8 Signs You Were Raised by a Toxic Mother

8 Signs You Were Raised by a Toxic Mother

How do you know if you were raised by a toxic mother? This can be a difficult question to answer because the effects of growing up in an unhealthy environment can be subtle and insidious.

It’s not uncommon for people who were raised by toxic mothers to feel ashamed or embarrassed. After all, if your mother is the one who hurt you, it’s natural to want to protect her and defend her even when she doesn’t deserve it.

But if your mother was — and still is — toxic, it’s important to recognize the signs so you can make needed changes in your life, both now and in the future. In this article, we will discuss 8 telltale signs that you may have been raised by a toxic mother.

1. Unconditional Love Is Absent

The most obvious sign of being raised by a toxic mother is the absence of unconditional love. While all parents make mistakes, toxic mothers are incapable of seeing that their own behavior is the root cause of many of their kids’ issues.

If you were raised by a toxic mother, you were probably never genuinely celebrated or praised when you achieved something in life. Instead, your mother likely tried to control how you think and feel, and would likely put her wants and needs before yours, regardless of the situation. You might also have been constantly criticized or belittled as a child, with your mother making it clear that they believed they could do better than you.

These feelings can be hard to shake as an adult; if you recognize these behaviors in your own upbringing, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault—be kind to yourself and know that it’s never too late to heal from any wounds caused by an unhealthy relationship with a parent.

2. You’re Refused Apology

It can be difficult to bring up the subject of apology from a toxic mother, especially when it’s something you’ve been putting off for a long time. You may sense that she won’t take kindly to it and avoid the conversation altogether.

Unfortunately, if you were raised by a toxic mother, apologies are rarely given and often refused. Toxic mothers are not typically in the habit of acknowledging their mistakes or taking responsibility for their actions. They will often point fingers elsewhere and make excuses rather than admitting they were wrong.

These kinds of interactions are sure signs that you were raised by a toxic mother. While it is extremely hard to confront her about her behavior and ask for an apology, it is important to remember that an apology isn’t necessary for growth. It’s okay to move forward in life without one if you need to.

3. Toxic Criticism

If your mother gave you constant criticism and rarely gave you affirmation or support, it is likely that you were raised by a toxic mother. This kind of belittling can have a long-term impact on your self-esteem, body image, and relationships because you can come to believe the negative criticism instead of celebrating your accomplishments.

Toxic Criticism

You may have been subjected to:

  • Constant attempts to critique your appearance or behavior
  • Comparing you to others in a negative way
  • Scolding and shaming you for being yourself
  • Criticizing your thoughts and opinions

Toxic mothers often victimized their children with put-downs and insults to make them feel worthless. They might even resort to name calling or other forms of verbal abuse. This form of manipulation will leave the child feeling inadequate and confused about why they deserve this kind of treatment.

With toxic criticism from their mother, many children can be left feeling anxious and depressed, which can lead to low self-esteem as they internalize these messages.

4. Invalidation of Feelings

Have you ever had a feeling or an opinion and the person closest to you belittled or ignored it? Feeling invalidated is not only hurtful, but it can lead to self-doubt and suppressed feelings.

If your mother has a habit of invalidating your feelings, this could be a sign that she is toxic. It might look like this if she:

  1. Makes you feel like your emotions are not valid
  2. Dismisses your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs without listening to them
  3. Refuses to discuss the topic or challenges it with her opinion rather than considering yours
  4. Uses guilt or ridicule when you express yourself
  5. Regularly accuses you of exaggerating your emotions
  6. Ignores when you make an effort to explain how you feel
  7. Cuts off interactions when conversation gets difficult
  8. Displays signs of contempt when talking about something that’s important to you

Invalidation of feelings can lead to long-term damage, as having your emotions disregarded may impact your ability to trust people and form healthy relationships in the future. If this sounds familiar, it’s important to recognize how much of an effect this may have on both your mental and emotional health going forward.

Next: Spotting Toxic Daughter Signs in Teens: What to Look For

5. Controlling Behaviors

Do you feel like your mother was always trying to control what you did, how you felt, and who you could be friends with? This is one of the classic signs that your mother is toxic.

