Most people think that the father-daughter relationship is the only precursor to a daughter having or choosing emotionally unavailable partners.
1. It is true that the father-daughter relationship impacts the daughter’s choices. However, we fail to talk about the impact of the emotionally unavailable mother. Distant, cold or emotionless mothers can have a devasting effect. The lack of emotional connection can impact the daughter’s identity, self-image, and choices in relationships.
2. The mother is often the primary attachment figure, and disconnection in this crucial relationship can communicate worth and worthiness. A woman will learn how to value herself based on how her mother loved her and how she sees her mother valuing herself. It is common for women to construct an identity around their mother’s inability to love them.
3. The wounded inner child seeks affection and attention from whoever appears willing. However, she will miss secure attachment cues from older women who could provide safety and connection and instead gravitate to the familiar coldness and lack of availability she gets from her mother.
4. Her attachment pattern dictates the kind of relationships that will interest her. When you need love but fear losing it, you will struggle to allow people to give love. The connection will become a tug of war of wanting love but pushing it away.
5. She will be unfamiliar with safe touch. Some things that characterise safe contact are hugging, a gentle touch on your shoulders when it’s needed, a back rub or a light touch on your arm at the right time. However, someone who is not in touch with their emotions will not sense when these are needed and will not know how to give them.
Growing with an emotionally unavailable mother might mean that touch might be a challenge for you. Some mothers who cannot do safe touch can use physical punitive punishment when the child has done a perceived wrong. Therefore you could be more familiar with a harmful touch than a touch that is soothing and healing.
Teaching yourself to recognise and accept safe touch could be a challenge, but it is worth tackling. One of the disadvantages of not experiencing safe contact is it trains you to receive the opposite. While the relationship might not be physically abusive, it could be devoid of emotional connection and contains communication that only leads to sex. Consider how this is for you and decide to heal. Healing will help you to begin to learn how to give and receive safe touch.
When you live with a lack of safety, it prepares you to accept certain things and people in your life. When you experience rejection at an early stage of development, the brain gets primed for rejection and loss. Although you fear and want to avoid rejection, without awareness and healing, the inevitable happens; you allow people who eventually leave. Emotional unavailability leaves a deficit in the child’s life that could blind them to knowing how to say no, spot people who are only in their lives for their gain, and destroy what trust they built. The thirst for love and affection opens you up to people who come in the mask as caring and kind but manipulative and harmful. However, safe people have boundaries and will respect yours.
6. Safe people are kind and considerate; they are respectful of your space and time and will not force you to do things you are not ready to do. They keep their promises or communicate when they cannot. Safe relationships don’t have unkind words. Safe relationships have people willing to repair any damage in the connection, and they can communicate their needs and help meet yours.
7. Every healthy relationship has boundaries; however, unsafe and unavailable people will not have limits and won’t respect yours. Healing the loss of attachment with your mother will also help you see the places in your life that need protecting.
Before healing, you could blindly accept anything from anyone because the goal is not a safe relationship. Instead, it is a perusal of love, someone to confirm your worth. However, when you identify the attachment injuries and heal, you become more aware of your worth and decide what you will or will not tolerate.
The relational pattern you have with your mother will often repeat with your partner. It’s a kind of unfinished business that you have with mom that plays out in your romantic relationships. The conversations and relational pattern that feel familiar will repeat with others. For example, conflict management and what becomes conflict could also mirror how you do relationships with your mother.
Chances are, the things you don’t like about him are the very things that you don’t like about her. Sometimes marrying or being with someone is an attempt to fix the dysfunction between you and your mother.
Despite the above, you can heal and enjoy healthy, safe relationships with everyone. Here are some things that could help you.
Identify your role in the pattern and decide to heal. Every pattern has two roles; you have a function, and so does your partner. When you choose to heal the broken attachment, this will open your eyes to ways to change as an adult that will benefit you and your relationships.
For example, an assignment for you could be to learn the impact of an emotionally unavailable mother on you and pay special attention to those areas.
You inner child
See her and help her heal. The past is indeed the past, and it can’t be undone, but you can get help to process feelings and hurt from the past that will free your inner child.
Please become familiar with her; get to know her and what she needs. The re-parenting work can happen with you as you tend to the wounds she has and heals.
Becoming emotionally attuned to your needs will help limit the instances of allowing others to treat you with disrespect and causing hurt. If this happens, you will spot the discrepancies early and end the relationship before it goes too far.
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