Your parents make you depressed? (5 coping tips)


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Page last updated: 10/11/2022

In the following article, we will try to understand why you may feel like your parents are making you depressed, what is toxic parenting, what are the effects of toxic parenting, and how to cope and get help. 

Can parents give you depression?

Yes, it is possible in some cases that your parent’s behavior leads to depression. 

It is important however, to keep in mind that depression isn’t caused by any one single factor. Developing clinical depression means the environmental factors, genetic factors, biological factors and psycho-social factors all played a role.  

There are people in your life who will support and boost you up when you need it the most. Others may take pleasure in bringing you down or causing you misery.

Most psychologists will tell you that having a solid support system is one of the most important things you can do to combat depression. That’s why so many people suffering from clinical depression seek treatment not only for themselves but also for their family. Because you can’t fight depression alone — you need people by your side who will support, empower, understand, and love you through all of your ups and downs.

Let’s take a look at some of the behaviors of your parents that can lead to you feeling depressed:

They exert a great deal of pressure on you.

A method your parents may be making you miserable is by putting too much pressure on you and expecting you to meet their impossibly high standards. They may tell you that you’re “the only good thing in their life” and that they want to live vicariously through you, so you feel obligated to stick by their side and put their pleasure ahead of your own.

Your thoughts are swamped by their presence.

Your initial reaction is always fear and panic when your parents inform you they’re coming to visit you, rather than the usual delight and comfort most people feel. That should be your first indication that anything is seriously wrong with your parent-child relationship. You feel tight and uneasy whenever they’re around; you have trouble concentrating and become less focused and attentive; and you’re always emotionally drained afterwards.

Emotionally unavailable 

Do your parents have a habit of being cold and distant with you? Do you find it difficult to communicate with them or to open up to them about certain topics? If you don’t have an emotional connection with your parents, it can cause a lot of problems in your relationships as you become older.

 Because your parents never taught you the value of emotional vulnerability, you will most likely fail to build and sustain meaningful relationships with others. And this might make you feel alienated and separated from the people in your life, potentially leading to sadness.

They keep you from achieving your goals.

Our parents will frequently try to lead us in a different direction because they believe they always know what is best for us. However, it is critical that each child be given the opportunity to forge their own path and choose what they want to accomplish with their lives. 

If your parents try to make that decision for you without taking into account your feelings or listening to what you have to say, you may develop anger toward them and feel compelled to compromise your pleasure to satisfy them.

Your parents make you depressed? (5 coping tips)

Their mental illness has an impact on you.

Having a parent with a mental illness is challenging since their struggle is, in many respects, a weight that their children must face as well. As a number of studies have demonstrated, growing up with a mentally ill parent has a variety of detrimental consequences.

 Parents with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), for example, frequently abuse their children emotionally and psychologically (Dutton, Denny-Keys, & Sells, 2011). Having a depressed parent also increases your chances of developing an anxiety disorder or depression (Olfson et al., 2003).

They make your depression worse.

When your parents are around, do your symptoms seem to get worse? It’s a good clue that your parents are toxic for you if spending time with them makes you unhappy.

 Perhaps they’re too severe and uncaring; or petty, self-centered, and uncaring. It’s fine to acknowledge that you don’t want to be around your parents for any reason if all they do is bring negativity and suffering into your life.

You picked up on their dysfunction.

You learned all of your maladaptive ways of coping with your difficulties from your parents, as did most children who grew up in a dysfunctional family. While some children may have been taught key values and appropriate coping skills (such as talking about feelings and knowing when to seek help), your parents taught you how to isolate yourself and deal with your problems in an unhealthy manner.

 You’re prone to isolating yourself from others and having trouble managing your emotions. You may be easily irritated or enraged, and you may experience emotional breakdowns – all of these are warning symptoms of depression (American Psychological Association, 2013).

They will not assist you in overcoming your depression.

Finally, even if your parents aren’t directly causing your depression, they are exacerbating it by refusing to support you in your fight against it and assist you in overcoming your mental illness. They continue to be clueless about the nature of depression and make no effort to learn more about it. 

They deny that you have “something to be upset about” because they’ve “been good parents to you,” and they discourage you from seeking help from a guidance counsellor or mental health expert.

They have a problem with substance abuse.

Having a parent who is an alcoholic or a drug addict means you haven’t had an easy life. Those who deal with substance misuse are generally negligent, untrustworthy, and emotionally unavailable, even if they have attempted to quit or stay clean. 

They are unable to offer the sense of protection and security that every child requires as they get older, and as a result, they have a tendency to become abusive, leading to their children developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance addiction problems of their own (Famularo, Kinscherff, & Fenton, 1992).

They’ve gotten abusive

Domestic violence and parental abuse (whether physical, mental, or psychological) can have a wide range of negative consequences for a kid, leaving them scarred for years (Glaser, 2017). Even if your parents were not abusive at first, if they bully, threaten, physically/emotionally harass, and manipulate you on a regular basis, they are endangering your mental health.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Understanding toxic parenting 

What does it mean?

