You feel insignificant, unwanted, and incompetent. You struggle with self-doubt and are not sure what its source is. And yet, you have grown so accustomed to these emotions that you cannot imagine living in another, better way.

Many daughters encounter such maelstroms, thanks to the negative relationships they have with their mothers. You may have such insecurities but be unaware of them. Before getting rid of them, you must first understand their roots.

Take time to recognize these repressed, negative feelings.

What causes your mother’s insecurities?

Every controlling mother bears fears that someone will discover how inadequate she feels. She may lord it over you as if you were one of Queen Victoria’s serfs. Alternatively, she may not be outwardly manipulative, but has a hold over you in other ways, never letting you succeed as you were meant to.

But what turned her into a monster mom?

For a start, her prior experiences may have been negative. She may have had a controlling mother herself, and had to play a submissive role. She may have been an abused child, and now needs to put herself in a position of authority.

Every mother obviously has a deep-seated need for recognition. As she never had the chance to live up to her potential, she lives her life through you and hopes that you will do what she never had the opportunity to.

And then, she may struggle with empathy. A narcissistic, prideful personality may make it impossible for her to understand your feelings and needs; she always puts herself first.

Signs that you are bearing your mother’s insecurities

You may have become so used to playing the submissive role in the mother-daughter relationship that you may not even be aware that you are under her control; the manipulation reflects her fears. How then, do you know that you are carrying her insecurities?

Watch out for some of these warning signs:

1. You feel responsible for your mom’s happiness

If you have a mother who always needs to have one up over you, you probably hear a lot of “You spend too much time with your friends; what about your mother?” You may also find the word’s “You’re selfish” a familiar refrain.

You probably feel that her happiness depends on you. A controlling mother thinks that it is her divine right to make demands on you because of how much she suffered while bringing you into this world.

While every mother deserves gratitude for her sacrifice, manipulative moms tend to make demands that are a task to fulfill.

2. Your mom is passive-aggressive

A controlling, insecure mom will ignore you when she feels displeased, but refuse to explain why. The silent treatment is her forte. Her aim, of course, is to get you to toe her line. Note that passive-aggression is aggression expressed in a way that is calm and socially acceptable.

3. Your mom’s feelings come first

A sign that you are shouldering your mom’s insecurities is that you always put her feelings first. Your overbearing mom will make sure that her needs come before yours. Her angry emotions dominate because they are the most felt.

To assuage them, you probably end up putting your own aside.

4. Your mother makes you feel guilty

You know that you are bringing your mom’s uncertainties into your life if you have perennial guilty feelings. A toxic mother will attempt to control you using guilt or money. Should you not do things to her specifications, you will probably suffer from a nasty guilt trip.

If she has a financial hold over you, she will withhold all monetary privileges until you do things her way.

5. You are too conscious of how you make your mom look to others

Your mother may always nag at you with words like “How can I show my face to my friends if you are so stupid?” She projects her image onto you. You are carrying her fears if you constantly feel worried about how she looks to others.

6. Your mom controls your decisions

Your insecure mother may project her inadequacies onto you by refusing to let you grow up. She makes you feel as though you cannot make the right decisions for yourself. If you find yourself letting her run your life, you may be perpetuating her insecurities.

7. You hide your mother’s problems

You may be bearing your mom’s burdens for her if you find yourself concealing her problems instead of acknowledging them. She may instruct you to hide addiction, financial or other family concerns. You may also find yourself lying for her.

8. You never grow up

Have you ever pondered over why you never seem to feel good enough? Your mother may always be criticizing you, not because you are unworthy, but because she feels that way herself. The negativity that you feel is a projection of her uncertainty.

9. You do not recognize your boundaries

You may be answering phone calls from your mother in the middle of the night, or find that she has come into your home without knocking. She will probably be hostile if you try to tell her that she is invading your space.

Because she is your mom, she feels entitled to crowding into your life; she never had the chance to live her own.

10. Your mom makes you feel small

Dismissing and undermining a person is typical toxic behavior, and is a sign of deep-seated insecurity. If your mother always criticizes your weight, height, and appearance she may feel bee feeling inadequate herself.

You are bearing her burden for her if you feel unworthy.

Getting rid of the burden

Bearing your mother’s uncertainties may seem isolating, but it is not. If you were to start a support group for daughters with troubled mothers, its membership list would be endless.

The good news for you and other ladies is that there are ways to cope with the burden.

1. Get therapy

Consult a highly-recommended relationship therapist. Though counseling may reopen old wounds, you will have a professional who can help you.

2. Redefine your boundaries

With an insecure mother in your life, you may not understand what boundaries are. It means recognizing the treatment you can and cannot accept. Should you find your mom’s criticisms of you unreasonable, make your feelings known to her.

3. Find a way to express your feelings

Growing up under the watchful eye of an uptight mother, you probably never had the chance to articulate your emotions. A counselor or trusted friend may help you release these repressed feelings.

4. Look for support

It is laborious to struggle with your mother’s uncertainties on your own. Often, family and friends may not want to get involved with your problems. Turn to people outside your circle. There is no harm in sharing your feelings with them.

5. Learn about it

Read more about mother-daughter insecurities. Nancy Friday sheds light on the subject in her book My Mother, Myself. It is an in-depth look at the dysfunctions of such unhealthy relationships.

Take some time to work through the difficulties in your relationship with your mother. It may heal unresolved hurts, and strengthen the understanding between you.


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. ecd

    Though I’m a male & this article is more for daughters, at 35 I do feel my psyche has been twisted from childhood home atmosphere. Abusive father & insecure mom.

  2. M. Robbins

    I’m a male also (INFP), and at 46 I’ve been to counseling on and off most of my life. The mother/daughter scenario is more common and openly discussed than mother/son situations. For me, however, many of the same characteristics apply; dismissive and emotionally unavailable, controlling, projecting, and so on. In the past two years alone, I have gotten a better perspective on healthy boundaries, and being more assertive.

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