4 Harmful Mother Traits

Mother wounds and mother isssue can often be difficult to identify. Why? Because many times we can see where our father wounds lie, but we don’t always consider the effect that mothering wounds have had on our lives.

Our relationship with our earthly mother affects our lens for nurture. How well we have received from mom will set our foundation for nurture in life.

Many have experienced a lack of nurture from their earthly mothers, mainly because they were going through their own inner battles that would not allow them to give love and nurture us freely. As a result, there are a number of dysfunctional attributes that arise that kept mothers from being whole. Each of these traits can overlap.

1. The Emotionally Unstable Mother

This mother had major emotional issues that left her incapable of being able to be a consistent emotional presence. She may have even struggled with mental disorders like bipolar, depression, paranoid schizophrenia or suicidal tendencies. With these mental battles, she carried deep self-hatred and a low sense of self-worth, so she struggled to give out love, because she had none for herself. With deep mental illness and emotional instability comes a major self-focus and self-loathing, which draws the family’s attention on her issues and her needs. Meanwhile, the children in the home starve from lack of affection and nurture. You needed her, but she was unavailable because of her brokeness.

2. The Enabling Mother

This one can be a tough one to deal with, because an enabling mother was once a victim. The problem is she continued to live as a victim; doing everything she could to keep peace, at any cost. Her fear of conflict and inability to feel safe drove her to keep many important issues under the rug. She made excuses and tolerated her husbands poor behavior, and her children watched as she did not make a stand for them and for health in the home.

With this kind of mother, the skeletons were always kept in the closet–issues were never dealt with and the dysfunction continued. The father’s addictions, abuse and anger were allowed to continue.

The children watched the lack of self-love their mother carried. She did this under the guise of peace, yet it was a false peace. The Bible speaks of being peace-makers, but she lived as a peace keeper, letting life and people run her right over. This can be hard for the child to deal with later on, because there is usually a deep sense of compassion for her woundedness. It is important not to deny that, but her inability to take responsibility for her own health affected the children greatly.

3. The Controlling Mother

These mothers usually had passive husbands who did not take proper leadership of the home. The husband was not emotionally connected to the everyday workings of the home and he did not initiate spiritual leadership over the home. As a result, mom took the reigns. She became the driving force of decisions and she took the lead in the key areas of the home, from paying bills, to where to go to church and what the children should be doing. Usually this kind of mom is exhausted, because she has taken the burden of the home on her own shoulders, which she was never meant to do–especially alone.

Her control is rooted in fear; especially fear that no one is doing the job or no one could do it as well as she could. The problem is that she became a dominating presence that caused a great deal of perfectionism and performance pressure on the children. They became evaluated more on what they did and the pressure to perform was high.

This type of mother struggles to release her children to God, feeling that everything is on her to see the children succeed. This also creates a major problem in the children’s development. When a child lives in a home with a passive father and dominating mother, confusion enters the home, inhibiting them from understanding the proper roles of males and females. They may struggle with learning disabilities and because of the pressure in the home, mental illness will seek to chase them down the road.

4. The “Unworthy” Mother

Every mother struggles to an extent with an understanding of her identity and value, but the unworthy mother gets overtaken by these battles. She has a deep sense that what she does as a mother is never good enough. She never feels value as a mother.

The lack of healthy fathering and possibly healthy mothering over her life left her hanging as to what a mother should be. She struggled with deep guilt over her battles and any mistakes she made, leading her to extremes in behavior. She either spiraled into deep failure mentalities, feeling she was a terrible mother, or she protected herself in pride, never wanting to admit she made mistakes.

She either apologized for everything in her life or never apologized for anything. Deep down there was a lack of love and self-worth that tormented her, not allowing her to be at peace with herself. She carried an unloving spirit that did not allow her to see her value as a woman, a sister or a mother.