Dealing with a toxic mother is hard and can leave you overwhelmed or drained. When this occurs, your mother will hurt you, using negative words and behaviors.
A toxic mother will mistreat you and have an inconsiderate attitude. It often involves feeling unloved or controlled as a child. You may not have ever felt your boundaries got respected by your mother.
You might experience negative vibes from her, and she continually makes rude or unnecessary comments. She might even taunt you or criticize your work. It’s not always easy to deal with a toxic mother, but there are ways you can handle it.
When you recognize the signs of a toxic mother, you can understand what you’re dealing with and know what to do.
NOTE: We acknowledge that fathers can also display toxic behaviors, so we cover them separately.
Ten Signs of a Toxic Mother
Having a toxic mother can result in negative repercussions for you, including the following:
- unhealthy coping skills
- problems in romantic relationships
- trust issues
Understanding these signs of a toxic mother can help you identify if that’s the issue in your life. Otherwise, it might simply be that you don’t get along well. However, if it’s toxic behavior that’s the problem, recognizing it can help you find ways to deal.
1 – A Toxic Mother Is Too Involved in Your Relationship or Marriage
When a mother is too involved in her child’s relationships, it’s a sign of toxicity. She shouldn’t offer unsolicited advice or tell you where to live and when to have children.
A mom shouldn’t feel the need to involve herself in every decision. However, if she’s toxic, she might try to persuade you from a relationship with your spouse. You might also notice that your mother is always around you and your spouse or partner. She’ll do this to know what you’re doing and where you’re going.
How to deal: Show her that you’re happy in your relationship.
Sometimes the best way to handle a toxic mother interfering with your relationship is to show her you’re happy. She might back off when she sees you and your partner supporting and being there for one another. That’s not always the case, but it’ll at least show her that her interference isn’t disrupting your happiness.
2 – Gifts Come with Conditions
When a toxic mother buys you something, there’ll be strings attached. She’ll want you to praise the gift and expect something out of you for it.
Gifts from her will never be something you can enjoy because you’ll always know that she wants something out of it. She might even buy expensive gifts to keep your children or partner on her side and to justify her mistreatment with the material items she provides.
How to deal: Recognize the issue and set boundaries
If your mom gives gifts with conditions, it’s a way of manipulating you. She often wants a larger requent from you and forces you to give in based on what she gives you. Recognizing the issue can help you set boundaries and tell her that you won’t let her extravagant gifts influence your life.
3 – A Toxic Mother Overreacts to Conflict
Having differing opinions is okay, but a toxic mother overreacts to them. She’ll expect you to agree with her and can become angry when conflict arises between you. You’ll notice she expresses anger negatively, often saying hurtful things or becoming abusive.
How to deal: Stop trying to change her.
You can’t change someone who doesn’t want to be changed is detrimental to your well-being. It leads to continually wondering why you can’t change your mother and why she doesn’t want to do better.
Rather than focusing on these negative aspects of the situation, you can stop trying to change them. You already know how your mother will react, so accepting the experience can work to your advantage and prevent you from getting hurt.
4 – She Often Brings Up the Past
Toxic people often bring up things from the past to embarrass you or remind you of your mistakes. It won’t matter how much time passes; your toxic mother won’t let you forget these things. They’ll also often do this in front of others to make you look bad.
If your mother is like this, she’ll hold grudges and seek revenge. You might do something wrong or annoy her, and she’ll find ways to get back at you.
How to deal: Don’t overshare with her
Sometimes your mother might make you think you can trust her. Then, when you share details, she holds them against you. If you tell her that you made a mistake or didn’t do something the way she would have, she’ll continually bring it up.
She’ll also bring up situations when you acted wrongly toward her, despite the mistreatment you were reacting to. Avoiding sharing information with her is sometimes the best way to eliminate the issue. If she doesn’t know about these situations, she can’t bring them up.
5 – A Toxic Mother Is Overly Critical
A toxic mother will always find ways to put you down. It’ll seem like she judges your choices and isn’t happy about anything you do. You might feel like nothing you do pleases her and that she doesn’t like you much. She’ll find faults in everything you do, even when you’re doing a great job.
