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My need for independence, but the voice inside my head is my Mum's

Community Member

I am currently going through an anxiety episode, and what exacerbates things is that I have a lot of self doubt, and I feel that it comes from my inner values which conflict with my Mum's own values.

My mum is more of a realist and values independence over everything else. And I am more of a dreamer who values love and forgiveness as my core values.

Whenever I am confronted with a decision that requires me to follow my head and heart, I often get anxious because what I want can often conflict with my mum's ideal picture for me. The case in point is me contemplating reuniting with my ex (we separated due to the effects of his depression on our relationship, but he is now seeking treatment).

i even doubt whether some of my own thoughts are my own, or are influenced to a large degree by what my Mum wants.

I am not overly sure why I have become conditioned to act this way, it may be because my Mum has taken a more proactive (possibly overbearing) role in my life because she was (is) a child with 11 other siblings and she wants me to have the things that she never did.

I just want to be able to develop my own self confidence to be able to be comfortable in my own decisions, for my own life.

I initially thought the way I was feeling was my need to move out of the family home again, and just have my own physical independence (which would help to a certain degree because I wouldn't have her looking over my shoulder all the time), but her opinions and influence are really deep seated within my subconscious and it causes so much inner conflict.

Any similar stories, or advice? It would be greatly appreciated.

24 Replies 24

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear ConfusedNanxious~

Welcome to the Forum, I can well understand why you posted, parental control - even well meaning - is hard to balance.

The ideal answer of course is to examine the merits of each view or instruction and see if you think it is good or bad, however this is not a straightforward thing to do.

You had the idea of moving out, which you have done before. And if that was practical (rent, transport etc etc) then it might not be a bad thing -at least for a while. Trying to sort out what are your thoughts, and those belonging to you mother is always going to be more difficult if you are right in the middle and being influenced all the time.

Mind you if she is practical and you are a dreamer it might not work that well, you will make mistakes. Not end of world, they will be your mistakes -from whch you will learn.

Everyone is influenced by good or bad if they are brought up by parents, that's normal and not a worry. Having an anxiety condition is a worry and needs attending to. Parent's convictions can easily be deep seated parts of our consciousness. If they have value, like honesty and care, they are an asset.

I found the only way to improve was though medical help -may I ask if you are under treatment? Without that my self esteem and ability to rely upon myself would simply have gotten worse.

I hope to talk with you some more


Hi Croix,

Whenever there has been a major life change, these anxiety episodes come up because there's a part of me that feels like I can't cope with any turmoil in life. But that is the anxiety talking as well, because I make it through these periods. My mind just needs to catch up with that fact.

And I think part of this response has it's roots in my Mum's constant need to check on what I'm thinking or try to help create a certain aspect of my life. And so when confronted with these changes, I anticipate her voice before she even says anything (which she inevitably does).

Often she will say things like I'm too dependent on my twin sister (in that I care for her too much, without considering myself), so when I am on my own I doubt my own ability to be comfortable with who I am absent someone to care for. She said the same thing about my ex.

I am seeing a psychologist to work through these issues and find my inner voice and the ability to rely on what I want for myself. I want to be able to trust my inner voice, and my ability to assess situations and get what I want/need out of them.

Thanks for getting back to me. I'd love to continue this chat.

Community Member

Hi ConfusedNanxious,

You are certainly not alone is what I want you to know first & foremost & I hope this brings some sense if comfort to you knowing this.

I have a similar story & I particularly related to the "anticipaye her voice" comment - this is something that frustrates people in my life greatly when my first thought is "but my mum won't be happy about it" or "what's my mum going to say".

I guess I don't really have any advice for you as such as I also find it difficult to manage & navigate & am in no way living "my" life & have missed many opportunities because of self doubt, lack of confidence & an inner voice that tells me "I can't" or "what if this happens".

I am currently going through a big life change similar to you of wanting to move out, except for me this is the first time. I am finding it difficult making choices on my own (& behind me parents backs with help of friends) in relation to moving out.

