Why You Feel You’re Failing as a Parent After Leaving an Abusive Marriage

Why You Feel You’re Failing as a Parent After Leaving an Abusive Marriage why you feel you’re failing as a parent after leaving an abusive marriage
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Parenting is a challenging journey that comes with its share of ups and downs. However, when you add the complexity of leaving an abusive relationship into the equation, feelings of failure as a parent can intensify. You may find yourself questioning your abilities and doubting your decisions, especially when your kids don’t seem to listen or follow your guidance.

Or maybe you struggle to balance taking care of them while your ex interferes with everything. Your kids may even ask you, “Hey, Mom or Dad, why did you leave?” When faced with these questions, you may genuinely feel like you failed as a parent. So, why do you feel this way?

Traditional Family Unit = Stability

The common reason is the belief that to be a successful parent, you need to live in a household with both parents. This societal norm conditions us to see relationships as something people should stay in until death do them part. Therefore, since you left that abusive relationship, you might perceive it as leaving a traditional family unit instead of leaving a dangerous situation.

You might feel guilty and think that you should have stayed in the relationship or that you should find a better relationship. Perhaps you feel you should have been more discerning before having kids with your ex-partner. These thoughts contribute to the feeling that you failed as a parent because you broke away from the traditional family unit.

This perception can lead you to believe that you left stability behind and that you are now struggling to take care of your kids by yourself, especially since the other parent is not sober and is caught in their own worldview.


Your abusive ex may have called you names, made you question your parenting skills, and blamed you for the kids’ behavior. Their constant undermining may have made you internalize their words. Your kids, being caught between two parents, may struggle emotionally, which can impact their school performance or make them feel stressed or sad.


Reflecting on what your ex said, you might genuinely believe that you are failing as a parent because you can’t meet your kids’ emotional and basic needs alone, especially if the abusive parent doesn’t provide any support.

Your abusive ex may also manipulate your kids and use them as pawns in their game of manipulation. As a result, your kids may start displaying subtle manipulation techniques themselves. You may find yourself worrying that your kids will turn out to be like your abusive ex, which can leave you feeling helpless and, ultimately, like you have failed as a parent.

Channeling Your Frustrations to Your Kids

Moreover, being in an abusive relationship causes trauma, emotional overwhelm, stress, and anxiety. The psychological and emotional scars need healing. When you’re not healed, your kids’ actions might trigger anger and anxiety, leading to reactive behaviors.

These reactive behaviors can manifest as lashing out at your kids or disciplining them with anger. You’re more of channel your own frustrations to your kids. Later on, when you regain your senses, you may regret your actions and feel like you have failed as a parent because you perceive yourself as not emotionally stable or mature enough to effectively regulate your emotions.

Another important aspect to consider is that when you haven’t healed, you may find it challenging to be fully present and attentive when listening to your kids. Instead, you can become entangled in your own inner turmoil, which may result in asking your kids questions that instill doubt in them or hinder their willingness to listen to you. This breakdown in effective communication and understanding between you and your children can lead you to genuinely believe that they are not truly listening to you or that there is a significant lack of connection. These feelings can contribute to a deep sense of failure as a parent.


You’re a Great Parent

To overcome these feelings, you must heal from your past, as your unhealed wounds may cause you to inadvertently hurt your kids. Working on yourself will help you provide a safe environment and you can effectively communicate with your kids. Remember, you’ve not failed as a parent for showing your kids that they can walk away from someone who is abusive. Leaving an abusive relationship shows strength, and by focusing on your own well-being, you can create a better future for yourself and your children. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. You made a brave decision, and you are a great parent. Work on healing your emotional pain to ensure you don’t hurt yourself or your kids in the process.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these subconscious patterns for good (in less than 2 months) using Mind Shifting, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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