Mothers are supposed to be a warm, loving, and nurturing presence in our life, working to help us grow and evolve. Sadly, not all mothers are warm, loving, and nurturing, and some are instead, very toxic.

Being raised by an unloving mother is one of the most painful experiences in the world. It’s a situation that no one should ever have to endure, and if you are a daughter or a son of an unloving mother, then you already know how much of a mark this can leave on you.

Because our mothers set the stage for how we connect with others, and how we approach the world, the mark cuts very deep. Here are 9 typical wounds found in the daughters of unloving mothers. (If you are a son of an unloving mother, these also apply to you. )

1. Low Self-Esteem

Our parents set the stage for how we view ourselves. Upon our birth, we are very vulnerable, seeking love and security from our mothers. When these needs go unmet, we are left feeling as though something must be wrong with us, because otherwise, why wouldn’t they love us? The sad fact of the matter is, the problem doesn’t lie within the child of the unloving mother, but instead, the problem can be found within the unloving mother.

2. Difficulty with Boundaries

When our parents, specifically our mothers, don’t allow us boundaries in our relationship with them, we never learn how to establish boundaries with others. On the contrary, we learn that our space and our feelings don’t matter when it comes to the ones that we love.

3. Trust Issues

When a mother is cold, callous, and cruel, it can make it very hard to trust her, or for that matter, anyone else. We learn very early on that if our mother treats us coldly, that it’s likely everyone else will as well.

4. Attachment Issues

According to the Attachment Theory, when we have a close and loving relationship with our mothers early on, we develop the ability to easily connect with others healthily. Unfortunately, when our connection with our mother is unhealthy, we develop insecure and anxious attachments not only with our parents but with the world in general.

In turn, many daughters of unloving mothers fear losing the people they love and either become anxious about love, or even avoidant (meaning that we avoid connections altogether.)

5. Hypervigilance

Hypervigilance is a coping mechanism that we develop when we are traumatized early on. Put simply, being hypervigilant means that you are hyper-aware of what is going on around you, almost to the point of paranoia. This can be extremely draining.

6. Distorted Sense of Self

Another aspect of the Attachment Theory is that if we cannot share ourselves or explain ourselves to our mother, we don’t learn to understand ourselves either. Unfortunately, this can cause the daughter of an unloving mother to constantly be unsure of who she is, changing identities often.

7. Substance Abuse Problems

Study after study has found major links between substance abuse and emotional neglect. Beginning very early on, when we don’t receive love, affection, and true connection to another person, we seek this out through our environment. One of how we do this is through substances.

8. History Repeating Itself

Sadly, when the wounds of an unloving mother are left unhealed, the daughter of one may unintentionally seek out the same relationship dynamic again and again. Some believe this is a subconscious attempt to find closure and healing from the dynamic, however, it can prove to make life even more painful.

9. Anxiety

Anxiety disorders and trauma and neglect all go hand and hand. Study after study has shown this on a large scale. Especially in situations of emotional neglect, people tend to have higher levels of anxiety with the rest of the world and life in general.

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