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How Lora overcome a controlling mother: one-on-one healing the mother wound

If you have a controlling mother you’re probably familiar with the insistent unsolicited advice, the tendency to make decisions for you or the constant criticism and belittling of your own judgments.

Women who grew up with a controlling mother often feel a sense of guilt for doing things their own way, struggle with trusting their inner voice and don’t know what to do with their repressed anger. If this is you, you’ll see in how Lora overcame a controlling mother with one-on-one healing the mother wound what could be possible for you.


Before I get into this I'd like to invite you to a FREE experinar (= an experience-based webinar) on setting boundaries, Dec 1st, @6PM CET. You'll find all the details below.


Signs of a controlling mother

The confusing thing about a controlling mother is that often it can seem like she just wants your best. She’s full of good intentions, she might be very helpful, giving you advice, supporting you financially, and pushes you to be better or fulfil your dreams.

It’s the reason why a controlling mother if often considered a hidden mother wound—it’s not that easy to say that your mother hurt you with her “good intentions”. The thing is that she’s doing all she does at the expense of giving you space and freedom to make your own choices, even your own mistakes.

Women with an overbearing mother often end up living their mother’s dream, not their own. They carry a deep rage for being constantly pushed, advised, and even manipulated.

A controlling mother often:

  • Gives unsolicited advice even after being asked time and again to stop

  • Makes decisions for you, perhaps also insinuating that your own decisions are not going to be good enough, wise enough — generally not enough in some way

  • Is unfulfilled in her own life and tries to live through you

  • Lacks boundaries

  • Demands that or pushes for you to become an over-achiever

  • Gives you the sense that you’re responsible for her happiness

  • Claims to know what’s best for you or that she knows you best

  • Disregards your requests for space

  • Is very involved in your life, to the extent that you feel obligated to share everything with her

The result is that as a grown woman you might struggle with low self-esteem, difficulty in making your own decisions, a sense of guilt for not complying with other people’s needs, especially those of intimate partners, an overdeveloped inner critic that frequently drives you to stress, overwhelm and burnout, and a deeply repressed rage.

You might be thinking that this is your fault. But it’s not!

When Lora came to me, her story reflected a lot of these common signs of a controlling mother. Lora never considered her relationship with her controlling mother as a ‘mother wound’. She heard about this from a friend of hers who did some one-on-one healing the mother wound with me and thought that perhaps this might be useful.

Meet Lora

Lora came to me when she was recovering from a burnout. Despite having the time she needed to rest, something inside kept on nagging her to “do something and not just lay around”.

It made her restless. She judged herself, calling herself ‘lazy’ if she wasn’t able to pack into one day all the activities she used to. But this nagging voice was not her own: it was her mother’s voice internalised. She just didn’t know it yet.

Lora suffered from breathing difficulties, stomach pain, difficulty concentrating, tiredness, and she was easily overwhelmed by circumstances.

She was also grieving the loss of a relationship with someone she had imagined she’d marry and have a family with. As a young, single, career-driven woman, she felt like a failure, yet she also knew it was her chance to “start over” and design a new life for herself. Only she didn’t know how.

When we started working together, she had just got back in touch with her mother after some years of being estranged from her. With the revival of the connection, the same old feeling of pressure from her mother also returned.

An ocean between you and her won’t solve it

Earlier in her life, Lora had left her homeland to be free of a mother who laid upon her her own unfulfilled dreams, but she soon realised that even though she had distanced herself physically, somehow the ocean between them hadn’t solved her problems.

She still became an overachiever, just as her mother had shaped her, and she still felt responsible for her mother’s financial state and happiness. She was still lost inside their relationship.

Many women who’ve had a troubling relationship with their mother find themselves—consciously or unconsciously—moving to a different country, sometimes to the other side of the world.

With a controlling mother, the urgency to break free from the sense of being controlled, manipulated or repressed is strong.

Though common, it’s not natural to feel responsible for your mother’s happiness to the extent that you are willing to subjugate your life, your dreams and your talents to bring it about. The burden, sooner or later, becomes too much to carry.

Sometimes going away is exactly what we need to do. When distanced from things that weigh on us we can find a shift of perspective, the freedom to explore ourselves in a new way or the courage to face the things we need to face.

Going away can be a good first step but it cannot be an end solution. You’ll most probable find that the things you run away from will chase you in different forms. They remain a part of you.


Between guilt and resentment—finding peace

Lora told me she couldn’t shake off the feeling that she was “trapped”.

On the one hand, Lora didn’t want to talk to her mother everyday, share with her everything that was going on with her and be a passive recipient of her mother’s unasked for advice. But at the same time she felt guilty for not calling her mother every day, as if she were betraying her mother by making her own decisions. She was resentful that she felt that way.

Between guilt and resentment there’s not much space for anything besides feeling trapped. In the presence of her mother, Lora always felt judged. Away from her mother she felt guilty.

With a controlling mother there’s almost always a sense that you’re not in control—of your feelings, your dreams or your life. Like many women with a controlling mother, Lora felt that not only with her mother but also in other areas of life, such as intimate relationships, she had no control.

When we feel trapped we want to find the door that can lead us out of the sense of being hemmed in. It’s common to think that if you could only know how to tell her what you need to in such a way that she’ll listen, everything will be ok. As if your mother has the key to the door you’re looking for.

