Being a toxic mom does not happen over night. In fact, being a toxic mom comes from years of bad habits that have been adopted in childhood. Why should you know about toxic mom habits? Well, it is simple, better relationships with your children will foster a deeper connection with them.
Learn to be a likeable mom now so that when your children become adults, they will not have to carry generations of bad habits into their parenting.
Signs of Toxic Mom Habits
The Codependent Mother- Toxic Mom Habits
The codependent mother is the mother that looks to you to fulfill their sense of autonomy and self-esteem. They do not know who they are without you in their lives. They will attach to you in unhealthy ways to keep you close to them.
The mother’s codependency derives from needs or desires going unmet in childhood.
Picture this for a moment and let’s walk in the codependent mother’s shoes:
As a little child you go up to your mommy for a hug but she rejects you. Then the next time you try a different tactic by crying. But that doesn’t seem to work. So now you try lying about your tummy hurting to get your mother’s attention. But this time, it still does not work in your favor. So you continue with this pattern of behavior until your mother succumbs to your wishes.
This behavior continues into adulthood if you are not able to deal with root rejection wounds and identity issues.
Codependency can show up as:
- Lying to get your way
- Extreme control/manipulation
- Silent treatment
- Gas lighting ( never admitting wrong or denying something happened)
- Fear and anxiety of losing control of the dependent child
The Controlling mother- Toxic Mom Habits
Controlling mothers have a very strong fear of losing control of their children. They instill in their children the fear that they will not be able to survive in the world without them. This can take years of indoctrinating this into the child’s root system. But I find that mothers can easily manipulate their children into submission due to the stigma attached to mothers being caretakers and nurturers.
It is easy to trust a mother that gave you a glimmer of safety with food, shelter, and occasionally a disguise of love through “love bombing” or trauma bonding. Controlling mothers leave a trail of daughters who are not able to trust themselves to make day to day decisions. Ultimately, at the mercy of their controlling parent.
Verbally abusive mother- Toxic Mom Habits
Mothers who grew up in a household where their voices were shut down and their opinions were unnoticed can grow up verbally abusing their children. I have seen mothers call their children awful names. I am talking about animal names, using profanity in anger, and word curses to bruise their soul.
Verbal abuse is a powerful instrument that mothers with toxic traits carry into their relationships with their sons and daughters. It is sometimes the most lasting impression on a child’s sense of well-being.
See related post on hurtful things parents say to their children that can negatively impact their future.
Read more about my toxic mother story and the wounds that were created in my soul.
How to be a likeable Mom
Listen without judgment
Learn to listen to your child without judgement. Something magical happens when you are able to actively listen to their deepest concerns, dreams, and ideas about how they see the world. Lean into the Holy Spirit’s prompting to listen to the things that are not said.
Some things are heart matters that God wants to get resolved through you as you listen closely to the things your child tells you.
Learn the art of nurture
Nurture is an art that takes practice and yielding to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a comforter that nurtures the heart of the soul. Like a mother, the Holy Spirit will lovingly take you into his arms, reassure you of who you are ( your identity in Christ alone), your inheritance, and your salvation.
Learn more about how to nurture faith here: How To Nurture Faith- 3 Simple Tips and read the first chapter of Motherhood Simplified By God to learn about the truth of motherhood and God’s character as a mother.
Respect and develop emotional boundaries
Respecting is all about taking great concern for your child’s autonomy, their voice, and who God called them to be including their natural and spiritual gifting.
I grew up in a home with the saying ” you respect your parents and you as the child are always wrong.” If my mother gave me the silent treatment and slammed the doors in the house to intimidate me, I was always told to be the one to apologize to her.
Respect was demanded in my childhood home. But respect should be given graciously and without recourse.
Create emotional boundaries and express when things hurt your feelings. Also, express to your child that you are willing to listen to their emotional issues when they are ready to talk.
Love unconditionally. It is important to love your child even when they are at their weakest moment in life. This fosters into your child that mistakes does not define who they are. They will grow into maturity of knowing that your love will never depart from them. It removes the performance mindset out of the equation and encourages your child to see that they are loved because they are simply your child.
See related post: The Truth of Conditional Love
Words of affirmation can help your child to see themselves in a positive light. I did not receive enough encouraging words as a child and looked to others for their approval of my appearance or my thoughts and feelings. In adulthood, I realized that encouragement needed to also occur within myself.
One of the best ways to do this is through the word of God. Start with reading the book of Psalms. Scripture verses point back to God and how He affirms us through His power, His presence, and grace.
Learn more about Toxic Mom Habits :
On things Narcissist mothers say to their sons
Spot signs of a narcissistic mother and how to overcome if you have experienced these signs as a parent