Ways to Tell If Your Mother is Toxic and What You Can Do
In our society, mothers are often idealized as selfless caregivers who put the needs of their children first. But not all mother-child relationships are healthy. Understanding how to recognize if your mother is toxic and what to do about it will help you avoid being manipulated again.
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is one in which one partner manipulates, controls, and exploits the other. It is different from a dysfunctional relationship, in which both people are equally to blame for the issues in the relationship. In a toxic relationship, one person usually has more power and control than the other, rendering the less powerful person helpless to change the situation. Toxic relationships can occur in romantic relationships, friendships, or professional relationships.
What is maternal toxicity?
Maternal toxicity is often caused by a combination of the mother’s personality, her upbringing, and her relationships with other people in her life. Maternal toxicity is not to be confused with maternal neglect or maternal rejection – two types of toxic relationships that occur between a mother and her child. Maternal toxicity usually includes neglect or rejection as well as other toxic behaviors. It can lead to a child’s failed or delayed development, a child becoming toxic themselves, and/or the child failing to form healthy relationships as an adult.
How to know if your mother is toxic?
If you’re unsure if your mother is toxic, consider the following signs.
- Mothers are supposed to be proud of their children and supportive, so if your mother makes you feel like you don’t measure up or puts you down, she could be toxic.
- If you’re always trying to avoid setting off your mother and feeling anxious when you’re around her, that could be a sign she has toxic behavior.
- If your mother is constantly criticizing you, that could be a sign that she’s toxic. Criticism is normal in parent-child relationships, but when it’s constant, it’s harmful.
- When you feel like you can’t set a boundary with your mother or can’t end a relationship with her, that’s a sign of toxicity.
How to deal with maternal toxicity?
If you think your mother is toxic, approaching her about the issue could help. However, if the relationship is already strained, approaching her may cause her to become even more toxic. In these situations, you may want to talk to a therapist. Therapy can help you explore why your mother is being toxic, and it can help you learn healthy ways to deal with her toxicity. You can also talk to other family members or even friends to help you see the situation in a new light and get different perspectives on what’s happening.
Toxic relationships and other toxic people can be damaging and painful, but they don’t have to be permanent fixtures in your life. By learning to identify toxic behavior and how to deal with it, you can protect yourself from the emotional and psychological harm toxic people cause.