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In this article, we’ll explore 8 signs you were raised by a toxic mother, the impact it can have on your emotional and mental well-being, and also what you can do about it.

Raising a child is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences a parent can go through. It’s a journey filled with love, laughter, and growth. 

But what happens when the person responsible for raising a child is toxic? 

The effects of a toxic mother on a child’s emotional and mental well-being can be devastating and long-lasting. Imagine growing up in an environment where you’re constantly belittled, criticized, and rejected. 

Where you never feel safe, loved, or supported. Where you’re forced to navigate a maze of emotional landmines every day. This is the reality for many children who were raised by toxic mothers. 

We’ll delve deep into the effects of growing up in an emotionally or physically abusive, neglectful environment and how it can shape a person’s life long after they’ve left their childhood home. 

1. Chronic feelings of guilt and shame

One way a toxic mother may create feelings of guilt and shame in her child is through constant criticism and blame. She may blame her child for her own mistakes or problems, and make her child feel guilty for things that are not their fault. 

For example, a toxic mother may blame her child for her unhappy marriage, or for not being successful in her career. This can cause the child to feel guilty and ashamed for things that are not their responsibility.

Another way a toxic mother may create feelings of guilt and shame is through manipulation and control. She may use guilt and shame as a way to control her child’s behavior and decisions. 

For example, a toxic mother may use guilt and shame to force her child to do things that she wants, or to prevent her child from doing things that she does not want them to do.

2. Fear of expressing your emotions 

Imagine growing up with a mother who constantly belittled you, gaslight you, and made you feel like your emotions were invalid. It’s not hard to see how that kind of environment can lead to a fear of expressing emotions.

When a toxic mother raises someone, they may learn that their emotions are not important and that they should just keep them to themselves. They may also learn that expressing their emotions will lead to further criticism, manipulation, or even abuse. 

This can make it difficult for them to trust their feelings and to feel comfortable sharing them with others.

Additionally, the mother may also model unhealthy ways of expressing emotions, such as yelling, belittling, or becoming emotionally manipulative. 

This can make it difficult for the child to learn healthy ways of expressing their emotions, leading to a fear of expressing them in the future.

Ultimately, the fear of expressing emotions is a result of years of being told that your emotions don’t matter, being invalidated, and being exposed to unhealthy ways of expressing emotions. 

[Related: 5 Defining Traits of Highly Toxic People]

3. Constantly comparing yourself to others 

In situations like this, toxic mothers often create an environment where their children constantly feel inadequate and like they can never measure up. 

They may constantly compare their children to others, whether it be their siblings, other family members, or even strangers. In some cases, a toxic mother may even go as far as to compare her children to each other, which can lead to sibling rivalry and feelings of jealousy. 

This can be especially damaging as it can create a rift between siblings and make them feel like they are in constant competition with each other.

They may also use these comparisons as a way to control and manipulate their children, by making them feel like they are not good enough unless they meet certain standards. This can lead to a lifetime of feeling inadequate and constantly searching for validation from others.

Some mothers often have very high expectations for their children, and may be quick to criticize and belittle them when they don’t meet those expectations. 

This can also contribute to the feeling of constantly having to measure up to others, as the child may feel like they can never do enough to please their mother.

4. A tendency to attract and/or tolerate toxic relationships and people.

Have you ever found yourself attracted to people who treat you poorly or do you tolerate toxic behavior in relationships? This could be a sign that you were raised by a toxic mother.

Growing up in a toxic environment can shape our beliefs and behaviors in adulthood. When a child is raised by a toxic mother, they may internalize the unhealthy dynamics and believe that it is normal to be treated poorly. 

They may also have a hard time setting boundaries and recognizing red flags in relationships because they never learned how to do so in their childhood.

A toxic mother may also make their child feel guilty for standing up for themselves or leaving the toxic relationship, making it even harder for the child to break free from the cycle. 

This can lead to a pattern of attracting or tolerating toxic relationships and people, as the child may believe that is all they deserve. It’s important to note that healing from this type of upbringing takes time and self-reflection. 

It’s not something that can be fixed overnight. However, with the help of a therapist and by learning to set healthy boundaries, it is possible to break the cycle and learn to attract healthier relationships in the future.

[Also read: 10 Signs You Have a Toxic Daughter-In-Law]

5. Low self-confidence 

Growing up in a toxic environment can have a profound impact on a person’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth. A toxic mother often uses different unhealthy tactics to assert her dominance over her child. 

This can lead to the child constantly feeling belittled, judged, and never good enough. When a child is constantly told they are not good enough or are made to feel like they are a burden, it can create a sense of insecurity and self-doubt. 

