19 Toxic Mothers Who Do NOT Deserve To Be Parents

    "My mom woke my brother and me up one morning, said we weren't going to school, and told us to pack a bag. She dropped us off at our father's house like we were garbage."

    We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community, "If you have an unhealthy relationship with your mom, what's been your experience?"

    Allison Janney and Margot Robbie in "I, Tonya"

    Unfortunately there were many stories filled with horrific things moms did to their kids. They're extremely toxic and unbelievable, and have left a very damaging mark on folks today.

    Taraji P. Henson and Quinta Brunson on "Abbott Elementary"

    So, here are some deeply horrible things moms did to their kids:

    Warning: Some stories include topics of child abuse, verbal abuse, and suicide. Please proceed with caution.

    1. "When I was a teenager, my boyfriend cheated on me...with my mother. They tried to keep it a secret — when I broke up with him, my mother let him MOVE INTO OUR HOUSE. She tried to tell me I was 'crazy' to think that they would be together. I genuinely believed I may have been 'crazy' — who would do that to their own daughter? I must be 'losing it.' When I got a new boyfriend, this ex went wild. His own mother called the cops to my home because she knew he was angry (he told the cop that he was going to kill me if it was the last thing he did). I was put into a cop car for my protection, and he was put into a cop car to be taken for psych evaluation. I watched my mother follow the cop car he was in while I, at 16 years old, was there alone in a cop car."

    "I moved out of my own house. I eventually saw texts between them that proved they were together a few years later, and I confronted them again. They still tried to deny it all, but everybody knew at this point. 

    They dated up until five years ago (11 years dating total). She was only open about the fact they were an actual couple once they broke up."


    2. "My earliest memories are of my mom telling me that she had only wanted four children, and had been so disappointed when she became pregnant with me (her fifth). That was the start of what has been one long, manipulative relationship. Now she's in her 80s, and she constantly tells stories from my childhood about what a good mother she was (these stories never happened). If anyone suggests that her recollection is less than accurate, that begins a months-long barrage of angry messages about what an ungrateful person I am. I keep her at arms length for my own peace of mind, as do all of my siblings. I just want it to be over honestly."


    a mother looking tired as her kid stands in front of her

    3. "I finally got the courage to leave my husband after staying for several years to be with my kids. My youngest child had been diagnosed with ASD, ADHD, and learning disabilities. My mother told me to stay in my unhappy marriage because 'no one would ever love me, let alone want to date me because of my son.' The joke's on her because I have been with my fiancé for six years now (I should have dated him in high school in the first place)."


    4. "Last year I attempted suicide, resulting in my mother and father moving me from Southern California to Idaho. They cared for me as I recovered, but when I refused to stay in their home for the two years my mother expected, she showed her true form. I was belittled for attending therapy (I ended up doing it via Zoom in their shed). My clothes were piled under the rear wheel of my car and run over, and the cherry on top? I was asked to leave briskly at breakfast after only a month of the proposed timeline — as in, my mother ushered me to pack my bags immediately afterwards. I left by noon the same day. My dad uncomfortably conceded to her requests and opinions."


    5. "My mother was terrible to me growing up — she was a covert narcissist. She would ridicule my appearance, told me that nobody would ever be friends with me, and claimed I would be a failure as an adult. She constantly compared me to my eldest sister, who was 'the golden child.' On my wedding day, she told me I looked pregnant in the wedding gown that I picked out (I wasn't pregnant — I was a size 0). My entire life I hated myself [because of her] — I was never good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. In my 30s, I finally went to counseling and realized what was wrong. I cut her off a few years ago (my sisters did, too), and since then, I've learned I’ll never be perfect. But I am beautiful and smart and successful, and I have a good heart (and I’m working on loving the person I am, which is much easier without her in my life)."


    A parent and child sit facing each other in a candid conversation, expressing concern and support

    6. "My mom told me she wished I had died on life support in the NICU. Her defense to the judge when she tried to then sue me for just shy of $12,000 was 'she was a difficult child — she deserved it.' We also had a 'couch funeral' for a family member where my mom turned the conversation topic to the red light district in Amsterdam and sex work. Additionally, she cheated on my father with multiple men (including an international drug smuggler) — the list goes on. We aren't in contact (for obvious reasons). Good riddance to her! I am proud to have broken the cycle."


    7. "I’m adopted, and my birth mom and I got in contact when I was 15. At first we were super close, but then she acted more like an older sibling than a parental figure. She flirted with guys I dated and would get my friends' numbers and talk to them regularly (but hardly return my calls or messages). My ex (who she didn’t even want me to be with) and I finally split because he had been cheating on me and eventually left me for someone else. She told me I needed to do more to 'win him back.' When I got a new partner, she acted like she wasn’t over my ex and me breaking up the whole time. But weeks later, my ex visited her with the girl he cheated on me with and posted pics online saying how good it was to see them and meet her."


