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Dealing With Toxic Mom Friendships

How to Deal With Toxic Mom Friends

We all know the moms who always want to rain on your parade and always need you to bring sunshine to brighten their day. They suck the energy out of the room and, frankly, out of you, but since they're your friends you stick it out. But if keeping toxic mom friendships is having a negative impact on your life, it may be time to reconsider how you deal with them.

Keep reading.

What Exactly Is a Toxic Mom Friendship?

A friendship has to be balanced. Mom friends support each other, listen to each other, rejoice in each other's triumphs (and those of their children), and share each other's sorrows. Friends don't try to one-up each other, they don't try to hog all the attention for themselves, they don't begrudge you the good things that happen, and they aren't supposed to judge you.

Mom Christianne D. says when she had a baby most of her friends were genuinely excited and happy for her. One friend, however, is "always poking and making little comments" about both Christianne and the baby. Christianne elaborates about this toxic mom friend, "She is not the type of person who will be happy for your accomplishments and successes; she will always bring you down."


Circle of Moms member Katherine C. sums up toxic mom friendships with one question: "Why am I friends with this person?"

Signs You Have a Toxic Mom Friend

If you're asking yourself that question, you probably have a toxic friend. Other questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do you feel used by her? I used to have a friend whose kids were about the same age as mine. Eventually I realized she only called me when she needed someone to take care of her kids or wanted to complain about them. I could never get in a word edgewise, she didn't reciprocate with childcare, and didn't care what was going on with my life.
  • Does she try to spread her misery? Mom Richele says she was understanding when her friend was going through a divorce, but when it was clear she was trying to make everyone else miserable and stir up trouble, it was time to "kick her to the curb."
  • Is everything a competition with her? These friends are the ones who, as a mom called Mil puts it, "minimize your kids compared to theirs or compare everything from toys to underwear." No matter what your child does, her child has done it better, earlier, or — if it's a negative thing — not at all. 
  • Is she judgmental and/or insincere?  Christianne's toxic friend says she's trying to be funny when she makes snarky comments, but they have an edge that makes it clear what she really means. And, after a decade of friendship, Jen T.'s friend became harshly judgmental once Jen had kids. So judgmental, in fact, that Jen is afraid of being stabbed in the back if she ends the friendship.

How to Deal With a Toxic Mom Friend

So, what do you do with these friends, love them or leave them?  Barbara M. says you don't have to ditch them. She points out that everyone has a toxic friend somewhere in their lives.

She says she handles it by remembering to "inwardly acknowledge" that the time she spends with them won't be about her, not providing any information about her kids that can be one-upped, and reaching out to her true friends when she needs support.

Barbara's take on toxic mom friends isn't a common one, however. Most moms say it's not worth the drama to keep being friends with someone so negative. In fact, mom Alycia D. thinks experiencing and dealing with this is part of moving into the mom stage of your life.

I love her take on it and her thoughts on making a better life for yourself and your family. She says, "Creating a better environment starts with you, the choices you make, and the people you decide to have or keep in your life."

