What Are Mommy Issues? 5 Deep Rooted Causes And How To Stop Seeking Validation From Your Mom


What Are Mommy Issues? Signs And Ways To Deal With It

Our mothers have the greatest impact on our lives. While we all love our mothers, having unresolved attachment issues with our mothers can often lead to the phenomenon known as mommy issues. But what are mommy issues and how to deal with mommy issues?

While mommy issues is a term often associated with men, it can also significantly affect the mental and emotional health of women and negatively affect their relationships in adulthood.

Today, let us explore what are mommy issues, signs of mommy issues in a woman, the effects of mommy issues in relationships and how to deal with mommy issues.

What Are Mommy Issues?

Unresolved maternal attachment, popularly known as mommy issues, refer to psychological and emotional issues and patterns that develop due to negative experiences and unhealthy interactions with one’s mother, especially during early childhood. 

These mother-child conflicts show up in different ways and can adversely affect someone’s mental health, emotional well-being, interpersonal relationships and their self-perception & self-worth. 

However, mommy issues can also occur from negative experiences with other primary caregivers apart from the biological mother, such as a godmother, grandmother, aunts, teachers and other maternal figures.

So what are mommy issues? Well, the term is used to describe the complicated relationship dynamics and emotional challenges that may arise in unhealthy mother-daughter or even mother-son relationships. 

Related: 5 Common Challenges Of Childhood

Signs of Mommy Issues in a Woman

Identifying the signs of mommy issues in a woman is essential for gaining awareness and resolving such underlying emotional issues. Here are some of the most common signs of mommy issues in a woman –

1. Difficulty Setting Boundaries

Do you have difficulty setting boundaries in interpersonal relationships? Then it is likely that you have mommy issues. Women with mommy issues are often unable to set or maintain strong boundaries in intimate relationships. 

Asserting boundaries can lead to a strong sense of guilt or anxiety and they tend to avoid their own desires, aspirations and needs. As a result, they often prioritize others’ needs over their own.

2. Low Self-Esteem

Women with mommy issues tend to have a poor sense of self. They have really low self-esteem and self-worth which makes them insecure, submissive and lack confidence. 

They may be overly focused on seeking external validation to compensate for having a negative self-image and believing they are inadequate.

3. Fear of Rejection

When we do not experience love in our childhood from our mother, it can mess up our psyche in the long run. Mommy issues in a woman can result in feelings of rejection or abandonment, where she can fear being avoided or left alone by others. This can cause chronic anxiety and lead to insecurity and codependency in relationships. 

Having parental issues is one of the reasons why most women stay stuck in toxic relationships for so long as they are afraid that no one will ever love them. They may also find it hard to trust others and to be emotionally vulnerable before loved ones.

4. Perfectionism

Women with mommy issues have a strong tendency to seek external approval, especially from their mother. And this intense need for recognition and appreciation results in a pattern of perfectionism.

These women are often afraid of failure and tend to have unrealistic expectations from themselves. This makes them desperate about avoiding mistakes & flaws and being perfect at all times.

5. Difficulty Forming Intimate Connections

Having unhealthy attachment issues with one’s mother can significantly affect their ability to build healthy and positive relationships as adults, whether romantic or platonic. It is challenging for them to develop intimate relationships or form deep emotional bonds with others. 

Hence, women with mommy issues may struggle with a fear of intimacy, have trust issues and prefer to maintain distance from others or isolate themselves, even if they want to be loved by others.

6. Emotional Dependency

As they are devoid of unconditional love from their childhood, individuals with unresolved maternal issues tend to constantly seek a lot of validation and emotional support from their loved ones and romantic partners. 

As their emotional needs have been left unmet by their mothers, they become excessively emotionally dependent, which can negatively affect and create imbalances in relationships in the long run. 

However, healing is possible. Knowing what are mommy issues and recognizing the signs of mommy issues in a woman is the very first step towards self-development. 

With effort, patience, support from loved ones and self-awareness, such emotional issues can be addressed to form healthy relationships and live a happier life.

Related: 8 Signs Of Mommy Issues In A Woman and How It Haunts Her For Life

What Causes Mommy Issues?

