Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships
"Childhood is the happiest time in human life," or so they say.
What you've never understood is how feeling hurt and lonely, year after year, could possibly be the best time of your life. Neither could I…
Like in the middle of a tornado funnel, there was no air, no colours other than shadows of grey. Never good enough or accepted for who you were, you had to pretend to be someone else.
But the loneliness was the worst.
How could you explain to someone what was going on when even you didn't understand the exhausting zigzags of your everyday life?
You tried once, and all you got in response was: “How could you say such horrible things about your mother? She’s doing so much for you – don’t be ungrateful!”
They’d never seen the ugly side of your "charming" mom – it was reserved for you and your dad.
So you curled up inside and shut the door behind you to protect yourself from more hurt.
I understand, but here’s the thing.
The Joy of Having Friends
Nothing is written in stone other than the names of the dead. It’s in your power to change your life for the better – stand up to your toxic mother and heal your wounds.
Think of healing as an adventure, like a treasure hunt. And one of the treasures you must find is trust and the ability to build meaningful connections with other people.
Because you can't heal in a vacuum of loneliness – you need all the support you can get.
You might think that:
1. You can't trust anyone. People will betray you as your mother did.
2. Happiness must be found inside, and other people are irrelevant.
Following these beliefs will bring you to a dead end.
Let me show you why and how adopting new beliefs will bring joy into your life.
The Joy of Trust
People must earn your trust, but you must give them a chance to prove they're trustworthy.
The way your mom treated you undermined your trust in people, but you can get it back. To open up for the first time is scary, I know. And I can't promise you a bump-free ride from now on. People might hurt you again, but if you don't try, you will almost certainly stay lonely for the rest of your life.
So take a chance – there are good-hearted men and women out there who can give you the love and support that deep inside you've always wanted.
Does it mean that you should unroll the scroll of your life story in front of everyone?
I wouldn't recommend that.
To begin with, pick one person you like and share something neutral with her, like how many siblings you have or that your parents are divorced. See how it goes. The more you trust your new friend, the more essential things you can share.
You have to face your fears to overcome them.
The Joy of Finding Happiness
Where to look for happiness is an excellent question, so let's have a look.
Relying on someone to make you happy is a short description of a co-dependent relationship. Giving another person such power is never a good idea because you will always be on the receiving end of their emotional needle. Feeling what they feel.
On the other hand, hoping to find happiness inside a bubble of loneliness is like looking for a light at the bottom of a deep well.
According to research, 70% of our happiness comes from relationships. From being a part of a supportive family or community of like-minded people. Another research study shows that helping others -makes us happier, too.
So where can you find happiness, after all?
Happiness comes from the inside, but it needs input from outside to inflame and sustain it.
Happiness is your responsibility, and you should do whatever you can to live a fulfilling and joyful life.It’s time to puncture the loneliness bubble and learn to trust again. You’re on a path of healing and change, and you need all the help you can get.
The Joy of Human Connection
You probably hate your mother's guts at the moment, but the truth is we all resemble our mothers in more than one way.
Wait, don't kill the messenger – let me explain.
Growing up with a difficult mother, you learned how to survive. And a part of your unconscious survival plan was to adopt some of her traits and tricks. Being critical may be one of them.
Criticism is like a virus – it's easy to catch and much harder to get rid of.
It may live inside you like that squeaky inner voice nagging you for making a mistake. Or as a habit of finding something wrong with the people around you.
It doesn't mean that you're a bad person, but it's time to be aware of your limitations. Forgive and accept yourself for who you are, so you can change and forgive the shortcomings of other people. Learn to love them as they are – with horns, hooves and everything in between.
The Joy of Helping Others
Helping others – strangers, in particular – increases our life satisfaction and boosts our happiness. You warm someone's heart, and it fills your own with joy.
It doesn't have to be huge, and it doesn't have to cost money – every little thing counts. Send a handwritten postcard to an old friend you haven't seen for a long time. Smile at the cashier at your supermarket, buy a sandwich for a homeless woman, or do some volunteer work.
Selflessly helping others activates the reward centers in your brain that correspond with feelings of happiness.
Happiness is your responsibility, and you should do whatever you can to live a fulfilling and joyful life.
The Joy of Asking for Help
There’s no scientific proof that asking others for help makes us happier, but it certainly helps to solve bigger problems and build trust within your relationships.
For those raised to take care of others, helpers like you and me, it can be hard to ask for help. We don't want to trouble anyone with our problems, so we try to manage on our own. But the thing is, we all need somebody for support, especially in times of change.
Go ahead – speak out and ask for help. Don't expect people to know what you feel or need, because they can't. Tell them so they can help you the best possible way. Sharing a painful experience with another person makes the pain more tolerable, makes life slightly more manageable, and brings you closer to others.
And hey, don't let social media suck you in like a vacuum cleaner sucks a used sock from the floor. Remember, that obsession with Facebook may cause ruptures in real-world relationships. Meet people raw in the real world instead.
Quit Loneliness and Find Friends
When we grow up, we need to see our mother's eyes, hear her calming voice and feel the touch of her soft hands. We can't survive without her attending to our needs, nurturing our bodies and souls.
As adults, we need to see kindness in a friend's eyes, her willingness to listen and support us no matter what – even when she doesn't understand what exactly we are going through. It gives us a feeling of safety and the courage to fight our battles.
We may be used to loneliness, but the beliefs that led us there no longer serve us. Instead, adopting some new beliefs can lead us to increased happiness in our lives. Allow yourself to trust people, even if it's only one person. Prioritise quality over quantity. You won’t regret it.