8 Signs You Were Raised by a Toxic Mother

A mother’s love is supposed to be pure and nurturing, but unfortunately, not all mothers fit this definition. Some mothers can be toxic, leaving their children emotionally scarred. The effects of having a negative-minded mother are profound and long-lasting, leading to depression and feelings of inadequacy.

If a toxic mother raised you, you might have noticed some signs. One common sign is conditional love, where your mother’s affection depends on meeting her expectations. Other signs are parentification and emotional or physical abuse that indicate a toxic mother-daughter relationship.

As part of this article, we’ll discuss signs you were raised by a toxic mother, offering you insight and understanding. By recognizing these signs, you can break free from the unhealthy cycle and find the love and support you deserve.

Identifying 8 Signs You Were Raised by a Toxic Mother

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Growing up in a toxic mother-child relationship can impact an individual’s mental health, relationships, and emotional well-being. Here are eight signs that you may have experienced this type of relationship:

1. Conditional Love

8 Signs You Were Raised by a Toxic Mother - Conditional Love

If a toxic mother raised you, you may have experienced conditional love. This means that love and approval were only given when you behaved in a way that met her expectations; otherwise, negativity and criticism would ensue.

The toxic mother’s love wasn’t unconditional but somewhat contingent on your compliance. This dynamic often stems from classic and aversive conditioning, where you learn that success and obedience are rewarded, and disobedience is punished.

2. Parentification

Your toxic mother’s parentification may have resulted in you shouldering adult responsibilities at a young age. Parentification can occur in different ways, such as emotional, instrumental, or narcissistic parentification.

These experiences can have a profound impact on your development, often causing feelings of resentment, anxiety, and a distorted sense of self. Recognizing these patterns is essential for establishing healthy boundaries and breaking free from the cycle of toxic parenting.

3. Emotional or Physical Abuse

Emotional or Physical Abuse

Growing up with a toxic mother who engages in emotional abuse can leave you feeling worthless, constantly on edge, and questioning your reality.

Physical abuse, disguised as corporal punishment, is another form of toxic parenting. It can involve hitting, slapping, or any form of physical harm. This type of abuse not only inflicts physical pain but also causes deep emotional scars.

Acknowledge and validate the pain you have experienced to begin the healing process and break free from the damaging effects of a toxic mother.

4. Manipulation through Guilt or Fear

Growing up with a toxic mother, you may have experienced manipulation through guilt or fear. Toxic mothers often use these tactics as a means of controlling and manipulating their children.

They may play the victim card, making you feel responsible for their unhappiness or dissatisfaction. By distorting events and twisting the truth, they create a sense of guilt within you, causing you to doubt your perceptions and feelings.

Also, toxic mothers may use fear as a tool, suggesting that harm will come to you if you don’t comply with their demands or meet their expectations. This manipulation can be emotionally draining and can have long-lasting effects on your self-esteem and decision-making abilities.

5. Lack of Boundaries

Lack of Boundaries

One common sign of being raised by a toxic mother is a lack of clear boundaries, which can have a significant impact on your overall well-being. When your mother fails to establish and respect personal boundaries, it can lead to feelings of confusion, insecurity, and a lack of autonomy.

You may have experienced a complete invasion of privacy, with your mother constantly prying your matters and disregarding your need for personal space. Moreover, a toxic mother may blur the line between being a parent and a friend, preventing you from establishing healthy boundaries as an adult.

6. Undermining or Sabotaging Accomplishments

If your mother constantly belittled your achievements or actively worked to undermine your success, you may have been raised by a toxic mother. Undermining or sabotaging your accomplishments is a harmful behavior that affects your self-esteem and confidence.

Toxic mothers often feel threatened by their children’s success, leading them to engage in behaviors that diminish their achievements. They may dismiss your accomplishments as insignificant or attribute them to luck or external factors.

7. Double Standards Between Siblings

When your toxic mother consistently applies double standards between you and your siblings, it can create a harmful dynamic that affects your self-esteem and relationships. This is true for stepmothers who may not treat their children fairly or equally.

Double standards occur when your mother treats you and your siblings differently, holding you to different expectations and standards. For example, she might praise your sibling for their achievements while dismissing yours or give your sibling more freedom and privileges while restricting yours.

