Find freedom from those critical mom messages.
Relationships between moms and daughters can be many things, but one thing is for sure: they are complex. Now that you're an adult, you may have a little different perspective on that mother-daughter relationship drama. Whether your relationship with your mother is better or worse than it was while you were growing up, there is one thing you can count on: mom still lives on in your head!
The Power Of Mom
Mothers have an enormous influence on their kids — have you noticed? Obviously some of this comes from the fact that, while growing up, kids are dependent on mom literally for physical and emotional survival. This is part of what makes abuse or abandonment by mothers such an intensely damaging experience. Is Alicia Silverstone Clueless About Parenting?
Even if your mother wasn't overtly abusive, she still had a powerful influence that you've either internalized how you do want to move through life from her examples, or how you don't want to behave from watching her mistakes. Part of the challenge is the myth we all seem to have embraced without question of the eternally patient, gentle, put-together nurturing mother.
The media has certainly contributed to this myth. No matter how many scientific studies are conducted taking a look at the complex dynamics between mothers and daughters, if you're a mother or daughter wondering why your relationship isn't working, you probably compare your insides to your friends' outsides and always come up short. You may have internalized messages from your mother that tell you that you're messing up, you aren't measuring up to her standards, or you're just plain wrong.
When Mom Takes Up Space In Your Head
Inevitably, one day you may realize that your mother is "living in your head." Whether you had a gentle or a dysfunctional relationship with your mother while you were growing up, whether your current relationship is built on mutual respect, or conflict or avoidance, at some point you'll find yourself hearing your mother's voice in your head or making choices based on what your mother did right or did wrong. 6 Things To Do If Your Teenager Terrifies You
I thought I could get away from my controlling mother by moving to another state and we rarely even talk on the phone. Then I realized that I still hear her voice in my head every single day reminding me of what I'm doing wrong.
When does it get better? Mom and I fought all the way through my adolescence, and our relationship hasn't improved even now that I have teenagers of my own!
I didn't have an awful childhood by any means, but I can't seem to completely shake the feeling that I'm still trying to get my internal mother's approval, even though I've been an adult for over twenty years.
What can you do when you realize that you're hearing criticisms and judgements from your mother from inside your own head?
How To Kick Mom Out of Your Head And Reclaim Your Life
No matter what your history or your current relationship with your mother is like, you are you. If you don't feel like you're completely in charge of who you are, that's a big clue that there's a pretty good chance you've got Mom hanging out in your head. If you feel like a great deal of your present is controlled by your mom's expectations, criticisms, or dysfunction, you may want to do some change work.
If you find yourself basing your current choices on whether or not it is anything like how your mother behaves, that's a pretty big message that you need to reclaim your mind. How can you kick Mom out of your head and reclaim your mind? Here are a few pointers that will help you get started on this marvelous journey. How To Get Along With His Mom
The reward is great — freedom to make your own choices, uncontrolled by your mom. Even if you have a good relationship with your mother now, or can't recall anything in the past that would qualify as overtly abusive, it can only help you be a more complete and emotionally healthy person to follow these simple steps.
1. Pay attention to those mom messages you hear from inside your head. Write them down. They're only powerful when they're operating in secret.
2. Take a look at your own adult relationships or parenting. How is your behavior reacting against your mom messages, or copying her choices?
3. If your real life relationship with your mother is one of conflict, make a decision to begin working on that relationship. Your relationship with your mother has shaped a great part of who you have become, and will continue to control you unless you do some work to learn a better way.
4. Build relationship with some emotionally healthy and available women that you can share honestly with. Part of the power of mentorship is that you'll have the opportunity to practice reclaiming your mind as you expose the mom messages in your head, and then let them go.
Recently I asked on Twitter if I was the only one who sometimes "heard" mom from inside my head. As I'm sure you can image, the response was overwhelming. You're in good company when you admit you've been "renting out head-space to mom!" The great news is that once you do the healing work, you can absolutely and completely reclaim your life. After all, you are you! HOPE Is Going Mobile!
For a more specific guide on the steps you need to take to heal from an abusive past and take back your life, pick up my new book, A Bigger Band-Aid: hope for parents abused as children.
What are some of the mom messages you've been hearing lately? How have you let some of those internalized mom messages go and reclaimed control of your life?
To Read Great Therapy Advice:
- We Shared ALL Of Our Baggage — And It Saved Our Relationship
- Is Sex Therapy For You? [VIDEO]
- 6 Ways To Wish Yourself A Happy Mother's Day