Have you ever looked back at your past and wondered how much your relationship with your mother led you to become the person you are today? Mothers play a fundamental role in the adult that a child becomes. This relationship is often good, but it can sometimes be detrimental to a child’s growth and lead to something called “mommy issues.”
Here’s a detailed look at some major signs you have mommy issues and the different ways in which you can cope with it.
What Are Mommy Issues?
The term “mommy issues” can encompass a vast variety of things. Typically, it refers to the personal, psychological challenges you experience as an adult because of the relationship you had with your mother while growing up.
This issue can stem from a variety of problematic behaviors that your mother may have demonstrated while you were growing up. This can also include abusive behaviors.
Mommy issue is a dynamic concept. Factors like how your mother was while growing up, your interactions with one another, and how much of these experiences you have addressed or suppressed can dictate the severity of your mommy issues.
Mommy issues include plenty of variables, and these problems can manifest differently for every individual.
What Causes Mommy Issues?
As you can guess by the name, the primary culprit that causes mommy issues is your mommy.
Mothers are key figures in one’s childhood. So, if a child were to be subjected to physical or emotional abuse from the mother, manipulated by her, or did not receive any form of support from her, it can have severe long-lasting psychological impacts.
If the mother was overly permissive, controlling, overprotective, or finicky, or turned a blind eye to the child’s mistakes, or did not allow the child any room to experience life and make mistakes as they grew up, such experiences can also lead to mommy issues.
Another possible cause is that instead of being a mother, she opted to take on the role of a best friend who enforced no rules. Although these parenting styles can appear to be doting and liberating, they can severely affect a child and be a detriment to their formative years.
Such imbalanced and toxic behaviors from a mother can create a toxic maternal relationship, eventually leading to mommy issues.
Mommy Issues In Women Vs. Men
In women, mommy issues can manifest in the form of low self-confidence, trust issues, very few or no female friends, constantly striving for perfection or acceptance, and trying to avoid anything or anyone associated with your mother.
In men, on the other hand, mommy issues can come in the form of being overwhelmed with insecurity and mistrust, repeatedly cheating on a partner, having difficulty showing emotions or being vulnerable, having a strong desire for your partner’s approval, and having cold feet in relationships.
Both men and women with mommy issues tend to have difficulties setting boundaries and struggle with relationship commitments.
Mommy Issues Impacts
Often, people do not realize they have mommy issues as the symptoms can easily be clubbed under the umbrella of mental health.
But, mommy issues can impact your relationships in a number of negative ways.
1. On Relationships
Men with mommy issues may have difficulties understanding the concept of doing a fair share of household chores and picking up after themselves. Your expectations from a partner may be unrealistic as you may expect your partner to take on all household responsibilities, essentially mothering you.
On the other hand, women can swing from one extreme to another — either bend over backward to be subservient to their partners or become too controlling.
In a healthy relationship, both men and women would look at their partner as someone to share their life with romantically and on equal grounds.
2. On Parenthood
One of the unfortunate impacts of mommy issues is when you become a parent. Most people with mommy issues would fail to enjoy being parents because of their fear and anxiety of turning into their mothers.
You become either controlling or too lax as a parent, praising your child to high heavens or imposing too many rules. Both methods fail to provide any space for your child to make mistakes and learn from them. Subconsciously, you fall into the same painful cycle of mommy issues.
12 Signs You Have Mommy Issues
#1. Inability to Experience Profound Connections
Being emotionally detached is a major sign of having mommy issues. You are unable or unwilling to connect emotionally to other people, sometimes even your own family.
This may be an unconscious decision to protect yourself from unnecessary drama, stress, and even hurt, but in the process, you lose the chance to make genuine connections.
#2. Clingy and Needy
You can become extremely attached to your partner and close friends. This clinginess stems from wanting to be needed by others in your life.
It is your way to meet your needs that your mother failed to fulfill. So, you want to always be around these people because they provide you with that security you long for.
