Although we all hope to forge separate identity from our parents, we are their own flesh and blood after all, which means we are bound to have some traits in common. Even if you feel like you're super different from your mother, you may be exhibiting some signs that you're more similar to your mom than you think. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your opinion of your parent and the type of person you hope to be, but it can be useful to do a little introspection to see how both your upbringing and your genetics have played a role in your personality.
"As you get older, it's good to notice the ways you're like your mom — good and bad — and the ways you're different," says Jill Whitney LMFT over email. "This helps you see her as a full person, not just 'Mom,' which leads to a deeper and more mature mother-daughter relationship. It also helps you learn about yourself as an individual — your strengths, your flaws, areas where you'd like to change, and elements from your upbringing that you want to take with you into your adult life."
If you're not sure how much you share in common, here are 11 signs that you're more similar to your mom than you think.
1You Have Similar Little Habits
The similarity to your mom might start with little habits that seep into your everyday life without realizing it. "The way you fold your towels, the laundry detergent you use, whether you read while eating — we often don't question these habits until we live with someone who does things differently," says psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D. over email.
2You Interact With Others In The Same Way
You might find that your everyday interactions with others resemble your mom's. "Growing up, we observed how our mother expressed — or didn't express — anger, sadness, joy, and so much more," says Kennedy-Moore. "We saw how our mom interacted with us, and also how she communicated with our father, our siblings, friends, neighbors, the clerk at the grocery store... All of these interactions contribute to our mental models of how relationships work."
3You Discover Something About Your Mom's Younger Life That's Similar To Your Experiences
"Of course we know that our mom was once our age, but it's easy to fall into the trap of imagining that she was always the age she is now," says Kennedy-Moore. "Talking with people who knew your mom before she was your mom can offer an eye-opening view of her and perhaps give you a glimpse of someone not so different from you."
4You Have A Similar Sense Of Humor
Whether you laugh at the same jokes or have the same dry wit, your humor could indicate some similarities with your mom. "Children are likely to have similar humor to their mom, as they picked up on particular humor styles (e.g., sarcasm)," says Christene Lozano, MS, LMFT over email.
5Your Romantic Partners Resemble Your Mom's
Take a close look at your romantic partners, and you might find that they carry a resemblance to the types of men your mom dated. "Children have their parents or guardians as their primary romantic relationship role models, so if their mom was with an abusive partner, the person may be more likely to think this behavior is normal or acceptable and find themselves in a similar relationship," says Lozano.
6You Express Affection In The Same Way
"Another sign that someone is more similar to their mom than they think is if they express care and love in a similar fashion," says Lozano. "Children are likely to receive and express care and love in the way their mom or parent taught them, and this person will take this into their adulthood."
7You Share A Work Ethic
Your work ethic can also be an indicator that you're much more like your mom than you realize. "Moms and parents often teach their children to have a similar work ethic that they learned and practiced, so it is likely that a child will learn to have a similar work ethic and practice this in adulthood," says Lozano.
8You Share A World View
It's common to absorb some of your mother's internalized beliefs about herself or the world. "If your mother had difficulty trusting others, you may notice that you have difficulty in that area yourself," says Rebecca Burton, LMFT over email. "If on the other hand, she saw the world as a safe and welcoming place, you may trust easily and give others the benefit of the doubt."
9You Speak The Same Way
You might start using phrases your mom always says without even meaning to. "Even if you think your mom's phrases are outdated and corny, they can eventually find their way into your conversations without noticing," says Lindsey Huttner, LCSW over email. "Additionally you probably have the same speech patterns and pronunciation. Depending where your mom is from I'm sure there are certain words you say that have a certain flavor from your household."
10People Point Out The Resemblance
Looking alike is one thing, but people might point out that you have similar mannerisms as well. "Someone who knew your mom at your age may see the resemblance, or you may come across an old photo of your mom that looks remarkably like you," say Kennedy-Moore.
11You Begin To See Your Mom As A Normal Person With Her Own Struggles
"Children tend to see their parents as all-knowing and all-powerful beings," says Kennedy-Moore. "Teens often dismiss their parents as know-nothing obstacles. Part of growing up is being able to see our parents with realistic but compassionate eyes. When we can do this, we're likely to discover meaningful values and hopes, challenges and fears that we share with our mom. This can open the door to forgiveness or greater closeness."