

For some children their needs are fulfilled and for others they aren’t so lucky.

I was one of the not so lucky.

As a survivor of child abuse and sexual violence I feel it is my duty to be an advocate for those who are still in the trenches of it.

One of the questions I often asked myself was “Why is this happening to me?”

Child abuse victims want so badly to have normal parents and a normal family.

We want to feel safe coming home to our family.

We want to feel supported and not in fear of being belittled, violated or abused.

We want to have a parent to turn to for guidance, love and direction.

It is emotionally confusing to love a parent who is abusive.

Often times we may not know what or how to feel towards them.

Understanding our parents can be a mixed bag of emotions from compassion, anger, love, sadness, violation or hope.

Shifting our mindset to view them from the outside can give us some powerful insight and lessons.

The psychology of an abusive parent.

Studies have shown that our childhood history plays a huge role in how we are as parents.

Parents who did not have their needs met as children may find it hard to meet the needs of their own children.

Research has also revealed that some parents who were mistreated as children may expose their child to abuse.

Environmental circumstances such as job loss, marital problems, or physical health concerns…



Emily Stroia

Psych therapist in training. I write about mental health, trauma, well-being, and spirituality. Stay for a while.