You might start off with the greatest love affair in the world. But none of that is going to matter if you have a rocky marriage and you’re just struggling to keep it afloat. It’s likely that a toxic marriage can make for a very harmful environment for a child to grow up in.
Children are likely to carry emotional and psychological wounds as a result of being exposed to a toxic marriage. You have to remember that kids have very impressionable minds. They are practically blank canvases. They have a very infantile understanding of their feelings and they’re slowly learning and developing as they go.
And when two people think that they’re doing right by their children by staying in a loveless marriage, they have another thing coming to them.
It turns out that kids typically become more traumatized and scarred when they are growing up in households that have toxic marriages. Kids don’t have inherently developed minds as younglings. They learn more about life as they get holder. However, when they are exposed to traumatic environments like this, they don’t really grasp the whole idea in a healthy manner.
They don’t really understand the dynamics that go into a marriage and keep in mind that they are mostly exposed to their parents’ marriages more than anyone else. Yes, children of divorce are known to experience some very substantial issues whenever they grow older. There is some truth to that. That is why a lot of couples will resort to staying together as a way of minimizing the trauma that their kids might experience while they are growing up.
However, studies show that this might prove to do more harm than good. Kids really don’t grasp how relationships work and that’s why even when a marriage isn’t at its best, kids will use them as “ideals” for when they start having relationships of their own. They think that since this is the kind of marriage they are mostly exposed to, these are the kinds of relationships that they should be pursuing in their own lives. And we all know that that is wrong.
For example, if a child sees that their parents are screaming at the top of their lungs at one another, then they might see that as usual behavior for a loving relationship. Or when a couple gives each other silent treatments that can last for days, this can be taken by the child to be an effective form of conflict resolution and problem-solving even when it is no.
There is really no way of accurately judging the gravity of the effects that a toxic couple might have on a child. Based on the advice of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce author, Rosalind Sedacca, children would be better served off if they are not exposed to such toxic relationship dynamics. She says, “If your marriage has created a toxic home environment, they’re probably better off getting some distance from it.” Sedacca was also a victim of being in a family with parents who chose to stay together despite having a terrible marriage.
She goes on to say, “For me, divorce is preferable to years of living in a home where the parents fight and disrespect one another.” And it’s not just Sedacca who shares this sentiment either. There are plenty of other experts of divorce who share similar concerns and opinions.
It has been found that constantly being exposed to a toxic marriage can leave some very serious emotional and psychological scars on a child. The thing about toxic relationships is that they don’t typically just affect the people who are in the relationships. They also affect the people who are EXPOSED to these relationships.
And no one is more exposed to the ins and outs of a toxic marriage than the kids who live in the same household. Studies have shown that kids will have to deal with bouts of paranoia and anxiety throughout their whole lives whenever they grow up in a volatile household that seems like it could implode in any minute. There is just too much tension and pressure in a toxic relationship and all of that pressure can be put on the kids as well.
Some other times, kids might even think that they are to blame for everything. They will think that they are the reasons that their parents are unhappy and they will carry that guilt with them for the rest of their lives. Whenever parents feel unhappy or discontented with the state of their relationships, they might project that discontentment towards their children as well.
So, if you’re in a marriage that isn’t working out, try your best to make it work. But if it’s not just in the cards for you, then don’t force the issue. Everyone will be better off if you just learn to cope with the truth.