5 Questions for Daughters of Toxic Mothers for Toxic Mom Toolkit

Daughters of Toxic Mothers

Filing on deadline from Columbia River Coffee Roasters in Astoria, Oregon

As I wind up my writing effort on my first memoir and book “Toxic Mom ToolkitI’m thinking about what my book will look like and what companion pieces it will need.

My very first impulse is a journal.

There are few things as alluring as a beautiful, clean, empty journal. I know because I buy them all the time, stack them on a bookshelf and forget about them.

Ever have this thought?

It’s too pretty to write in.

Yeah, me too.

Looking back on my life, I know that at certain times – when I was single, or married; when I was happy or not; when I was embarking on something new and challenging or set in my ways — when it came to my relationship with my mother each phase served up unique questions I needed to sort out.

If I could remember those phases and put those many questions in a sequence that led from one to the next, could I condense the process and allow others to avoid long periods of confusion, fear and self-doubt?

I may have suspected my mother was a not-to-be-trusted person when I was in my late twenties, but it probably wasn’t until well into my forties I became confident in saying she was truly a toxic mother (and wife and daughter and friend for that matter).

It took me a long while to really see that my mother was more than awful, more than just ill-equipped to be a mother.

Why not speed up the process for others?

For example, only recently have I worked up the nerve to pay Ancestry.com $19.95 a month to look at a family tree that I was told my entire life only consisted of our splintered four-person nuclear family.

(By the way, any mother who tells a child they only have siblings and parents for relatives has climbed up into the family tree and sawed off the branches herself for her own reasons. Every human being has hundreds of relatives — a common late-in-life revelation for daughters of toxic mothers.)

Daughters of Toxic MothersDeciding to collect birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce declarations, adoption records, prison and orphanage records (yes, they’re online!) and to line them up and study them is a powerful decision.

Yes, it can be a Pandora’s Box, but it’s your Pandora’s Box. You might discover earlier marriages, births, divorces, deaths, suicides, periods of incarceration for interesting things.

If you’re me, you’ll discover your mom’s older sister, a family history of polygamy, possible incest, hospitalizations for alcoholism and grandparents who parked their children in orphanages during the Depression.

But all of these discoveries begin with a question.

That’s why each person will tackle my questions her own way. A daughter commencing her journey of self-discovery could work first on the questions she feels most applies to her; she could take breaks or let questions inspire dreams or discussions. Answers could provide confidence for family confabs. I think it would certainly help inspire a little detective work on the family story between writing sessions.

I designed a 20 Questions for Daughters of Toxic Mothers pdf for book research. Here are 5 questions are among my 20 I feel every daughter of a toxic mother must ask herself.

Ask Yourself These 5 Toxic Mom Toolkit Questions:

1. What do you know about your mother’s life before you were conceived?

2. Do you have a copy of your own birth certificate? Have you seen your mother’s birth certificate and her marriage license/s? Have you ever laid them all down side by side and studied them closely?

3. Was there any family tragedy or need to focus on another sibling that may have negatively affected your relationship with your mother?

4. Can you list five wonderful things your mother has happily done for you?

5. If you have talked to a therapist about your mother, what discovery or coping tool helped you the most? Brought you the most peace?

If you have other question suggestions, please leave them below.
Rayne
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Rayne's dream was to write her memoir and found a global support community for adult children of toxic mothers. This summer she completed her book, which inclues her story of growing up with not one, but two super toxic mothers as well as a mosiac of mini-memoirs of women from all over the world who have created happy and peaceful lives despite toxic parenting. Her book, Toxic Mom Toolkit, is published on Amazon.com and Create Space. Her Facebook page Toxic Mom Toolkit, attracts over 250,000 per month and is a safe place to read or tell healing stories, exchange positive strategies on how to live with toxic parenting and lots of humor and resources. A freelance journalist, she currently writes a food & drink page for several Bay Area newspapers and is a private writing coach.

Latest posts by Rayne Wolfe, Published Author and Journalist (see all)

  • Charlene

    I am a lot like you, in my 20’s I started to Q. and now well into my 40’s I’ve only recently (like yesterday) came to accept the reality. My mother’s mom was toxic to my mom and she was to then toxic to me, and my brothers (both are in and out of prison – toxic multiplies), which brings me to the reason I’m writing. Not all parents that cut off branches as a way of healing, bettering the future for their children, sawed off the branches herself for her own reasons. For some daughters cutting off branches, mulching the branch, as morbid as that seems, is needed and warranted.