This behavior can come across as overwhelming and must be addressed.
#3. Difficulty in Expressing Affection
Expressing and showing affection can be a real challenge when you have a complicated and unstable relationship with your mother.
If you grow up in a way that not showing or receiving any signs of affection from your mother was normal, then you’ll adopt this as your usual way of life. This is a common struggle in romantic relationships.
#4. Over Criticizing and Controlling
Another way your mommy issues may manifest, especially in women, is when you become too demanding, controlling, and critical beyond reason.
This can be because it was the environment you grew up in and you start to mirror this behavior when you become an adult. Apart from romantic relationships, you may also be demonstrating this behavior with your children and even co-workers.
Based on your relationship with your mother, you can end up feeling excessively dependent on other people. You want your partner and other significant people in your life to take care of you.
From managing your home and taking care of practical things to emotional dependence, this desperate dependency can be highly detrimental to one’s mental health.
#6. Detachment from Relationships
Growing up with a detached mother, you may not have experienced secure attachment. This results in an inability to form a genuine connection with people.
You struggle to be close to anyone because you did not experience that secure connection while growing up. This is also your silent way to protect yourself.
#7. Excessive Caretaking and People Pleasing
Being too caring toward other people at your own expense is another sign of having mommy issues. You forego the concept of self-care and instead put other people’s needs above your own.
This is the “love” you grew up with and the same love you tend to mirror.
#8. Low Self-Esteem and Trust Issues
The lack of self-esteem can be associated with not getting emotional support from your mother as a child. Maybe your mother never attended your school plays, was never present for your milestones, or you never received any guidance from her.
As a result, you grew up doubting yourself and what you are capable of. This is also indicative that your mother highlighted your weaknesses instead of your victories.
#9. Tense Relationship with Your Mother
Even if your relationship with your mother is “just okay,” you may have feelings of dread and hesitation when you are together. You feel yourself getting anxious every time you have to talk with or be around your mother.
Always doubting yourself and your decisions is another sign that you have mommy issues.
This can be due to your mother making all the decisions for you while growing up or because she constantly compared you to others.
#11. Difficulty In Setting Boundaries
You tend to say “Yes” all the time and struggle to refuse a request. You tend to have challenges understanding what personal limits should be because of feeling guilty about declining someone and potentially hurting their feelings. It stems from your mother giving you no say in your decisions while you were growing up. Her word was the law.
#12. Difficulty In Motherhood
Being uncertain and even scared of motherhood can be because you are trying not to repeat history.
You may become too attached to your own childhood and neglect your motherhood. You have this constant battle in your mind causing you to get stressed in your role as a mother.
How To Fix It
#1. Become Aware Of The Problem And Your Past
Acceptance is always the first step. When you acknowledge that you had a not-so-great relationship with your mother growing up, you can then start addressing the issues and fixing them with more openness.
You will need to face your childhood experiences, dig deep, and evaluate what was problematic with your relationship with your mother.
#2. Set Healthy Boundaries and Put Yourself First
Set your boundaries with the people involved in your life. This is important for your safety, peace of mind, and overall well-being.
There’s nothing wrong with putting yourself first, and that includes saying “no” sometimes to some people. Your boundaries are yours to decide.
#3. Use Positive Self-Affirmations
Positive self-affirmations can boost your confidence and encourage self-love. Telling yourself that you are enough and loved can help you manage your stress, self-doubt, and anxiety.
#4. Talk With Your Mom
It is never too late to engage in a genuine, honest conversation with your mother.
Keep in mind that this will be an incredibly difficult conversation, but it can lead to healing and even a blossoming of a real relationship with your mother.
#5. Permit Yourself to Feel
Your feelings of confusion, neglect, anger, resentment, and disappointment are all valid. Don’t feel guilty for your emotions.
Embrace your feelings and be fully present to comprehend them better and process your current state of mind.