Toxic Parenting: 8 Signs You Were Raised By A Toxic Mother And How To Overcome It

According to research, children whose moms had unfavorable personality qualities were more likely to struggle with anxiety and sadness and be more prone to damage themselves.

Mothers shape the lives of children in profound ways. But we both know that not all parental experiences are positive and nurturing; some are straight-up toxic.

And toxic parenting is detrimental to kids’ mental health, leaving emotional scars that persist into adulthood.

Toxic parents don’t understand that they are indeed toxic—they don’t even consider the possibility, and I’ll tell you why!

Most parent seems to think they know exactly what they’re doing, what’s best for their kids.

They believe they know better, which is a direct sign of toxic parenting and merely a biased way of thinking that could potentially harm the kids—even unintentionally.

On the other hand, kids raised by toxic parents usually don’t understand what’s happening to them until they become full-grown adults.

By then, the toxicity has already rubbed off on them, making them toxic too, which they’ll likely transfer to their kids unless they can conquer the toxicity and improve themselves so they don’t put their kids through what they suffered.

And the best way to do this is to learn and understand the signs of toxic parenting and how to overcome it.

This is where we come in—to list 8 signs a toxic mother raised you, and most importantly, how to overcome it.

But before then, let’s look at a more profound definition of a toxic parent.

Who Is A Toxic Parent?

a toxic mother yelling at her son
Image Source: iStockphoto/dragana991

Toxic parents create an unhealthy home environment. They employ fear, shame, guilt, and humiliation to accomplish what they want and compel their kids to comply.

They are frequently uncaring, emotionally distant, and occasionally abusive. They prioritize their own needs over those of their kids.

The poisonous stress that these dysfunctional families subject their children to is a regular occurrence.

Many abusive parents would never acknowledge that their discipline methods are unjust or harmful.

Insisting that it is in their child’s best interests or that it is their typical way of parenting, parents frequently adhere to their parenting methods. 

The abusive actions of toxic parents have a harmful long-term and short-term impact on their children.

Narcissistic parents are the label most frequently used in psychology to describe toxic parents. These parents occasionally experience personality disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

How can you tell if your childhood was typical, then? Here are 8 indicators you were raised by a toxic mother in case you are still unsure.

8 Signs You Were Raised By A Toxic Mother

8 signs you were raised by a toxic mother
Image Source: iStockphoto/fizkes

1. Your Mum Was Emotionally Unavailable

Kids who don’t like talking about their emotions are frequently affected by how emotionally distant their parents are. 

Your terrible upbringing compelled you to suppress your feelings as a child. You couldn’t have asked your mum for advice, after all.

When you were a child, perhaps she invalidated or minimized your feelings. Perhaps she cut you off when the subject got too delicate. Maybe she minimized your sentiments and dismissed your past issues.

It can be difficult for children of toxic moms to express their emotions. They worry about being mocked, embarrassed, or, even worse, abandoned.

Other effects of having an emotionally distant mother can be felt. You could, for instance, say or do things to startle her into recognizing you.

Maybe when you were a kid, you rebelled to obtain her attention.

2. Your Mother Was Overly Critical & Difficult To Deal With

People who procrastinate or are perfectionists frequently have to deal with critical and challenging parents; as a result, they constantly feel on edge and seek to complicate things.

Children of judgmental parents can develop in one of two ways: either they strive for perfection, or they put things off.

We look to our parents for approval and motivation when we are young. Children who receive continual criticism strive for excellence to win their parents’ approval.

Conversely, we can be tempted to back away if the criticism is demeaning or ridiculing.

Because we need more than what we do is ever sufficient. Thinking like this encourages procrastination. Why start something if it will only receive negative feedback?

3. Your Mother Was A Narcissist

Narcissists frequently manipulate others to acquire what they want, after which they abandon them.

Narcissists are dramatic and boisterous before becoming silent. They withhold affection and have a propensity to place blame for their problems on others.

Narcissists seek attention, which would be perplexing to a young person. You are the child; take care of yourself. Your mother must, nevertheless, command the spotlight.

When they don’t receive what they desire, narcissists get angry. According to studies, narcissistic parents cause nightmares and flashbacks in their kids.

They have learned from their mother that relationships are difficult to start or maintain because individuals can’t be trusted.

4. Your Mother Was A Helicopter Parent

It’s entirely possible that a toxic mother raised you if you are very impulsive and find it difficult to develop relationships.

Helicopter parents are overbearing and prevent their children from developing an autonomous perspective or the ability to think for themselves.

Making decisions can be difficult, which may indicate that you had a toxic mother as a child. One study looked at how parental control affects young children. 

Children should learn from their parents how to survive in the real world. If your mother made all of your decisions, it could be difficult for you to choose independently.

Whether it’s something minor, like what to eat for lunch, or ending a relationship, making a decision can take a long time.

5. Your Mother Was Manipulative

Living with a controlling mother offers you access to her secrets and lies. You discover that you can deceive and control others to achieve your goals.

Exaggeration, gaslighting, guilt-tripping, and other deceitful tactics are all at your disposal.

Additionally, it distorts your perception of those close to you. They are not sentimental, feeling beings who your acts have harmed.

They are merely victims in your eyes, there for your use. They are to blame if they are gullible enough to believe your lies.

6. Your Mother Was Physically Abusive

According to research, children who grow up in a harsh or cold environment are likelier to exhibit aggressive or callous-unemotional (CU) tendencies.

Although it may sound a little academic, the significance is enormous. Instead of calling children “psychopaths,” we call them callous and emotionless.

Researchers once thought psychopathy was a genetic trait, but research now indicates that parenting also impacts a child’s mental health.

