How to not become your mother (and stop the guilt!)

How not to become your mother- mother and daughter arguing and frustrated

Even if you have a great relationship with mom, you may still want to know how to not become your mother as you age. And if you’re not on good terms or estranged from mom? Well, that can definitely make you want to avoid falling into the same toxic habits and patterns. So how do you break free from becoming your mother? We partnered with Monica Obando, C.Ht., about how to start—and how to fully heal.

Why do we become like our mothers?

How to not become your mother- woman in coat with glasses sitting on bench outside

There are phrases such as “like mother, like daughter” and “like father, like son.” But is that really true? In some ways, the answer is yes. (Sorry.) Genetics has its role, too. However, in many cases, we inherit beliefs and patterns from our parents. Why? Because we spent so much time around them in our childhood. As kids, most of us interacted with our parents more than anyone else. Based on the behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes we observed and absorbed, our brain created neural pathways. Every time we saw or heard our parents’ habits or sayings, those neural pathways became stronger and more reinforced. That’s why, if mom said “oopsie-daisy” every time she dropped something, you (probably) do too.

So, are we destined to be just like our parents?

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Neural pathways are a good scientific explanation for why so many of us find ourselves doing just what our parents did. But do neural pathways mean we have to become our parents? If you’re wanting to desperately know how to not become your mom, there’s good news: it’s not a lost cause and it’s very possible. However, it will take some hard work. “Guided practice and perseverance is what will help you to create new habits in your life,” Monica, C.Ht., says.

How exactly do I not become my mother?

How to not become your mother- ethnic woman sits on dark blue couch thinking and looking out window

Sometimes, we just don’t want to become our mother because, well, we want to be ourselves. Other times, traumatic, toxic, or chaotic relationships with mom mean we need to break free from falling in or relying on the same habits mom did. “You always have the power to create boundaries,” Monica reminds us. That can mean setting boundaries with yourself, as well as boundaries with those in our lives—from family to friends, spouses, employers, etc. It takes practice, but with help, it becomes normal and natural. “You can say no when you feel it is needed without feeling guilty,” Monica adds.

What resources can help me stop being like my mom?

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If you’re on solid terms with mom, self-awareness may be all you need to inch away from becoming your mother. However, if your mom is toxic, unloving, and/or you have a complex history of trauma with her, you have underlying emotional stress that needs attention. You may need to work on processing that trauma to fully heal—and, many times, that type of emotional work is best done with the guidance of a professional.

Credentialed therapists are a great resource for addressing and healing from traumatic experiences. “Finding a compassionate and caring professional is key to validate your feelings, and it you understand the root cause of your trauma to transform it,” Monica advises. She advocates for women to make sure they find a qualified and licensed psychologist, psychotherapist, or mental health counselor, as well as a certified clinical hypnotherapist.

How can clinical hypnotherapy help with trauma from my mother?

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Many of us think of scenes from TV when we hear hypnotherapy. We’re given the impression that people are put to sleep and then made to do silly things. But that’s not clinical hypnotherapy. (You’re never asleep, unconscious, or without power during clinical hypnotherapy.) Clinical hypnotherapy has tremendous value and has been recognized by many notable organizations, like Mayo Clinic and the Susan G. Komen foundation.

“What hypnosis allows for is increased suggestibility. With increased suggestibility, your critical and conscious mind isn’t as active. Some people believe this can be a benefit of hypnotherapy over traditional psychotherapy. This lets you be more open to receiving suggestions and cues from your hypnotherapist. Because you are more open, you can recognize and address things you otherwise might not,” Monica says.

That suggestibility is incredibly important for processing trauma and grief. It can help you view patterns, behaviors, and trauma through a new or different lens. “It helps to find the root cause behind your thinking and feelings. And it also helps address self-blame and guilt. Then, you can be at peace with what has happened to you and also where you’ve been,” Monica adds. “Hypnotherapy is a way to break patterns and create new pathways. It’s a way forward, and one I want to make accessible to everyone.”

You created a course to help women struggling with mother wounds. What can I expect in it?

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The new “I’m Not Like My Mother” course is 8 weeks long. Unlike a lot of online programs, there’s not just community and different modules but live guidance, art, and virtual hypnotherapy as well. Monica adds, “I help attendees understand the different types of mothers that exist. You learn how identify how and why you are becoming like your mother and the triggers associated with these emotions and behaviors. We also find balance of the mind and body in the process.”

Ready to heal? Sign up for a free call with Monica Obando, C.Ht. and learn more about how she can help you stress less about your relationship with mom and restore your own balance and well-being.

Monica Obando, C.Ht.