Deep Relationships and Mother’s Role

    Mother’s Role in Deep Relationships

    contributed by Francis van Schaik

    Family systems expert Els van Steijn: “The bond with your mother is such a determining factor for your ability to connect.”

    A relationship is like a partnership. It is a constant exchange of giving and receiving. This way you get and give attention, support, care, a roof over your head and fun. That can be warm and loving. But that does not mean that you are connected in depth. That actual connection depends on how you are connected to your mother. Family systems expert Els van Steijn delved into this subject for us.

    One of her best pieces of advice: Are you looking for a serious relationship? Then listen to how this person talks about his or her mother.

    The bond with your mother is so decisive for your ability to connect.

    Roman Family Stock Illustration - Download Image Now - iStock
    Roman family

    Els: How you have internally connected yourself with your mother determines your maximum ability to connect with others, including with your partner. If there is still profit to be made, that does not mean that you cannot have nice and pleasant relationships. It just means that you lack a deeper level of connection. In the ‘difficult moments’ you live according to your own decision. ‘I’ll do it alone’. This will disconnect you from the other. Even if you live together, you live past each other. To complicate matters: Pain when breaking up with a relationship is also always an acknowledgment that the relationship is (or has been) valuable to you. Here you have to be honest with yourself: are you genuinely sad because your partner is leaving you as a human being (sad about the disconnection) or do you dread the loneliness, being alone and the ease that is lost?

    Do you want to get back in balance?

    Why does the connection with your mother have a big influence on your future relationships?

    Els: People see so-called double images when they look at their (potential) partner. When you look at your partner, there is an invisible person standing right behind your partner; your mom. Of course you don’t see that in daily life, but on another level you see her standing there. This applies to both men and women. Your mother is always behind your partner and it doesn’t matter if she’s alive or not. Just as you have connected with your mother, so you can connect with your partner to the maximum. The same applies the other way around: behind you is your partner’s mother. There’s no getting around that… So if you want a serious relationship, listen to this person talk about their mother. Then decide whether this potential partner is relationship material or whether it will be a pleasant time with exciting nights, in other words a ‘friend with benefits’.

    Family in Ancient Rome - Crystalinks
    Mother-centered family

    When are you well connected with your mother?

    Els: Parents are a package deal. They are the beautiful, the less beautiful and also what you want so badly to receive and what is not there. You are well connected with your mother (or father) if you give them their place. They can be who they are. You can really see them in who they are. If you only see the beauty of someone, the so-called ‘halo effect’, then you don’t see someone. If you only see the bad, then you don’t see that person either. A person is much more than just that beautiful or that ugly. It’s the total package. You are the living product of that. Also look at yourself. You are not just sweet, good and kind. You yourself are also much more and more profound than just that. Nor are you just that clumsy, inconsiderate, and self-centered person. If you ‘take on’ your parents with the entire package deal and they are allowed to have you as a daughter or son, you are well connected with your parents. Then the double image you see is very helpful and nourishing. You are therefore able to completely ‘take’ your partner as he or she is with all the trimmings. That doesn’t mean you never get annoyed by the other person. You can always give feedback and set boundaries.

    India village holds 'selfies with daughters' contest - BBC News
    Indian village family

    And when do you know that you are not well connected with your mother?

    Els: It is difficult to give an unambiguous answer. I will mention a few signals that may indicate that there is still room in the connection with your mother. If you are unable to sustain relationships for long periods of time and this is a repeating pattern. Or if you find yourself having a hard time coping with life. You may still be able to achieve your goals, but you don’t seem to catch the natural ‘luck’ quickly. Everything takes a lot of effort. For some reason, your mother stands for life. If you reject her, you often turn out to be rejected by life. This may manifest itself as follows: A repetitive pattern of work that always does not go well, illnesses, setbacks of all kinds, etc. Not insurmountable, but it does consume energy. When in doubt, always consult a professional in this field.

    What is the difference in the connection with your mother or father?

