Toxic Mom Toolkit: Coming to Terms

18 Mar


  1. A person who has personally been made ill by a toxic person and so can give a first-hand description of it.

I think about words more than most people. I used to work in a newsroom with a columnist who coined the term “bad hair day.” She told me that she couldn’t possibly have been the first person to use the term, but she was the first to put it in print. Whoever has the first byline using a new word gets bragging rights for the rest of their life. The first byline is cited in the dictionary and I think that’s pretty cool.

So, in the back of my mind, I’m always trying to think of a new term, description, or bit of slang that would earn me a place in the Oxford English dictionary. You’d think after all these years writing about toxic mothers that I’d have a ton of new words, terms, slang, but nope — my new word well has been dry.

Until today, when suddenly I understood what an illwitness was. (Spellcheck just underlined it in red, because it’s not a word – YET.

45f759c1df9fe20d19052f4aa59e062eWhen you are the adult child of a toxic mother you are the eyewitness to all the destruction, pain, and chaos that your mother created. As the adult child of a toxic mother you may have experienced migraine headaches, aches, pains, nausea, and several forms of chronic pain. The stress of abuse and neglect by a toxic mom could cause long-term post-traumatic stress or other problems that mean you will spend years in doctor and therapist offices. You may have been an eyewitness to your toxic mother’s behavior over the years. If you only see your toxic mother a few times a year and experience post-visit depression or a sort of body ache similar in length to the flu or a really bad hangover, not only are you an eyewitness, you may also be an illwitness.

15 Responses to “Toxic Mom Toolkit: Coming to Terms”

  1. Pamela Gaines March 19, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    This is me to a T. I was ill as a child and still am to this day. Several Auto Immune diseases and PTSD I lay all at my TM doorstep. Thank you for a new definition.

    • collectingjourneys March 19, 2015 at 11:25 am #

      Thank you Pamela for confirming this for me. I have a friend who says, “The body always knows. The body remembers.” And that is especially
      true in our community.

  2. Anne-Marie Wiesman March 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

    The body does know and I think Autoimmune Diseases in particular are very common, it is the body literally attacking itself . I was told I would need to have my thyroid removed but instead decided to try a different approach through diet, affirmations, stress management, EFT and meditation. I read an article with some information by Louise Hays where she suggested looking in the mirror and asking your sick thyroid “How can I love you back to health?” I thought what do I have to lose and gave it a try. After 3 months of this my levels are completely normal. I also recently realized that the only time my toxic Narcissistic mother was remotely nice to me was when I was sick. I am now working on affirmations and tapping for releasing the need to be sick to get attention or be treated nicely. I thought this below really sums up what happens for many of us who grow up in toxic households: “Of course you’re tired of life. You’ve been disconnected from your emotions for a long time. This pattern usually begins in childhood. At home and in society, many of us receive the message it’s not okay to express certain feelings such as sadness and anger. We suppress or “depress” so-called unacceptable feelings. We become cut off from our emotional energy and left with a general feeling of fatigue and disconnection from life. We slow our bodies down and feel we’re running on empty.

    At least 80% of all autoimmune disease (immune system attacks the body) occurs in women. Somewhere deep within our bodies there’s some kind of destructive message that needs to be revealed and transformed. To break free of this pattern, it’s helpful to establish a safe environment to reconnect with our feeling processes and begin to safely release stored anger, sadness, and other suppressed emotions. It’s highly recommended to have qualified professional help in this process. An affirmation to use here is: “It is safe to express all that is within me. I love, honor, and accept all aspects of who and what I am. As a result, I’m energized, expressed, and filled with joy!”

    • collectingjourneys March 21, 2015 at 12:27 am #

      Thank you Anne-Marie for your wonderfully thoughtful comments. I love Louise Hays too. I am 100% sure that the mind can heal the body; its just backtracking the error in thinking (usually childhood messages/experiences/trauma), re-working the event, result, current conclusion and choosing health and balance over negative and sick-making thought templates. Easier said than done! But it can be done. Absolutely. Please comment on our Facebook page, Toxic Mom Toolkit. You’ve got a lot of healing information that would benefit our global community. Every day, it is The First Day of realizing a mother is toxic on that page. We need “spiritual nurses” in the wings at all times!

  3. EvaGia March 27, 2015 at 4:29 am #

    Hello everyone.. bless you for creating this community!!.. I am new here and just a few minutes ago found out about this wonderful page.. I NEEDED THIS.. I have the mother of toxic mothers.. I don’t know if she is borderline personality, narcisist, maic depressive or just a B… but my mother has used and abuse my siblings and myself for as long as she brought us into this world.. I have right now no communication with her.. she dosen’t care to not see her 2 year old grandson (my son) or her daughter over petty situations she creates in her own head.. I can;t imagine her caring for me, rocking me to sleep, I have no recolection of her playing with us as young kids or comforting us in anyway.. all I remember is her bad temper, screaming, depression. crazy ideas, not letting us climb in her bed, getting upset over things that nobody I know gets upset over.. she hates everyone, her sibilings, she pushed my dad away, she hates her own kids, but KI think that the problem is that she hates herself.. I went as far as 3 years without talking to her, I have been to therapy, I abused drugs when I was younger.. I tried to kill myself at 8 years old… I have always had stress related issues.. I have asma, I am over weight.. etc.. I can’t continue blaming her for my misfortunes, but now as a mother and wife I understand how much of an influence the mother has on a household and the people who are dependent on you.. the more my child grows, the more I don’t understand how she was the way she was with us as kids, so heartless and basicaly insane.. I am sorry for venting, I had to do it.. I don’t even know if this is what this page is for.. thank you for reading me.. it is nice to see I am not alone.. love to all of you.. the only thing we can do is be completely different mothers than the one we got, be everything to our kids that we wish we had.. God bless..

