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Danielle Ayoka
  /  Healing   /  Toxic Nurturing pt. 1

Toxic Nurturing pt. 1

“I love too hard… I give too much”

Toxic Nurturing is a term I came up with for those who have birthed their sense of nurturing and love out of trauma. The toxic nurturer usually had to grow up fast. When a child doesn’t receive the emotional attention, space and affirmation that is needed from their parents, this stunts the child psychologically and emotionally in a way where processing emotions and life events healthily is hard to achieve without going back and healing those wounds. Adults who are currently toxic nurturers often did not have a healthy relationship with their mother growing up and usually experienced an emotionally tumultuous upbringing where their needs were rarely a priority, if at all.

These children often grow up wanting to give others the love they never had. In turn, they rarely consider giving themselves that experience of love first.

When we experience lack, desperation is usually formed. This is not an intentional response, rather a survival response. Humans have survival mechanisms that activate when we feel a threat to our well being. Children need love, attention and affection from their parents. A great example of this is a baby’s need physical touch. Holding and rubbing a baby affectionately stimulates the brain synapses and acts as a large contributor to growth and neural connectivity. With the love of a mother or other caretakers, infants develop more efficiently.  Without the needed nurturing, trauma forms as a result of the lack and spreads into other areas of our lives.

The toxic nurturer usually feels a compulsive need or even duty, to take care of anyone who comes into their life. This often comes from similar conscious intentions where they don’t want to see others suffer the way they did, so the image of the “poor child” and “pitiful one” gets projected onto anyone that comes into their life and forms an emotional connection with them. Toxic Nurturers look for an emotional wound that resonates with their own trauma in the person who has now become the new “pitiful one” so that the cycle of toxicity can continue.

Because this form of nurturing stems from trauma, it is inevitably selfish in nature. This form of nurturing stems from a lot of fear and survival projections, so it often suffocates the receiver and removes some of the receivers autonomy and independence. Adults have the free will to make decisions on their own be it bad or good decisions. The toxic nurturer wants to “help” people in a way where they will sacrifice their own well being in order to try to prevent people from making poor choices. The toxic nurturer isn’t seeing the person they’re trying to help in a grounded, realistic light. What they’re actually seeing is a projection of their painful past and attempting to “fix” a broken aspect of themselves through the receiver of their “help”. This is why toxic nurtures become overly attached and committed to the receiver. They made the receiver into a mirror of their own brokenness.


Signs that you or someone you know is a toxic nurturer:

Emotional codependency 

Narcissistic Martyrdom (sacrificing self and always highlighting how much you sacrifice to emotionally punish those you sacrifice for when they don’t do something you ask them to do)

A habitual need to “help” broken individuals


Parasitic emotional expectations (feeling that others should overextend themselves for you if you need them to because you do that for them. Ultimately, this is a lack of boundaries and a lack of respecting others boundaries)


In Pt.2 we’ll be discussing how to end the cycle of toxic nurturing and heal from the past that created the cycle.


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