We do not share the same childhood.
It is the phase of our life that is a blessing for a lot of us.
At the same time, some are not as lucky as many of us. They experience a lot of things that are unfortunate for any child. As a result, they suffer from anxiety or depression from a really young age.
It can play a major role in deciding how the child or individual will handle other relations in the future.
“Mommy issues” is one of the psychological conditions that usually come from a strained or traumatic childhood. Though in most cases, studies have seen that womens are the major victim of this, some cases have been found in men as well.
If you are having issues handling any of your relationships, or you think that you might have mommy issues it is really important to know about this thing in detail. Here, in this article, I will cover almost everything from the basics.
Let’s start with “what are mommy issues?”
What Are Mommy Issues In Women?
“Mommy issues” is a term that is being used in order to refer to a particular situation, where an individual shares a strained relationship with their mother. This goes to a point where this strained relationship affects other crucial relationships.
In most cases, it has been seen that this strained relationship affects the relationship between the victim and their significant other.
Usually, various types of mommy issues are just the cause of deep-seated childhood problems, like emotional distance, abuse from a mother, and extreme conflicts. And in case all these problems are kept unresolved, they will continue to affect the individual as an adult.
Eventually, this very thing will lead to mommy issues in women.
A Psychology, Behind This
Now, you know what mommy issues actually are, but a lot of us don’t know how psychology works behind developing mommy issues.
It is Bowlby’s attachment theory from where mommy issues come from. The theory basically states humans are innately wired in order to seek attachment or connection with their caregivers.
When young children share a healthy attachment with their caregivers, they automatically learn to rely on others in order to meet their requirements and needs.
However, on the other hand, when a child learns that adult caregivers will not be available in times of need, they do not develop healthy attachments. It’s like, we become whatever we get.
As a result of that, individuals become anxiously attached, which means they always worry that their needs are not being met. As per human psychology, when an individual processes an anxious attachment style, they might depend upon their partners or become overly clingy.
You might not know, but according to attachment theory, in case your mother was emotionally abusive or distant, you might develop an avoidant or anxious attachment style. This can make you think of two things.
- You would worry about individuals being available to you.
- Or, you decide that you can not trust people to be available.
Here, in order to protect yourself, you might avoid emotional closeness with people. That is why women with mommy issues mostly show signs of difficulty with affection and detachment.
The psychological concept of Bowen’s Family Systems Theory states that individuals who have a high differentiation of self could remain a part of the family. However, they still make their own decisions and function as autonomous individuals.
At the same time, individuals with low differentiation of self fail to tell apart themselves as being separate from their respective families.
Suppose you belong to a household where your mother is overbearing and overprotective. Now, in this case, a child might develop low differentiation of self. Now, when that same individual gets into an adult relationship, they struggle to differentiate themselves from their partners.
And that is why, mommy issues in worms might lead to people-pleasing, neediness, and caretaking behavior in relationships.
The Reason Behind It
From any substandard parent-child relationship, children might develop either daddy issues, mommy issues, or a combination of both. Each family, father, mother, and child, every aspect of a particular family dynamic is completely unique.
So, it might feel impossible to determine the exact effects of any particular situation or relationship. Still, regarding the reason for mommy issues, there are some accepted beliefs and standards. And these might include a mother who was the following.
- Was extremely overbearing.
- Treated a father poorly.
- Was non-nurturing or unloving.
- Was mostly or completely absent.
- Was emotionally, sexually, or physically abusive.
All these issues are just some of the potential causes of mommy issues. Every mother and child relationship is complex, and when there are so many aspects of the relationship, the true causes for an individual’s mommy issues can be really difficult to ever fully understand.
The Common Signs Of Mommy Issues
In case you are feeling that you might be experiencing mommy issues, it is crucial to get properly diagnosed and do the needful.
I know consulting a therapist is not always an option for everyone, especially when we are living in a society where mental, emotional, and psychological issues are still in the “taboo” phase. So, you have to have a clear understanding.
Here, I am talking about the most common signs that will help you determine if you have mommy issues.
Sign 1: Neediness In Relationships
In case your mother was not emotionally available for you and failed to meet your needs for affection and care, you are more likely to cling to your partner in order to offer this nurturance to you. As a result, in relationships, mommy issues can arise in the form of neediness.
Sign 2: Detachment In Relations
Women with mommy issues might struggle with affection and become emotionally detached in relationships. As those women already have experienced enough hurdles with their mommies, they fear getting too close to their intimate partners.
Sign 3: Difficulty Expressing Affection
To be honest, we learn to handle relationships and a lot about relationships from our parents. In case your mother was emotionally cold, you might also experience hurdles to showing affection to your partner because you have never got a good example of this.
Mommy issues can affect intimacy in adult relationships and also can lower the overall quality of the relationship.
Sign 4: Caretaking For Others
Mommy issues are not only the result of being ignored by their mother; it also can happen in case your mother was overbearing and never gave you the freedom to make your own decisions and freedom to be yourself.
Your mother might have solved every problem for you and been overprotective. This could lead you to take on the role of a caretaker and sacrifice your own requirements when you are in adult relationships.