    • collectingjourneys March 27, 2015 at 5:03 am #

      I am so grateful to the universe that you found Toxic Mom Toolkit! Be sure to check out our Facebook page and yes, there is Toxic Mom Toolkit book available on It’s not you. It’s her.

      • EvaGia March 27, 2015 at 5:39 am #

        Thank you! I will look for the book and get is asap.. 🙂 ❤

  4. Evie April 22, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

    Greetings, I’m new here as well. I heard a podcast regarding the toxic mom toolkit in a “time for healing” podcast. It was very good! I could really relate to the “post visit” experience. Post Easter it felt like I was sick for almost two weeks. Mom sort of “flipped” . After Easter I decided the best thing I can do for myself is get distance from her. I absolutely need it to think clearly and gain clarity – for sake of personal freedom. I look forward to being a part of this community.

    • collectingjourneys April 24, 2015 at 1:01 am #

      Good for you. Gaining perspective is a great first step. Best, Rayne

  5. Anne Smith September 20, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

    I found this site yesterday….Thank you so much for being brave enough to put this out there (and it DOES take bravery) to help so many others. I have PTSD (I recognized it a little over a year ago) I didn’t know that it wasn’t “normal” to feel sick when I saw an email come in from my mother or have a full blown panic attack upon hearing her voice or have nightmares about her abusive behavior. I felt so alone and was too ashamed to tell my friends because they had nice mothers. None of us are alone!!!

    • collectingjourneys September 21, 2015 at 2:41 am #

      Hi Anne, I’m so glad you found Toxic Mom Toolkit. Be sure to check out the Facebook page, and the book on
      You are SO not the only one. Best, Rayne

  6. Erin September 21, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    Thank you so very much for starting this, and yes it does take such bravery to openly admit these feelings. I feel alone in the sense everyone I know has an amazing mom or their mom is no longer with us. And what kind of jerk would I be to vent to them on how awful I think my mom is?! Lets just say we didn’t get along very well during my childhood and she left when I was 17 so I was forced to grow up and be on my own immediatly. Now at 34, I have co-existed with her by keeping my distance and setting boundaries but always being around somewhat. After a very reluctant agreement for her to live with me and my family while she is waiting for an apartment, I have relived my childhood over again and now it is oh so crystal clear! In these past 3 months I have seen below the surface of what I have blocked out so well in my memory and lets just say she has scored a 5 on a 1-5 scale of toxicity. She’s not the outright hateful type but you cross her and you’re dealing with a nasty, irrational 5 year old temper and a passive aggressive like you can imagine! And by crossing her, I mean by asking her to eat less sugar because she’s so sick and hurting all the time and stop smoking, I am trying to help!!
    I now see it’s her, not me. I’ve always wondered why I was so depressed as a child and young teen and even attempted suicide at 15. So many insecurities I struggle with I now see are from how I was treated as child and now I am addressing them head on. I have revelations daily and even my husband is like whoa, I had no idea it was “Like” that..After such a long journey of emotional and mental exhaustion I am finding answers and hope!! God Bless you and thank you for letting
    me vent!

    • collectingjourneys September 22, 2015 at 1:14 am #

      I’m so glad you found Toxic Mom Toolkit. Now you know that this is not uncommon and there are things you can do to build a happy and peaceful life. Best, Rayne

  7. 3 Sides 2 Every Story June 11, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

    I just found your site. Thank you so much because I’m an only child. Since grade school, I’ve always had stomach issues, depression, anxiety and the older I became, the more health issues. I’m 41 and for the past 15 years, I’ve been diagnosed with lupus, fibro, connective tissue disease, just a multitude of autoimmune diseases. Three month’s ago, I cut ties with my Mother for the third and final time. My health has improved, the large welts I was having on my face have almost completely disappeared. My Mother is my disease. She makes me physically ill. The different psychologists have told me she is a toxic person. She is and the hell she has put me through still leaves people shocked. She puts on a great facade. Adward winning. In a nut shell, vindictive, manipulative, controlling, she guilts me, holds money over my head, undermines me with children, tells everyone I’m crazy, she’s never wrong nor sorry, acts like she has no recollection of past events, pouts like a child, plays the victim, pretentious, verbally and emotionally abusive and down right an evil person always with an agenda. Sorry, I just had to say it. Love you for helping me realize I have not been a bad daughter, she’s a toxic Mother.

    • collectingjourneys June 16, 2017 at 4:28 am #

      I’m so glad you found Toxic Mom Toolkit. It’s true, some people can make other people sick.

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