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Toxic Mothers Don’t Deserve Your Time On Mother’s Day

Last year, I published this article on my Huffington Post blog fully expecting to be vilified, attacked and generally raked over the coals for daring to address the rarified, the sacred, the madonnaesque bastion of mothers and motherhood. But it didn’t happen. No, the general consensus was a huge sigh of relief from all of those who dread Mother’s Day because their mother is just too narcissistic, too abusive, too toxic for the de rigueur visit and bouquet of flowers. If this is your situation, take comfort! You’re not alone!

Now, for your reading enjoyment and for the first time on Psych Central, please enjoy…

Toxic Mothers Don’t Deserve Your Time
On Mother’s Day

Who doesn’t want to be close to their mother, especially on Mother’s Day? But for thousands, it’s just not possible. Being with Mom hurts too much. Her “love” is toxic. It causes too much emotional pain. No time is this more controversial and guilt-inducing than on Mother’s Day.

How Do I Know if Mom is Toxic?

Does your stomach clench when her number pops up on your caller ID? Do you grimace and roll your eyes when her voice whines from your voicemail? Does her impending visit fill you with dread? Do you clean like a fiend before her “white glove” test? Do you pick stupid fights with your spouse as a passive/aggressive way to relieve the stress of being obliged to visit Mom? Do you put on a smiley act around her, but heave a sigh of relief when she leaves? Do you need time alone to recover from spending time with her? Do you teach your children to “play dumb” or lie when she asks them intrusive questions? Do you interrogate them after a visit to see what private information Grandma tricked them into revealing? Do you find yourself screaming in the privacy of your car or basement when she visits but not know why? Do you get headaches when she’s around, but blame it on being allergic to her perfume or the overwhelming scent of her fabric softener?

Do you pretend you’re not home when she knocks on your door? Has she summoned the sheriff to do a “welfare check” when you ignored her knock?

Does she fake heart attacks and cancers to bend you to her will? Does she create dramas to steal the attention during weddings, parties and family get-togethers?

When your child says, “Mom, your just like Grandma,” do you snap, “Don’t you EVER say that again!

Those are clues!

The Mother/Child Bond

There’s somethin’ so special about that mother/child bond. It’s like no other. William Thackeray said, “Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”

Ain’t that the truth!

If you had that special relationship with your mom, it’s precious to you. If you didn’t, you miss it and wish you’d had it.

But sometimes, something goes wrong with that bond.

Motherly Love?

Unfortunately, sometimes love turns toxic. Just think about Mrs. Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. Does she love Howard, her little bubbala?

Yeah, she does!

But her “love” nearly squashed his dreams, ruined his life and has made his marriage to Bernadette so much more difficult than it needed to be.

That’s what I mean by a toxic love!

No Excuse!

For some reason, motherhood has attained a sacred status in our collective psyche. Mothers can do no wrong. Mothers can get away with anything. That’s why a woman with a selfish agenda can exploit her motherhood to get away with anything.


Motherly love is the perfect smokescreen for abuse. She can pretty much do anything to her kids, as long as she brainwashes them to believe that she’s doing it from love for their own good. And if the lovey-dovey (lovebombing) brainwashing doesn’t bend them to her will, turning on the tears and giving them the silent treatment works, too. It’s called “false guilt.”

Sibling Conundrum

Just because your siblings think Mom is wonderful doesn’t mean you had the same “wonderful” mothering they experienced. Ever heard the terms “golden child” and “scapegoat?” For some reason, in some families, the parents assign these roles to their kids. I said assigned. These roles aren’t necessarily earned.

So, yeah, if you’re the scapegoat, Mom wasn’t an angel to you. But she may have been angelic to your “golden child” sibling(s). And now, they’re on her side and she sics them on you every time you defy her iron will. It’s a dynamic called “flying monkeys.”

Face It!

Just because a woman may have come from a dysfunctional family doesn’t give her the right to perpetuate the abuse. Just because a woman gave birth to you and raised you doesn’t mean she’s has the right to ruin the rest of your life. She may simper and coo, hug and kiss, but she doesn’t own you!

Face it! The woman has almost single-handedly ruined your life. She’s behind much of the conflict in your marriage. And now, she’s trying to get her claws into your kids.

Are you gonna stand for that!?

Kick False Guilt in the Cajones

What’ve you got to feel guilty about!?! She worked hard at alienating you. You’ve given her tens, hundreds, thousands of chances. Swallowed your tears, your anger for decades. But no! She’s just as toxic as ever.

So let her rally the flying monkeys against you. Let her sob into her decaf and, like Mrs. Wolowitz, tell everyone “what a horrible son [or daughter] you are.”

She deserves to be alone for Mother’s Day, ’cause motherhood doesn’t sanctify abuse.

Photo by classic film scans

Toxic Mothers Don’t Deserve Your Time On Mother’s Day

Lenora Thompson

For five years, "Narcissism Meets Normalcy" has followed the real-life, ongoing story of freelance writer, Lenora Thompson, and her readers’ healing journey from narcissistic abuse to healing, peace and happiness. In August 2020, Lenora launched a new blog, "Beyond Narcissism…And Getting Happier All the Time" as she and her readers explore the new world of peace and happiness. "Beyond Narcs…Get Happy" is 100% reader supported! To learn more about Lenora, her husband Michael’s heroic fight against Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis and to subscribe to her other writings, please visit Thank you!

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APA Reference
Thompson, L. (2017). Toxic Mothers Don’t Deserve Your Time On Mother’s Day. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 May 2017
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