Growing up, I remember having many experiences of my mother relying on me to accomplish many things for her. It was emotionally exhausting and what I would call ” toxic codependency.”

Toxic codependency can wiggle it’s way into many relationships that are one-sided and unhealthy. This includes codependency in mother and daughter relationships that are devoid of boundaries and leave little room for true autonomy.

What is Codependency in a Mother?

Codependent mothers rely on their daughters to fulfill their emotional well-being and they see their daughters as an extension of themselves. If their daughter is confident in how they approach life, they will try to mirror that personality by being overbearing or belittling their daughter.

The mother who is codependent has deep rooted emotional issues that are sometimes inherited through a generation of mother wounds and childhood trauma.

Here are some of the ways a Codependent Mother will manifest these deep seated emotions to her daughter:

Signs of codependency: mother and daughter relationship


1. Manipulative and Controlling

Codependent mothers have a way of using several controlling weapons against their daughters. There is no negotiating or defending yourself when they feel threatened. You either comply or she will punish you for your “disobedience.”

Related post: Toxic Mom Habits- How to be a likeable Mom

Here are several manipulative and controlling weapons in her arsenal:

Silent Treatment & Projection

Withholding attention to control or manipulate your daughter to comply with your wishes. You also place your emotional baggage onto your daughter when you are not able to effectively cope.

Guilt Trips & Gaslighting

Controlling your daughter by placing blame on her for why you feel emotionally unwell.

You deny any wrongdoing or anything you may have said in the past. You purposely try to confuse your daughter.

Effect on Daughters

Psychological and emotional pain can occur over time due to constantly being in a fight or flight mode. Fear of displeasing or losing your mother is usually at play here.

Effect on Daughters

You will often feel that you are the reason why your mother is unhappy with life. You also second guess your unique experiences and often feel like you are walking on egg-shells.

Get the 4 Easy Step guide that will help you to break FREE from a toxic relationship with your mother.

Inside this guide, I share the exact steps that I took to begin my healing journey from trauma bonds.

2. Refuses to Listen to You

Codependent mothers are so into their emotional trauma that they will refuse to listen to your opinions or your perspective on life. When you are given the floor to speak, you are often told to hurry up and finish your point. The codependent mother may ridicule the daughter or label the child as being “talkative” when she needs validation and confirmation.

Related post: How To Overcome An Emotionally Dismissive Mother

3. Will play “helpless” or the victim

Codependent mothers will often play the victim role. ” Woe is me” is their motto in life. You may see crying, screaming, yelling ( i.e., childlike tantrums) for not getting their way. There is also an oversharing of a traumatic past when the daughter is young and impressionable. Some of the trauma that is shared by the codependent mother may be inappropriate to share with a young child and should be shared with a therapist that can help them to navigate emotional trauma or PTSD in a healthy way. If not, an enmeshed daughter relationship might develop.

The codependent mother overshares so that the daughter will see the mother as a victim that needs help with life’s issues.

I remember my own mother telling me how she needed me to make bank deposits, pay her bills, and to sign paper work for her. If I did not comply or gave a valid reason for not being able to fulfill her wishes, I was often told that I was unhelpful or she would threaten me with suicidal statements “you make me want to kill myself.”

4. Unhealthy mother daughter labels- The best friend

I remember my mother would treat me like I was her best friend. According to her, my peers were bad people and not to be trusted. She was suspicious of any women friends that I introduced to her and would make remarks such as:

” I don’t trust her.”

“One day you will see that I was right… I am your only friend.”

Looking back, I believe that these feelings were deeply rooted in rejection wounds from childhood.

Boundaries: How to overcome

Learn the root of codependency

A codependent’s main objective is to cleave onto another person in a selfish way to get their desires met. In mother daughter relationships, the mother will manipulate the daughter to give into her wishes, to benefit herself and not her daughter. She may even go as far as damaging the daughters reputation by recruiting flying monkeys if the daughter manages to set strict boundaries. The daughter with deep roots of codependency may not set boundaries due to trauma bonds or the fear of being labeled a “bad daughter.”

The root of codependency is “pride.” Lucifer fell from heaven because of his pride and his need to steal God’s glory Ezekiel 28:17. The devil became so prideful of his own beauty and power that he attempted to raise himself above God. This is what happens with codependent mothers that become so prideful of how powerful they are in getting their desires met through intimidation and control.

This is a serious cause of concern because having a prideful spirit is akin to being a child of the devil.

For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44 NLT

Rebellion is the other root of codependency. Lucifer also was kicked out of heaven because he rebelled against God’s divine order in relationship. He did not view God as King of Glory but someone to overrule. Codependent mothers rebel against their daughters by playing the role of dictator rather than nurturer and mother.

The daughter also rebels against her childlike nature by fulfilling her mothers wishes due to the fear of being abandoned. Thereby, going against her true nature which is to be filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit instead of operating in fear.

Related post: How To Parent With the Fruit of the Holy Spirit 

Read Scriptures on codependency

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one gets justice

Proverbs 29:25-26

Fear of man may drive you to be codependent. Daughters should not fear saying no to their mothers if they are able to identify a situation as being unsafe for their well-being. Mothers should also teach when it is appropriate to say no. If the mother fails to do this, unfortunately this is how many children experience childhood trauma because of their inability to discern when a situation is harmful. Daughters may also inherit the need to people-please and to seek people’s approval (Galatians 1:10). We need to rely only on God’s approval so that we can serve and worship Him as He originally designed in heaven. If daughters fail to do this, they risk idolizing their mothers.

Continue reading the toxic mom series:

How Toxic Mothers Use Emotional Trauma: What You Should Know Now

Toxic Bonds- Trauma Attachment To Overcome Now

Toxic Projection: How to Master Your Emotions Today

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