27 Toxic Mother Quotes That Show How Mom Can Mess You Up

If you spend any holidays with a toxic mother, Hallmark moments are not the norm.  

But, contrary to what others may be telling you, you don’t have to sacrifice your mental health to accommodate someone’s toxicity just because “she’s still your mother.”

While a collection of toxic mom quotes might not give you the warm fuzzies, we’re hoping they’ll remind you of your right to protect yourself—even from family. 

What Is a Toxic Mom? 

As you’ll see from the bad mother quotes further down, toxic parenting takes a severe toll on your relationships and your ability to trust.

For those who struggle with the lingering effects of a toxic mother, the following should sound familiar: 

  • She’s constantly undermining your confidence with criticism or faint praise; 
  • She refuses to take responsibility for her hurtful words and actions; 
  • She expects you to drop everything for her, but she wouldn’t do the same for you;
  • She uses guilt to manipulate you into doing what she wants; 
  • She often compares you (unfavorably) to a sibling or someone else; 
  • She gaslights you to instill doubt in your perception of reality and yourself; 
  • If she’s aware of your triggers, she won’t hesitate to use them against you. 

How Do You Deal with an Emotionally Toxic Mother? 

It’s one thing to recognize toxic parenting for what it is—and that’s a triumph in itself. It’s another thing to deal with it in a way that sets you free to heal and live as you want. 

We’re rooting for you. The following tips can get you closer to a life of your choosing: 

  • Set and enforce clear boundaries; 
  • Make yourself less accessible—or, if necessary, completely inaccessible; 
  • Use a journal and write about what you’re feeling; 
  • Talk to a therapist who can help you process what you’ve been through; 
  • Surround yourself with people who love and support you unconditionally; 

No, you’re not overreacting or “being a control freak” or “drama queen” by doing any of the above. Here’s why the abusive mother quotes listed below can help you put your own mother’s behavior in perspective. 

Others have been (and many continue to be) where you are.  

27 Toxic Mother Quotes That Are So Relatable

Read through the selfish toxic mother quotes below with an open mind. Some will resonate more than others. 

1. “You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served.” — Nina Simone

2. “If you have to parent your mother and put up with her childish and selfish behaviors, it may be time to create more serious boundaries for your own self-protection.” — Barrie Davenport

3. “If someone gets angry at you for setting a boundary, consider that a good sign that the boundary was necessary.” — Jenna Korf 

4. “Without communication, there is no relationship; without respect, there is no love; without trust, there is no reason to continue.” — Unknown

5. “Just because someone gives you life doesn’t mean they will love you in the right way.” — Unknown

6. “Family is supposed to be our safest haven. Very often, it’s the place we find the deepest heartache.” — Lyanla Vansant

7. “A child should never feel as if they need to earn a mother’s love.” — Sherrie Campbell

8. “How to tell if someone is not good for you? You being yourself feels like a betrayal.”  — Unknown

9. “A toxic mother talks but never listens, and she gives advice but never takes any.” — Sherrie Campbell

10. “Sometimes you need to give up on people, not because you don’t care but because they don’t.” — Unknown

11. “Let’s get out of the habit of telling people, ‘that’s still your mom, your dad, or your sister.’ Toxic is toxic. You are allowed to walk away from people who constantly hurt you.” — @bynnada

12. “You can miss a person every day and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.” — Tara Westover

13. “You don’t have to repeat the trauma of your childhood. Use the pain your mother inflicted on you to motivate you to find a better way to raise your own children.” — Barrie Davenport

14. “One day, you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through, and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” — Brené Brown 

15. “If you push me away, I promise you you won’t find me where you left me. My heart is big, but not big enough to deal with people who decide to love me when it’s convenient for them.” — Keanu Reeves

16. “Toxic people condition you to believe the problem isn’t the abuse itself, but ins tead your reactions to their abuse.” — Unknown

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17. “When a toxic person can no longer control you, they will try to control how others see you. The misinformation will feel unfair, but stay above it, trusting that other people will eventually see the truth, just like you did.” — Jill Blakeway 

18. “Now, every time I witness a strong person, I want to know: What dark did you conquer in your story? Mountains do not rise without earthquakes.” — Katherine MacKenett

19. “I didn’t grow up having role models. I grew up having people I didn’t want to be like and seeing situations I’d never want to be in. Not all of us are dealt the right cards, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reshuffle your deck for a better outcome.” — Irina Vujakilja 

20. “Beware the person who stabs you and then tells the world they’re the one who’s bleeding.” — Jill Blakeway

21. “I sat with my anger long enough, until she told me her real name was grief.” — Unknown

22. “Sometimes the best reason to let go of a toxic or abusive relationship is because your child is watching.” — Chris Sain, Jr.

23. “Feel sorry for your narcissistic mother, by all means. But know that you have every right to feel sorry for her from a safe distance.” — Danu Morrigan

24. “It might hurt to walk away, but that will never compare to the pain of staying. Don’t let the fear of being alone keep you in a relationship where you are alone.” — Unknown

25. “When someone says, ‘After all I’ve done for you…’ they are revealing that what they did for you was not for you at all, but for their own need to control you. Their generosity was just a contract with hidden terms of compliance. Breach that contract, and you become the problem.” — Wade Mullen

26. “It is both tragic and freeing to accept that your mother is not capable of being the mother you always needed her to be.” — Stephi Wagner

27. “Our mothers tell us that there are no monsters under our beds, or hidden inside our closets, but they don’t warn us that sometimes monsters come dressed as people that claim to love you more than the sun loves the moon.” — Nikita Gill

Now that you’ve looked through all 27 toxic mother quotes, which ones stood out for you? Which do you want to remember when your interactions with your own mother leave you feeling more alone than ever?

Consider using your favorite quotes as journaling prompts. Or write some on the inside cover of your journal for easy reference when you need to remember you’re not alone. 

What will you do today to help yourself heal?