20 Times Mothers’ Insecurities Projected Onto Their Daughters

Published 2 years ago

Daughters have a special bond with their mothers. A girl’s relationship with her mother heavily influences the woman she will become. Nevertheless, no relationship is foolproof. Unfortunately, we learn some of the most painful yet essential lessons from our parents. And sometimes, it takes years to realize that the issues we develop or reveal later in life often root from our childhood.

User skeleton-hands created a thread that hit too close to home to many women. The user asked: “Did your mother ever make comments to you in your teenage years that, [when] you’ve grown up, [made you] realize she was bitter and jealous of your youth? How did it stick with you?”

Many women shared how memories associated with their mothers from their childhood and teenage years affected them in the long run. Scroll down to see what they wrote.

More info: Reddit

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Image source: DovahkiinQahnaarin

I had acne as a teen & I remember she got me a blackhead removal kit as a Christmas gift one year. I spent a literal hour in the bathroom mashing my face with these tools & when I came out & asked if it looked better, she responded “no, I can still play connect the dots on your face.” I went into the bathroom & cried while looking in the mirror before sinking to the floor.


Image source: RankNFile17

At about 16 I was struggling with one of my nipples inverting… I was terrified and the internet did not help.

I confided in my mom & she asked me to see. I took my shirt off and showed her – she laughed in my face. Did not help or console me.

I went to the doctor without her help soon after that.

Even today I am self conscious about my breasts even though I have no reason to be at all. My brain knows it, but can’t get over what happened.

She also used to tell me I was a ‘late bloomer’ well my body hasn’t changed since I was a teen. I’m petite with small breasts… Guess I never bloomed. I fucking hate that term.

Thank goodness I have a supportive partner who tells me my body is beautiful… I’m the shape of a 90s super model and that should have never been in style.


Image source: [deleted]

My mom told me I didn’t have “ballet arms” when I was like six or seven. I quit dancing immediately and have always been self conscious of my arms.

my mom was a ballerina for like 15 years. I learned recently that when she and her sister were little, a teacher told her sister that she didn’t have ballet arms. I guess it made my mom feel special to have been chosen and she wanted to continue to feel special by putting me down


Image source: LucyPetal

My mum used to do some modelling and she’d bring it up constantly whenever anyone complimented me. I remember being in my early teens and her putting huge pressure on me to turn out like she did.

Now that we’re well past that and I’m more confident in myself i can tell she was just jealous. But for a few years I really felt disconnected from her and I couldn’t ever feel comfortable in my own skin


Image source: flyingsails

My mother found some jeans from her 20s, and when I tried them on she chortled that she had been smaller in her 20s than I was in my teens.


Image source: Bagpuss45

My mum has told me for years that she doesn’t understand how she could have produced a fat, ugly child like me as she was such a beautiful and slim woman when she became pregnant with me. It stuck with me for many many years and I had such a low opinion of myself until I met someone a few years ago who gave me my self esteem back.


Image source: Metacarpus88

My mother (and others) used to say I was ugly or said certain things to or about me that made me feel ugly. Obviously I grew up with major self-esteem and confidence issues, hating the way I looked (I still do to a certain extent). Looking back at old photos though, me being unattractive was far from the truth. It pains me to think of the many years I spent literally hiding away from the world because of (among other things) anxiety about the way I looked. I am not sure if my mom was actually bitter or jealous… I think she had periods of general unhappiness/discontent with her own life that she took it out on me, putting me down. I never confronted her about her words. We have a better relationship now even though I still struggle with body dysmorphia.


Image source: mother_of_squid

The only two times I’ve told her about being catcalled, she’s either blamed it on me or said something like, ‘Well, you should be grateful. I don’t get that type of attention from men anymore.’ The first time I told her, I was 14 and walking home in my school uniform. The second time, I was 19 and walking in the forest near my house. I don’t tell her when I get catcalled anymore


Image source: iaana

When I was 21, I was depressed because I broke up with my abusive boyfriend who I somehow wanted back. I weighed 99 pounds. My bones showed everywhere. When my parents came to visit, my mom said, ‘You look so good, skinny, and slim like that!’ I told her that I’d barely eat and cry myself to sleep every night. After a few moments of silence, she replied, ‘It’s going to be fine. Just don’t get fat like I did.’ A few months passed, and I’d gained some weight and felt a lot better. When I went home, the first thing my mom said was: ‘Did you put some weight on? Do not get fat, please! Look at your arms — they’re starting to get chubby!’ I was 110 pounds then. I replied, ‘I feel better than how I felt before. I eat regularly and exercise. This is what you tell me?’ She gave me this ugly look and said, ‘If you get any chubbier, no man will look at you. I used to grab men’s attention all the time. It made me feel pretty.'”
“During my depressive episode, I was barely doing stuff for college and barely passing my exams. I used to drink a bottle of wine a night and smoke a pack a day. I was literally sick.