    Els: There is no difference in the way you can connect with your parents. If you have connected your inner self with your parents (so yes says to the package deal) your mother gives you the ability to connect. When you say ‘yes’ to your father, you get your natural decisiveness. I will write more about this in a future article.

    What does healing the connection with your mother bring you in your love life?

    Els: If you can connect (even) more with your mother, your relationship will also deepen. Your level of consciousness in that area increases. The condition is that the other person also grants his or her mother the right place, because otherwise you are indeed available for the relationship, but your partner cannot handle that. In my experience, relationships where the partners have adopted their mother to the same degree or not work in the long run. If both partners reject their mother, that can be a great relationship. The two partners both lack the ability to connect deeply, but that is precisely what fits together. This kind of relationship can also express itself in a total fusion of each other. But that’s not a connection. That is a way to get rid of the shortage (the often apparent lack of love) because the mother is internally excluded. In response, the relationship becomes a fusion where one person no longer knows where he or she ends and the other does not. That seems romantic, but in my view it is unhealthy and ultimately unsafe.

    How do you find out that someone has trouble connecting in a love relationship?

    Els: Look at the repeating pattern of one’s love life. Past behavior is often a good predictor of the future. Not always, but often. In addition, ask about someone’s origin and relationship with the parents. If someone says “my mom is not good” instead of talking nuanced about her, you should get out… (if your goal is a serious relationship).

    Do you want to get back in balance?

    What if one partner is well connected with the mother and the other is not?

    Els: Simply put, you can distinguish two main patterns. One partner ‘complains’ to the other that he does not dare to commit himself sufficiently. This person can receive less well. After all, a relationship is a continuous exchange of giving and receiving. Moreover, relationships are established in being able to receive. Whether such a relationship lasts depends on how the relationship is further shaped. This is also referred to as the ‘package deal’. On the other hand, it may also be that the person who has had a deficiency becomes too demanding because the ‘shortage’ (due to being out of connection with the mother) unconsciously ‘must’ be compensated via the partner. The partner who grants the mother her place probably gives more than he or she receives and then this person eventually runs out.

    Is an attachment disorder lurking if you are not well connected with your mother?

    Els: Yes, the connection with your mother is essential, but there are other things involved as well. What does the rest of the social field and environment around this particular person look like? What traumatic experiences have occurred, such as a long hospital stay that temporarily separates mother and child. The sum ultimately determines whether or not someone is securely attached. Even if a mother is in some way unfit to care for a child, a child can still connect with the mother through the inner attitude. Then a secure attachment is indeed possible.

    How can you restore the connection with your mother (even if your mother is deceased, you do not know her or do not want contact with her)?

    Els: Inwardly you can always be grateful for what you have had from her. After all, parents are the package deal. Parents give what they can give, and if they could have given more, they would have. What you’ve had is more than adequate, if not extremely much, in almost all cases. Even if your mother died when you were a small child (for example when you were 9 years old and you are now 39), you can develop the inner attitude of ‘9 years gift’ instead of ’30 years absence’. Sometimes parents can only pass on life and for the rest little or nothing. That is a heavy fate and without your biological parents you would not have been there. Then the situation where a parent does not want contact with you. That is tragic and the reality that her child is triggering something in her that she cannot act. The trick is to leave with the mother what is hers and look at what is yours. You leave the responsibility for your mother’s choice on her and let it go. She should be allowed to be who she is, no matter how hard and painful that may be for you. Of course you can always give feedback and set limits to your mother. Then you look at what is yours. That you have a mother who can’t see you (literally and figuratively) and that it hurts, that it makes you feel small, insecure and rejected. That’s yours and you can look at that. What yours you can always wear.



    Mrs Francis van Schaik is a coach of children and also a student of human relationships with nature, the world and Reality. She is a regular contributor to our online magazine. Francis is the contributing editor of this page.

    Francis van Schaik is een coach van jongeren en ook een student van menselijke relaties met de natuur, de wereld en de Waarheid. Ze levert regelmatig bijdragen aan ons online magazine. Francis is de bijdragende redacteur van deze pagina.


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