I had never really thought about this up until now but recently I decided to do some research to find out why I suffer from specific mental disorders, those being anxiety and OCD. Also to discover the type of attachment I try to form to those around me, and more importantly why.
I have become fully aware of why I am this way, it's all because of learnt behaviours, specifically those of my mum. Who I believe suffers from anxiety, and exhibits narcissistic tendencies.
I love my mum to pieces but I have noticed that her behaviour has very negatively impacted me, especially in my romantic relationships.
There are 2 types of behaviour, one is where you feel like you are constantly battling to get your mother's attention and therefore will do anything to try and succeed so that you feel loved.
The other is where you are controlled, you feel as if you can't make your own decisions, and always end up asking for other peoples guidance before making a decision.
Having a parent like this is difficult as you are constantly trying to live up to their expectations, knowing that no matter what you do you never will. She will project her insecurities onto you, you will be criticized for something which she feels she's lacking in. So for example, say she wishes that she had more hobbies, it's very likely your mother will then express to you that you should take up more hobbies despite the fact she doesn't have any or has very few herself.
There are 3 styles of attachment which a daughter can form as a result of either not being given enough freedom to make her own decisions, or feeling inadequate. All of these attachment styles are insecure, so in adulthood you're more likely to form relationships which are like that of you and your mothers, because that is what you're used to, and what you view as 'normal'.
The 3 styles are:
• Anxious - you want a close connection, but are very wary due to the rejection you could potentially receive. This makes you feel very sensitive to any criticism.
• Dismissive-avoidant - you don't want a connection with others, are fiercely independent and view people as barriers. People only get in your way, and you care more for your own needs than that of others.
• Fearful-avoidant - you want a connection but as you have opened up before and had it used against you your fear prevents you from making the deeper connection which you so desire.
I'm the anxious type as I'm very sensitive to criticism, and never feel like I'm good enough.
Unfortunately this affects your ability to process emotions, have a clear sense of identity, a skewed idea of what love is, an inability to confidently make decisions without any doubt, see being treated in this way as 'normal', have problems connecting with others.
Emotions - If you have had a parent who's always criticising you and is unable to process their own emotions it's more likely that you will become overwhelmed with emotion, to the point you find it difficult to process and are unable to find a healthy way of releasing them.
On the flip side, if you shut down and avoid your emotions it's more likely that you fought for your mothers attention and strive for success. So emotions get in the way of that.
Identity - Your identity has been taken away from you in a sense, your mother made decisions and did everything for you so it's difficult to know your own mind. When you become reliant on someone else to think for you it's very difficult to then think independently.
Love - A mother who is narcissistic expresses that you don't receive something for nothing, so you can't receive love and not have to give something in return. Which in turn means that you're very likely to be attracted to narcissistic people. Those who only take, and who are not empathetic in the slightest. They will only care for themselves, and bleed you dry of all of your love.
Self-Doubt - Either you will be very successful because you feel you need to be in order to gain your mothers approval and love, or you will fall because you doubt yourself, so you see no point in trying when you know that you will only fail.
Control - You will often form relationships with people who are controlling because that's what you're familiar with, even if it makes you feel miserable.
You might not be aware that you are/have experienced this type of relationship with your mother, but when you do it makes so much sense. Everything is so much clearer! My whole life I've never felt good enough, my decisions are constantly criticized. If I workout I'll hurt myself, if I don't I'll become overweight. If I work more I won't be spending as much time at home, if I work less I'm lazy.
I was told when I was being manipulated by a very sadistic man that it was my fault I continued dating someone who hurt me physically when I was screaming out stop. That when I didn't want to go to see a theatre production because I'd already seen it that I was selfish because my parents hadn't seen that one.