Binding mothers often do not have the confidence to live their own lives and to make independent decisions without the support of their daughters.
Over protective mothers can also be classed as binding and frequently gain a sense of self when their daughters make the same choices they did. The mother may firmly believe her happiness can be found through her daughter and may not want to separate and to allow her the freedom to be who she wants to be.
For some daughters who choose to break the mould and not follow in their mother’s footsteps or take the advice handed to her, the mother may be forced to re-evaluate her own decisions and values and may not like it. Her daughter’s aims in life might make her question her own choices, as well as make her even more aware of her own unfulfilled dreams and ambitions in life, leaving her with a sense of life passing her by.
Conflict can also appear when a successful mother wants her daughter to follow the same path. If the daughter becomes more successful, the mother’s self-esteem and identity may be squashed. Or, a daughter might want to go in a different career direction and the mother might feel rejected by the daughter’s choices and disappointed that they do not match her ultimate plan. Some mothers hope that their daughters can live out their own unfulfilled dreams. Love becomes conditional on the daughter following her mother’s suggestions.
In my work as a relationship consultant I have known many daughters (and mothers) sacrifice their personal dreams, because they thought they had no option but to go along with what they thought was expected of them.
Love has a high price to pay if, as daughters, we continue to do the things we don’t really want to do out of guilt or in the belief, that we will be truly loved and approved of when we do them. If we are unable to say ‘no’ to our mothers, more and more demands are placed on us with the instruction to conform to meet our mother’s needs just as she may well have done with her own mother and her mother before her. We become our own worst enemies when the quest for mother’s love becomes an endless game of chase. The reward never comes and we exhaust ourselves in the process. Accepting reality helps us to move on from expecting our mothers to change and we can simply change our reactions and behaviours towards her.
Although a daughter may add meaning to a mother’s life, it becomes dangerous when the mother believes a daughter is supposed to meet her needs and vice versa. The roles then become an act of servitude and personal sacrifice rather than a healthy mother-daughter relationship. When a mother and daughter are independent adults, taking responsibility and letting go of those previous roles of parent and child we improve the relationships we have with others. This is a win win situation for both women, each standing in her personal power zone, complete, whole and lovable without the need for external approval or validation.
In some cultures, it may go against family expectations and with it comes its own difficulties and consequences, in some cases being made an outcast. I have known many women choose to leave their homeland and families to live the life they want. It’s not an easy choice to make, though for those of you brave enough to do so, please know you leave a legacy of positive change behind you. As you change, the world changes and daughters everywhere benefit in the long run.
Here are some questions to consider in exploring how your mother has shaped your life to date. As we understand our mothers and the women who came before us, we are able to understand what influenced them and in turn, how our experience of them may have influenced us.
How does your mother think a daughter be and do you agree with her views?
What are your mother’s beliefs about raising a child, do you agree with her opinion?
What cultural and ethnic influences have played a part in your mother’s life and child rearing?
What female roles, duties, beliefs, perceptions and expectations has your mother passed down to you?
What character traits, habits and behaviours do you share with your mother?
What is your mother’s parenting style?
If you are a mother, how is your parenting style similar or dissimilar to your mother’s?
Did your mother conform to her mother’s parenting style, or resist it?
Was your mother a child carer of her siblings or other family members and if so, have you also been required to care for your siblings and family members in the same way?
Was your mother born into an affluent lifestyle or did she and her parents struggle to survive?
How much of a balanced and equal relationship has your mother had with your father and other male role models in her/your life?
How does your mother behave socially, how are you like her/unlike her?
How does your mother act in private?How are you similar or dissimilar to her in this respect?
Was your mother subservient in her relationships, if so have you also been?
Was your mother overbearing or dominant in her relationships, if so how much of your behaviour in relationships is the same?
What repeating patterns in relationships are you aware of, which are the same as your mothers?
How are your partners similar in character and personality to your mother’s partners?
What character and personality traits do you share with your mother?(positive and negative traits)
To understand your mother, you need to look beyond yourself and become aware of the influences which shaped her life. You can read more about transforming the relationship with you mother right here
If you are a mother or a daughter and need some personal help and support, please do reach out and make contact to discuss options.