Some of the things I have been doing that may help is research. I have been doing a lot of reading online about codependence & am reading a couple books by Melody Beattie on this topic. I find this makes me feel a sense of peace that I am not alone & feel hopeful that things can change.

Second because you have an awareness now that this is what you are doing, the power is in catching that thought of her voice before or after she speaks & counteracting it. So seeing her comments for what they really are - are they to make you doubt yourself, to criticise yourself, to guide you to ehat she wants for you etc. Tell yourself this. "She is only saying this to make me doubt the decision I have made". After a while these counteractions become a bit more natural & what may have upset you once, may not anymore.

I don't know if this helps at all but I really just wanted you to know that you are not alone and thank you for posting this on the forum.


Hi Larnzi

Thank you for your message.

I had to move back home because I separated from my partner. Long story short, the relationship wasn't healthy due to mental illness on his part, but we loved each other.

Now that my partner is working on himself, there is possibility of us reuniting (although slowly and carefully at first).

And although I separated from him after an immense amount of thought and consideration, the time it took me to do so was drawn out because I had to rifle through my thoughts and decide which ones were coming from me directly.

Throughout my entire relationship, my mum was on my case about finances as well. And my ex partner would always tell me to remove my mum's voice from my ear.

Now that we have separated and have ceased communication for a while, it has given me more clarity and I really do miss him. I know there are things we both need to work on, but I want to see him again. I know that in my heart.

But that would be completely against my Mum's wishes. No doubt about that. I did get hurt by everything with my ex, but I acknowledge that it was his depression and that no one really knows the small things that make up our relationship.

I always get so torn. I'm now living under my mum's roof, so navigating anything with my ex would be a challenge to keep private.

Just so confused.

Community Member

Hi ConfusedNanxious.

I completely understand what you are going through and in time, things can get better.

Being the youngest in my family, I have always been told what to do and it became second nature to listen to my mum and dad and I rarely asked myself what I wanted. When I moved out and started to do things for myself it still took time and like you, still heard my parents voice.

You mentioned you are living at home while separated, are you able to find your own place? Maybe rent? It could help find your independence again and get some clarity, even if for a while.

Also, seeing a psychologist has helped me in my journey as well.

I hope things improve for you soon 🙂

Take care

Hi gloria10,

I would love to move out. That is my end goal because it would give me more freedom to navigate my life the way I want. I could see the people I want, and for a little while, have more privacy while I navigate my relationship with my ex. But money is an issue.

I'm so stressed under this roof. There is no true relaxation for me here.

I just want to love who I love. I want to try things out with my ex partner again and to act freely without having to look over my shoulder (so to speak).

I'm just getting tired because adhering to what my mum wants means less drama in the short term, but not what I want long term. My mind is just exhausted.

I am writing down all the problems I am facing and will bring them all up with my psychologist to try and work out with her. I need to get a stronger sense of self so that I am not torn apart when I make a decision that conflicts with what my mum would want.

Thank you for your message. I hope to read your reply soon.

Hi ConfusedNanxious,

Sounds to me that the space you have had apart has been a good thing for the possibility of your relationship. It has eabked you to gain some clarity (apart from your mums input) but it has also enabled your ex partner to work.on himself. What is so wonderful is that you see that the way your ex partner was when you were with him was as a result of depression & in that I see a very open, loving & understanding person who is seeing the bigger picture, not the narrower one, meaning you are already distinguishing your own thoughts from that of your mums.

From your mums point of view she probably thinks not being with him is in "your best interests" but she doesn't see that you are hurt also being apart from him & as you said no one knows what makes up your relationship except the two of you. Are you able to have conversations with your mum about the situation or does it end up in an argument?

To me your ex partner telling you to remove your mums inner voice from your ear is actually good advice. He is looking out for you & in turn helping you to develop your self worth as him being "out" of the picture (meaning separate from you & your mums relationship) probably helps him see things from a different point of view. Also different upbringings help this too. Though when you live in it daily as you are at the moment,it can be hard to remove that inner voice & do what is right for you. Could you try writing down your thoughts & what the inner voice or actual voice of your mum is saying & compare them? At your own judgement, which sounds more logical to the situation?

