Q&A with Dr. Carletta Perry: Relationship with mother

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Q: A friend of mine says I am attracted to certain women because of my issues with my mom. If I help them, will that help me?

A: Relationships with family members can be very complex and painful. However, the healing that comes from understanding family dynamics can be very fulfilling.

From your question, you appear to be attracted to women who need you and who make you feel needed. This is not uncommon, because most people want to feel loved and needed.

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This is especially true when it comes to our first loves, that being our parents. The parent-child relationship is a unique and enduring bond between a caregiver and a child. Many psychologists believe the relationships between parents and children are very important in determining who we become and how we relate to others and the world.

I cannot say for certain that if you help women, you will or will not feel better. However, I can say for certain that if you heal from the relationship between you and your mother first, you can begin to have healthier relationships with women.

First, healing this relationship is going to take a little time. Don’t get caught up on who takes the first step or be discouraged if change is not immediate. You must understand who she is and how she became the woman and mother you know her to be.

Second, you must grieve the mother you want or wish you had growing up so that you can learn to love the one you have.

Third, get to know one another as adults. Stand your ground, since it’s not always easy to talk to parents, and remember we are who we are because of what we’ve been through. Without the pain, you may not have become the compassionate, helpful person you are.

Finally, I hope you heal from the hurt your mom caused you so you can grow into a healthier person and man. When you begin to date whom you want, as opposed to dating the person you feel you need, you can enter into a healthy relationship with someone whose confidence does not scare you. Then, you can experience mutual vulnerability and love.

I wish you all the best.

Dr. Carletta N. Perry offers therapeutic life, relationship and career coaching. Catch her television show, “It’s Life Changing with Dr. Carletta Perry,” Sundays at 11:30 p.m. on WSKY/SKY-4 and on YouTube. Email her at contact@drcarlettaperry.com.