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Trust Issues & Mother Daughter Bond

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I suffer from trust issues. I tend to be afraid of everyone, question their motives and avoid engaging in social situations with people I haven’t known for a long time and therefore feel comfortable with. I think my relationship with my mother makes things worse. She keeps giving me advice and gets mad if I brush her off. Most of the time, she tells me to be careful, don’t come back late at night, don’t go into other people’s houses, don’t believe what everyone is saying. It makes me feel useless and stupid, like I can’t take care of myself. It also makes me second guess all my emotional attachments. As it is, I have never been in a relationship, because I never trust the men that try to ask me out. I am not particularly anxious about not being in a relationship but I do wonder whether or not I just don’t need a partner right now, or it is a self-imposed independence search. I understand the fact that my mother, like all mothers, is worried. She is also an anxious individual in her day to day life. However, she makes me anxious as well, up to the point where I fear getting hurt or running into problems, not because I’m trying to take care of myself, but because I’m afraid she will say “I told you so”. How can I make myself take her comments more lightly, but maintain my good relationship with her. With my father having died a year ago, I feel like we both need each other more than ever. I just wish she understood she is just worsening my already conflicted mental state and that at 22, it is far too late for her to try to dictate my social life. She warns me about the world being a dangerous place, then makes fun of my hermit status and lack of extended social circle. (From Romania)

Trust Issues & Mother Daughter Bond

Answered by on -

A.

You need a plan to individuate from your mom during this time of transition following your father’s death. Her anxiety sounds like it is fueled by her natural concern for your well-being — but with a heavier dose of anxiety and worry than may be healthy. I’d recommend putting a plan together that allows you to develop relationships with your peers to balance out your mother’s influence. If it is at all possible, I would make the goal to become independent financially and emotionally. You need to be less dependent on your mother and more reliant on yourself. Perhaps picking a date in the future — a year from now let’s say — might be a way to begin the process.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Trust Issues & Mother Daughter Bond

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Trust Issues & Mother Daughter Bond. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/10/01/trust-issues-mother-daughter-bond/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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