Mother daughter relations are expected to be life-defining. They come to affect our views of self, others and the world at large. However, esteem issues mainly originate from here; the establishing of obstacles in one’s paths in life. Some of us do not realize until adulthood about this toxicity, while others struggle to accept that it is the reality after all. Normally, it begins in childhood but it can affect us at any stage and age in life. Whereas a mother should have been uplifting, supportive and close to their child, they end up becoming a cause for emotional and mental damage.
Such mothers who are toxic end up doing more damage than absentee fathers. The thought of her is a walking time-bomb for you. You never look forward to family reunions. A call from your mother turns into an emotional minefield – draining you both psychologically and emotionally. And this leaves you wasted.
How can you tell that your mother is toxic?
- Emotional abuse and unavailability – a mother become unavailable for their child, withdraws themselves from the child’s life or hides behind religion as they fault the child. Some abandon their kids emotionally, display not emotions, or withhold love and attention from one child while offering the same to the others. From yelling, putting you down, ignoring, rejection, humiliating and threatening you, any tactic is applicable when abusing you.
- Demanding for your attention – toxic mothers nurture parasitic relationships, where they demand for much time, attention and energies from their children failure to which dire consequences will be faced. Such mothers do not prioritise their children.
- She dismisses your negative feelings – this builds resentment and feelings like one is a nuisance in the child. The child in turn ends up developing self-doubt, and feeling unworthy of any attention and love extended to them.
- Won’t let you stand up for self and ignores healthy boundaries – your mother becomes harsher and cruel if you argue or respond to her in a manner she feels is challenging. Or when you tell her off for badly treating you, she takes it personally. She goes out snooping on your staff, questioning everything she deems wrong, or demands constant checking in; in the name of keeping you ‘safe.’ She eternally wants to micromanage you.
- Controlling and is eternally picking fights – you are forever facing constant bickering and misunderstandings. She has opinions about your choices, or what she hates about you. About what you wear, do, how you behave, even though it is not age appropriate. She considers herself an expert at life and uses a tone to paralyze you as she knows the effects on you.
- Forever undermining and is critical of you – your mother will use joke tactics about your jobs, choices, endeavours, weight, fashion sense or educational troubles. She enjoys doing this behind loudly, laughing behind jokes, telling out to your partners, friends and family as a way to belittle you. She even dismisses your efforts and achievements, by showing you how unworthy you are.
- Pursues reverse roles – your mother assumes that it is the duty of the child to take care of them as payback for given sacrifices at childhood. The child thus becomes the caretaker, helper or friend, or parent to her own mother. In other words, she makes you responsible for her own happiness.
- Employees money and guilt to control you – she goes out of her way to gift you then expects a hefty payback in return. Offering unsolicited advice, your mother wants to live her dream life through you, barely listening as she cannot take the opinion of her child.
- Show Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) – she is too absorbed and manipulative in words and actions, barely meeting the emotional needs of the child as they are absorbed in their own personal issues. Such a mother will have their child wallowing in inferiority complex, unimportance, escapist behaviour and making them feel like the problem or the problem maker. She is never a safe or trusting place for a child. To her, the child never does anything right, and is always berating.
Toxic mothers will degrade their daughters with slurs, distorting and image of love and replacing it with fear. They leave in their wake a stretch of scars, passing down what was passed to them by their parents or guardians. They never acknowledge they are or were wrong, never forgive, and keep repeating stories of old. They forever fail to see good in a child they gave birth to.
Some showcase split personalities, sometimes becoming all doting to their kids whereas at other times, they become the devil reincarnate. They will showcase obsessive attempts to reconnect and contact you, rarely if ever offering a sincere apology, rarely admitting they are wrong, and they are forever jealous and controlling.
Yes, that could be your mother too. But have you gotten a way to tackle this situation and learned to live with it? Have you accepted that you are not the trigger but a result of circumstances? Do you know that you got the power within you to fight and stand for who you are?