A few years ago at a self development workshop, I met a 24 year old who was a recent graduate.
As often often happens when people meet me - we started talking about money.
She told me that she was the first in her mom and her dad's family to graduate from university and that she was overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with this degree.
She shared how she's expected to attend every family meeting and how all the elders (uncles and aunts) in the family turn to her for advice.
How she's now the one that makes decisions on funerals and weddings.
And how her mom leans on her and expects her to basically take over running the house.
She felt like her mom was treating her like a husband and the other family members were treating her like an adult.
She was 24 and needed their advice and support but the roles had reversed.
I keep hearing this from young women - they feel like they are taking on a father role in the family.
THE FIRST BORN DAUGHTER AND FILLING THE FATHER GAP
Some of us come from broken families with no father figure; we struggle with the "absent father syndrome."
We all know about the daughter who will try to replace her father through romantic relationships and even dating older men.
But we don't talk about the daughter or son who feels obligated to help their mother carry the load financially.
Often this will be the first born daughter or son - they will often step into the role of the father, be super responsible and become their mom's wing man.
They look after the kids and even get a job early so they can pull their weight financially.
Their siblings are not their siblings but more their kids.
THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF FILLING THE FATHER GAP
These kids are amazing in all they do (no one can argue that).
The challenge that they face in this case is that they never get to be kids and have no clue how to put themselves first.
They made decisions a parent would make and learned to compromise the way a parent would compromise, so they have no clue how to put themselves first.
They derive a lot of their value from being everyone's rock and strength.
And just like a father they can't stop themselves from supporting their siblings and their mom.
They won't say out loud; but they tend to feel alone, they are seen as the strong ones, as the ones that everyone leans on and their strength is their downfall.
Added to that their mom's have relied on them for a long time, they also have a gaping mother wound because they had no "mom" so to speak.
So the financial implications of this is not knowing how to say no to family members, feeling responsible for everyone (especially siblings), trying to do it alone and not able to trust the universe to provide and support their dreams.
This makes life bittersweet and more difficult than it should be.
When we don't have faith in the universe or we don't feel supported, we block miracles and manifestations.
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ON DAUGHTERS WHO MOTHER THEIR MOTHERS
Sometimes, no one asks us to take on any financial responsibility.
Instead we take it on ourselves and usually it's linked to our mothers and it's tied to the mother wound.
We can sometimes find ourselves feeling guilty the more successful we get, and with no way to handle that guilt we find ourselves giving more than we can afford to our mothers.
We find ourselves confused because we want to remain our mothers' little girls but we're experiencing so much more than our mothers ever had.
Our adult lives are nothing like our mother's lives.
We don't want to outshine our mothers and make them question who they are.
We're scared that our mothers may disapprove of our success or even envy us that success and freedom because patriarchy...
We understand that we have a privilege our mothers never had because they we're living in a different time.
And so we feel obligated to over give so we make up for the unfairness of patriarchy and all our mothers gave up for us to have this life.
We may even feel resentment for having to give more than we really want, which makes us feel even guiltier so we give even more out of guilt and shame.
Because how dare we feel that way about our mothers?
Or we move back home so we can be closer to our mothers (and we don't like it) or we leave our kids with our mothers so our mothers always have someone with them.
And the more we give financially and emotionally, the more complex our feelings get and we find ourselves mothering our mothers out of obligation, love, guilt, shame, gratitude, resentment.
And often we don't know how to be honest about it so it festers and affects our finances and our relationship with our mothers.
This is what makes the mother daughter relationship so intense.
THE MOTHER WOUND, GUILT & ITS IMPACT ON OUR FINANCES
Guilt and shame are 2 of the most complex emotions when it comes to our finances.
Anxiety and fear are easy to recognise, but guilt and shame are more subtle and layered, which makes them more dangerous.
One way to recognise guilt and/or shame around the mother wound is to observe what happens to your relationship with money when you're around your mom.
How do you use money - are you overspending? Are you taking care of all household expenses?
Do you suddenly get emergencies out of the blue when you're around your mom or have to leave your mom?
Or maybe your finances just get stuck, the flow of money to you, slows way down?
Why am I asking this?
Because guilt and shame are emotional responses to a deep belief that we're doing something wrong and when we feel like this we have to correct it.
And when it comes to money, we correct it by getting rid of money or blocking money.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to join the 5 Day Challenge on Setting Financial Boundaries Below.