    Older woman gesturing in frustration towards a young woman who looks stressed, possibly in a family disagreement

    8. "My mother was a slew of toxicity, from giving me Playgirl magazines at age 11 to kicking me out of the car miles from home because she was mad at me for wanting birth control at 17. Then there was the time she picked on a random girl at a department store (who my mother thought her boyfriend was cheating on her with). She made me call this poor girl to scream at her and call her a 'whore' — I was 12 (and, my mother was married to my father at the same time). And there was another time when she tried to help when she saw a car accident — she discovered it was a classmate of mine who died. She came home and told me that she had a piece of my friend stuck to her shoe instead of comforting me. Sadly, the list goes on."


    9. "My mom and I have always had a very contentious relationship (she's a classic narcissist), and we've had plenty of conflict over the years. But, I've always tried to maintain some form of a relationship with her because hey — she's my mom. No matter what, I loved her. That is, until the day we ate lunch at Outback Steakhouse with my then-6-year-old daughter (who has ASD). My mom was asking how school and therapy were going, and we somehow got on the topic of ableism. I was about to make a point, and I started my sentence with, 'I don't bemoan the fact that she has autism,' and my mom cut me off with, 'Well, of course you wish she didn't have autism.' She said this IN FRONT of my daughter, who could understand every word her grandmother was saying. I stared at my mom for a second and said (as clearly as I could), 'I wouldn't change a single thing about her. Autism is part of who she is, and I think she's perfect.'"

    "My mom rolled her eyes and changed the subject, but something had shifted in me in that moment. I'm biased, but my kid is one of the sweetest, kindest, smartest, funniest people I've ever met. She hasn't had a friend or teacher or coach or therapist who didn't adore her, and the fact that my mom could say something so casually hurtful to her face? I've distanced myself and my family from her as much as possible since.

    I don't feel the love that I used to feel when I interacted with her. She killed it with one off-handed sentence — now I'm just focusing on being the best mom I can be to my own kiddo."


    An older woman talks to a younger woman who looks upset at a kitchen table, suggesting a parent and adult child in a discussion

    10. "I think something that is seriously underestimated as a source of mother-daughter trauma is being your mother’s emotional support person. That was me. Every problem, I knew about it. Every fight, I heard it — all her trauma? Yep, I was her personal therapist, all as a child. Things only got worse as I got into my late teens and early 20s. It turned me into a people pleaser, and someone who reflexively puts everyone else’s needs before my own. It has taken me a LONG time and a LOT of therapy to even start breaking those patterns."


    11. "When my family unfortunately become unhoused due to my mother's erratic financial decisions, she purchased McDonald's for my sisters and me. She only did this to physically throw it into the bushes because we hadn’t done our chores for the day (for context, we were squatting on a giant farmland). My sisters and I slept in an old shack, and my mother and dad slept in the van. They had been gone for over eight hours that day doing god knows what — we hadn’t eaten for a couple of days and were starving. To this day I’m still not sure what chores they expected us to be doing."


    12. "My mom clearly has a preference for her husband (my stepfather) over me. I don’t feel welcome in my own house, and they make it clear they’d rather it be just the two of them. They’d only do fun things together and barely with me. She’s not willing to try to learn more about my interests (her interests are reading and Formula 1, so we can barely do anything together). She also doesn't have much maternal instinct — when I broke my foot, she was clearly annoyed at times when she had to take care of me. My girlfriend (who I had only been with for about 10 months) had to shower me because my mom had no interest in taking care of me, other than giving me some food."

    "My mother-in-law is more of a mother figure to me (combined with my very caring girlfriend, I feel healthy and sane). It’ll always be sad to me that my in-laws will do a lot for me (they were willing to drive me places when my foot was still broken and other favors), and my mom seems annoyed to even bring me breakfast.

    When I tell her I long for a family like my girlfriend's, a tight family with parents who actually enjoy spending time with their kids, she’ll invalidate my feelings. She basically says I can’t feel that way. I get that she can’t help my dad left her, but I’m allowed to mourn the family I could’ve had."


    Woman with a leg cast sitting on a bed, looking at crutches, conveying challenges parents may face with mobility

    13. "I don’t have a relationship with my mother because she left my dad and me when I was 9 years old. No note, no explanation. She rarely showed for visitation or paid child support, and didn’t fight for custody of me during the divorce. What was so devastating was prior to her abandoning me, I thought she was my best friend — I felt loved and cared for. After she left, she was distant and cold. I asked her so many times why she left me, and all she would say was, 'You’ll understand when you’re older.' The last time I spoke to her I was 15, and I’m 50 now. I don’t know where she lives or anything about her besides what I’ve found online. Her abandonment deeply affected my ability to trust and love anyone — I never married and had kids."


