6 Revealing Signs Of A Toxic Mother
“Unfortunately, because emotional abuse is often tolerated or because the abusive parents are very secretive in their abuse (hiding their true selves when in public), emotionally abused children will assume that how they were treated at home was natural. They have no frame of reference. And so, the child will develop a skewed sense of what a healthy relationship is.” — Veronica Jarski
Although toxic relationships can have an effect on us at any age, we are most vulnerable as children.
A toxic mother and child relationship can influence us throughout our adult lives if not addressed on time and in a healthy manner. But first, we need to be able to recognize the signs.
1. Your mom wants to be your bestie
While it’s obviously nice to have a loving, caring mother who can also be your friend, such a dynamic can often create an unhealthy situation if taken too far.
Unlike a best friend, a mother-daughter relationship is for life, which naturally makes it more intimate and more intense. A hierarchy between mothers and daughters exists that should not exist between two friends. You are not equals and you are not supposed to be. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be close or have a friendly relationship with your mom. This bond is special enough in its natural form. Let yourself be the daughter and let your mom be your mom. That is the only way you’ll be able to grow.
2. Shaming and blaming
Shaming is highly personalized and commonly expressed as “You always” or “You never”, and usually starts in childhood. It usually involves magnifying small issues into full-scale conflicts often played out in front of other people. If done often enough, these messages can be internalized by the child in some form of self-criticism. This habit may then become a fixture that lasts into adulthood until it is recognized and confronted.
Numerous studies have shown that self-criticism and poor mental health go hand in hand, especially depression.
3. You become overly critical of yourself
Toxic mothers can be harsh critics and the fear of disappointing them may never really go away in you. You could have extremely high standards for yourself and sometimes prioritize to accomplish something only to finally earn her’ approval.
Unfortunately, whatever you do, she’ll never give you that satisfaction – and that is ok. After all, you will become a successful person with or without her approval. Hence you certainly don’t need it in order to keep moving forward.
4. You seek codependent relationships
Codependent relationships often involve a passive and a dominating partner both of whom find fulfillment in the passive partner’s emotional dependence on the dominant partner.
Knowing that some else is doing everything for her, the passive partner feels loved, while the dominant partner feels loved when she is needed. The greater the partner’s dependence, the more loved she feels.
In such a toxic relationship between mother an child, the mother acts as the dominant partner, resorting to extreme measures to make sure her child will always need her, thus preventing healthy development.
Such a parenting method will always produce emotionally and/or practically codependent children. A child will then grow up to be the passive or dominant partner, depending on her personal qualities and the power of her will.
5. Your mom wants to fulfill her own dreams through you
Oftentimes, selfish mothers make their children do the things they could never do as a kid. For example, your mom may force you into taking ballet lessons because she still has an unfulfilled dream of becoming one herself.
Children are individuals who have their own thoughts, dreams, and ideas, and mothers should never make decisions on their behalf if they wish them to become happy adults.
6. Your mom often gives you the silent treatment
Acting as if someone has not spoken and refusing to reply are direct ways of expressing utmost contempt, and while this is certainly humiliating and hurtful to experience as an adult, it can be absolutely crushing for a child, especially coming from a parent.
As with any relationship, communication is key, and you must always be able to talk things through. The only thing such passive-aggressive behavior does is teaching children unhealthy ways of communicating.
As soon as you have recognized such behaviors and their effect on you, your task should become figuring out how to set healthy boundaries with your mother. Any form of abuse, whether intentional or not is simply wrong.
Are there any more signs of parental toxic behaviors we may have missed? Share them with us in the comment section below.