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Words have power, there is no doubt about that. And depending on what words are spoken, this power can be beneficial or debilitating.

Those who were raised by a toxic mother, know all too well how painful words can be. Despite the adage, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” words do hurt, and they can do far more damage than sticks and stones.

To help readers heal from the emotional wounds inflicted by toxic parenting, “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents” by Lindsay C. Gibson offers a comprehensive guide. This book provides insights into understanding and overcoming the long-term impact of being raised by emotionally immature parents.

If you were raised by a toxic mother, regardless of the root of her toxicity, then it’s likely you have heard one or even all of the following phrases. And if you had any doubts as to whether or not your mom was toxic, just check out the list below.

1. “This is my world, I simply let you live in it.”

Toxic mothers are all about control. They want you to believe that they have all the power and without them, you would be nothing. And while this is not the reality of life, it can mess with your head to be spoken to like this when you are growing up.

2. “You are useless.”

Toxic mothers engage in emotional and verbal abuse like it’s nothing. They don’t think twice to call you things like ‘useless’ or ‘worthless’ because they need you to feel small so they can continue to rule over you.

3. “Why can’t you act like ________?”

Another terrible habit of a toxic mother is the comparison game. When parents, and mothers especially, compare their children to their siblings, cousins, or other children, it sends a stark message that says, “You aren’t good enough.”

4. “You are a burden.”

Toxic mothers are manipulative, there is no doubt about that. And one of their biggest tactics is to guilt-trip their kids. If you feel like a burden to them, you are far more likely to do as they tell you.

For those seeking to break free from the negative cycle of toxic parenting, “Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life” by Susan Forward and Craig Buck is an invaluable resource. It offers practical advice and strategies for recovering from the damaging effects of toxic parenting.

5. “You are stupid.”

Whether it’s out of anger or comes from a place of hatred, when you tell your child they are stupid, it sticks with them. For the rest of your life, you will work to be smarter or better, or you may just believe the lie that you are stupid and allow yourself to sink into the role you have been given.

6. “Everything is your fault.”

Oftentimes, toxic mothers will make major mistakes in their life. Rather than taking responsibility, or working through difficult situations, it’s much easier to shift the blame to their kids. And sadly, their kids pay a big price for their refusal to accept responsibility for their own lives.

7. “You only think about yourself.”

When a toxic mother says this to her child, she is sending a message loud and clear that says, “You should feel guilty for having your own will.” Toxic mothers view their kids as an extension of themselves, and any time her children go against her, she retaliates.

8. “That’s not how you feel.”

This may sound innocent, but beneath that, this sentence is pure gaslighting. Toxic mothers work to invalidate their children’s emotions and feelings. If you come to them for advice or to express yourself, you may be met with phrases like this or even be told you are too sensitive or crazy.

In addressing the specific challenges faced by daughters of toxic mothers, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” by Dr. Karyl McBride is a must-read. This book provides a powerful exploration of the unique struggles and pathways to healing for daughters of narcissistic mothers.

9. “If you wouldn’t act like an idiot, I wouldn’t treat you like one.”

This phrase also sends a message: I can treat you however I want, and then rationalize it however I want. In short, it’s a really disturbing way for a toxic mother to feel better about her abusive nature.

10. “I’ve done everything for you, and you can’t do this one thing for me?”

Making your child feel guilty for existing is pretty low. And that’s exactly what this phrase does. Oftentimes, toxic mothers will use guilt to manipulate their kids into doing things that they are uncomfortable with.

To guide readers in rebuilding their self-esteem and confidence, “The Self-Esteem Workbook” by Glenn R. Schiraldi offers practical exercises and techniques. It’s an ideal choice for anyone looking to recover from the negative self-image often instilled by toxic parenting.