Toxic Moms: Your Mother Might Be Toxic If

toxic mothers

In committing to the dream of writing Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter I had to be absolutely sure I was right about my mother.

I’ve given a lot of thought to her life experiences and challenges, her choices and deeds.

I’ve been as objective as I can about my mother in her twenties, thirties, and beyond, comparing her life to mine at similar ages and I’ve concluded that in the pantheon of toxic moms mine is ranked somewhere between Joan Crawford in “Mommy Dearest” and Norma Bates in Psycho.

You remember Norma — the lady who wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Which might make you wonder how toxic is your mom?

my toxic familyShe might have dressed you funny or refused to let you go to sleep-away camp, but was she really so bad?

To be fair, you could factor in times when money was tight or her cat died and cut her some slack.

Or you could take a deep breath and look at my unscientific test to help you decide if your mother is truly toxic.

One point for every time you say to yourself, oh yeah.

YOUR MOTHER MAY BE TOXIC IF:

  • when you see her number on caller I.D. you freeze.
  • when it takes more than 15 minutes to warn new friends about how to act around her and the silent signal for we’re leaving!
  • you are certain that she views you as social or sexual competition.
  • you really don’t know very much about her life story or extended family.
  • she lies about your age.
  • if you’ve lost track of more than five uncles.
  • gifts from her regularly include silent messages of the need for improvement.
  • she is quick to cut off family members who cross her.
  • she keeps no photos from a significant portion of her life or she always has a faraway look or smirk on her face in family photos.
  • she compulsively measures and monitors household supplies.
  • movies with strong mother/daughter themes get you weepy.
  • you feel your mother loves you only when you are successful.
  • you feel anxious in the days leading up to family gatherings.
  • your mother was or is addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, or other destructive activities.
  • she enjoys pitting one family member against another.
  • she left you in the care of an irresponsible adult or an immature sibling; or if she ever left you home alone for extended periods of time.
  • if she gave you luggage for your high school graduation.

Usually these lists have a ranking at the end, but I’m going to leave that to you. Is ten okay? Is one too much? Maybe it depends on which one. I left out several that apply only to me, like: if you were ever kidnapped and your mother didn’t notice.

But that’s a story I will save for another Sunday. Have a good week and remember undutiful daughters need to be kind to themselves.

Rayne Wolfe’s dream is to write her first book Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter by the end of 2011. She completed her dream journey May of 2011 on 8WD after a year living her dream. You can find her at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook.

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  • Yania

    You’re right about not keeping secrets…it’s time to out the toxic moms!

    • Rayne

      Let’s all start by just telling the truth. Who knows, it might help another woman struggling with her toxic mom.

  • Rayne

    Oh yeah, THAT’s the bonus when toxic moms enter their elder stages and start accusing others of weird crimes. My mother told her friend that I broke into her apartment to PUT CLOTHES IN HER CLOSET! Of course, I denied it!

  • http://www.flourishover50.com/ Susan

    How about: when your mother accuses you of stealing her $350k retirement fund from her? My mother was so distrustful–she was always thinking people were taking things from her, especially me. She lived in a wonderful assisted living facility for the last 10 years of her life, and was always pointing the finger at the staff for taking things from her–99% of the time, things that would show up later. Not only did she think I took her money, but one year she even vowed that I’d falsified her tax return!!!
    My dad was a saint–generous and patient. I don’t know how he put up with her for over 50 years.
    My children have often asked me how I turned out so great with a mother like I had. I just tell them that I saw what I DID NOT want to be.
    Oh, and I was adopted, which didn’t help the mother-daughter relationship. We fought like caged cats my whole life.
    Toxic mother, yes. I wasn’t even very sad when she died. How very sad for me.
    But how wonderful that I have very close relationships with my own daughters and son, and I will do everything I can to always love and cherish them. Here’s to godly, sweet-spirited mothers everywhere!

  • Shanon McClain

    Fascinating Rayne, I love your writing. Looking forward to next sunday’s blog. Can’t wait for the book.

  • Colleen Du Bois

    I laughed out loud Rayne when i read your list in a “yep, been there and there…and there..many times” sort of laugh. I think that’s why sharing our stories is so important to our healing, because it truly helps to realise we are not alone in coming to terms with our toxic mothers. Thanks !

    • Rayne

      Here’s the good news Colleen – - you read that list and laughed! Thanks for visiting 8 Women Dreaming. See you next Sunday.

  • http://raynewolfe.wordpress.com/ Rayne

    Thanks Kim for the encouragement. I’ve got to remember this: real and FUNNY. With my life, I can do that! Please check back for plenty of funny on the topic of coming to terms with our mothers, toxic and otherwise.
    See you online next Sunday!

  • http://www.shesaidthenshesaid.com Kim

    I haven’t met you yet, but I know Nancy, (small world!) and if she says you’re the funniest around, I believe it! Love your posts, and have with with 8 Women Dream!

  • http://annahallquist.blogspot.com/ Anna

    Being friends with Rayne is like having a sensible sister. She’s all of what Nancy says, but she’s supportive too. Having problems with how my mother and I relate, I find Rayne’s point of view and her willingness to openly discuss her own experiences are refreshing, and make me feel less alone in the world. I think Rayne, that you have found your niche.

  • http://raynewolfe.wordpress.com/ Rayne

    Here’s something I didn’t anticipate when I jumped onto 8 Women Dreaming – - great friends would pop up and defend me! Thank you Nancy for telling the world I’m a nice person (certainly, some must wonder!) and thanks Catherine for showing people that my blog can be a barometer for your own loving and healthy parenting. It’s only week two and I’m still a little jittery about this project. It really is so personal, but already I’m getting loads of e-mails with STORIES. Names can be changed to protect the innocent, I assure you.

  • Catherine, Site Admin

    I think I already agree with Nancy.

    I love your posts. They make me stop and think about how I was raised and how I am raising my son.

    I am lucky becuase even though I lived through the devastating slow cancer death of my father through my teen years, it didn’t shut down the love I have to share.

    If anything, it made me acutely aware that time is too short and it’s important to love people while you have them in your life. I have had great fun raising my son. there has never been even a second that I have not loved him with all my heart, and I have received so much in return.

    And yes, Rayne you can do video here. Do you have the equipment? otherwise you can stop by heather’s and we can film you. I have been encouraging Veronica to do this too. I will be videoing myself pretty soon too.

    Great post -

    Cath

  • http://web.mac.com/nancylorenz/Site/Home.html Nancy

    Hey Rayne,

    I’m so glad you’re on “8 Women Dream!” I love the idea for your book, and can already visualize you sitting with Oprah on your book tour.

    The remarkable thing is how GREAT you turned out with a mother like that!!! For those of you who don’t know Rayne, she is one of the most vivacious, creative, and fun-to-be-around people I know!

    Can you ever post here a video instead of text? I think that would be a great idea for you.

    ONWARD!