    14. "During my teen years, nothing could happen without drama — everything had to be a fight (everrrrrrythiiiiiiing had to be a fight). I could be alone in my room (which was where I retreated to actively avoid her) and she would barge in with something new. I purchased a lock for my bedroom door when I was 13 years old. My dad (who she was still married to) had to be nice to me behind her back to avoid repercussions. I started to think maybe it was actually me because my siblings never felt any wrath — not a drop. They were given cars and houses (meanwhile, I was draining my bank account for Ubers because my car kept breaking down and my rent kept skyrocketing). To say they got away with murder is only an understatement."


    Person's hand turning a doorknob, opening a door, possibly implying parental supervision or privacy concerns

    15. "We used to have a good relationship until 2008 — I could go to her house when I needed a break from taking care of my kids. She'd let me sleep in and take care of them. She always helped me out and was there for us — but after I moved out of state, she really screwed me over. I had to put nearly everything I owned in storage at home and moved two states away. I had a problem getting up-to-speed in the new place and keeping up with the payment on the storage unit. She convinced me to send her the key and she would get everything out and keep it until I could get established and get back home to get it all. I had no reason not to trust her, so that's what I did."

    "It took me four years to get back, only for me to find out she had gotten rid of nearly everything I owned — an entire house-full of stuff. 

    She never told me why, and she has never admitted or apologized since that time. I completely stopped talking to her in 2008, and although I do see her (she lives with my sister), we don't really have a relationship."


    16. "I could give a laundry list of issues, but one of the major things she did that really messed me up was shutting down and withholding love when she got mad or upset with me. I would feel horribly guilty and desperate to win her affection back. I learned from my mom that 'I am upset with you' means 'I don’t like you, and I am going to punish you by becoming emotionally unavailable, and it is both your fault and your responsibility to fix.'"

    "This led to me letting people trample my boundaries in a major way because I literally felt panic when people got upset (to the point that I would apologize even when the other person was in the wrong). 

    I was so afraid of pushing people away that I would accept horrible treatment out of fear of abandonment. I think she did her best, I just don’t think she had the tools to be the mother I needed. 

    She hasn’t changed, but through therapy I’ve learned to set boundaries and give myself the things I needed as a kid that she couldn’t provide."


    Woman and girl seated side by side, looking away with thoughtful expressions

    17. "I was pregnant with my first child due May 2020, so in the beginning of the pandemic. My mom was mad because I canceled my baby shower because of the pandemic. She said, 'I’m coming anyways,' and I had to explain to her how that made me feel uncomfortable because I was pregnant (we lived in different states, thank god). A bit closer to my due date I had a lot of fear and anxiety, and I enrolled myself into therapy. Due to the work I was doing to prep for my first child, I told my mom that I needed space. I expressed how the pandemic affected me, and needed space (this only meant not talking every single day). I went to bed and woke up to an email she wrote me about how I’m selfish, I didn’t let her zip up my wedding dress (I got married in 2018), and a few other things that supposedly caused her stress."

    "I didn’t talk to my mom during the last two months of my pregnancy. I did let her know when I was in labor, but nothing more. I was so mad when the nurse told me my mom was on the phone (I was in labor, so I wasn't responding to her). 

    I still have a rocky relationship with my mom, and I also still have the email she sent."


    18. "I have six younger siblings and would constantly have to watch them. My mom was gone for a couple of hours every day, and I would be stuck watching my siblings with no pay. The worst part is my mom would come home and yell at me for 'being lazy,' and she complained that the house wasn’t clean enough. I was depressed growing up, but I was always too afraid to tell my mom about it. I hated that I never had a choice — I just had to go along with what my parents told me to do. Most of my childhood was taken away from me because of this."


    19. And, "After nine years of physical, mental, and emotional abuse at my mother's hand, she decided she didn’t want me or my younger brother (7) anymore. She woke us up one morning and said that we were not going to school that day and to pack a bag (not explaining why). To say that we were confused is an understatement. Once our bags were packed she told us we were going to go live with our father (whom she had only allowed us to see a handful of times since their divorce six years prior). He was a virtual stranger to us. She marched us outside and made us sit on the curb to wait for him, turned around, went inside, and locked the gate and door behind her. She put us out like garbage."

    "Of course that was not the end of the story because she refused to relinquish control over us, even to this day. ALL my interactions with her leave me feeling like that 9-year-old little girl."


    Young boy hugging his sister, both with calm expressions in a natural setting

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    If you are concerned that a child is experiencing or may be in danger of abuse, you can call or text the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 (4.A.CHILD); service can be provided in over 140 languages.