6 Toxic Traps in Mother-Daughter Relationship (& How to fix them)

I am very open about my negative relationship to my own mother which was the precipitating factor that led me down the road to ensuring that my daughter had a healthy mother and that we had a great relationship.  It was not until 12 years into being the mother of a daughter that I realized that I needed to share what I knew, had learned/practiced and try to save other mothers from falling into these toxic traps. So in this blog, I will get personal about what I experienced as a daughter and how I didn’t repeat it as a mother…in 6 Toxic Traps

1. My mother was dismissive of my feelings…As a mother, I acknowledge my daughter’s feelings, make sure she knows she is heard, and follow up later to see if her feelings have changed.

2. My mother would withhold affection when mad…As a mother, I state my feelings when I am upset, I tell my daughter what I expect from her and why I am disappointed, then I allow her to speak her truth, and then I offer a hug.  This shows her I still love her even when I am upset.  I follow up later with more conversation once I have fully calmed down and this is the critical part because often times, daughters may not want a hug while still upset, and that is ok, do not take that personal.

 

3. My mother was controlling…As a mother, I recognize my daughter is her own person, with her own feelings and thoughts.  I do not attempt to control her, and instead offer guidance, boundaries, and allow her to learn critical lessons as a child that will be important as an adult.  In the end, our role as mothers is to guide and help our child to be a healthy, responsible, self-directed and independent adult.

 

4.  My mother was aggressive and physical…As a mother I do not hit my child or hurt her intentionally.  As a mother, if I have become so upset that I want to hurt my own child, I have lost control.  Part of our role is to model healthy behaviors and self-control is one of those.  When we are not able to calm ourselves, our toxic emotions are modeling for our daughters what it means to be angry or upset.

 

5. My mother was self-involved, she only saw her own misery…As a mother I realize that while my problems might seem bigger to me, my daughter’s problems are just as big to her.  When we dismiss our daughter’s feelings and say things like “Wanna trade problems?” or “Just wait till you have to pay bills!” we are being self-involved and dismissive.

 

6. My mother blamed PMS and more…As a mother I never excuse my behavior by blaming my biology or anything else for that matter.  When we blame, we are not accepting responsibility for the choices we make.  When we blame PMS especially we are saying to our daughters that THIS is what being a woman means.  It is critical to teach our daughters that our emotions fluctuate and how we respond to them is a choice.  This models responsibility instead of blame shifting.

 

If you are a mother or an adult daughter, it is never to late to call a time out and get a do-over.  If you would like further assistance, start here with my free 10 Tips for a Healthy Mother-Daughter Relationship .

 

Self-Harm: A Journey

It’s still hard to share this part of my story and I have written it several times, but I know someone needs to hear it and I know I must free myself from holding onto it…

My personal story with self-harm began at age 6.  Most people wouldn’t think a 6 yr. old would think about harming themselves. I can remember standing next to the dishwasher and grabbing a knife then turning it towards my abdomen feeling both scared and confused.  I didn’t know why I wanted to hurt myself or even potentially die, I just needed to feel better than I did.  Now, skip ahead to age 10 and I stood atop a bridge wanting to leap off…I didn’t clearly, but it was thanks to a friend who insisted I come down and to “stop messing around.”  It wasn’t messing around to me, I had this deep overwhelming emotional pain and didn’t understand why I was so sad.  After several suicide attempts in my teen years I did successfully attempt suicide only to be pulled down from a hanging rope and saved last minute.

The pain didn’t stop there, and with a family constantly in strife, I had no one I felt I could turn to.  I met this girl at age 19 that had struggled with self-harm in form of cutting, and she taught me every trick I would need to effectively sabotage myself for 2 years. Even though she went to treatment and she stopped, that didn’t stop me from doing it.  I was determined not to feel this wrenching pain, I wanted the pain to end and to feel like I belonged somewhere.  At the time, I knew I would eventually kill myself and then I’d be okay. Little did I know I would find that place I belonged, want to live, and go on to become a teen self-esteem expert that would be helping teens just like I was…to be that Someone that Cares when I needed someone so desperately. 

There are many misunderstandings regarding mental health and it causes many people to hide their feelings for fear of judgment and shame. These misconceptions exist with nearly every facet of life, but mental health continues to be an issue and the direct connection to self-harm needs more attention and understanding. My goal with The Someone Cares Campaign and through sharing my story through my book and here is: that I can perhaps help even one person who feels alone or is struggling with self-harm or feelings of overwhelming sadness/depression to know they are not alone as well as help others gain a new perspective on self-harm/cutting/suicide attempts.

Many believe self-harm is attention-seeking behavior but that is a misunderstanding of what is very personal and some keep very private. Cutting can be attention-seeking but not in the way people think about attention seeking.  See most people think attention seeking is like wearing funky clothes, or selfies, or a drama queen.  People that cut or hurt themselves actually feel alone and scared and need someone to pay attention in a very different way…Someone to listen and Care. These people are seeking attention to their pain and suffering not to the action they chose to deal with it.  Also, not every one that self-harms is necessarily suicidal.  In my case self-harm thoughts increased my guilt and grew into a desire to commit and suicidal thoughts, but most of the time self-harm is used as a coping mechanism, unhealthy albeit, they cope.

Teenagers that self-harm are nothing new but this unhealthy coping mechanism will continue into adulthood, left untreated or replaced by healthy coping. It can become addictive because of the endorphin release and can be just as hard to stop as any other addictive behavior.  In my case, I was also drinking heavily and was cutting once I was inebriated. Thus, you cannot tell someone to stop, the person needs a qualified professional to help, but not just any professional, one that Cares and will not just give them a diagnosis and a pill.  Talk therapy is in fact one of the best methods for self-harmers because it opens the dialogue to express what they are feeling inside and having someone understand that begins a healing process for the inner victim.

