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A loving family should bring warmth, happiness and hope without limits. It should instil trust and respect whilst being a celebration of unity.
But whilst many families strive for such a positive environment, we haven’t all been so lucky. For those of us who’ve dealt with a selfish parent, the emptiness is overwhelming.
The constantly unheard cry for support is deafening, and the emotional wounds bleed heavily.
Undoubtedly, this toxic behavior is damaging, not only to ourselves but to those around us. And so, we must find a way to process and, with time, make peace with the past.
Here are 61 selfish parents quotes to help you cope better with the difficult relationship you’ve experienced. Because understanding your heartache is the first step to recovery.
What You Will Learn
What Are Selfish Parents?
We all begrudge our parent’s choices from time to time, but for the most, they’re acting in our best interests. To teach us right from wrong: to encourage and educate, and help us become better people.
But sometimes, those judgements are tainted. The instinct to guide and protect is overturned by narcissistical motives. And the once unconditional love now has conditions.
Seeking approval is persecuted, and accomplishments are met with nit-picking and judgment. The constant suppression of any success is exhausting. And superiority reigns over happiness like a dark cloud.
Your fear of confrontation and rejection only feeds their power trip. And your achievements are used as bragging rights, brought out only to highlight their success before forcing you back into their shadows.
Whether these behaviors started during childhood or beyond, the psychological damage remains the same. The internal gaslighting leaves you questioning everything, and can make relationships difficult thanks to the inbuilt trust issues.
But you aren’t here to boost their self-esteem whilst simultaneously crushing yours. Yes, those shackles are hard to break free from. But you are here to live your life, your way, without ridicule or repercussion.
These selfish parents quotes are intended to fill you with hope, courage and certainty that you are not alone. Though the journey so far has been a troubled one, you can now change the direction.
So let’s begin…
- “Parents forgive their children least readily for the faults they themselves instilled in them.” – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
- “You don't have to leave your whole family in the past, just those who don't deserve a place in your future.” – Christina Enevoldsen
- “You don't get to choose your family, but you do get to choose how they're allowed to treat you.” – Unknown
- “Parents wonder why the streams are bitter when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.” – John Locke
- “All of us develop our expectations about how people will treat us based on our relationships with our parents.” – Susan Forward
- “Some scars don’t hurt. Some scars are numb. Some scars rid you of the capacity to feel anything ever again.” – Joyce Rachelle
- “Families are homes built on a foundation of trust and love. A toxic family can never be a home, because the foundation doesn't exist.” – Unknown
- “It is a violation of trust to use your kids as caulking for the cracks in you.” – Anne Lamott
- “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
- “Fighting became a way of life and seemed perfectly normal for your family.” – Steven Farmer
- “Family is where you're meant to be most free. Don't let blood chain you down.” – Unknown
- “An unpredictable parent is a fearsome god in the eyes of a child.” – Susan Forward
- “No, we don’t control who our parents are. We don’t control what color we are. We don’t control what home we are born into. But we control our attitude. We control our work ethic. We control our drive and our commitment.” – Dabo Swinney
- “It has been my observation that parents kill more dreams than anybody.” – Spike Lee
- “You may feel guilty for leaving your family behind, but you'll never regret moving yourself forward.” – Unknown
- “They are not sorry for harming you. So, don’t feel guilty for cutting them off.” – John Mark Green
- “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” – Unknown
- “Did you have parents or just some people who thought they should own somebody?” – Catherine Lacey
- “You have the right to put up a fence between you and your family, and the choice whether to include a gate.” – Unknown
- “Parents. Honestly. Sometimes they really do think the world revolves around them.” – Randa Abdel-Fattah
- “A narcissist parent is easily frustrated by a healthy, independent child that they can't control through parental emotional manipulation.” –
- “Don’t try to make children grow up to be like you, or they may do it.” – Russell Baker
- “When you say “No” to a toxic family, you say “Yes” to loving yourself.”