A person can develop mommy issues for multiple reasons. However, it is typically triggered by an unhealthy attachment style or a disrupted mother-daughter relationship during early childhood. 

These disruptions can be influenced by a number of factors, such as –

1. Neglect

When a child is physically and emotionally neglected or avoided, it can make them feel abandoned. It can also lead to feelings of insecurity and a lack of emotional support from the child’s primary caregiver. 

This can make the child feel under-appreciated, unvalued and disconnected even when they grow up. 

2. Overcontrol

Controlling behavior by an overbearing mother can damage an individual’s sense of autonomy and independence, especially in women. This can stifle their ability to build a strong self-esteem and self-confidence.

3. Inconsistent Parenting

Poor, conflicting and unpredictable parenting styles can also play a crucial role. For instance, being extremely permissive at times while being highly strict at other times can leave the child feeling confused, unsafe and insecure under their mother’s care. 

4. Emotional Unavailability

Being emotionally available as a mother is very important for a child’s healthy development. However, when a mother is unresponsive to her child’s needs, unreliable or emotionally unavailable, it can make the child feel rejected. 

It can affect their ability to form healthy relationships and intimate connections even as adults.

5. Enmeshment

When a mother violates the boundaries of the child and sees the child as her own extension, instead of considering them as an individual, it can lead to enmeshment. As a result the mother becomes unnecessarily overly involved in the child’s life and the child is forced to care for and take responsibility for the mother. 

This can not only rob the child of having a healthy childhood, but can impair their development, autonomy, identity and individuality.

Related: 8 Dysfunctional Patterns In Toxic Mother Daughter Relationships And How To Heal From Them

Impact of Mommy Issues

Knowing what are mommy issues and recognizing the signs of mommy issues in a woman is not enough, we must also understand the effect of mommy issues in a woman. Only then we can understand how to deal with mommy issues.

Mommy issues can have deep and lasting negative effects on a woman and impair multiple facets of her life, such as  –

1. Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

Unresolved emotional issues with your mother can cause a lack of self-worth and poor self-esteem. This can be especially true for women as they are more likely to suffer from self-doubt, feel inadequate and persistently seek external validation.

2. Relationships

As stated earlier, mommy issues can also affect your adult relationships, both intimate relationships with your romantic partner and platonic relationships with friends and coworkers. 

You may avoid getting too emotionally close or attached to someone, feel incapable of having deep emotions for someone or contrarily, you may become a people pleaser.

3. Assertiveness

Difficulty with setting and maintaining positive boundaries may also be challenging for women with mommy issues. You may feel stressed, anxious, guilty or shy about expressing your own needs and desires and may struggle with being assertive. 

As a result, you will always tend to prioritize the emotions and needs of others and put yours in the backseat.

4. Self-Criticism

When your own mother refuses to love you unconditionally, it can have deep psychological impacts. As you struggle with low self-esteem, you may develop a tendency of criticizing yourself all the time, even if you’re an overachiever. 

You may also become a perfectionist due to your fear of failure and constantly engage in self-evaluation to make sure you do everything right to gain your mother’s approval.

5. Trust and Intimacy

Feeling rejected, neglected or abandoned during one’s early developmental stages can result in a fear of being ignored or left alone. 

Hence, it is likely that women with maternal attachment issues tend to have difficulty trusting others and avoid being emotionally open in friendships and relationships. 

Related: When Healthy Obsession Goes Too Far: Navigating ‘Almond Mom’ Traits

Mommy Issues in Relationships

So what are mommy issues in romantic relationships? Mommy issues in a woman can have a really, really strong impact on her relationships in adulthood. 

Mommy issues in relationships not only damages the relationship a daughter has with her mother, but it can also affect her romantic relationships. It can influence her mental health, attachment styles, expectations in relationships, thought process, behaviors and emotional dynamics.

Moreover, a woman may feel insecure, codependent, misunderstood, inadequate and disconnected in intimate relationships. She may also be more submissive and vulnerable, prefer dominating partners, and accept abuse more readily.