Join The Conversation
GabrielOmat1374156675 GabrielOmat1374156675 4 years
It is not always easy to kick your toxic friends to the curb. I lost my best friend when I was about 27 years old because she was so toxic for my kids to be around. She was such a good person, so much fun and loved her kids very much. BUT she allowed her boyfriend to do drugs, verbally and physically abuse her in front of the kids. After a few years of trying to get her to leave him, I finally had to make the decision to remove myself and my two girls from her life. I couldn't expose my kids to that behavior and I frankly, I was sick of watching it myself. Since then, I try to only surround myself with people who have like minded values as myself. And boy - has life gotten alot sweeter along the way. There's a quote out there (author escapes me at the moment) but it says we are the average of the 5 people we surround ourselves with most. I don't want those people to be toxic!
JaneMichelson JaneMichelson 4 years
I am sorry to hear about these toxic friends. It is true we all have pain somewhere in our lives. Deciding where, how and whether this pain is worth tolerating is a deeply personal decision. It is never easy to extracate ourselves from painful or negative situations but sometimes we must if it effects our health and the ability to be a good mother. A plan about how to make a break for it can be helpful. Love to you.
Claire28668 Claire28668 4 years
I have family members who are this toxic to me...Since I told them I was pregnant it has been constantly a competition of who knows best and everyone assumed that because I am a single mum I won't dedicate myself to raise him! I was fired while pregnant from my previous job and when I had my son I started looking for another job but they would only pay minimum and it was simply not worthed. So I took a one-year Diploma course to find a decent job that would leave more time on my hands to raise my little one. It's been like crazy studying at night and getting my work experience during the day while tending to a toddler on my own. Instead of support I found myself being pressured to get a job and move out of their home (not to mention the hurtful things they would say). I try not to impose on them, infact I take care of my son and my own needs but everyday I am reminded that I'm being a pain in their b**t just for being there. I try to avoid and ignore but sometimes (especially during the monthly hormonal changes) I feel like I can't take it anymore. Sometimes it's not that simple to just walk out of a negative situation especially when there's another being depending solely on you, but thankfully I have a few friends that are real and supportive. I don't think anyone should stand up to that kind of relationships, they are simply not true. Anyone who feeds such negativity into your life, especially when you need to be most positive for your children, is not worth listened to let alone being part of your life.
LeeJones LeeJones 4 years
If you have one in your life, time to weed your social garden!
bugsbrat bugsbrat 4 years
nice article - i can so relate! btw, who is the mom and daughter duo in the pic at the top? they look soooooo familiar!
CathyBurk CathyBurk 4 years
I recently did a Bible Study by Beth Moore called Loving Well. She talks about the 4 types of people we are to love. One is the person who is a joy to love, one is the stranger/far distance person (this can be kind of anyone), one is the foe/enemy and the other is the testy person. The toxic friend would fall into the testy person, I would think. They may even jump back and forth into the foe category depending on the circumstance. One important thing to remember when knowing how to deal with them/love them is to recognize why they are the way they are. What from their past has made them be the one upper or the complainer or whatever it is. If you don't know, maybe try and dig deeper with her to find out more about her. Once you recognize that, it's a little easier to have compassion on them. I'm not saying it's easy, especially if you don't have Jesus. But even if you do have Jesus in your heart, it's still not easy. I have some of these people in my life and I find that praying for them and the relationship actually does help. Sometimes it takes years of doing it (especially when it's a family member), but it really does help. The other thing to remember is that we are all broken people. This friend may be more broken than you or most people, but we all have something we can work on ourselves. And doing that will likely help the friendship - even if all it does is give you a different outlook on it. Even if t's just not letting the person get to you by not sharing details with her that she could use against you/twist to make you feel bad and just listen and be there for her. And in that case, I would say you stilll need your friends that are your support and you can share your joy and sorrows with. And sometimes you need to put that person in the "far" category at least for a while. It doesn't mean that you won't be friends again, but maybe you are just in different stages of life or maybe she's going through something you have no idea about that is making her act that way. And of course, as a Believer (if you are one), always remember God loves us so we love others. If you aren't a Believer, at least recognize that there is a brokenness there that needs to be healed. It doesn't mean that you have to stay best friends, but at least know that it's most likely not you and so try not to take offense. And if you can't well, then it might be time to take a step back.
jessicamarshall88351 jessicamarshall88351 4 years
thank for the article. been feelinbg like this towards someone a lot lately
sheryllginger sheryllginger 4 years
I had a friend since early teenage years, we went through raising children, family problems, divorce, my husbands death, problems with kids, life in general. The remarks that were slight enough to make you doubt yourself, a party she invited me to knowing I was absolutely not welcomed and I found out the hard way. The lying, cheating, meanness. It became worse as we got older but it was there even in our teens and continued as we aged. It became meaner and more hurtful. But saying that I needed to know why I out up with that kind of friend. I wrote all my resentments on paper and wrote in my part, I could see a pattern emerging I could see how my friendship was part of my responsibility. We had been best friends. For so many years, and it also had become a habit not a friendship. Once I figured out my part I could let the friendship die without raging anger. Wishing her the best but never wanting anything to do with her again, in fact I let go of everyone in that group of friends. It was hard. Today my friends support women, it is uplifting and refreshing. We all have a part in our friendship it makes us stronger to know why we would ever pick a toxic friendship.
WendyGallamore WendyGallamore 4 years
What if they are your SISTER?
ViridianaMiller ViridianaMiller 4 years
This is so true on having someone in your life that either tries to insult or judge or compete with everything you do. I have my "new" sis in law say remarks all the time about my life w her brother and our babies. She couldnt get over the marriage that her bro had in the past and does not want to be close with the children we have together now. I told her how i felt about it and have cut ties with her... so sad that some people cannot move on and act like civil human beings. My hubby and our children are the happiest we have ever been now that we have cut ties with her.
suepurviance suepurviance 4 years
Same here , had my share of this type of friend. Frankly still have one in the form of sister. It's tough. I think you just have to realize what it is and keep yourself protected. Don't take their calls when you have nothing left it its bad timing. I remember my Mom use to say" I'm just give out". As I became an adult, I finally understood what she meant:)
DarlaShaver DarlaShaver 4 years
With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Charlene14672224 Charlene14672224 4 years
My toxic friendship lasted 20 years. Because she hated my husband, she became obsessed with the idea of destroying his life--and by extension, mine. For two years she saved every negative thing I had to say about him when letting off steam. Suddenly, she sent them all to him, out of context. My husband knew I was simply letting off steam and totally disregarded all of it. It stung, but I learned one very hard lesson--friendship is a myth.
JaneSell JaneSell 4 years
Hmmm, it sometimes depends on the situation. Since my son had a regression and I found out he was autistic I found I didn't really feel I fitted in with some mums anymore (they didnt really understand) and they distanced themselves too. I may have talked a lot about my son to start with, it knocked me sideways and I cried every day, and I didn't always hear what they were saying. What I'm trying to say is some mums need more support than others, I now talk to a therapist instead.
ShainaNieto ShainaNieto 4 years
I have had to cut ties with a toxic friend or 2 in my day. I was very patient, but in the end it wasnt good for me to have to be subject to such treatment. In some cases you just have to slowly back off. If they are not a true friend, the "friendship" slowly dissolves into nothing, & then you can move on to more healthy relationships.
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