That’s not to argue that all abused children will develop into psychopaths. Other factors include the role of the parent, mentor figures, and peer support.

Children who have been abused are also sensitive to environmental changes. When a threat is perceived, they act quickly.

They get used to changing their behavior to fit the situation.

7. Your Mother Was Cold And Unemotional Toward You

Toxic mothers withhold love and affection. You consequently believe you don’t deserve to be loved.

Your mother should show you love and affection, after all. Every other relationship you have is influenced by how your primary caregiver treats you during your formative years.

As an adult, it could be challenging for you to establish lasting relationships.

Your self-worth is damaged if one of the most significant people in your life doesn’t love you.

How can anyone else if your mother didn’t love you, or at least didn’t show it?

If the one person supposed to love you don’t, you can find it challenging to open up and trust them, or you might build walls around yourself to keep them out.

8. Your Mother Neglected You

Your ability to manage stress indicates that your mother was toxic as a parent. Research shows young children who endure their moms’ neglect are more prone to experience worry and stress.

We learn to expect help when we are frequently reassured that it is on the way. Just the idea and anticipation relax us.

When you were a newborn and left to cry, you discovered that no one would help. Your ability to control your emotions was harmed, as a result, leading to a weak vagal nerve.

How To Overcome Toxic Parenting: 10 Tips For Dealing With Toxic Parents

a toxic mother scolding her grown daughter
Image Source: iStockphoto/fizkes

If you see some of these toxic traits in your parents, the following tactics might be worth attempting.

1. Don’t Attempt To Change Them

You may feel disappointed and overburdened when attempting to change someone unwilling to. Instead, try to concentrate on the things you control, such as your behavior, decisions, and how you react to your parents.

2. Take Care When Sharing Information With Them

Healthy relationships require trust, so think twice before disclosing personal information to anyone but those you have already found to be reliable.

When someone talks negatively about you or shares information without your consent, they can turn that information against you.

They don’t expect you to share every detail of your life or respond to their inquiries. Consider only discussing what you feel secure and comfortable doing.

3. Have A Backup Plan

When conditions deteriorate, use that as a cue to leave, or request that your parents depart.

Staying might only lead to an escalation and worsening of the situation.

At the first hint of problems, it could be safer to call it quits. You’re not obligated to remain solely to be courteous or please your parents.

4. Avoid Attempting To Persuade Them

Reasoning with someone who engages in toxic conduct can be challenging.

When it comes to matters important to you, try to be forceful, but be aware that your parents might not share your viewpoint.

Avoid getting involved in arguments that escalate into yelling and other impolite behavior.

Remember that you are not required to attend every debate you are invited to. Instead, you can decide to disconnect.

5. Stop Trying To Please Them

It’s normal to seek your parents’ approval, but toxic behaviors can make it difficult to win them over.

Remember that this is your life, and you are free to follow your heart and do whatever makes you happy.

Living your life following the ideals and values of another person can make you miserable and dissatisfied.

You can discover that you regularly seek approval from your parents and others, depending on them to judge and affirm your value.

6. Your Parents Don’t Require You To Be Available To Them

There’s a chance that toxic individuals are extremely needy. If it is practical and appreciated, you can assist them.

However, you’re not required to act as their personal assistant, housekeeper, gardener, or therapist, especially if they mistreat you the entire time.

You don’t have to be available to them around the clock, every day of the week. You can decide to answer their calls or texts later if you’re busy or don’t have time right now.

7. Establish And Uphold Limitations

Setting clear expectations and restrictions for how other people can treat us is made easier by boundaries. They can aid in separating you from your parents emotionally and physically.

Setting limits and beginning to communicate with your parents about how you want to be treated may feel awkward because this may not have been a situation you experienced as a child.

It can be challenging to establish boundaries with those who exhibit toxic habits. They might not adhere to the rules. Try not to let that discourage you, though.

Building and maintaining good relationships requires boundaries. Remember that it’s acceptable to refuse invitations, arrive late, or depart early from visits with your parents.

Even avoiding communication with your parents is OK. You owe them nothing. Appreciation is the foundation of healthy relationships, and it can be challenging to appreciate someone who consistently treats you poorly.

8. Recognize And Work Around Your Parent’s Limitations

Try to schedule your phone calls, visits, and family gatherings earlier in the day if you know that your parents become forgetful, hostile, or otherwise problematic after a specific time.

You don’t have to organize your life around your parents, but this might be an excellent coping mechanism for some people.

If it works for you, you can get around their restrictions. You can hold your birthday celebration in the evening without inviting your parents if you don’t want them to ruin the fun.

9. The Holidays Don’t Have To Be Spent With Them

That is correct! It would be best if you took pleasure in the holidays. Spending them away from your parents could be necessary.

In certain circumstances, there is a lot of pressure to uphold family traditions, yet doing so frequently compromises your mental health and well-being.

Creating your holiday customs or unique ways to celebrate is a good idea. You can attend Friendsgiving or take a trip over the holidays.

10. Look After Yourself

Having toxic parents to deal with can be challenging. That stress may negatively impact your physical and emotional health.

It would be best if you prioritized taking care of yourself.

Please start with the fundamentals immediately, like maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising frequently, interacting with uplifting people, recognizing your emotions, and providing a good outlet for them to find assistance.

When you’re feeling your best physically and emotionally, it could be simpler to set limits and decide to respond differently or to distance yourself.


It can be challenging to deal with toxic parents. If you have experienced this, the wounds may never go away.

Nevertheless, if you have, I would advise you to take their lessons to heart and ensure the toxicity doesn’t rub off on you to the point where you become toxic yourself.

We need to learn how to heal so we don’t cause stress to others, even unintentionally.

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