You just had an argument with your spouse in which you (or they) ended the dialogue with the aged old verbal blow of “You’re JUST like your mother!” Or – a relative or friend sees you do something quirky and immediately refers your behavior to those that you collected straight from your mothers DNA. When you are told you are just like your mother, are you supposed to be offended? Is it supposed to be an insult? And why pray tell does it bother you when someone tells you that?
For many adults, especially women – the adult years give us an opportunity to be the exact opposite of our parents. In our relationships and as parents, we often make decisions on how to act, or how to react based on the reasoning that we should do the exact opposite of what our own mother did. In fact, trying to be like anything, but your mom – can become the ultimate goal. However, the realization will eventually hit you like a Mac Truck that despite your being antagonistic towards your moms way of doing things, you have in fact picked up some of her behaviors. Is that really so bad? After all, YOU are still alive – so obviously your mom did something right. Right?
If people use your mother as an insult, chances are you have had a tricky relationship with the woman who gave you life and have confided your feelings in your spouse. And thus, the comparison is meant to ruffle the tightly knit feathers of your psyche and hopefully, silence you or make you STOP whatever it is you are doing. In other words, your spouse is only making the comparison as a dirty little way to upset you and throw you off course! If it works then the real problem lies within you.
The reality for everyone – despite the kind of relationship that they have had with their mother is that the formative years under her care definitely serve as a force in your life. If your mother was awful, didn’t take care of you – or had you seeking counseling in the teen years chances are you don’t want to be anything like her. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t have her eyes, or her temper and any referral of you and her being alike doesn’t have to ‘feel’ like the end of the world. Perhaps your mother made some bad decisions. This doesn’t mean that you have made the same bad decisions. In fact, you might be a better mom and better partner in your life BECAUSE of the unfortunate lessons that your mother taught you. So being told you are just like your mother – should be seen as nothing more than a rue on behalf of someone else.
Additionally, being like your mom is never an entirely bad thing. Take away the preconceived notion that our mothers are some negative force in our lives, and you will likely find that even in the worst of situations, your mom taught you some valuable lessons. Growing up, having kids of your own gives you a wonderful opportunity to finally and firsthand see why your mom was the way she was. And it can help you to forgive her for some of the things that she may have done that have caused you pain. If you can find a place inside you to forgive and let past regressions go, you won’t take it so hard if someone compares you to your mother.
If you had a great relationship with your mom growing up, then there is no reason for you to be ashamed of, or take offense by someone comparing you to your mom. In fact, you might want to just say “thank you” when someone makes the reference. There are plenty of people in this world who desire to be like their moms, and who hope to parent and love just half as well as she did. In this case, take the comparison as a simple compliment. There is nothing to be offended about.
When it comes to our lives there are far too many clichés involving the mother. Your mom, whether she was awesome or awful, plays an important part of who you become in life. Her way of raising you does as well. Certainly, your mother was not perfect – but there is no reason for anyone to feel ashamed of his or her mom. By the time you are an adult, you have earned the right to come to terms with your past and to allow yourself to be the kind of mother, and person you want to be IN SPITE of what your mom did or didn’t do. You also should have developed a level of self-confidence, and a refusal to be belittled by such disrespectful references made about your in regard to your family. Truth is, that when it comes to our families – it is not for our current partners, relatives, or friends to judge.
I loved this I’ve confided in two previous partners about how my mother was growing up but they only threw it in my face during an argument. I never felt it was ok but I’m grateful to find this article.
I know how you probably felt. I’m not dating this guy, but he did try and use it against me to make me feel bad about myself. He didn’t win!