Sign 5: Insecurities
In a lot of cases, mommy issues typically mean that your mommy was incredibly critical of you growing up. It might be that she criticized your appearance, or whatever you do is not good enough for her.
If this is your case, when you will grow up you will still feel highly insecure. A thought process runs through your head if you can not please your mother, how will you be able to please anyone else?
Sign 6: Tension Between Your Mom And You
In some cases, you might not be able to quote your finger on the exact problems that were there between your mother and you. It is just the relationship is strained. This also can lead to mommy issues.
Some major unresolved problems from childhood have a tendency to keep cutting up in adulthood. So, in case there is tension with your mom can be the result of mommy issues that are still going on.
Sign 7: Extreme People Pleasing
When you lack affection and love from your mother, there is a high chance that you will try to do everything you can in order to get affection elsewhere. This can lead to extremely people-pleasing behaviors.
Here, you might go out your usual way in order to make other people happy by doing favors for them, buying expensive gifts, and doting on them, although in return, you are not getting the same level of care. This is when you will know you have mommy issues.
Sign 8: Controlling Behavior
In some cases, mommy issues in women encourage the form of controlling behaviors toward others. The logic is simple when your mother herself is controlling; you will learn that it is usual to control others.
As a result, you might become rigid in your relationships and will expect people to behave in a particular way. And when they don’t meet your expectations, you might become upset and try to control others more.
Sign 9: Lack Of Independence
Often, individuals develop mommy issues because those women had or have emotionally neglectful and cold mothers. And as I have mentioned earlier, mommy issues also come from overprotective mothers who overindulge us.
As a result, when you grow up you struggle with independence. You might depend on other individuals to make decisions for you and also handle your responsibilities.
Sign 10: Being Critical Of Others, Overly
An overly critical personality is one of the most common signs of mommy issues. If you are a woman with mommy issues, it is because your mom was overly critical of you. As I have mentioned earlier, we always learn from our parents.
So, when you see your mom being critical of you, you will think it is completely fine to be critical of others. It means when an individual perceives flight flaws, you consider them as disastrous. Due to that, you might become angry with people even for their minor imperfections or mistakes.
Effects Of Mommy Issues
Now, we will have a look at the major effects of mommy issues in both men and women. First, let’s look at the effects on women.
Mommy Issues In Women
Mommy issues in women usually involve the following.
- Difficulty trusting others.
- Low self-esteem.
- Having very few female friends.
- Avoiding anything to do with your mother.
- Feeling like you have to do everything perfectly.
- Having difficulty in setting boundaries or making others respect you.
Mommy Issues In Men
When it comes to men, mommy issues can display a variety of signs like the following.
- Having a sense of entitlement.
- Feeling insecure and often suspicious.
- Generally being disrespected towards women.
- Never wanting anything to do with their mothers.
- Always required to stay in contact with their mother.
- Always doubting others’ love.
- Cheating on partners is often repeated.
All these are just the possible signs of mommy issues, but that doesn’t mean they will be seen all at once. Every individual is different, and each man can show mommy issues uniquely, just like women.
How To Treat Solve Issues
To be honest, in order to overcome the effects of a difficult maternal relationship, a lot of good hard work is needed.
The most crucial first step you need to take is acknowledging how the parenting style of your mother might have contributed to the behaviors and traits developing problems in your present relationships.
There is a lack of awareness around these issues. That is why achieving a resolution is pretty tough. However, identifying them will help you to start your journey to the changes.
Suppose, your mother had threatened to leave you in case you weren’t good. Due to that reason, you realize that you fear rejection from your partner. Here, you might need to remind yourself that your partner actually loves you and wants to be with you.
I know it is not always easy to do alone. Although you might have healthy support from your partner, things are really tough. This is where the therapy comes in.
Things You Should Do With Mommy Issues
To be honest, when you are having any psychological issues, it is always best to take professional support. Here, you should know that a therapist will not diagnose you with mommy issues.
However the professional will acknowledge the lasting effects a toxic or strained maternal relationship can have. And when you will start to address these concerns, they will be able to offer you much-needed support.
When you are opting for therapy, you can do the following.
- Practice setting healthy boundaries.
- Explore what exactly you needed from your relationship with your mother but didn’t get that.
- Make a plan for talking with your mother, along with working through issues together, in case it feels appropriate and right to you.
- Address mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety along with codependency, toxic shame, or people-pleasing tendencies.
- Developing skills for healthy romantic relationships.
A professional therapist also can provide you with guidance on what a healthy parental relationship should look like in adulthood. It is totally OK and normal to update your mother about your life. However, you need to remember that it is YOUR life after all.
Obviously, your mom shouldn’t shape your career, make your decisions, or select your romantic partner (until and unless your culture practices arrange marriage and you have provided permission to set one up).
Mommy issues meaning attachment issues. If you want to be in a healthy relationship with your partner, you need to identify the challenges you are having due to mommy issues and also work on overcoming that.
Consulting with a therapist is always the best option. And it’s never late to start fresh.