My Mother/My Self, My Love Life


Today, in many countries, we celebrate Mother’s Day. But, how does our relationship with our mothers influence our love lives? Our sex lives?

In 1977, Nancy Friday published My Mother/My Self: The Daughter’s Search for Identity, giving at the time a unique view of the interaction between a mother and her daughter and how it affects a woman’s ability to form healthy relationships with men as well as establish a successful professional life and a life separate from her mother. Throughout our entire lives, we struggle to create an identity that is separate from our mothers, and as we mature we can find that we’ve become more like our mothers. This may dismay us, but it helps us cope with the separation anxiety we experience, as we become adults with our own beliefs, values and lives.

The fantasy bond we have with our mothers can keep us from developing fulfilling relationships with men.  Our relationship with our mother can prevent us from finding the right partner or achieving orgasm. As Lisa Firestone, PhD published recently in Compassion Matters, quoting psychiatrist/obstetrician Joseph Rheingold who studied the power of the mother/daughter conflict in 2500 women that he interviewed in a 12-year clinical research program,

A woman may bring any number of assets to marriage – compassion, wisdom, intelligence, skills, an imaginative spirit, delight-giving femininity, good humor, friendliness, pride in a job well done— but if she does not bring emancipation from her mother, the assets may wither or may be overbalanced by the liability of the fear of being a woman.”

We have a lot to be thankful to Mom for.  But, as we celebrate our love for our mothers today, let’s not forget to protect and value our own identify and love lives.