How to deal: Don’t try too hard to please her
You won’t please a toxic mother no matter what you do. She’ll always have something negative to say, and trying harder will only cause more work for you. Continue doing things as you do now because her demeaning remarks might not be accurate. Plus, the harder you try, the more critical she may become.
6 – She Turns People Against You
A toxic mother will try to turn others against you. She’ll ask you to do stuff she knows you’re not good at to make it look like you’re incapable. Then, she’ll say hurtful things to others to highlight your imperfections or shortcomings.
If she thinks your presence threatens her place in the family, she’ll lie about you or exaggerate situations to make you look bad. She’ll want you to look bad so others like her more and so that they don’t see the mistreatment for the toxicity it is.
How to deal: Defend Yourself Without Attacking Her
You don’t have to let her attack you, but you shouldn’t come at her that way. Vocalize how you feel to help her understand your feelings, but don’t try to seek revenge. You don’t have to say hurtful things or act against her to defend yourself.
7 – She Won’t Admit Mistakes
Someone who won’t admit when they’re wrong or made a mistake is often toxic. They’ll keep arguing their point even with evidence that it’s incorrect. She always wants to be right, even when it interferes with something else. You’ll also notice that she argues to win and not to teach you something beneficial.
How to deal: Forgive her
If you choose to have a relationship with a mother who won’t admit her mistakes, you must forgive her. Without forgiveness, you can’t have a healthy relationship. It involves forgiving all the wrong she did and benefits your peace of mind.
8 – A Toxic Mother Gives Unsolicited Advice
A toxic mother always has something to say, even when you don’t want her to. It’s her way of proving that she’s superior to you, allowing her to maintain control over the relationship. She’ll offer advice on everything and anything, even when you don’t want it, often knocking your efforts in the process.
How to deal: Release the negativity
Your mother’s advice might annoy you, but you don’t have to let the negativity affect you. Don’t react negatively, even when tempting, because it won’t help the situation.
Instead, release the negative feelings her advice brings and continue doing things as you typically would. It’ll likely annoy her more, but it helps you feel better about the situation and remember that this is your life, not hers.
9 – She Acts Like a Victim If You Confront Her
Hen you call out your mother for her toxic behavior, she likely plays the victim card and blames the issues on you. She’ll change her demeanor to make it look like she was doing the right thing and you’re being unreasonable.
A mother like this also doesn’t apologize often. When she does, It’ll be in a way that makes you feel bad and implies that she didn’t do anything wrong.
How to deal: Don’t react to her negative behavior
She likely wants you to react negatively to prove her point when she plays the victim card. Rather than letting it play out this way, try not to respond to her toxic behavior. Avoid any opportunity for her to cause a scene in front of others.
10 – She’s Inconsiderate
A toxic mother will make you feel unimportant by being inconsiderate when planning family events. She might forget to invite you to family gatherings and leave little time to prepare when she remembers. Sometimes you might even notice that she plans things opposite to your schedule.
At family gatherings, she might talk to everyone but you. When she does acknowledge you, it’s often to tease or mock you. She’ll also ignore your suggestions no matter how good they are.
A mother like this will expect you to go along with whatever she wants and works for her. You must follow her wishes and submit to her demands to get along with her. Sometimes she’ll even want you to change your lifestyle to adapt to what she wants.
How to deal: Prepare for these situations
When you recognize inconsiderate behaviors from your mother, you can handle the experience by preparing for it. You can expect this behavior from her, so you can note the issues and avoid them. When her inconsiderate behavior doesn’t faze you, she’ll be annoyed, but it won’t affect you as much.
Final Thoughts on Signs That Reveal a Toxic Mother
Growing up with a toxic mother often affects you into adulthood. It can interfere with how you interact with your children and other people in your life. This lifestyle can lead to continuing the same patterns later, even if you swore you would. Visiting a professional for therapy can help you identify the issue and find ways to cope with it.
Dealing with a toxic mother can be tricky. But you are strong enough to handle it. Have faith in yourself and stay firm in your boundaries. You deserve respect, and it can help when you learn to deal with a toxic mother can help you entice it.