Our childhood influences who we become as adults. The experiences we have and the ways in which we develop all contribute to who we become in the end, although this can occasionally be significantly influenced by other factors.
Most people don't realize how common toxic mothers are, or how much damage they can do to the lives of those who live with them. As a child, having a mother with a mental illness, even if it hasn't been diagnosed, can be very hard. For example, if you have a narcissistic mom, she will make you do things that she wants, and she will try to live her life again through you.
On the other hand, if she has bipolar disorder, she may not care much about your feelings. You'll never really know what kind of person you're coming home to at the end of the day, so it's hard to let other people into your life the right way. In this way, toxic mothers can have many different kinds of illnesses and can look very different. Still, they tend to have a lot in common with each other as well.
Psychology Today wrote the following about toxic parents, which really puts things in perspective:
The toxic parent might have a mental illness or personality disorder, or they might not. They might have or might not have ever gone to get help for this kind of disorder. But the poison they spread is a disease that can be treated. There are no numbers to back this up, but anecdotal evidence suggests that therapists see more people who have been hurt by toxic parents than they do toxic parents themselves.
The problem with a toxic parent is that the child has been eating this poison since they were a baby and has thought it is normal to eat poison for at least many years. In fact, many children with toxic parents think that it is up to the child, not the parent, to make things better.
As a child, you may not have noticed that you were being torn apart in this way, but as you've gotten older, you've started to accept that your childhood was not as good as it could have been. If you're not sure if you grew up with a bad mother figure, maybe the signs below will help you figure it out. But please remember that just because you've been through something like this doesn't mean you can't live your life to the fullest. Be true to yourself no matter what you go through in this world.
10 Signs You Grew Up With A Toxic Mother:
1. You almost felt as though she was constantly trying to compete with you.
The more time you spent with your mother the more you realized that no matter what you did she had to out-do you. For instance, if you looked pretty she had to make sure she outshined you and if you were singing she had to make sure to sing ten times better just to show off. It was always as if even when you were trying your best to make her proud she just wanted to see you fail.
2. She would never do anything for you without holding it over your head.
She never did things for you or bought you things for no reason or just because you needed them. She would always bring up the things she did or got you later to make you do things and was always taking things away for seemingly no reason at all. It’s like she loved playing with you in this way even if she saw that it was seriously affecting you.
3. She was never willing to apologize to you when she did something wrong.
She made mistakes, but she was never the kind of person to accept that and apologize for it. She always blamed you for making her make mistakes or messing her up. She was never as responsible for herself as she should have been and would brush off everything.
4. She humiliated you in public on more than one occasion.
She in many instances would go out of her way to tell other people embarrassing things about you or make you feel weird in public. It’s like she got some kind of sick kick-off of it and the more she saw you squirm the better. You always felt so out of place when you were by her side.
5. She held you to extremely high and unrealistic expectations.
She wanted you to be perfect and do everything exactly as she saw fit. If you made one little mistake she would blow up and make you feel as if you were not good enough to be there in her life. She would constantly make you feel as if the world around you was going to crumble if you did not do everything she asked right when it was asked of you.
6. She never allowed you to express your emotions.
She was not the kind of mother that you could come to when you were sad. If you were upset you had to cry into your pillow and hope she didn’t hear you. Unless you were thanking her for something she didn’t want to hear it, period.
7. She always had to be in control no matter what.
She was extremely controlling and even now tries to be. She wanted to be in charge of your time, your efforts and even your wardrobe. You could not make a single piece of toast for breakfast without asking her first.
8. She uses/used emotional blackmail all the time.
She would always use her own emotions against you. For instance, if you wanted to go out and do something she would say that you didn’t want to spend time with her and get all upset. This was her way of keeping you under her wing for as long as she could.
9. You were not allowed to have personal boundaries, at all.
She was constantly crossing your boundaries. You were not allowed any space in her household, and she never gave you privacy. There was no sense of separation between yourself and her.
10. She was always criticizing you and nothing you ever did was good enough.
She was always making fun of you and belittling you. It was always as if the most you did was not enough and when you were trying your best she never noticed it. You were always just not good enough.