Is It Okay To Stop Talking To My Toxic Mother?

Updated May 13, 2021

Most people have a good relationship with their mother, but some children have a mother that makes them feel inadequate, worthless, or like they did something horrible in life. If your relationship with your mother sounds more like the latter, you may have a toxic parent. The term toxic is one that indicates poisonous or dangerous. When combined with the word “parent,” it merely means that your mom or dad is unhealthy for your mental and possibly physical wellbeing. When you realize you have toxic people in your life, you may wonder how to manage it best. You may even ask, “is it okay to stop talking to my toxic mother?” The answer, in short, is yes.

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The Definition Of Toxic Mothers?

If your relations with your mother is rocky, for no apparent reason or cause, it could be because your mother is a toxic person. The term toxic, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “something that is containing or being poisonous material, especially when capable of causing….serious debilitation.”

When you grow up in a toxic environment with a toxic parent, you may feel that you are continually being hurt no matter how much you try to please them. Often, toxic mothers will seem fine one day and the next day explode on you. This type of toxic behavior is usually unwarranted and is a dramatic overreaction to a trivial problem or situation. However, toxic mothers create toxic relationships.

When you grow up in a toxic environment, you may feel that you are defeated all the time. However, there are things that you can do to break free of a toxic mother. It is okay to take control and remove yourself from toxic behavior, toxic relationships, and toxic mothers.

What If Both Of Your Parents Are Toxic?

As the child of toxic parents, you may ask, “How can I walk away from my mom and dad,” but the truth is, your mental health is an essential thing to maintain. When you can break free of toxic people, you will find that life is somehow more comfortable. You no longer need to walk on eggshell and relive constant toxic behavior.

Removing yourself from a toxic environment is critical for your overall wellbeing and that of your children, if you are a parent too. You cannot blame yourself for your parents’ behavior or for not allowing your children to be victimized by their grandparent’s toxic parenting practices. At the end of the day, if you want to be a good parent to your children, you need to keep them away from toxic people who can demoralize them. The truth is that parents who are toxic to their children will be toxic to most everyone they encounter.

At the end of the day, you need to make a decision if it is more important to have your children be around grandparents who will treat them the way they treat you or if your children are better off not knowing their grandparents at all. While this may be a hard decision to make, ultimately, your children’s wellbeing is most important. Yes, you need to be prepared for guilt treatments and hurtful language from your toxic parents. However, it will only reinforce why you are taking action in the first place.

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What Are The Signs Of A Toxic Mother?

Signs of a toxic mother are when they are:

  • Disrespectful
  • Angry
  • Manipulative
  • Competitive
  • Embarrassing
  • Emotionally reactive
  • Critical
  • Blaming
  • Demanding

A toxic mother can be one or all these things at any given time. They have few boundaries, and while they may protest that they love you and mean no harm, they continue to hurt you with their behavior.

How Do I Manage A Toxic Mother Or Toxic Parents?

The truth is that toxic parents rarely change, but you may ask: How can I maintain a relationship with my mother? While it will not be easy, you need to take control of the situation.

Once you accept that you have a toxic parent, as compared to a good parent, you will realize that actions that your mother takes are not your fault. Your parent is toxic, and you may never be able to say that you have a great relationship with your mother.

Dealing with toxic parents is challenging but not impossible. If the toxic parent in your life says something that is mean or unwarranted, you can simply respond, “Well, I like it, and that is what matters,” or “I will do it this way because it works for me.” While you do not have control of your toxic parent, you can control your reaction to their behavior. Think of it as gentle parenting, in reverse. Phrases such as “I don’t like when you do that, mom, it makes me very uncomfortable,” may not get your mother to deescalate. Still, by affirming your position, and how the situation makes you feel, you are taking back the control that she is trying to steal from you.

If you are really starting to have adverse health effects from the toxic people’s behavior that you have in your life, you can refuse to see them in person. If you experience anxiety thinking about when your mother will next explode, fear how your mother makes you feel, or you break out in a rash when you enter your parent’s house, you need to distance yourself from your toxic parents. These are not healthy situations, and you do not have to subject yourself to them.

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For those times where you may want to see your mother, like on Mother’s Day, it is best to control the location in which you see her. Going to her house is not a great decision. However, meeting at a public place is a more controlled environment. If your mother starts to make a scene, you can simply leave. By maintaining as much control of the meetings as possible, you are also retaining control of the situation. You may even warn your toxic parent, “If you continue to talk down to me, I will leave.” Perhaps this will change your parent’s behavior. However, it can also create a more hostile environment. At this point, follow through on your statement, and just leave. Again, by following through, you are controlling the situation. Also, keep in mind that you have nothing to feel guilty over. You removed yourself from being hurt or belittled. You never need to apologize for that type of self-care.

Finally, if push comes to shove, you may just need to stop talking to your toxic mother altogether. Let’s say that you have stood your ground, as outlined above: that you will continue to do things the way that works for you warned her of an action that you will take (leaving the restaurant you were meeting at for lunch), and attempted to take control of the situation. However, your mother is still embarrassing or hurting you, despite your effort. It may be time to stop talking to her altogether. While this is not the ideal situation, if you cannot physically or mentally handle speaking to your mother, cutting ties may be your last move to protect yourself.

Seek Out The Help Of A Counselor If You Have A Toxic Parent

Those who have toxic parents often seek the help of a counselor. They want to know what they did to deserve the treatment from their parent and why they cannot seem to make their mother or father happy. Enlisting the help of a counselor is a significant step to take. You need to realize that a toxic parent is not going to change, and if you do not want to be treated poorly, then you need to avoid contact. Cutting off a toxic parent can be extremely hard. You may feel like you failed as a person or as a member of your family. However, you need to know that it is not your fault. A counselor can help you work through your feelings and move forward positively and healthily.

If you are considering therapy, the licensed mental health professionals at ReGain can help you work through these challenges.

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Having a toxic mother, or toxic parents is hard. The words that are spoken hurt, the way you are treated is poorly, and the long-term implications can be hard to overcome. However, there are many steps you can take to manage these challenges. Always remember that your goal is not to change your parent; that will not happen. The goal is to change the way you react and respond. If you do not allow your mother to say hurtful things, then it will not be as bad being in her presence. If you do not allow her to embarrass you, you will walk away from encounters with your head a little higher. You need to know that you are a good person and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. If it were a friend who was talking down to you, would they be a friend for very long? Most likely not. So, you should not be subjected to negative treatment from family members either.


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