Because it is the most intense, powerful relationship you will ever have in your entire life and shapes every single other relationship you create. To be able to care for and love yourself, you need to know that you are loved unconditionally and nurtured by your mother, on the inside. If you don’t feel this way, you then seek these feelings outside of yourself so that your needs are met; you can show the outside world that you are a worthy person.
And this was me for most of my life; feeling unloved, undernourished and deprived so I had absolutely nothing to relate to internally leaving me in a constant state of need and acceptance from others. The relationship you have with your mother is the very first one you form an attachment to, affecting your sense of self-worth, self-esteem, your sense of identity, your feminine power, your sexuality and your feelings of whether or not you are acceptable in this world.
How might this poor relationship affect you exactly?
• Growing anger – as you try so hard to get your needs met and fail time and time again; as a little girl, you perhaps learnt to push anger deep inside of you so your mother didn’t leave you altogether.
• Relationships – you don’t know how to ask for what you need and put other peoples needs before your own becoming a ‘people pleaser.’
• Feelings of being unworthy – deep inside of yourself you just don’t feel good enough so you constantly look outside for reassurance that your love and needs will be met.
• Doing too much – you push yourself to extremes as you don’t have a healthy balance between your feminine and masculine qualities – as you are continually searching for your needs to be met. The harder you are to yourself the more you believe your needs will be met.
• Exceptionally high expectations – you create unrealistic expectations of yourself in all areas of your’ life, these are often your mother’s unlived dreams subconsciously being projected onto you.
• Nurturing others – you give more than you are able to by rescuing others and pleasing them to the detriment of your own health; often this is learnt behaviour from watching your mother trying to get her own needs met.
• Mirroring lack of self-esteem – because your mother lacked self-acceptance and compassion you mirrored this behaviour taking on these feelings.
• Being controlling of others – do you teach others by trying to control them, are you over critical of people? Again often this is learnt behaviour driven by your mother’s inner critic.
As I started my own therapy and healing journey, one question that came to mind again and again was, ‘Who am I if I am not the person my mother told me I am?’ I felt numb and at a complete loss as I started the long painful journey of ‘letting go’ of all the false identities I had built up over the years, and was left with the realisation that I would never have the mother I longed for.
The mother who would scoop me up and dry my tears when I was upset, the mother who was there for me when things went wrong, the mother who hugged you so tightly I felt I could burst, the mother who praised and accepted me no matter what.
So I had to grow up pretty quickly as I started the process of nurturing and mothering myself, fulfilling my needs, discovering my soul, owning my feminine aspects in a kind and loving way.
I believe that many of us have a very complex relationship with our mother that we keep from the outside world; it’s become a taboo topic and not openly discussed. From my own healing and many other women I have worked with the relationships tends to break right down… my mother told me very clearly that she didn’t love me. From this moment onwards I was able to start my healing process, which resulted in complete transformation.
Looking back now on my journey these were some of the questions I asked myself which you can start focusing on right now –
• Is your mother controlling rather than supportive?
• Does she like to show you off to her friends (like a trophy?) to gain satisfaction and praise?
• Does she have unrealistic expectations of you?
• Does she want to satisfy her needs through your achievements and success?
• Do you think she resents you and is envious of your looks and behaviour?
• Do you feel she’s jealous of the life you lead and perhaps tries to sabotage this?
• Does she constantly neglect your needs?
My mother ticked all of these boxes along with many more, but above all, I longed to be emotionally loved, but my mother was totally incapable of this so I created ways of getting my own needs met – through being very rebellious and becoming a people pleaser. These behavioural patterns stayed with me for around 35 years until I decided I had to change myself. For the first time in my life I took responsibility for myself, I stopped the blame; I stopped the neediness and focused on my needs.
I’d like to share with you some of the things I focused on as I started to heal myself. I gave myself time and space to really get to know who I was having said ‘good-bye’ to the version of ‘the me’ I thought I was. I set clear boundaries for my mother, and myself whilst I felt empathy towards her and compassion for myself. I began to understand that my anger was pain and as my compassion grew towards myself the anger lessened. I stopped seeking the acceptance, the approval, the kindness and the love that my mother could never give me so my wound began to heal as the frustration and disappointment faded.
I became aware of all the negative messages my mother had projected onto me which in time had become part of me; I let these go as I realised that these were actually my mother’s sufferings.
As I grew older and produced three of my own children I did feel more empathy towards her, as mothering is not an easy job. I am now in a space of peace and calm having forgiven myself and my mother for the suffering we have both endured from the deepest of wounds that were carved out over many years. The wounds are now healed over; the scars are now distant memories, which are no longer part of my being.
The greatest gift to my three children is the paradigm, the patterns and the learnt behaviour have changed – these children will continue to grow up feeling nurtured, nourished, and loved – a brand new way of living.
It’s because of this miraculous profound healing that I am now driven to help other women with their relationships having gained coaching, counseling, clinical hypnotherapy, CBT and NLP qualifications I can professionally guide women through the greatest healing journey of their life.
2018 marks a milestone in my own personal life – having lived for over 15 years in Dubai my husband Ian and I are returning back to the UK. Miracles do happen – we have bought a piece of land to build our own home but for 18 months we will be living next door to Mum and Dad – to spend much-needed quality time with them whilst they are still both here with us. Never give up, there is always hope for each and every one of you.
Louise Armstrong is a British Mum and NLP life coach. You can find her website here:
Would you like to write for British Mums? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us an email to email@example.com