With my mom, it wasn’t necessarily a jealousy type of thing. She was projecting her own insecurities on me, and that bothered me very much. I still think about it every now and then.


Image source: StickyTunas

My mum daily told me she hated me. Wish I’d never been born. Wish I’d run under the nearest bus. Refused to buy me clothes (incl school uniform) as I was so fat, nothing looked good on me. I was a bit chubby, but not fat. This led to ful blown anorexia for 10 years. Then I was too thin, looked awful etc. Would never get a boyfriend. Wished I was as perfect as all her friends’ children. Rubbed my underwear in my face when I hit puberty saying any ‘discharge’ was because I kept playing with myself (I had no idea what she was talking about).

My dad whom I adored sat there and said nothing as he was terrified of her. He later divorced her (fully supported his decision) but he divorced his children too. I don’t know what’s worse – what she did or my beloved dad rejecting me as an adult.

When I was told I’d never have children aged 20, apparently that was God as he knew I’d be a horrible parent. Well sod you, Mother, as I have 2 wonderful children that I adore and my friends and their friends always comment on our amazing relationship – my 2 kids adore each other too.

Our relationship is fractious to say the least as my memory serves me far too well. I despised her when I was growing up. I still can’t bring myself to send her anything but blank mother’s day cards as she does not fit the verses written inside.

Apart from low self esteem etc, I struggle to form any close relationship. Relationships or otherwise. I’ve been single since I divorced my children’s father 16 years ago. But we’re a very happy threesome. My son is at uni and I’ve no idea how I’ll cope when my daughter goes next year. Both are doing medicine, BTW, which my mother is very jealous about!

I did ask her once why she did it. She claimed to be ‘disciplining’ me. I was a straight A pupil who never even had a detention at school.

It was only when I had my own children that I couldn’t believe someone could treat their own child that way – if a stranger spoke to my kids the way she did to me, I’d kill them.

The fine line between discipline and child abuse ain’t that bldy fine.

I’m sorry – Mother’s Day in the UK was yesterday and I always find it difficult.


Image source: Xandrathea

One time, I was in my bathroom, doing my hair and makeup with the door open. I wore form-fitted clothing — nothing absurdly tight but you could see my figure — and weighed 115–120 pounds at most. I’ve always been a stick and still am, even though I’m over 30 now. Anyway, my mother walked by and watched me for a moment. She made that ‘tsk’ sound, so I turned to her. We locked eyes in time for me to hear her say, ‘You’re getting fat.’ She then left to lock herself in her room. It didn’t stick with me because I believed her — I could look in a mirror and genuinely recognize that it was her projection — but because she was supposed to be my mother — the woman who’s always in my corner, supporting me, being my rock and shield. It’s stuck with me because, in that moment, I was able to recognize that she was broken. She was not this almighty person without faults. My parents were both narcissists, so it was kind of an epiphany for me. They always gaslighted me, and this was THE moment it all made sense to me.

So when my mother said that to me, she actually did me a favor because that gave me the clarity I truly needed. Without knowing it, she unknowingly gave me permission to completely disregard her words and behaviors from my conscience. As backward as it is when I think of that moment, I feel the freedom it gave me.


Image source: kierchom

My mom’s probably an AA cup, and any time I’d show any cleavage, it was like the world was coming to an end. When we would go clothes shopping, I was constantly told nothing would fit me because I had ‘no boobs like her.’ At the same time, showing any skin whatsoever was inappropriate. Basically, I only wore loose-fitting shirts until I graduated from high school. My mom also tried to convince me that I, too, was an AA cup. I wore the wrong bra size until I was 18–19. Thankfully, a friend in my first year of university took me bra fitting. Turns out, I’m actually a C cup


Image source: elegant_road551

Yes. My mom has always worn her eye makeup the same way: heavy lower eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow. It doesn’t suit her and makes her eyes look tiny and dark, but it’s what she likes, I guess.

We used to get ready in the bathroom together when I was growing up, so I kind of learned from watching her (though I avoided eyeliner when I was young). But I guess it still wasn’t right because, one day when I was maybe 14, my mom made a comment about HOW I was applying my makeup and that my mascara didn’t look good. It’s such a small comment to make but I’m nearly 30 now, and I still don’t like doing my makeup around anyone (my friends, my boyfriend, etc.) because I feel like I’ll be criticized.

