Young children automatically assume that their mother is “normal” simply because they don’t know any better.
Most people raised by toxic mothers don’t realize that their home environment was destructive until they reach adulthood.
Even then, it can be difficult to make sense of the relationship you have with your mother.
In fact, you may not even realize that she is toxic in the first place!
The first step is to identify and label the problem.
Here are eight signs that you were raised by a toxic mother:
1. You have low self-esteem:
Toxic mothers frequently ruin their children’s self-esteem.
They often point out their mistakes, tell them that they aren’t good enough in some way, or compare them to other children.
As an adult, you might still feel as though you aren’t quite as good as everyone else.
You may also spend a lot of time feeling guilty for no apparent reason.
This is a sign that you were often made to feel inadequate or “bad” as a child.
Toxic mothers often make their offspring feel as though they could never live up to their high standards.
2. You always put other people first:
Toxic mothers rarely think about what would make their children happy.
Instead, they use their children to meet their own emotional needs and become angry when they don’t comply.
For instance, when you were a child, your mother may have been more interested in your grades than your feelings.
You might have felt pressured to work extremely hard at school just so she could brag to her friends about her “smart kid,” all the while keeping your feelings hidden.
As an adult, you may be in the habit of spending your time and energy complying with everyone else’s wishes and overlooking your own.
3. You constantly crave reassurance and validation:
Because toxic mothers are often highly critical, this can leave you hungry for reassurance as a teenager and adult.
Perhaps you find yourself on a never-ending quest for praise and validation from others, or maybe you even stay around in bad relationships just because your partner occasionally gives you compliments.
Strangely enough, toxic mothers often crave a lot of attention and validation themselves.
For example, your mother might be overly concerned with what other people think of her home or career.
This kind of insecurity breeds toxicity which can spill over into the parent-child relationship.
If you have a narcissistic mother, she might expect you to drop all your commitments and give her far too much of your time and attention.
7. You can’t relate to other people when they talk about their mothers:
It’s quite common to hear other people talk – and complain about – their mothers.
For example, your best friend might complain that her mother talks too much, or your partner might say that his mother is too nosy.
However, if you have a toxic mother, you will have noticed that the problems you have with her are of a more complicated, darker nature.
You may feel alone and think that no one else would understand what you went through as a child or how you now feel about your mother as an adult.
8. Even today, your mother makes you feel angry or afraid most of the time:
Trust your gut instinct.
If you suspect your mother is toxic, she probably is.
It’s not realistic to expect that your relationship with your mother will be perfect, but she shouldn’t make you feel uneasy.
If you feel tense when you’re in the same room or feel slightly sick at the thought of a visit, it’s time to take stock of your relationship.
If you have siblings that you can talk to on a meaningful level, ask them about their relationship with your mother.
The two of you might be able to validate one another’s concerns.
However, they might have no idea what you are talking about, or even rush to your mother’s defense.
Don’t be too disheartened if this happens – it’s quite common for two children within the same family to have different experiences.
Toxic mothers often have a “favorite” or “golden” child, and if your sibling was the “chosen one,” they will have more positive memories.
Of course, no one is perfect.
We all make mistakes, and mothers are no exception to the rule.
However, if most of the points above resonate with you, it might be a good idea to spend some time thinking about how your mother’s parenting style has affected your life and relationships.