Here’s is a closer look at unresolved mommy issues in relationships –

1. Repeating Unhealthy Patterns

Unresolved mommy issues can make a woman develop unhealthy and toxic relationship patterns. They may repeatedly attract narcissistic, toxic or emotionally unavailable partners who mirror their mother’s toxic traits. 

Such women may also become codependent and become vulnerable to mental, physical, sexual and financial abuse. 

2. People pleasing tendencies

Women with unhealthy attachment with their mother tend to be people pleasers as they desperately seek approval and validation from others, especially their partners. 

This behavior is primarily driven by their unmet maternal needs and negative emotional experiences with their mother in early childhood. Hence, they have a strong need for external affirmation and reassurance.

3. Intimacy Avoidance 

Known as avoidance anxiety, women with mommy issues tend to avoid intimacy as they are afraid of being vulnerable, rejected and abandoned. They struggle with emotional closeness and trust which robs them of the opportunity to have deep emotional connections with partners or friends.

It is crucial to address these issues with self-reflection, self-awareness, a strong focus on personal growth and forming healthy relationships.

How to Deal with Mommy Issues

Now that we know what are mommy issues, let’s focus on how to deal with mommy issues.

Healing from unhealthy maternal attachments or mommy issues is a transformative process that requires determination and patience. Here are some steps to improve your mental and emotional health and heal from mommy issues – 

1. Self-Awareness

The first step is to acknowledge and accept the fact that you may have an unhealthy and unresolved maternal attachment. 

Analyze and evaluate your childhood experiences with your mother and how they have affected your thoughts, behaviors, emotions, relationships and sense of self. Self-awareness is key for healing.

2. Seek Support

Mommy issues can have deep psychological effects leading to underlying mental health issues like low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. 

Consulting a therapist is highly recommended as a professional can help you accurately diagnose any underlying condition and provide you support, help and guidance in your journey for healing.

3. Inner Child Work

Since your early childhood needs have been left unmet, it is vital that you pay attention and nurture your inner child. Being aware of and healing your childhood wounds will facilitate personal growth. 

Practice healing techniques like meditation, visualization and journaling to offer love, warmth and validation to your younger self. This will help you validate and reconnect with your inner child.

4. Establish Healthy Boundaries

It is understandable that as a woman with mommy issues you may have difficulty setting healthy boundaries. But most of the time, happiness and healing appear right after fear and discomfort. 

So make sure to prioritize yourself, practice self-love and self-care and be assertive about your boundaries.

5. Practice self-validation

Instead of seeking approval and validation from others, learn how to validate yourself. Be kind and gentle with yourself and be aware of your self-talk. Replace negative self-talk with positive “I am” affirmations. 

Identify and be grateful for your achievements to reinforce your self-worth. Know that your emotions are valid and you deserve to be heard and understood.

Related: The Impact Of Dads On Daughters: 15 Signs Of Daddy Issues

6. Forgive and Let Go

Letting go is the most powerful thing you do to heal yourself. Holding on to the past and having a heart filled with grudges will weigh you down and keep you drowned in pain. 

The moment you start letting go and forgive your mother and yourself for not doing better, you will free yourself from all the negativity and emotional baggage. That’s when your healing journey will truly begin.


Understanding what are mommy issues, recognizing the signs of mommy issues in a woman and learning how to deal with mommy issues are all powerful steps that will take you closer to personal development, healthier relationships and a happier life. 

Develop self-awareness and engage in self-reflection if you want to break away from the crippling effects of unresolved maternal attachment and embrace self-discovery and emotional healing.

Do not allow your past to define you. Rewrite your story for a better present and future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What does mommy issues look like in a woman?

In women, mommy issues tend to manifest as seeking excessive external validation, people-pleasing behavior, or having difficulties with intimacy driven by unresolved maternal relationships.

How do mommy issues manifest?

Mommy issues may involve seeking validation from others, struggling with boundaries, low self-esteem, and difficulty forming emotional connection with romantic partners.

What is the difference between daddy issues and mommy issues in females?

Daddy issues typically involve seeking male approval and having intimacy challenges, while mommy issues relate to maternal dynamics, seeking validation from female figures or struggling with intimacy.

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