What Are Mommy Issues? 7 Early Signs in Men & Women
“What are mommy issues?” is a common question many people ask as they try to uncover why they are dealing with some psychological issues in their adult life.
As someone who has experienced mommy issues in my adult life, I can say that I know what you’re going through, and I am happy to help you understand what mommy issues are and how to identify & deal with them.
What are Mommy Issues?
Generally speaking, mommy issues are the mental or emotional issues you deal with as an adult that result from a complicated childhood relationship with your mom or another adult female figure in your life.
Believe it or not, mommy issues are very common in people, especially those that had a seemingly complicated relationship with their mothers or mother figures in their lives while growing up.
What Causes Mommy Issues?
The overprotectiveness or overbearingness of mothers often causes mommy issues. This usually affects the mother-child dynamics, which can have a lasting effect on a child in their adult lives.
For example, a mother might just be trying to be kind and loving and be a “friend” to her child while not doing much in parenting the child. When this happens, you are either cutting the child too much slack or too hard on the child, which is a major contributor to this issue.
How do you know if you Have Mommy Issues?
Do you suspect you might have mommy issues, or do you just wonder why you sometimes behave differently? Well, people behave irrationally for different reasons aside from mommy issues.
However, there are some distinct behavioural signs or patterns adult men and women facing mommy issues exhibit, which can let you know if you indeed have mommy issues.
Here are 7 early signs of mommy issues in adult men and women
- Difficulty expressing affection and/or love
- Wanting to please everyone
- Excessive clinginess
- Very critical of others
- Controlling behaviour
- Rude and disrespectful (especially towards women)
- Avoiding your mother
1. You have difficulty expressing affection: we learned a lot from our parents growing up, and most of our behavioural patterns are modelled after our parents.
So, if your mother was cold emotionally, you may also struggle to express affection or love to your friends, spouse, or children.
2. You want to please everyone: Going out of your way to buy expensive gifts for people or sacrificing ways even when it hurts could be a pointer for mommy issues.
If you did not receive love from your mother in your childhood, you would most likely want to compensate for it by going over and beyond for people even when you do not get the same level of commitment from them.
3. You cling excessively: The need to always physically hold your spouse or partner or the anxiety you feel when you cannot connect with them can indicate an adult condition that comes from your mommy issues.
This was one of the signs I showed in the early stages of my marriage. I was excessively clingy to my spouse because of my mommy issues, and I didn’t even know it until years into our marriage.
4. You are very critical of others: If your mother was controlling, demanding, and critical, it’s not uncommon if you’ve taken on similar traits in adulthood. Are you overly critical of those around you, especially your romantic partner? Your relationship with your mother might explain why.
5. You exhibit controlling behaviour: Controlling behaviour is another sign of mommy issues in adult men and women. If your mom was the controlling type, you might have learned that it is acceptable to control others.
6. You are rude and disrespectful (especially towards women): This is very common in men with mommy issues. Nobody was born “rude” being rude is a behaviour many people learn from a very young age.
7. You are avoiding your mother: You may not have a specific behaviour, but if your relationship with your mom isn’t great, that could signify some mommy issues.
Everybody loved their mothers when they were young, so if, as an adult, you do not want to have anything to do with your mother? That’s something to look into.
How to Overcome Mommy Issues
Now that we know what mommy issues are and the negativity that comes with them, it is a good time for me to show you how to get over mommy issues so you can live a fulfilled life.
Below are 6 easy ways to get rid of mommy issues.
- Acknowledge the problem
- Plan to talk to your mom
- Plan to set boundaries
- Allow yourself to heal
- Seek professional help
- Develop new skills
1. Acknowledge the problem: Acknowledging how your mother’s parenting style may have contributed to your current relationship problems is a significant first step in getting over mommy issues.
Say you realize you fear rejection from your partner because your mother threatened to leave if you weren’t good. From here, you might work to remind yourself that your partner loves you and wants to be with you.
It may be hard to accept something like that, but it is important for your healing and a beautiful relationship with your partner or children.
