Everyone struggles with making major decisions and choices in their life, that’s normal. However, when questions and self-doubt completely take over your life, it becomes something else entirely.

As we grow and develop, it is our parent’s job to provide us with security, love, support, and encouragement. Our parents create the building blocks of our mental health, by showing us love and making us feel safe. Unfortunately, not every child has a parent that is loving and supportive.

Sadly, many people in this world grew up in an environment in which they lacked love from their parents. When this happens, and a child is emotionally neglected, rather than realizing that the fault is in their parents, they internalize the neglect and decide that they are unworthy. Not only do they feel unworthy of love, they never develop a stable sense of self. In turn, these daughters of unloving parents grow up not believing in themselves.

In Psychology Today, this topic is discussed in-depth and one woman, named Kate, 49, shared her story.

“My mother’s specialty is criticizing me constantly and publicly. As a kid, no matter how well I did something, my mother would recast my success either as lucky or as the achievement not being that difficult. Whatever choice I made, she would denigrate it and tell me how stupid I was and how anyone else, including my two sisters, would have made the right choice. It was a double whammy. It’s been very hard for me to trust my judgment all of my life. It takes me forever to make a decision, and I’m always panicked that I’ve made the wrong choice.”

And so many women share these same difficulties. You may be wondering how to break this cycle. According to Peg Streep, the author of Daughter Detox, here are some good steps to follow.

1. Separate the present from the past.

When you are having a cycle of difficult self-doubt, take a moment to breathe and pull yourself back into the moment. Are you experiencing a ‘worrisome’ moment, or are you on autopilot?

2. Identify your feelings.

To manage your emotions, you have to be able to identify them. When you notice you are struggling, bring yourself back into the present moment and name your emotions.

3. Learn to deal with intrusive thoughts.

Streep compares intrusive thoughts to white bears, due to an experiment that was done in which participants were asked not to think about white bears. The more they tried to not think of them, the more often they thought of them. Her suggestion is to let the ‘white bears’ in. She says to consider the worst-case scenario and confront your fears. Additionally, she says to take time to focus on your worries, rather than letting them take control. Her final tip? Use visualizations and breathing techniques to calm your mind.

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