Do You Have a “I don’t want to be like my mother” Filter?

By Val Boyko • April 18th, 2011

We all have filters that we see the world through. Filters are the beliefs, attitudes and values that we have that have shaped how we see ourselves and the world around us. In my reading, I haven’t come across the “I don’t want to be like my mother” filter, but I know from my conversations it can be a powerful force in shaping your life, and your daughters too!

Most of us will go through a stage in our teenage years when we want to separate ourselves from our mother and not  be like her. It’s an important part of our development to become independent at this stage in our lives.

However, for some of us it can remain a deeply held value as a adult woman. It becomes part of how we see ourselves, and a guiding belief in the choices we make in our life and career, and in how we mother our own children.

Take a moment to consider if ant of these situations are true for you.

  • Was your mother hyper critical and you decided early on not to be trampled on or controlled? Did you choose to be a super achiever, pushing yourself to be the best, win her approval and ultimately to prove yourself? (and find it difficult to be vulnerable in relationships)
  • Did you feel smothered by your mother, and are now deliberately giving your daughter lots of space and independence? (even although its a personal struggle)
  • Did your mother expect you to take a particular role or career, and you deliberately made a different career choice? (even although it wasn’t a good fit)
  • Was your mother remote and distracted, and you learned to find ways to please her and get attention? Do you do the same at work with your boss? (but you don’t know how to assert yourself)
  • Did your mother hurt you so much that you decided never to have children yourself? (even although you sometimes have regrets)

All of these examples are understandable reactions. … but are they really serving you now? What is the cost to you for hanging on to seeing the world this way?

The downside of having a “I don’t want to be like my mother” filter, is that we may have discarded or denied positive aspects of ourselves that we have inherited from our mothers.

I recall someone saying to me. “You are so like your mother!” My first reaction was “I am not. I am me!” She then went on to say what a fun energetic person my mother was, and that I had the same energy about me. Who knew? I certainly hadn’t noticed it. But now I do.

Recognizing if we have this filter and letting it go is an important step in the Mother Whisperers journey.


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