This can manifest in a lack of confidence in one’s abilities, a fear of failure, and a constant need for validation and approval. A child may also internalize the negative messages they receive from their mother, believing that they are truly not worthy of love or success.

A toxic mother may also use manipulation and control to keep their child isolated and dependent on them. This can lead to the child feeling trapped and unable to assert themselves or make their own choices. 

They may also struggle to form healthy relationships with others, as they have never been given the opportunity to develop the skills needed to navigate social interactions. 

6. Finding it hard to accept and give love

It’s common thing for people who were raised by toxic mothers to have difficulty accepting and giving love.

 This kind of environment can make a child feel worthless and unlovable, leading them to believe that they don’t deserve to be loved or that they are incapable of loving others.

As a result, they may have a hard time accepting love from others. They may push people away or sabotage their relationships because they don’t believe they are worthy of love. They may also find it difficult to trust others or open themselves up emotionally.

On the other hand, they may also have a hard time giving love. They may be afraid of getting hurt or of being rejected, so they may hold back from expressing their feelings or from getting too close to others. 

They may also struggle to empathize with others or to show affection, as they may not have learned how to do so in a healthy way.

[Also read: 6 Toxic Behaviors That Have Been Normalized By Society]

7. Constant need for validation 

When someone constantly seeks validation, it can be a sign that they were raised by a toxic mother. 

This type of behavior is often a coping mechanism developed in childhood to compensate for the lack of emotional support and validation that the individual received from their mother.

Think about it like this: A child growing up with a mother who is constantly critical and belittling, never offering words of encouragement or praise. As a child, you may have felt like you were always walking on eggshells, never quite sure if you were doing something right or wrong. 

This constant fear and uncertainty can lead to a deep-seated need for validation from others as a way to make up for the validation that was missing in your childhood. This need for validation isn’t just limited to seeking approval from others, it can also manifest in other ways. 

For example, someone who was raised by a toxic mother may have a constant need to prove themselves to others, whether it’s through their work or their relationships. 

They may even go to great lengths to seek recognition and validation from others, even if it means putting themselves in uncomfortable or compromising situations. It’s also worth noting that this need for validation can be a double-edged sword. 

On one hand, it can be a driving force that helps someone to achieve their goals and succeed in life. 

On the other hand, it can also lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, as the individual may never feel like they are truly worthy of the validation they are seeking.

8. Frequent feelings of anxiety or depression 

Feeling anxiety or depression is a common experience for many people, but it can also be a sign that someone was raised by a toxic mother. A toxic mother can leave lasting scars on a child’s mental and emotional health, and the symptoms can continue into adulthood. 

This is why it’s important to understand how toxic mothers can affect their children and how it can manifest as anxiety or depression.

Let’s start with anxiety. When a child is raised by toxic mother, they often experience a constant sense of uncertainty and fear. This is because the mother’s behavior can be unpredictable and can change quickly. 

The child may never know what will trigger her anger or disappointment, and this can create a constant state of anxiety. This anxiety can continue into adulthood, causing feelings of panic, stress, and worry. 

These feelings can be debilitating and can affect every aspect of a person’s life, from relationships to work to daily activities.

Depression is also a common result of being raised by a toxic mother. Children who grow up with a toxic mother often feel neglected, unsupported, and unimportant. 

They may feel like they are constantly criticized or rejected, leading to feelings of worthlessness and sadness. This can lead to depression and a persistent feeling of hopelessness. 

The child may struggle to find meaning or joy in life, and may feel like they are stuck in a cycle of negativity. This can also impact their self-esteem and ability to form healthy relationships with others.

[Read: 6 Traits of Subtly Toxic Friends]


It’s important to mention that, not all mothers are toxic, and not all children who are raised by toxic mothers are affected in the same way, but when a mother is toxic, the child may suffer from a lot of emotional and mental issues in their lives. 

I’ll also like to add that toxic mothers are not entirely bad people, they just have their issues and problems that they are unable to cope with, and their children end up bearing the brunt of it.

It takes a lot of courage to admit that you were raised by a toxic mother and to start the healing process. But, it’s a step that can lead to a more fulfilling and happier life. 

It’s time to break the cycle of toxic parenting and create a healthier and more loving environment for future generations. This can start with seeking therapy, building a support system, and learning healthy coping mechanisms to help heal.

Healing from this type of upbringing may take a while and a lot of effort, but it’s possible. Just remember that you are not alone in this, and that you deserve to live a happy and healthy life.

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Anita Oge

Meet Anita, a relationship writer with a passion for helping people navigate the complexities of love and dating. With a background in information science, she has a wealth of knowledge and insight to share. Her writing is sure to leave you feeling empowered and inspired.

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