    Furthermore, I have a lot of experience and knowledge about genealogy and where that lead my mom. That is how my mom coped when dealing with her toxic mom. She started this when I was little. In my family, digging up the past brought more heartache: murder, suicide, institutionalized. That’s not even the biggest downside, the biggest downside that my mom 25 years later is now so obsessed with people in the past helping her cope that she has certificates and news clipping for 4, 5 or more generations but she can’t remember my daughter’s name or birthday, or my birthday for that matter. It more complicated than that and it’s not the point I’m most caring to make.

    I guess what I’m saying is be careful with the advice to look back for answers, especially too much, lest the future gets lost.

    And more personally, I ask, please be gentle on the parents like me that decide it’s OK to chop that branch off, it’s not out of selfish reason. I’m not depriving my children I’m protecting them, because in my family tree situation, it’s time to graft on a new tree, and start a new family tree. Looking back, is not what our family needs to heal and grow. Each situation is different. For some looking back is needed and doesn’t get as extreme as it did for my mom, and for some looking back only causes more harm.

    I hope I said this well. THANKS for your advocacy, effort, and advice on this tabo topic! I do enjoy reading and learning. I just had to speak up on this topic for us daughters that know we need to chop those branches off without an ounce of guilt.

  • jasmin krohn

    I have looked for some information on this topic for the last year. Your blog is greatly treasured. My mother is crazy.

  • Rayne

    You’ve been following since Healing Affirmations and just leaving a post now? Wow, you have no idea how happy I am to hear from you. That’s my suspicion — that so many readers are avid followers but for some reason they are reticent to leave tracks. Welcome! Check out todays new post about dream tokens and let me throw in my two cents on your kids and grandparents.
    The good news is you get to SHOP for some! What are your kids interested in? Go hang out at a little municipal airport and let them learn about flying; head down to the watering hole and let them learn how to put a worm on a hook – – courtesy of retired folks just itching for some kid time. Teach them about volunteering – – at a senior center.

  • Rayne,
    I’ve been following along ever since I came across your healing confirmations post. My toxic mother and I have not spoken in over four years (her choice actually), and I’ve finally come to the point where I really think it’s for the best. I realized my mother was toxic, unfortunately about a year after my first son was born. What I find so disheartening is that whatever it is that is causing her to have these issues with me, has also affected her having any relationship with her two grandchildren. She may have hurt me but there’s no way she’ll hurt my kids.

    Thank you so much for everything you are sharing about your own experience. I will definitely be looking forward to reading your book!

  • Val

    Funny!! I didn’t read it as fund…. but rest assured readers I am not a sponsor. LOL

  • Val

    Hi Rayne, I love that you are bringing into the open what SO many women feel about their mothers…. and are fearful to talk about it. I have a mother with narcassist tendencies. It’s been a tough relationship, but one that I am coming to terms with.
    I started a project called Mother Whisperers to help women master their mother relationships and find peace of mind. And of course, to help me on my own journey!
    In my interviews with women in mid-life who are wanting to change their mother relationships, a shift happens from looking at the ” bad other” to our own inward self. Once we get our poison out, it can be a time for healing and personal growth. For some, its also the beginning of a new kind of relationship with their mothers…. and themselves!
    It might be fun to swap stories!

    • Rayne

      Oh Val! Do we ever have a lot to talk about?!!! Duelling interviews? Absolutely! I’ll e-mail you to get started. So glad you fund our site!

      • Rayne

        FOUND our site!!!
        classic!!!!!

  • Ding Dangit Rayne!!!

    You have single-wordedly helped me to begin to solve this on going puzzle that is the life I had and am having with my toxic mother. These questions you pose, and the clarity that may come for me by going on Ancestry.com will be life enhancing, I just know it!

    My mother, the youngest of (at least nine), always referred to our family as “The Four of Us.” She never had answers and would frequently walk out of the room whenever I (her oldest) queried in the direction of grand parents, where our “family” hails from, etc. I was curious from the youngest age, and so frustrated with the lack of a feeling of connection to something or someone who might have any of my traits or appearance or talents. It was as if life began with my parent’s marriage and the two daughters and ended, although we are all alive and physically well, with my sister and my leaving home. God, this has always plagued me!!!

