Adults who grew up with a domineering and controlling mom

Domineering and controlling moms oftentimes operate out of pride, fear, and intimidation. They use anger and accusation as tactics of controlling their children.


Take a moment and think about the kind of relationship you had with your mother. What did it look like? How did it feel? Do your thoughts drift to the good times, or do they dwell on the bad times?

What happens to some adults who grew up with a domineering and controlling mom?

If you were raised by this type of mom, you might have dealt with low self-esteem, self-doubt, and/or strong independence from others, or strong dependence on others. Some adults have an entitlement mentality, one where they expect others to make things happen for them because they were constantly reminded not to make mistakes.

It can be difficult to identify if the person’s background still affects them in their current life. For example, one might ask: “Is the person’s background still affecting them, and that’s why they make the decisions they do or think the way they do? Another question might be: “Has the person developed learned behaviors and a mindset (from their background) that reveals they are ignorant of their poor decisions as well as their compromised mindset?

If you live with someone like this, you might be saying, “It doesn’t matter if they are still affected by their background. They don’t live back there anymore.” Unfortunately, psychology, sociology, and the Bible reveal people are bound by their background unless they make the ultimate escape.

I have spoken to literally hundreds of people whose moms was domineering and controlling and many of them still reel from their childhood experiences. Some readily concur that their mom was ignorant about effective and spiritual parenting while others would say their mom was prideful and selfish and couldn’t be reasoned with.

Experiences where a mom wanted to ensure her kids were living the straight and narrow road of life made her overbearing and overly controlling. She feared that her children would make mistakes, so she kept a tight rein on them, often causing them to be wounded and rebel.

Our mom wounds are real emotional scars that can be passed down from generation to generation and have a profound impact on our lives. If we don’t resolve these inherited issues, we will pass those wounds and a rebellious spirit on to our children and grandchildren. Or we will raise our kids in a direct opposite manner so that they won’t be wounded like us or rebel like we did. As strange as it is, kids will still be wounded and rebel. Why? What we do in moderation they will do in excess. Our kids will run toward what we run from. If we parent from a wounded and rebellious life, our kids will absorb it and replicate our wounds and rebellion in their own unique way. Our children often repeat the cycle, harming their own children, and their children’s children, with their own unresolved wounds and rebellion. History repeats itself in our parenting.

This is the reason we as moms must be careful signaling out one of our children as our favorite. Favoritism causes sibling rivalry. It makes the favorite child spoiled rotten, insecure, and distrusting of his/her siblings. As a mom, we must ensure our kids experience the same love and affection as their siblings.

Domineering and controlling moms oftentimes operate out of pride, fear, and intimidation. They use anger and accusation as tactics of controlling their children. They see compromise as a weakness rather than a tool by which they can teach their children willing compliance. They fear losing control, so they try to lead by intimidation. This rarely works the way they hoped. Naturally compliant children will cower down and obey outwardly while battling with self-image and confidence. Strong-willed children will defy such control and end up generating more trouble and leaving the nest all together.

Spiritual parenting is God’s will and is the best parenting style for raising godly, well-adjusted children who can replicate godly parenting for their children. Spiritual parenting revolves around teaching and training our children the ways of God and how He wants them to live practically and principally. It requires us moms to teach our children the truth and live the truth and/or be truthful about our own humanness (they know who we are and how we live, whether or not they tell us). But the one thing a child dishonors is a mom who talks a good game but doesn’t operate by the rules of that game yet expects her kids to abide by the rules.

As a mom, I can tell you spiritual parenting has released my husband and me to share the same vocabulary with our sons; and articulate what we are hoping for them and from them in their relationship with Christ, family, and others. We don’t hide the truth by pretending we always live it; that’s a waste of pretending; our sons know us as much as we know them. They see our humanness.

Here are three tips I’ve learned about spiritual parenting to keep me from being a domineering and controlling mom:

1. We are not our kids’ friend – their peers are their friends. To call our child our BFF, bestie, etc., allows them to operate on the same level as us. This works when it benefits us. When it doesn’t benefit us, it causes mis-signals which create instability and resentment.

2. We must know our parental liabilities – to balance the scales, we should know that Jesus wants us to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The principle we usually accept is God’s love for us, but we struggle with loving ourselves, which ruins our ability to love our children and others well.

3. We must let God be God and we be the parent – we should do a self-check when we’re instructing, loving, and caring for our child: “Am I forcing my thoughts and behavior on my child?” If the answer is yes, we are not loving them like God loves them because God doesn’t force us to do anything. He simply receives what we give Him and determines our reward or consequences. As moms, we must not operate through pride, fear, or intimidation, trying to be God to our children. (God doesn’t operate that way.) They don’t appreciate it and neither does God. We must let our kids grow, learn, make mistakes, and recover from them. We must let them learn to love God and life through their own interpretation of life experiences that we help to shape and establish while they were in our loving care.

PS: This blog covers general signs and outcomes of adults raised by a domineering and controlling mom, by no means does it represent every area in which a person is impacted.

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