It wasn’t until I was nearly 30 and 5 years of talk therapy that I finally felt human and happy and felt safe to open up about what I went through.  Before that, I was still hiding in the shadows feeling like I was being judged by society and anyone I told about my self-harm history.  I have not intentionally self-harmed since I was 22 I did have one relapse at 26 that was a due to being around those who originally inflicted early pain. Through therapy, help from friends, mentors and the desire to be happy I no longer self-harm or think of self-harm.  I received graduate level education and degrees in adolescent psychology that poise me to help and understand my past as well as helping others overcome their battle.

If you or your child is suffering with self-harm and would like to schedule one-on-one self-esteem building sessions, please feel free to jump over to http://dreamthis.org/self-esteem.html for a FREE Self-Esteem Checklist and more!

(We are not a substitute for a licensed counselor, however, we do work alongside therapists to complement work done in therapy as well as additional follow-up between sessions.)

My e-book is available on Amazon is a great read for anyone who feels alone or stuck in their story.  Available HERE99

Resources for immediate assistance or time of crisis:

Women in Tech: Self Esteem

“As we see more women in tech, we will see girl’s self esteem go up because you have changed what they knew about who they can be in life!”- R. Bailey, Someone Cares Campaign

You might know my friends, Christina Aldan and Heather Wilde. They are running a campaign to help Raise Awareness for Women in Tech (http://GoFundMe.com/IAmAGoodMix) and I hope you will support them by donating or at the very least, sharing their campaign with your social media network. They are traveling to Morocco in November, where Heather is the keynote speaker at the Devoxx Tech Conference. They will be offering workshops and mentorship hours and documenting the experience along the way. When they return, they are going to share what they’ve learned with a celebration in our Downtown Las Vegas community.
 

Young Moms

Every now and then you find 2 people who share a lot of interests and just align in their mission more than ever expected upon first chance encounter.  I met Ms. Danielle Ford in a women’s group that focused on personal growth.  I was instantly attracted to her vision “The Young Mom’s Club” and saw the potential. Having been a young mom, both my kids by age 22, I knew the complications, and frustrations.  Danielle makes weekly videos for Young Moms that are motivational and informational.  I recommend you pop over to Young Mom’s Club to learn more.

In the meantime, check out her interviewing me and see how both of us share our vision for Young Mom’s and letting teens and young people know Someone Cares right now!

Vulnerability

Yes, I am a strong person, but what does that mean exactly.  Perhaps it means that we still fall as much as anyone else, but we are able to recoup faster.  Maybe because we know we have been through worse and survived.  It is rare that I share my vulnerable side and not because I am afraid to, but mainly because I get over things so quickly and move on.  Well, this time I forced myself to stay in that moment and record a video that shared the heart of who I am, was, and the message I embody.  It is a bit flighty, but I wanted to really dive in and try to share as much as I could during that moment.

I think it is important to show that even though I teach self esteem, and I am strong, that even I have moments were that voice says “You’re just fooling yourself, you are NOBODY!” Even as I type that sentence that voice goes “YEAH!! That’s right!” and I have to reground myself and remember that I am exactly where I am supposed to be on any given moment.

A small warning, there is some language and graphic details in this share.  While I am a very modest person, I do feel sometimes it is better to just put it out there.

Well, my self esteem sucks!

I was at an event sharing my self-esteem program for young ladies and a mom came through and said “My self-esteem sucks, and I am 42, what the hell can you do for my kid?”  I looked at her smiled and said “It’s not what I can do for her, but what SHE can do for her.  I am only a thesaurus so to speak.  I can give her the language, a new definition even, but it is completely within her, as it is with you!”

She stood there for a moment as if to say “Dang, that was a great answer.” Then she snapped back “Well, if I haven’t figured it out by now I am gonna just call B.S. on that.  Did you see what Penn and Teller said about self-esteem?”

Oh if I had a dollar for every time I have heard that one, and replied ” Yes mam, and remember Penn and Teller are in the business of magic, a made up, illusion.   That said, I am a skeptic myself, I agreed with most of what they said on that episode and in fact, I do not offer what other self-esteem products offer.  In fact I don’t offer a product at all, only a belief system, and a new way of thinking.”

Guess what! She signed up immediately and even wanted to  volunteer at the next event to absorb the info as well. Why am I sharing this story? Because I wrote earlier about the mother-daughter link in self-esteem and I feel it is a valuable message to repeat.
WATCH HERE:

If you or your daughter think I could help you in facilitating a new conversation about your self-esteem.  Feel free to write to me @ someonecares@ dreamthis.org and stay up to date on upcoming self-esteem event you can attend.  I do offer private teen coaching and that is available 365 HERE (www.dreamthis.org/teen-life-coaching.html)

BOOK SIGNING

 

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So, if you have not yet heard of this book, or this is your first time learning about it…Take a peek over here—-> CLICK ME

If you are familiar with my book and are on Facebook over here to register for event—–> CLICK ME

If you live in Las Vegas area, but not on Facebook, the details are below:

WHEN: Come for Preview Thursday 6pm to 8 pm

OR

First Friday November

WHERE: RECLAIMED ART SUPPLIEZ- 1114 S Casino Center Blvd # 1
Come ask ANYTHING! Get a signed copy of my book, hear me talk about it and be one of the people selected for free book!