Toxic mothers: how to behave?

Toxic mothers can undermine their self-esteem and cause constant conflict. Knowing how to identify them, improve communication, and find solutions is what we propose to you…

Toxic mothers can undermine their self-esteem and cause constant conflict. Knowing how to identify them, improve communication, and find solutions to improve the relationship is possible.

We only have one mother, but sometimes that number is not quite what we would like or what we were sold, and they end up being toxic mothers who make a healthy relationship very difficult. Mothers are also people with their qualities and faults, their life experiences, and their personalities.  They are not perfect, although putting the subject on the table sometimes involves breaking a taboo. But what is a toxic mother? What consequences does it have on our lives? How do we deal with it?

When we talk about toxic relationships, we usually refer to friendships or couples, and the most common recommendation is to walk away from them, but with toxic mothers or siblings, stepmothers or parents, this does not always seem to be a very viable option. Let’s see what can be done to cope with the situation and deal with it and possibly.

How do you know if your mother is toxic?

The first step to finding out if your mother is toxic is to think about how the relationship has been in the past and today, how it has influenced our personality and behaviors, and how it continues to do so. A mother’s love is undeniable, but many times behind a toxic attitude lies a lack of self-esteem, remarkable insecurity, and a deep fear of loneliness that prevents their children from being self-sufficient so they don’t leave the nest.

Mothers are a fundamental pillar in the formation of children, even before birth. With breastfeeding, attachment, parenting, and education, the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral foundations of the future adult are formed, which interact with the child’s personality and character. Thus, the early relationships of the child/mother’s child are of vital importance for the construction of the human spirit. In them are presupposed love, affection, the formation of values, personal development, the impulse to socialization, independence, and all the resources the child needs to become an adult in society.

Types of toxic mothers

There are many types of toxic mothers, although each may show any or all of the characteristics of the others. However, as we have said, the adoption of some characteristics discussed below does not mean toxicity, but it is necessary to test the effects it has caused on the development of the child’s personality and how it affects daily life. And in the relationships with the environment, with himself and with others.

Overprotective mothers,

Overprotective mothers do not place enough value on their children’s abilities both in performing a task, job, study, or function and also when their children defend themselves against dangers or difficulties. These attitudes are based on a spirit of control and the mother’s own insecurity. Some sentences of toxic mothers can be “let me do what you can’t do”, “you are not capable”, “be careful, I don’t trust you”.

These types of characteristics of toxic mothers can lead to low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence in children from an early age that they will drag into adulthood. It is also difficult to take on new challenges and leave the comfort zone.

Controlling Mothers

These types of controlling toxic mothers show a need to control both their own lives and those of their children. They control their friendships, their habits, the way they dress, develop, and everything around them. This controlling personality creates security for the mother and grows in the belief that it is love and wanting good for her offspring, even going beyond certain limits of intrusion, jealousy, and envy when they are adults. From an early age, this control also implies overprotection and weakness in children, which causes them insecurity and inferiority and negates their ability to make their own decisions independently.

Some controlling mothers’ phrases are usually like “I want the best for you,” “you’re going to make a mistake if you don’t do what I tell you,” “who are you going with, where, when are you coming back, call me right away”.

Emotionally manipulative mother

Manipulative mothers are more common than we think. Normally, they are women unhappy with their lives, are afraid of not being loved or losing their maternal role, so they want to lure them in through emotional dependence, emotional blackmail, or coercion. They know how to use emotions and words to achieve their goals, even if gambling is for the happiness or well-being of others.

In addition, an emotionally manipulative mother is very critical to be a liar, to underestimate children’s virtues, and to maximize flaws by always focusing on what is wrong and confronting the possible (or imagined) lack of devotion and love. When you are a child, not feeling validated or not feeling good enough for your mother can leave an indelible mark on the child such as feelings of guilt or a need for approval from others.

Among emotionally manipulative mothers are victimizing mothers who use the complaint to reach out to their children while forcing her children to pay attention to her. A victimized mother indulges in her difficult life, delicate health, or bad luck as another means of manipulating to achieve her goals and undermining, often unintentionally, the will and independence of others. Extreme pessimism is also another form that these types of toxic mothers develop.

Toxic narcissistic mother

A toxic narcissistic mother fulfills the characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder that focuses on egocentricity and high self-esteem and some empathy for her offspring. In addition, she always seeks to be the center of attention, cares about appearances, and needs to feel admired as a model mother who does everything perfectly.

Narcissistic mothers are never satisfied, and for many that their hard-pressed children will find it difficult to find words of admiration or comfort for their mothers, who will always minimize or ridicule their offspring’s concerns about their own. These types of toxic mothers see their children as an extension of themselves and dismiss all their unfulfilled ambitions, projections, and aspirations, no matter how emotional they are or what they want in their lives. They can also become extremely destructive, both with their children and with the surrounding people, whether they are a couple or among friends.

Toxic family: the characteristics

Although we are talking about toxic mothers, this effect can occur in any family member such as the father, grandparents, or siblings. Having a toxic family implies that there are patterns of behavior, which cause emotional problems or dysfunctional roles, that have been assumed among the different members over the years, and that has marked the children’s growth and formation in adulthood.

As with mothers, the characteristics of a toxic family also lie in constant conflict, the absence of all kinds of dialogue, manipulation, lying and deception, and harmful strategies for achieving something like blackmail. These relationships can lead to total isolation or distance from the family and situations that do not allow you to lead a quiet life with maximum well-being.

Another situation that can also occur is having toxic in-laws or a toxic mother-in-law that makes the relationship difficult and even seriously damages the couple. Both with toxic families and with toxic stepmothers or other relatives, the solution to the problem will be to follow the same steps as we comment below.

How to leave a toxic mother?

The first step in leaving a toxic mother is to realize that she is toxic. Children of toxic parents usually carry weights that do not fit them and have modulated their personality. In the most extreme situations, these children can develop some kind of emotional disorder or disorder that makes them even more fragile to face their difficulties.

Thus, once we analyze the toxic mothers that exist, if we discover that we are in one case, it is convenient to focus on the solution and some of them are:

Improve communication: talk about conflicts and how we feel about them sincerely and practice active listening on the other side.

Be assertive: recognize your rights, learn to say no, set limits, and defend them clearly and directly without fear of consequences.

Assume the role that suits you: as a son or daughter, do not be a father or mother or a protector under any circumstances. This also means not overburdening ourselves with responsibilities that do not correspond to us.

Avoid emotional dependence: foster self-esteem and your own decisions by assuming the role of an adult responsible for your own life and the steps to follow in each phase.

Professional helps to improve the relationship

If with all this, it is not possible to leave a toxic mother, the next step is to seek the professional help of a psychologist specializing in family therapy who helps reposition roles and relationships within the family, especially between mother and son or daughter. One of the most effective approaches is systemic family therapy, in which we work with members to resolve conflicts collaboratively.

Family therapy sees the family a system in which everyone interacts with each other. For this reason, the psychologist encourages communication and empathy in order to understand the discomfort that certain attitudes generate in others and so that individual and interpersonal problems between mother and children can be resolved.

In the therapy process, and depending on the needs and depth of each case, joint and individual sessions may take place both to analyze each member separately and to share different perspectives and shared emotions. Where the toxic mother, for example, has not agreed to therapy, it is always practical to carry it out individually to learn how to treat her, to change the aspects we dislike in our own attitudes, and to face the relationship in a healthier way. And it doesn’t involve stress and anxiety.

Having a toxic mother is a problem, so the best way to live a full life and a happy relationship is to solve it in the best way by accepting it and facing it with all the difficulties.

Thank you for continue reading, please don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends.

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