Toxic mother: how to cut ties?

When Terry Pomerantz replaced his father, Saül, at the head of the family foundation, he decided to personally invest himself by helping children in need. No matter if these children are victims of illness, poverty, intimidation or toxic parents, Terry and all of his collaborators at the Pomerantz Foundation really take their wellbeing to heart and are determined to help.

“We were extremely lucky. My partners and I have decided to really dig in and invest ourselves. Otherwise, we would not truly understand the reality of suffering in children.” Terry continues: “Social problems that derive from poverty and other reasons that make children suffer are so complex. The need for healing, so big! For example, what do we really know about toxic parents?”

Let’s begin with toxic mothers. We will soon dedicated another article to toxic fathers.

What is a toxic mother?

A toxic mother does not know how to take into account her child’s individuality and personality. Focused on her own needs, she uses her child for her own profit. By doing so, she destroys her child’s personality little by little.

A toxic mother: recognizing the signs

Amongst the signs that are indicative that a mother is considered “toxic”, let’s mention:

  • An excessive possessiveness that can lead to an unhealthy mother-child bond.
  • Intruding into the child’s life. After being physically invasive with a young child with exaggerated amounts of hugs and kisses, the toxic mother wants to know absolutely everything about her child’s life when he/she is older. She allows for no space for her child to develop his or her individuality.
  • With time, this intrusion transforms into extreme control. The child has no freedom. The toxic mother does not respect her child’s own opinions and ideas. She always finds other people’s words more credible (teachers, friends, parents).
  • The toxic mother confounds generations. Her child becomes her confident. She tells him/her everything, including the difficulties she might have in her relationships with her work colleagues, friends and spouse.
  • The toxic mother will use psychological and verbal violence or abuse in order to make sure her child “submits”. She will tell her child that he/she is an “accident”, stopping her from living a full life and that she doesn’t love him/her.

A child who has grown up in such a toxic parent-child relationship will become an adult who is uncomfortable in her/his own skin, has no self-confidence, and has trouble with all other relationships making them difficult and even confrontational.

Different types of toxic mothers

Here are a few different types of toxic mothers:

  • The dominating toxic mother: she abuses of her parental authority. She cannot stand the idea that her child can become independent.
  • The violent mother: she abuses her child psychologically, and sometimes this abuse also becomes physical. She uses humiliation, demeaning comments, punishments and sometimes physical violence.
  • The intrusive mother: She is smothering, and tries to become part of every single part of her child’s life to the point where she will try to control her child’s romantic relationships.
  • The neglectful mother: She is incapable of taking care of her child properly. This is the “absent” mother, too busy thinking about her own needs or too focused on her own addictions. The child then has to take on the role of becoming the adult, both for him/herself and his/her mother.
Sad child on the windowsill with his stuffed animal

Advice on how to cut ties with a toxic mother

A person can only truly cut ties with a toxic parent by working on him or herself. This tends to be even more successful and efficient when the person decides to ask a specialist for help.

  • The very first thing the person will have to do is to stop feeling guilty. You will then have to learn how to speak up and express your emotions in a non-confrontational way.
  • Being physically active can be very liberating as well. Hiking, biking and outdoor activities can put you back in touch with your sense of wonder, while martial arts will allow you to work out your anger by hitting and avoiding being hit.
  • Daily/regular meditation is an excellent tool to help stay in the present moment and focus on yourself today.
  • Confronting the toxic mother. This is certainly the most delicate and liberating moment. During this meeting, the victim will have a tendency to want to rebuke and reproach the toxic mother for all she has done. Even if this is done calmly, the mother’s reaction will generally be rather on the negative side. A toxic mother doesn’t know she is toxic, unless she has taken a good hard look at herself. Even so, this meeting will allow the victim to voice his/her feelings and express the severity of the impact his/her mother’s actions has had on his/her life.

Terry Pomerantz’s mother “kept reminding us of just how generous life had been to us.” Mrs. Pomerantz always encouraged her husband Saül and her son Terry to pay it forward. Without the unbendable love and support given to him by his mother and father, Terry Pomerantz never would have become the man he is today.

Note: We will be broaching the subject of toxic fathers in another article.