A toxic relationship can be filial. It could be between siblings, parents, and children, or within extended family members. Often, poisonous people are disguised as close relatives.
Children are mostly affected by toxic relationships. They are vulnerable and get hurt easily. They also tend to draw conclusions based on their limited scope. A child's view of a healthy relationship is especially distorted when he is a victim of a toxic relationship from childhood.
A toxic relationship between a mother and a child can define a child for life. So are you a mother or a child wondering if how you treat or are treated is toxic? Below are some signs of a toxic mother.
Criticisms always, commendation never
Toxic moms will always criticize and never commend. They set standards that are impossible to meet for their children and when these kids fail, they face them with harsh criticisms. You seem to forget that even plants need water to grow, not just the sun.
Making statements starting with "you always" and "you never", only serves to tear a child down. Blowing small mistakes out of proportion only forces a child to believe that he never does and never will be able to do anything right. This is a leading cause of depression in children. Such actions also make a child develop a wrong and distorted view of himself and others.
Unhealthy closeness between a mother and her son
A mother naturally shares a close bond with her children. It also happens that sons are closer to their mothers and daughters to their fathers. (This is probably because unlike poles attract)?
Well, when does such a relationship become toxic? When the boundaries that differentiate the relationship between a parent and a child and a man and a woman becomes distorted. When a child takes the place of his father in providing his mom comfort and becomes her confidant, her first point of contact in happiness and sadness. Or when a father starts feeling neglected by his wife and feels that his position is threatened by his son. Such a relationship is unhealthy.
A codependent relationship often involves a passive and dominant partner. In a mother-child relationship, the child is often the passive partner and the mother, the dominant one. The passive partner just accepts the decisions of the dominant one, absolutely leaving the thinking and decision-making process to the other party.
When a child is this dependent on his mother, he grows to be incapable of doing things on his own. He won't be decisive, just complacent. Such a constant need for a dominant partner is unhealthy now and harmful to future relationships.
Strives to fulfill her dreams through her child
A mother might have unfulfilled dreams and she sees her child as the means to that end. She might force her child to be what she always wished to be but never became. It's unhealthy to force your wants and desires on your child. A child also has dreams and aspirations. Forcing her to give up on her dreams is simply teaching her to give in to others under pressure. She will grow up to keep sacrificing her desires for others and will not be happy.
The silent treatment
One way a mother shows contempt and makes her child feel less of himself is to act as if the child has not spoken and refuse to reply like the person isn't there. This can hurt and humiliate a child. As an adult, you might find a way out of it but a child wouldn't because a parent-child relationship is hierarchical. There's no way to vent or disregard the hierarchy to forcefully express himself. This method of communicating displeasure to a child is unhealthy. He'll grow up to treat the passive-aggressive act as the norm.
A toxic mom never admits that she is wrong when she is and never apologizes thus setting such an unhealthy pattern for her child. He grows to think that he is always right and sees no need to own up to his mistakes and apologize.
Should such toxicity define you?
Are you or have you been a subject of any form of filial toxicity? Has it defined you? Are you who you are today because of a toxic mom? It's possible to break free. Whatever a mother's reason for being toxic, either ignorance or otherwise, you can give yourself a better definition. How? By giving what you never had. Commend others more, discover the limits to different relationships, learn to be reasonably independent, set goals for yourself, and work to achieve them, recognize your strengths, and note your limitations. Simply put, treat others the way you would have loved to be treated as a child and watch yourself heal from the love you give.