What Is the Toxic Mother Syndrome?

· August 20, 2017

Jill Churchill believes that there is no way to be a perfect mother, but there are a million ways to be a good mother. With delicate tenderness, the famous writer speaks about the benefits of motherhood. But, what happens when the mother really has no desire to be a mother? That is when the toxic mother syndrome can appear.

Today, the subject of motherhood can raise hackles. For many woman, it is the most marvelous thing that has ever happened to her. For others, it is beautiful and they are happy. There are also those who didn’t want to be pregnant in the first place and give their child up for adoption or they abandon them. Then, there is a group of woman who are pushed into motherhood by various circumstances, when in reality, down deep, they never wanted to procreate.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

-Peter de Vries

Syndrome of the Toxic Mother

Psychologist Olga Carmona recognizes that it is not easy to understand that there are woman who are not interested at all in having children. Many of us live in societies where not being a parent is not a valid option. However, this pressure can bring more harm than good.

It is precisely from this pressure that a toxic mother arises. In this group of woman there are those who entered into motherhood for reasons beyond their control and against their will.


A toxic mother is that woman who becomes a mother due to social conventions, or because she moves within a script that was prepared ahead of time. A destiny created by her environment, that creates an inertia which leads to making it happen.

Consequences of the Toxic Mother Syndrome

As you can imagine, the consequences of the toxic mother syndrome are not pleasant at all. What is more, not only do they affect the woman herself, but the children are also affected as well as those in her immediate circle.

So then, it is difficult for a toxic mother to love their child unconditionally. To her, being a mother is far from the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to her. Her offspring can even be rivals, obstacles, or inconveniences. She can project her most intimate hopes and desires onto them, going so far as neglecting the needs of the child.

This situation results in a woman who demonstrates narcissistic behavior on many occasions. By not assuming their role as a mother, they tend to view the world in a childish way, filtering everything through their own needs and wants. The worst case scenario is that the mother could become a very bitter woman. She has no choice but to watch her world get farther away from her true expectations and desires, which makes her very unhappy.

Children of a Toxic Mother Suffer the Consequences 

It is logical to think that, after the mother herself, the children will be the most affected by toxic child-rearing. That is why, many times, they end up being their mother’s whipping boy. The offspring of these mother’s end up carry the guilt for the unhappiness of the woman who gave birth to them. Because of this they suffer unhappiness, manipulation, being misunderstood, criticized, humiliated, and even treated cruelly.

There is nothing more hurtful for a child than to not feel loved and understood by his parents. A toxic mother does not feel any great empathy for their child, since her world is purely egotistical. Furthermore, a toxic mother regularly brings out the child’s faults and negative traits, especially those that most inconvenience her. The child will never meet her standards and will be criticized mercilessly. Even the child’s achievements can be viewed with jealousy.

The Toxic Mother Syndrome Permeates Everything

It is logical to think that a toxic mother will end up making everything miserable for them. So, it is not unusual for her to try to invalidate her children, being overprotective to exhaustion or going to the other extreme of not offering their children any support.

It is not strange for a toxic mother to put up a facade of respectability on the interests of her child. Because of this, the expectations she places on her children could reach unreasonable levels. The children have to be exact replicas of what she is or wishes to be.

She may also play the victim or use illness to make the child feel guilty and manipulate them however she may please. She can even switch roles and make the child feel that they have to take care of their mother, not the other way around.

“The future destiny of the child is always the work of the mother.”

-Napoleon Bonaparte

Playing a role not chosen, and what’s more, a role with a huge amount of responsibility, such as being a mother, is not easy. Just think that there are a whole bunch of mother’s in the world who did not become mothers of their own free will or who are disappointed with the experience of motherhood. However, not all of them have filled their lives and that of their children with bitterness. In fact, many of them have been able to make the best of the situation. And, while circumstances have some influence, they do not allow themselves to feel condemned; there is always hope and professional intervention can also help a lot, both the mother and their children.

Professional intervention can help a lot, both the mother and the children.