To be clear, “toxic parent” isn’t a medical phrase or a concept with a specific definition. When people talk about toxic parents, they’re usually referring to parents who routinely act in ways that make their children feel guilty, afraid, or obligated. Their behaviours aren’t one-off occurrences, but rather patterns of behaviour that have a negative impact on their child’s life.

Parents, after all, are human beings. That means they’re more likely to make mistakes, yell excessively, or do potentially harmful things to their children, even if it’s unintended. Their instinct, though, is to do better and make things right.

A toxic parent, on the other hand, is more concerned with their personal demands than with whether or not their actions are harmful. They’re unlikely to apologise or even admit that they’re doing something wrong. And the maltreatment or neglect is usually persistent or escalating.

It’s absolutely common for anyone, even parents, to have outbursts and bad days. However, if the acts you recall from your childhood are consistent or follow a pattern, you might want to reconsider how they influenced who you are today.

  • Do my parents still treat me like a kid?
  • Do they make me feel guilty in order to achieve what they want? Or do they employ threats or other forms of coercion, such as providing or withholding money?
  • Do I become sick or experience other intense physical or mental reactions after meeting my parents?
  • Is it just me, or do I feel like I’ll never meet my parents’ expectations?
  • Is it true that my parents abused me emotionally? Did they tell me I wasn’t worth anything or that I was simply plain bad?
  • Is it true that they physically abused me in the name of discipline?
  • Was I compelled to look after my parents when I was a child?
  • Is it true that I was afraid of my parents or their actions? Was it because I was hesitant to express my rage or irritation to them?
  • Did they force me to keep secrets about things they did to me, such as physical or sexual abuse, from my family or friends?

You may have a toxic parent in your life if you responded yes to any or all of these questions. Allow that to soak in for a moment.

Consider this: You may hold yourself responsible for their actions or how you react to them. You may feel guilty or insufficient, making it difficult for you to succeed as an adult. Growing up in such a stressful and confusing environment can make it difficult to develop healthy self-esteem, therefore you may be carrying some heavy baggage.

However, you may make changes to your relationship and your life to address and heal the damage that has been done.

Read more about the effects of toxic parenting here 

How to cope?

While you can’t change another person’s conduct, you may restrict your encounters with toxic parents by creating boundaries. It can also assist you in gaining control of the situation and feeling empowered in situations where you previously felt powerless.

Your parents may still affect or overwhelm you as an adult. You can even feel as if you’re waiting for someone to give you permission to leave that control.

The truth is, you are the only one who can give yourself permission. You are the one who has the power to change and reclaim your life. And you can get started right now by establishing a plan.

It’s critical to reflect on your formative events and how they impacted your personality. Take a seat with them. Consider how you feel when you’re around them. Consider how they influence your behaviour. Writing down your feelings or speaking with a trusted family member or friend may be beneficial.

This procedure may be intimidating for some. You don’t have to go it alone on the road to recovery.

 Make an appointment with a licenced mental health practitioner to obtain some suggestions on where to begin.

Make a list of what you’d like to change. If you want, you can prioritise the list before deciding which behaviour to start with.Replace the behaviour you want to modify with the one you want to change.Once you’ve mastered one habit, you can go on to the next one on the list and attack it.

Set clear boundaries 

Setting clear limits is one of the greatest places to start. A boundary is merely an invisible line you draw around oneself that no one is allowed to breach. This could be a medical or emotional problem. And you have complete control over where that line is drawn.


In this article, we have discussed if parents can give you depression, behaviors of parents that may lead to you feeling depressed, what is toxic parenting and how to cope. 

What we recommend for Depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.


What do toxic parents do?

Toxic parents may intrude on your privacy or refuse to let you make your own choices. Or perhaps, even as an adult, they are unduly judgmental and controlling of your judgments. Manipulation is a type of behaviour in which someone manipulates another person. Your parents may try to control you by manipulating your emotions with guilt or shame.

What are the signs of toxic parents?

The following are some of the most typical indications of a toxic parent or parents:

  • Negatively reacting to the extreme. 
  • Parents who are toxic are emotionally out of control
  • Empathy deficit. The poisonous individual or parent is incapable of empathising with others.
  • Extremely commanding.
  • Extremely essential.
  • Everyone else is to blame.

What are the traits of a toxic mother?

Constantly Critical Characteristics of a Toxic Mother – 

  • Adding Stress And Toxicity To Your Life
  • Mom is a Control Freak, and she’s in charge of your behaviour.
  • Master Guilt-Tripper and Toxic Manipulator.
  • Humiliator and Saboteur – Not Thinking About Your Emotions Or Mental Health
  •  Invalidates or Disallows Negative Emotions.

What are the things toxic parents say?

Self-centered attitudes, controlling, physical and psychological abuse, manipulations, and full disdain for personal boundaries are all characteristics of a toxic parent’s behaviour. Toxic parents usually try to control you by instilling feelings of severe guilt, duty, or inadequacy in you.