10 Ways Our Self-Obsessed Moms Taught Us To Doubt Ourselves — And How To Break Free

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mother talking to young daughter on couch

Many people face the common challenge that is self-doubt. It creeps into all aspects of their lives — work, relationships, success, and even with money. It thrives on low self-esteem and manifests in a variety of ways in my mind, body, heart, and spirit.

Did you know that 85% of individuals suffer from low self-esteem?

This has a significant impact on your ability to believe in yourself, causing self-doubt, anxiety, and overwhelm. Often, this low self-esteem is due to experiencing some kind of childhood trauma early in your life.

It’s the emotional energy of that self-doubt, fear, and lack of self-esteem that gets trapped in the cells of your body.

One major source of self-doubt is often in our relationships with our parents. Did you have a toxic or self-obsessed mother growing up? This may contribute to your challenges with self-esteem today. But there are ways to break the pattern.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Squash Self-Doubt So You Can Speak Your Mind Without Worrying

Why do you have overwhelming self-doubt?

This unease in your body can manifest into disease over time. And if the pain in your body becomes chronic, this body pain can take on a life of its own.

You can even get addicted to this pain because it’s what’s "known" to you. It's what’s "familiar" to your subconscious brain and has become the go-to pattern in your neural pathways.

Even if the “familiar” is terribly uncomfortable or even excruciating, it's where your subconscious mind will take you in times of stress.

The key here is to recognize what are the pain patterns you are consistently experiencing.  

You'll need to look deeper beneath the surface of what makes that trauma pattern "familiar" to your brain, so you can begin to release it and replace it with healing, self-confidence, and self-love instead.

What I’ve found in my 20 years of working with clients. and through all the research and study I’ve done, is that the emotional residue left behind in the wake of these traumas is at the heart of the issue.

When trauma isn't effectively resolved and processed through the body, it gets stuck in your system. And it's this stuckness that is the cause of so much illness, upset, and disease in our lives.

And the kicker? Often, you inherited these emotional residue patterns from your family of origin, particularly from your mother. 

The science of Epigenetics shows that these family trauma patterns can impact the body for 3 or more generations, creating a cascade of self-doubt!

So, as you look at the source of your own self-doubt, fears, and lack of self-esteem, imagine the generational traumas that your mother faced. Or your grandmother. Or your great-grandmother. Or your great-great-grandmother.

You get the idea. Mind-blowing!

These fears, limiting beliefs that you carry about yourself, your worth, and your value? Well, they get created in a flash when you were a child and continue to live within your subconscious.

They stay there neatly filed away, running in your background operating system until you identify them and consciously release them from your mind, heart, and spirit.

And, yet, there's an idyllic concept that mothers are always supposed to be loving, nurturing, and kind. But the truth is that your mother is human too.

RELATED: How I Finally Rebuilt My Self Esteem Through Complete And Total Radical Acceptance

She has her flaws and foibles, just like the rest of us — and her unspoken traumas as well.

I’d like to believe that most of the time, your mother is doing the best she knows how to do in each moment, with the information she has at hand.

This, however, doesn't excuse any of the traumatic behaviors you may have endured in your life.

But, perhaps, it can give you a different perspective from which to view the events of your childhood with more compassion and understanding. Or even forgiveness of the situation.

The choice is always yours. The more you can free yourself from these patterns though, the lighter you will feel.

There are some distinctive parenting themes that tend to create a person’s underlying self-doubt, lack of self-esteem, and fear. 

Reflect and see if your mother exhibited any of these kinds of behaviors towards you when you were growing up. You can then begin to trace your self-doubt back to its root causes and eliminate what's been holding you back for far too long.

Which of these behaviors did your mother demonstrate to you as a child that fostered your self-doubt?

1. Was she verly critical or judgmental of you, leaving you feeling like you’re not good enough?

2. Did she fail to acknowledged you or your accomplishments?

3. Did she rarely, if ever, make you feel special for who you are, just as you are, unconditionally?

4. Did she fail to give you enough time and attention, leaving you feeling like your voice didn’t matter or you didn’t matter?

5. Did she leave you feeling rejected, excluded, or even abandoned?

6. Did she have a negative attitude of the "glass is half empty," "something’s wrong," or was always "waiting for the other shoe to drop."

7. Did she have impossibly high standards and was a perfectionist in the things she did? Did these expectations also extend to you? 

8. Did she make herself feel better at your expense by putting you down, ridiculing you, or gaslighting you to make herself feel better or superior?

9. Was she a chameleon and a people-pleaser to keep the peace in the house?

10. Was she overly emotional, angry, or abusive and tried to control everything?

It’s important to know that you’re not alone!

Everyone has experienced self-doubt at different moments in life. It’s when it becomes chronic and keeps you from achieving your full potential that can be a sign it's time to get some support.

Learning how you can begin to dismantle the limiting beliefs you’ve been telling yourself is key. Replacing those negative self-beliefs with empowering, positive self-talk and self-love are where the healing begins.

As a first step, you can take the Self-Doubt Finder Quiz to identify which of the 5 Self-Doubt ArchetypesTM are holding you back.

With understanding comes power. The power to reclaim your confidence, own your self-worth and receive recognition and compensation for your contributions.

Remember, your mind is elastic!

You can change your negative beliefs and habits and upgrade them for greater happiness, self-confidence, and peace of mind, breaking the family cycles of trauma once and for all.

RELATED: How To Believe In Yourself & Stop The Self-Sabotaging Effects Of Negative Self-Talk

Michele Molitor, C-Hyp, is a certified coach and hypnotherapist and co-author of “Breakthrough Healing.” For 20 years, she has worked with talented, professional women, helping them overcome imposter syndrome and reclaim their confidence to create a thriving career and life. Connect with her directly to help eliminate your anxiety and limiting self-beliefs from your mindset once and for all.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.