- “A person can’t pick up the children and just squeeze them to which-a-way they want them to be.” – Carson McCullers
- “Narcissist parents don’t care about their children’s feelings at all. Only their feelings matter.” – Kim Saeed
- “Leave your pride, ego, and narcissism somewhere else. Reactions from those parts of you will reinforce your children’s most primitive fears.” – Henry Cloud
- “Parent-child relationships aren't created at birth, they're created in life.” – Unknown
- “Parents are the least likely to forgive their children for the flaws they ingrained in them.” – Unknown
- “You must let go of the responsibility for the painful events of your childhood and put it where it belongs.” – Susan Forward
- “A dysfunctional family is not a family at all, it's a toxic relationship parading as a requirement.” – Unknown
- “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
- “You don't have to leave your whole family in the past, just those who don't deserve a place in your future.” – Unknown
- “A true parent prioritizes their children's needs and wants over their own.” – Unknown
- “Anyone could father a child. But a good parent puts his child's needs before his own. A parent should be selfless not selfish.” — Penelope Ward
Anyone could father a child. But a good parent puts his child's needs before his own. A parent should be selfless not selfish.” — Penelope Ward
- “Fear based parenting is the surest way to create intimidated children.” – Tim Kimmel
- “That man who lives only for himself is the cruelest mortal on the face of the earth.” – Unknown
- “Anyone can claim to be a “parent” if they have a child. A true parent prioritizes their child's needs and desires before their own.” – Unknown
- “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
- “The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse.” – Benjamin Franklin
- “Because of the absence of connection and bonding between mother and kid, being surrounded by toxic mothers can be one of the most lonely times in a child's life.” – Unknown
- “Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons.” – Travis Bradberry
- “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” – Jane D. Hull
- “Good parenting gives headaches, but bad parenting gives heartaches.” – Shiv Khera
- “Dysfunctional parents do not apologize. It is one feature that the children of narcissists would instantly agree on. They will lie and justify themselves, but never accept they did anything wrong.” – Diana Macey
- “Instead of treating your child like how you were treated. Treat them with the same love and attention you wanted from your parents while growing up.” – Jonathan Anthony Burkett
- “As a parent, you should be more concerned with your child’s happiness than your petty insecurities and jealousies. Just a thought!” – Unknown
- “Follow your own passion – not your parents’, not your teachers’ – yours.” – Robert Ballard
- “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
- “Your mother’s happiness is not your responsibility. It has never been.” – Unknown
- “Selfish people are unable to love others, but they are also unable to love themselves.” – Unknown
- “They should love you, just as you are. Parents should love their kids, right?” “You’d think so.” ― N.R. Walker
- “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 that they deserve.” – Unknown
- “Being a selfish parent is a sign of not having learned from experience.” – Unknown
- “Selfishness is not living as one wishes, but rather requesting that others live as one wishes.”
- “Narcissistic parents don’t really recognize their children as people separate from them. Instead, they see their children as little extensions of themselves. The needs of the child are defined by the needs of the parent, and the child who tries to express his needs is often accused of being selfish or inconsiderate.” — Jonice Webb
- “Any mother that could be cruel to a child is not going to apologize to that child when they have grown up.” – Rayne Wolf
- “Anyone can have a child and call themselves a parent. A real parent is someone who puts that child above their own selfish needs and wants.” – Unknown
- “An unloving mother robs the child of a sense of belonging. The need to belong can become a lifelong quest for him or her.” – Peg Streep
- “Just remember when you are ignoring them, you are teaching them to live without you.” – Unknown
- “You can always leave your childhood trauma and your abusive mom or dad behind. Never be a victim.” – Unknown
- “To all you parents out there, don’t make your little girls, or little boys, so thirsty for love that they will want to drink water that will poison them.” – Lisa Bedrick
Living in the shadow of a selfish parent can be a dark and lonely place. The lack of affection and understanding will raise many questions. And for some, there will be no answers.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t move on and be happy.
Use these selfish parents quotes to find comfort in the chaos. And learn to love yourself for everything you’ve become. To learn more, start with this guide – How to Love Yourself: 16 Ways to Forever Change Your Life’s Potential.
Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then check out and recite these 57 affirmations for success.
Rebel Jones has been writing from a young age. She first used poetry to organise words – the rhythm and flow brought peace to her chaos. But as she developed (both as a person and as a writer), she embraced her offbeat thought process and found her own style and tone. Writing is definitely her happy place and one that she’s happy to share with the world.