Your Mom’s Influence On Your Love Life


My_Wife_and_My_Mother-in-LawSo I’m a little late with this post. Mother’s Day has come and gone. So what? My own mother is deceased. Maybe that explains it. Nevertheless, if you are going to check out just one historical item that may be bearing down on your love life, I’d suggest you reflect on the influence your mother has had.

No question, most mothers are dearly beloved. The point here is, that doesn’t necessary make them good for your love life. Mothers come in all shapes and sizes, as well as all kinds of dispositions, characters, and personalities. How your mother related to you is the focus here. That’s precisely where you get your first and foremost lessons about love.

She will teach you about love when you observe her in the relationships she has in the family, she will teach you in the relationship she has with you, and by direct instruction if she sits you down on her knee and gives you a few pointers about what to do and not do in love. If you’re lucky (or not so lucky as the case may be) you’ll get some version of all three.

Since most of us getting these initial lessons about love are pretty vulnerable and not doing much critical thinking at the time, the influence goes in easy. The question you have to ask yourself is….were the lessons she taught me healthy or unhealthy? And don’t forget, you’re going to have to dig these up from wherever you’ve buried them.

That’s because they are basically unconscious. The conscious learning we all do, starts happening when we are old enough to go to school, but consciousness doesn’t really start competing with the unconscious learning that’s taking place until some time later. The point is, if you were exposed to a good measure of unhealthy relationship experience growing up, chances are you’ve learned a few unhealthy lessons about love that are negatively affecting your love life.

The way out of course is to challenge what you’ve learned once you become aware of what it is. That unfortunately is the hard part. Most people hang onto what they’ve learned whether or not it’s good for them or not. Tooth and nail by the way. Think of it as, lessons from “home,” that little funny word that means never question what your Dadddy and/or Mommy taught you. It’s familiar (root word “family”) and you like every other human being on the planet will hang onto it come hell or high water.

Many a tragic human story is due to this particular tendency. If you suspect that what you’ve been taught about love by your mother is unhealthy and does not help your particular love life, a review is in order. Be as specific as possible. Take a close hard look at your love life. Are you repeating something unhealthy you may have learned growing up? Are there similarities between what was unhealthy in your family and what is unhealthy in your love life? If so, don’t let it stand.

Challenge all unhealthy lessons about love. Make room for something healthier to be learned. The good new is, you’re a human being. You have the ability to learn new things and shape your experiences in new ways because of it. The ability to learn something new at any point in your life is your greatest resource.

Whomever made us, knew what to include to give us a fighting chance to outgrow what didn’t work for Mom and certainly doesn’t work for you. If Mom has (or had) a wonderful love life you’ve wasted a few minutes reading this post. If not, take advantage of that resource.

Comments? Welcome, Dr. T. Jordan

Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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