2. Plan to talk to your mom: Sometimes, it is good to talk to your mom about this. Letting her know how her parenting style affected you can be a huge WIN in getting over mommy issues. Conversations like this can also give you some closure and allow you to move on with your life, free of bitterness.
3. Plan to set healthy boundaries: The next thing you want to do is to set clear boundaries. Yes, you can keep your mother updated about your life if you want, but it’s also always good to set clear boundaries on what she can or cannot do.
Your mother shouldn’t dictate your decisions, shape your career, or choose your spouse (unless your culture practices arranged marriages, in which case you must consent).
4. Allow yourself to heal: This part is often overlooked but is as important as any other factor in getting over mommy issues. Allowing yourself to heal means being patient with yourself.
Your mommy issues didn’t appear in one day; it probably took years of learning negative patterns, the same way it will take some time to heal. The most important thing to remind yourself is that you are on a journey to reinvent yourself.
5. Seek professional help: Support from a professional can be beneficial for any attachment problem. While a therapist won’t diagnose you with mommy issues, they will acknowledge and provide support as you begin to work on these issues.
During therapy, you can reflect on or explore what you wanted from your mother but did not get while growing up. You can also speak to a psychologist or therapist about healthy parent-child relationships in adulthood.
6. Develop new skills: Since your mommy issues have probably affected your behaviour and lifestyle, you should learn new relationship skills to counter those bad habits.
What are Mommy Issues in Men?
Generally speaking, people refer to men as having “mommy issues” when they exhibit some of these traits and behaviours:
- An intense desire for affection or a difficult time expressing affection, or a rapid shift between the two
- The man expects his romantic partner to assist in household chores or provide emotional support over the norm.
- Dating persons who share certain similarities with their mother-trust issues or who struggle to show vulnerability
- A “cold feet” attitude towards commitment in relationships
- He always seeks guidance from his mom when making decisions
- He finds it difficult spending time with or discussing his mom
- The man develops relationship anxiety
- Discomfort with intimacy
- Hypersensitivity to criticism
- A lack of established boundaries in the relationship
What are Mommy Issues in Women?
There are many women with mommy issues in our society. So, what are mommy issues for a woman, the signs, and how do you deal with them?
A tumultuous or estranged mother-child relationship can cause distress in anyone, but how those issues manifest may be affected by a person’s gender.
Here are some signs of mommy issues in females
- A vague sense of self-worth: an unkind or overly judgmental mother may raise a daughter with a vague sense of self-worth.
- Insecurity as an adult is a major pointer for a woman with mommy issues. If your mother had a habit of pointing out your flaws and criticizing how you looked.
- The desire for motherly guidance can be frustrating for a young adult who wants relationships and children.
How Can Mommy Issues Affect You as a Parent
Parenting is serious work and there is a great chance that your parenting style sterns from your parent. For example, it is very common to see the girls do most of the household chores in many homes while the boys have little to contribute.
As a parent, it is important to take a step back, and resolve any mommy issue, just so you do not pass on any negative energy to your own child.
How it can affect you as a Father
Many men are incapable of completing household chores, from laundry to picking up after themselves, since they weren’t expected to. They probably seek a female partner who can take care of these responsibilities and continue the cycle. In addition, their expectations of their partner’s parenting may be unrealistic.
How it can affect you as a Mother
In contrast, some adults (primarily women) might go to any lengths to be better parents than their mothers were. Women whose relationships with their mothers are complicated or estranged may find parenting more challenging.
Mothers already face high societal expectations, which can be daunting if you are also trying to ensure that you are not recreating the relationship you had with your mother.
Your mother might not have always been there for you, but it’s likely she tried her best with what she had at the time- the same way will do for your children.
In a Nutshell
So let’s call “mommy issues” what they are- attachment issues, rather than overused terms.
Firstly, you should recognize the source of your problem. Then work with a therapist to develop more secure, stable relationships since your attachment to your mother affect your romantic life.
While there is no right way or established rules for training a child without mommy issues, you can use our tips as a guide to be a better parent.