Controlling behavior typically takes the form of manipulation, such as pitting two siblings against each other or lying about a situation in order to put the child in a difficult position. Toxic mothers are often afraid of losing control of their children and can resort to manipulative tactics to try to keep them in line. They may also want to protect their children from potential harm, but this can come at the expense of the child’s autonomy and freedom.

In addition, they may place unrealistic expectations on their children, not accept their mistakes or failures and criticize them harshly when they don’t meet these expectations. This can have an incredibly negative impact on a child’s self-esteem and sense of worthlessness.

Finally, toxic mothers may not listen to their children’s opinion or point-of-view and instead try to impose their own ideas no matter how outdated they are. They may also try to be overly involved in your life and make decisions for you instead of letting you make them for yourself.

6. Unfair Expectations & Constant Judgment

On top of constantly finding fault with you, a toxic mother may also hold you to unbearably high expectations. She likely expects you to meet her ideals regardless of the situation, even if they are not reasonable.

Unfair Expectations & Constant Judgment

Another sign that you have been raised by a toxic mother is that she is constantly judging you and your decisions. She may have certain beliefs or opinions about what is right and wrong, and will always make her opinions known – even if they are not necessarily correct.

No matter what you do – whether it’s succeeding or failing – she will always find a way to put you down. She may make belittling comments or jokes at your expense, or criticize the decisions that you’ve made in the past. And instead of offering any real advice, she may just focus on tearing down your self-esteem and morale.

7. Blaming & Shaming Tactics

A telltale sign of a toxic mother is her penchant for blaming and shaming. She loves to point the finger and make you feel like whatever went wrong is your fault. It could be something minor, like not cleaning your room, or something major that happened outside of your control — but no matter what, a toxic mother will make sure to lay the blame at your feet.

This tactic can be so damaging because it:

  • Impacts your self worth, as you constantly feel like you’re never doing anything right
  • Is hard to identify from the outside, as it usually takes place in private conversations between mother and child
  • Makes you second guess yourself, leading to an internal struggle of whether or not to trust your own judgment
  • Can become a habit if you don’t recognize it and take steps to break the pattern.

Even though getting out from under the shadow of a toxic mother can seem daunting, it’s important that you do whatever it takes to begin this process of healing. Remember — every choice we make comes with consequences both positive and negative. You can choose to stay in this cycle and suffer from blaming & shaming tactics or take back control over your life and empower yourself against these unhealthy behaviors.

8. Manipulative Strategies

You know your mother is toxic if she continuously uses manipulative strategies to get her way. She may use guilt-tripping, shaming, or belittling language to make you do what she wants. She may also use threats of abandonment or love withdrawal to make you feel like you owe her something.

Rather than dealing with conflicts directly in a two-way conversation, a toxic mother resorts to manipulation. There’s no consideration for your feelings or input and she will rarely apologize for her wrongdoings or behavior.

When confronted with unethical behavior, your mother may deny what she did and act like it never happened—which can leave you feeling unheard and misunderstood. You’ll also find that you can never win an argument with her because the conversation quickly becomes distorted when she’s called out on her behavior.

It’s important to be aware of these manipulative tactics so that in the future you can recognize them in other relationships and protect yourself from them accordingly. Take note of how your mother speaks to you and don’t allow anyone else to talk to you in a similar manner.

Final Thoughts

Raising a child in a toxic environment can have a huge impact on their life and well-being, both during and after their childhood ends. If you recognize the signs of a toxic mother, it’s important to be aware and to take steps to protect yourself and your mental health.

Seeking out support and help from a trusted friend, family member, or counselor is crucial to managing the effects of a toxic mother. It may also be important to set boundaries with your mother, as well as forgive her to allow yourself to move on. Although it can be difficult to recognize that you have been negatively impacted by toxic parenting, it’s necessary to do so in order for you to start the healing process.

About author


Martin passionate in helping and giving advice to people in different areas of life. Whether it's your career, relationships, or any other topics. He helps individuals reach their goals and be the most successful versions of themselves.
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