HOWEVER, I think the comment was prompted by her noticing that I didn’t use eyeliner and that teenage me was trying to do something different than what she liked. Because for several years now, she has been complimenting my makeup and asking me to show her how I do it and what products I use, etc. I think maybe she had wanted to try something different with her makeup but never knew how, and became defensive because she didn’t know, but I was younger and did? Does that make sense?


Image source: cookiescoop

My mom was 98 pounds when she graduated high school. I was a chunky kid. I had my dad’s genes, and when I was pre-pubescent (around 10), I gained 50 pounds in a year for seemingly no reason. Instead of trying to get to the bottom of what happened, my mother was laser-focused on me losing weight. I was 10 years old and keeping a food journal. My mother monitored everything I put into my mouth. Right after I gained all that weight, she had me try on her wedding dress. She got married at 29. I was 10. It didn’t fit me. I still remember how terrible I felt about it. To this day, she tries to incentivize me to lose weight. I hate shopping with her because, even though she’s gained weight, she is a smaller size than I am — she’s also 7 inches shorter. If I find something I like that doesn’t come in my size, she’ll buy it for herself and tell me I can have it when I lose enough weight


Image source: iamagiraff3

My mom always told me she would help me pay for a nose job if I ever wanted one. I grew up thinking I was so ugly and that my nose ruined my face. I now know that I’m not ugly at all, but my nose is still my biggest insecurity.


Image source: comfycucumber

Trigger warning

Eating disorders, Alcoholism

My mom kept all her journals from her teen years. She had a very obvious undiagnosed eating disorder, so these journals mostly contained obsessive measurements of her chest, waist, hips, dress sizes, and weight.

She used to get drunk and weigh me to point out how much “less hot and healthy” I was compared to her. She would tell me that I was “wasting the great genes she gave me” by not being thin. Big yikes.

It created an eating disorder, as you might expect

I also got my belly button pierced in college, and she decided to tell me that she would look even better with a belly button piercing if I didn’t make her have an emergency C-Section.

Any young girls reading this: you are so BEAUTIFUL and worth so much more than your weight or bra size. Don’t let anyone make you think that you aren’t.

Fellow moms of reddit: your child really pays attention to how you talk about bodies. Do so gracefully and respectfully, because that’s what you and your child both deserve.


Image source: skeleton-hands

When I was a teenager my mom made all kinds of hurtful comments about my body that probably lead to my long term eating disorder that she would make jokes about. It’s unclear whether or not she TRULY realized that I was legitimately struggling. She also always had something to say about my breast size bc I’m a DDD and she was an A cup. I must’ve gotten that from my dads side of the family. I felt a lot of shame about my body and sex when I was younger but as I age it’s been left in the past and I can see where her hostility was really coming from


Image source: angeluchia

My mom absolutely refused to believe I had bigger boobs than her, I complained about being a D cup and then a DD cup and she wouldn’t buy me the correct size bra until we went to victoria’s secret and I got measured as a DD cup and then she thought they were upselling me to make me feel good? Turned out she had D cups too that she had been squeezing into B cups for years.


Image source: peachcookieastrid

One day there was a guy tutoring my younger brother and the tutor was my age. My father wanted me to socialize more with people my age so he suggested I say hi to the guy. I have social anxiety and denied the advice to which my mom commented “your response would have been understandable if you were as pretty as I used to be at your age”. And honestly that comment haunts me everyday.


Image source: MiddlingMe

When I was 12 and in seventh grade, I had this pair of shorts that I loved. They were sparkly and purple. I wore them constantly. However, my mom would often put them on and constantly brag to everybody about how she could fit into my shorts. Mind you, these shorts fit me when I was still child-like. A year later, when I went through a growth spurt and gained 20 pounds, I was insanely insecure that my mom could still fit into the shorts, but I no longer could. Once I couldn’t fit into them anymore, she gleefully took them and continued bragging about how she could. Looking back now at age 31, I realize that my mom had some serious body image issues. I also think she was dealing with an eating disorder at the time.”
“Either way, it was annoying AF, and I hated the feeling that she was competing with me

Violeta Lyskoit

Violeta is one free soul. She feels the most alive when traveling to new places and seeing the beautiful world out there.

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ask women, family relationships, importance of words, insecurities, life lessons taught by parents, mom daughter relationship, mothers impact on daughter, parents impact on a child, r/AskWomen
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