You mentioned about keeping things private would be difficult. I do totally understand that which is why I have misseed a lot of opportunities in life. Is there any way you could meet up with him to talk on your way home from work or when out on other errands that wouldn't arouse suspicion?


Hi Larnzi,

Your message has been most helpful. It has been very refreshing to have someone see things from my point of view and helps me feel comfortable in what I am feeling - in that it can be a natural response to the situation I am in. I shouldn't feel guilty about it.

These last few days have been difficult, as I have really been thinking about all the good times I have had in the past with my ex, and the dreams we had with and for each other. The fact that he is working on himself now makes everything seem so hopeful, because when we were good, we had an amazing life together and things were fun.

Just now, I feel restricted in my ability to love fully.

I acknowledge the need for my ex and I to have this complete time apart. It is giving both of us time to develop some much needed clarity, as well as help in my anxiety recovery whilst under my parent's roof.

But again, this is all contingent on my ex's ability to take action for himself during this time, and anything to start off with would be slow regardless. I must stick with my plan for the benefit of the long term, regardless of how emotional I am feeling right now.

I am just so tired of feeling all these emotions inside, that I cannot express comfortably at home. At least the psychologist is a place to vent and assess these things.

When I moved out of the home I shared with my ex, the emotions were high on both sides and my dad actually said he would never go to my wedding if I stayed with him. Regardless, time has a way of changing things, and hopefully, just as I need to see active changes in my ex, so too will my parents when the time comes. But I feel as we won't be starting off in a relationship straight away, I don't think I should really tell my parents anything because I need to navigate the start of this for myself.

I can't even confide in my sister, because of the possibility it will reach back to my mum and dad.

I just don't want to lose the goodness that reconciliation may bring. Because he truly felt like my soul mate. And when he feels good, he is an amazing individual.

We just need this time to settle the finance stuff with the house too. My short term goals have changed now in that I want my own place and to start off slow with him again.

How have you managed to juggle the privacy/secrecy divide with your parents? I just don't want any regrets in life.

Hi ConfusedNanxious,

You sound like you are starting to get some clarity on your emotions in saying that your short term goal would be for you both to be in your own houses when starting of a relationship again & that sounds like a great starting point. It sounds like a reconciliation may be a while off whilst both he and you get your own things sorted & that is a good idea as you want to both be at your best when trying again.
Is there the option in then to start focusing on your short term goal of moving out? Things like what do you need to be able to do that, looking at creating a budget to make it achievable etc. That also might help you gain perspective as to what you want in your life by starting to create a future.

How I've handled the privacy/secrecy stuff is just that, I have lied, which is actually hard for me because I am a bad liar. Even when I'm going to see my psychologist I have made up another appointment that I'm going to because I don't want her knowing where I'm going . Even if I am out with a guy friend I lie & say I'm going to see a female friend, then I don't have to put up with comments about that i don't have a boyfriend or my mum "seeing" a potential boyfriend in the fact I'm meeting up with a guy friend which then puts unnecessary pressure on me. I hide things a lot & I've often wondered how on earth I would hide a relationship because I want to enjoy the goodness & happiness for myself without that being tarnished. It would also be quite some time before even considering introducing them to my family as my family situation is not great.

I really have no advice on how to navigate the privacy aspect as I struggle with it myself. Sometimes my friends have helped me create a lie. It is hard when you are an adult but they still think they are entitled to know every aspect of your life. I guess if you have parents who are easy to talk too & emotionally available, it makes it somewhat easier to navigate. But when they're not it's like a mine field that you never know what will pop up.

Like you said maybe in time, & when the time is right, your parents will come to see things with your ex as you are starting to see them now. I do know someone who this happened to once & it all worked out & has done for many many many years. Don't lose your hope.