Your mother doesn’t have the key to the door

In a state of distress and a sense of inner chaos and loss of control, answers cannot be seen, even when they’re right in front of your nose. Lora kept on repeating how trapped she felt, “like in a cage”.

The sense of being trapped tells me that even though my client wants to have the right answers to free herself from the grip of her judgmental, controlling mother, it’s no longer about her mother. She Feels trapped and therefore the problem lies within her. This is why I start with nervous system regulation and breathing techniques.

Nervous system regulation and breathing techniques helped ease Lora’s stomach pain and allowed her to start breathing more easily.

Once she was in a calmer place, we were able to see a possible way forward: taking back the reins of her life, disentangling herself from the sense of obligation to please her mother, moving towards recovering fully from burnout.

One-on-one healing the mother wound is an organic process that evolves naturally. It is like pulling on a piece of thread in an old jumper in the right place so that we can get back to the original ball of yarn.

From there, anything can be achieved.

Breaking free from the cage

Lora quickly embraced my advice to lie down during our calls. While many people would find it embarrassing or strange, Lora took that in very quickly and it told me that there’s a part in her that was very ripe for letting go of being judged and controlled.

It is important to use existing resources in one-on-one healing the mother wound, as this allows us to resist the repetitive limiting belief of wanting to fix something that feels broken and strengthen what already works well.

On the contrary, what we are trying to do is simply work with what is there already and help it transform.

With Lora’s nervous system more regulated we were in a position to dive more deeply by following a few crucial steps:

  • Identifying what part of her had internalised her mother’s demanding nature and move towards a sense of wholeness

  • Creating a safe space where Lora could practice letting go of repressed feelings such as rage

  • Doing guided meditations to release trapped traumatic memories and move towards the natural brain healing mechanism for breaking free from the cage

  • Inhibiting negative self-beliefs that drove her into ‘should-ing’ herself, and from there moving towards spaciousness and wise energy management

  • Designing the permissions Lora needed in order to hold the reins over her own life as an adult woman

Within only three sessions Lora felt she was no longer in her cage. She began setting boundaries in meetings with friends or when talking to her mother. She began to feel that it’s possible to live a different life other than identifying with being a high performer.

Finding autonomy with a controlling mother

Many women have the yearning for their mother to change and be who they need her to be. It is very natural yearning. Sometimes it’s just not possible.

When trying harder, or coming up with the same requests doesn’t help, you have the signs that something else needs to shift.

The shift happens when we attend to the difficult feelings that keep us hooked to the same habits in a relationship. Lora’s sense of guilt for not calling her mother is a good example of how inner states can keep us stuck in a sticky dynamic with an overbearing mother.

One of the pillars of healing the mother wound is the freedom to discover and then express who you truly are before your controlling mother’s pressure to mould you in a certain way weighs you down.

Here’s how Lora expressed the benefits of the one-on-one-healing the mother wound for her:

“I learned something about myself. I feel like our relationship, from my standpoint, yeah, I’m more autonomous. It was very helpful talking about the relationship from my point on view.

I don’t feel that non-stop urge I had to call to her. Or guilt. This gives me a little more freedom. I learned something else about myself.

You helped understand the dynamic and that was very helpful. Because I'm not responsible for her life, basically. At first, when you said that, it sounded unacceptable. That was like mind blowing to me and changed my whole perception.

It’s very different from what I'm used to, like psychotherapy, it’s absolutely different and I really liked it.

I came out with a lot of tools and action points. And my mother saw the shift in me, that I’m not so needy and I make my own decisions. So she gives me some space.”

Though every woman’s process is different and what can be achieved in one session is quite individual, you can see that a lot can be discovered, changed and released in only three sessions. How Lora overcome a controlling mother with one-on-one healing the mother wound can be possible for you too.

You're invited to join me in this FREE experinar:



How healing the mother wound grow unapologetic boundaries and helps you rest

Most women find it difficult to set healthy personal boundaries. The common practice is that personal boundaries are all about saying No.

It doesn’t feel so inviting to keep saying No, and in fact boundaries have very little to do with just saying No.

In this experinar, I’ll share two common myths about boundaries. We will explore what boundaries are so you can discover how healing the mother wound cultivates unapologetic boundaries and helps you rest.

  • The structure (roughly): 10 mins teaching, 15 minutes experience, 15 minute Q&A

  • When: Friday, Dec 1st 6PM CET (check your local time)

  • Where: online via zoom

  • How long: I’ll aim for 40-50 minutes but I’ll give as much time as needed to answer any questions that come up

  • How much: FREE when you turn up for the call live, or 15CHF for the recording

  • Is it really free?: Yes. At the end I’ll offer anyone who wants to work with me 1:1, as I have some spaces becoming available. No one can live off free offers alone. You can either join for the experience or because it can give you a sense of what it could be like to work with me

  • What do you need to do: Show up personally if you wish, camera on/off as you wish, or sign up and receive the recording for only 15CHF

  • Can I invite friends?: Yes. I’d love that! Please don’t share with them the invite you receive but instead share this email with them so they can sign up themselves

  • How to join: click below, fill in your details in the booking page and receive the invitation to your inbox


Not sure about joining? No problem! Here are a couple of ways to stay connected:

Sign up to my Muzeletter for regular useful content on healing the mother wound

Take my video training on breaking free from mother wound limiting beliefs

healing the mother wound

Shelly's helping women whose relationship with their mother left a negative mark and want to become un-limited in their personal or professional life


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