Richelle is a mom of 3 kids, learning to mother while emotionally and physically motherless. She writes about all things healing.
If you have a toxic mother, you may think you may have been cursed in some way. The stars seem to be aligned against you. Why would the universe give you an unloving mother?
The truth is, it’s more common than people think to have a toxic mother. Whether she was downright abusive, manipulative, emotionally absent, or even just plain cruel, it’s painful and confusing to grow up this way.
As a child it’s hard to recognize you are growing up in a toxic environment. The environment you grow up in is “normal”, because it’s all you know. You adapt yourself to receive as much “nurturance” as you can from your parental figures.
As an adult, you may not be aware that you grew up in a toxic environment. You may experience frustration, confusion, and guilt to name a few of the symptoms.
3 Telltale Signs you have a Toxic Mother
Below are 3 tell-tale signs you grew up with a toxic mother:
1. Not Trusting Yourself
When you grow up consistently having your reality diminished, you learn you aren’t able to trust yourself. If your reality is constantly changing or being diminished, it’s hard to know what is real and what isn’t. According to Natalie Frank, PhD: “One of the main ways the parent manipulates the child is by changing reality. In other words, they say one thing one minute and then something different later on, or they say one thing to the child and something different to others to make the child look bad.” When you grow up with a toxic mother, life can be incredibly confusing.
2. Being Indecisive
Having a toxic mother can lead us to being indecisive. We fear making mistakes, which leads to indecisiveness. If you were constantly told that your decisions weren’t good enough, it makes sense that you want to avoid making any mistakes and make the “right” decision.
3. Lack of Identity
Since your toxic mother’s focus was likely on herself, and not ensuring her children were emotionally validated or supported, you weren’t able to develop a sense of identity. To stay safe, you likely spent a lot of time ensuring your mother’s needs were met instead of your own. This didn’t leave much room for figuring out your sense of self. It’s typical to not “know who you are” well into adulthood if you grew up with a toxic mother.
It May Feel like a Curse
It may feel like a curse to grow up with a toxic mother, but there are ways to heal. The first step is acknowledging your mother is/was toxic.
If you are constantly confused, fearful of setting boundaries, or feel enmeshed with her - it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with your mother and start putting yourself first.
It’s not an easy path to healing from having a toxic mother. There are resources available such as therapy, talking to trusted friends, and books that can help you on your journey. It IS possible to heal and live a life free of her toxicity. Sometimes the only path forward is removing her from your life, and that’s okay too.
Amazing Resource for Healing Toxic Shame
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Richelle Marie