    Once again, I thank you, you wonderful wealth of encouragement and information. This means so much to me, and my children.

    You are wonderful!

    Shellie

    • Rayne

      I love any comment that starts with Ding Dangit Rayne! HA!
      Hey Shellie – ASK QUESTIONS! You have every right to ask any ding dangit question you want. And you know what? You don’t need your mother’s permission, either. I’ll walk you through Ancestry.com if you need help. It’s very easy and will teach you as you go. But at firsst there’s just so much access to so much information it can feel like you’re getting lost. Just don’t get frustrated at first. All of a sudden a lightbulb goes on.

  • I don’t have a toxic mother, but thought your questions would be interesting to answer –

    1. What do you know about your mother’s life before you were conceived?

    She was happily married to my father and enjoying raising my brother. She loved being a mom.

    2. Do you have a copy of your own birth certificate? Have you seen your mother’s birth certificate and her marriage license/s? Have you ever laid them all down side by side and studied them closely?

    Yes, yes and yes. Our family is big on family history so we look at everything from time to time – old photos, birth certificates and newspaper clippings. Also, my mother has always shown me where she keeps her legal papers so I can get to them if she needs me to.

    3. Was there any family tragedy or need to focus on another sibling that may have negatively affected your relationship with your mother?


    My little sister was born dead when I was 2 years old, and my mother was told not to attempt to have any more children. I know she was sad — we’ve talked about my sister Margaret a lot, and that period of time. My little sister Margaret is buried on the hill above me at the Catholic cometary — along with my dad. My dad got sick while I was in high school and so the family shifted to take care of him. After he died I was so angry at everyone and everything. I moved out of the house and didn’t speak to my family for a year. Eventually the pain lifted, the anger subsided and I moved back home.

    4. Can you list five wonderful things your mother has happily done for you?

      1. She made all my clothes and ballet costumes growing up — she also made my wedding gown.
      2. She spoils my son and he adores her.
      3. She has always been the first to arrive at my home if anything is wrong in my life — to comfort me, to write a check, to give advice, and bring food.
      4. She came and lived with me for 2 weeks after my son Brian was born — helping me care for him, teaching me about babies and helping me recover from childbirth. My ex husband and I wanted her to stay forever.
      5. Being that she is a RN, I have always called her for medical questions and she has taught me about the body, medicines, illness and how to talk to doctors so they can help you fix your problems. She has calmed me when ever there has been a medical situation and let me know what to expect. Her medical expertise is invaluable – in fact — I just called her about my son’s nagging cough.
      6. She taught me about religion, right and wrong, and how to make a mean spaghetti sauce. She gave me my first set of pearls. On my wedding day she gave me her wedding ring from her marriage to my dad.

    I could list so many things . . .

    5. If you have talked to a therapist about your mother, what discovery or coping tool helped you the most? Brought you the most peace?

    That she is very strong and much like many depression-era people of her generation. That she was pretty amazing considering she worked full-time as a nurse, took care of my dad, took care of me and my brother and managed to always look put together. She’s independent and loves travel. She would have made a great scientist. She chose nursing instead because she valued being a mom more than having a “career”.

    Cath

    • Rayne

      I love it that you just posted your questions and answers! I’m glad that you have so many wonderful deeds to list!

  • Remy G

    Rayne, this is the part that grabbed me – ”

    But all of these discoveries begin with a question. That’s why each person will tackle these 20 questions her own way. A daughter commencing her journey of self-discovery could work first on the questions she feels most applies to her; she could take breaks or let questions inspire dreams or discussions.”

    Everyone has their own journey within the context of this thing called ‘having a toxic mom’ – there is comfort in knowing we are not alone, but our own journey will help us redefine who we are, and what we choose our lives to be about, moving forward.

    Thank you for being brave enough to write your own story. You are helping millions of women. I cant wait to read the book. Let me know when you want your photos done! (ok, just an excuse to meet Carmen and come play with the dogs!) :)

    Thank you! thank you!

    xox Rem

    xox Rem

    • Rayne

      You are the best Remy and I’m going to need you soon for photos – – right after I get past the dumb stage of growing my hair out enough so I can wear a chignon. Soon!