8. Control Issues

If you grew up with a toxic mother, you may have experienced an overwhelming sense of control in almost every aspect of your life. Control issues are a common characteristic of toxic mothers, and they can manifest in various ways.

One sign of control is when your mother tries to dictate your choices, whether in clothing, career decisions, friendships, or marriage. She may impose her preferences onto you, disregarding your desires and individuality.

How to Deal With a Toxic Mother According to Islam?

Dealing with a toxic mother can be challenging. However, some teachings and principles in Islam emphasize compassion, patience, and family ties.

How to Deal With a Toxic Mother According to Islam?

1. Maintain Respect and Kindness

To maintain respect and kindness when dealing with a toxic mother, according to Islamic Sharia, exhibit a compassionate and understanding attitude towards her. While it can be challenging to navigate a relationship with a toxic mother, remember the teachings of Islam and strive for empathy and compassion.

As mentioned in Surah Al-Isra:17 and Ayat:23, Allah says,

۞ وَقَضَىٰ رَبُّكَ أَلَّا تَعْبُدُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ إِيَّاهُ وَبِٱلْوَٰلِدَيْنِ إِحْسَـٰنًا ۚ إِمَّا يَبْلُغَنَّ عِندَكَ ٱلْكِبَرَ أَحَدُهُمَآ أَوْ كِلَاهُمَا فَلَا تَقُل لَّهُمَآ أُفٍّۢ وَلَا تَنْهَرْهُمَا وَقُل لَّهُمَا قَوْلًۭا كَرِيمًۭا ٢٣

“For your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And honour your parents. If one or both of them reach old age in your care, never say to them ˹even˺ ‘ugh,’ nor yell at them. Rather, address them respectfully.”

2. Exercise Patience (Sabr)

Patience (Sabr) is a virtue highly valued in Islam, and it can be a powerful tool when dealing with a toxic relationship. Remember that toxic behavior often stems from deep-seated issues within the individual, and responding with patience can help create a more peaceful environment.

Allah says,

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ ٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ ١٥٣

“O believers! Seek comfort in patience and prayer. Allah is truly with those who are patient.” [Surah Al-Baqarah:2, Ayat:153]

3. Seek Guidance from Religious Scholars

Religious scholars can help you deal with a toxic mom according to Islamic principles. They have extensive knowledge of Islamic teachings and can guide you in navigating the complexities of your relationship with your mother.

They can help you understand the importance of maintaining respect and kindness towards your mother while setting boundaries to protect your well-being.

4. Maintain Boundaries

While Islam encourages respect and kindness towards parents, it also acknowledges the importance of maintaining personal boundaries. If your mother’s behavior is harmful to your well-being, it may be necessary to establish healthy boundaries while still fulfilling your religious duties towards her.

As Allah has ordered,

وَإِن جَـٰهَدَاكَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن تُشْرِكَ بِى مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِۦ عِلْمٌۭ فَلَا تُطِعْهُمَا ۖ وَصَاحِبْهُمَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا مَعْرُوفًۭا ۖ وَٱتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ مَنْ أَنَابَ إِلَىَّ ۚ ثُمَّ إِلَىَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

“But if they pressure you to associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them. Still keep their company in this world courteously, and follow the way of those who turn to Me ˹in devotion˺. Then to Me you will ˹all˺ return, and then I will inform you of what you used to do.” [Surah Luqman:3, Ayat:15]

5. Pray for Guidance and Healing

Prayer is a powerful tool for seeking guidance and healing in difficult situations. Turn to Allah and ask for His support and guidance as you navigate the challenges of dealing with a toxic mother. Pray for strength, patience, and understanding for yourself and your mother.

Seek solace in the verses of the Quran, as they offer comfort and wisdom. Remember that Allah is aware of your struggles, and He’s always there for you. Trust in Allah’s plan and believe He’ll provide the guidance and healing you need.

The Lasting Effects of a Toxic Mother and the Path to Liberation

Being raised by a toxic mother can have lasting effects on a person’s life. Recognizing the signs of a toxic mother is the first step towards healing and breaking free from their impact.

While some may argue that it’s impossible to change or distance oneself from a toxic mother due to cultural or religious obligations, prioritize your mental and emotional health. Islam teaches forgiveness and compassion and encourages setting boundaries to protect oneself from harmful relationships.

Omar Abdullah

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