The Intimate and Emotional Mother-Daughter Bond

· September 12, 2016
The emotional bond between mothers and daughters, beyond having a psychological component, also has a scientific explanation that’s related to the limbic system, which causes them to have similar response mechanisms

The mother-daughter bond goes far beyond the links of education, affection, and the context in which you grow and interact.

A curious fact to keep in mind was revealed in a study published by the journal ScienceDaily: the brain structure that governs your emotions can be transmitted from mother to daughter.

Because of this, neurologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists now have a basis from which to better understand the predisposition to develop a particular character trait or to even experience a greater or lesser risk of depression, for example.

We should be clear that this study carried out at the University of California doesn’t imply that if your mother was or is suffering from a tendency to have anxiety attacks that you will as well; it simply implies that there is a risk, a possibility

Moreover, it’s interesting to learn that many women’s abilities to cope with adversity, to assume unexpected strength when confronted with complex situations, is something that is also transmitted via this feminine link.

It’s something that’s remarkable and exceptional.

We’ll give more details below.

The invisible mother-daughter bond

Today you know that certain diseases tend to have “a gender.” Migraines, fibromyalgia, and depression affect more women than men.

It’s as if the brain structure of a woman, with its neural network or central nervous system that can amplify pain in the case of fibromyalgia, has feminine genetics embedded within it.

Science remains unable to find an explanation for why this is so.

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But when it comes to the world of emotions, it seems that there are some answers to the mystery of why certain mothers and daughters share an “emotional attachment” that can be positive and also, very complex.

Let’s look at this in more detail.

2-child-in-wombThe limbic system

We want to first talk about a structure within your brain that’s as important as it is powerful: the limbic system. You could describe it as the artist of your emotions.

  • The limbic system is responsible for regulating and processing your emotional world. Furthermore, it’s also where your emotional memory is located, and where your personality patterns begin to develop.
  • The limbic system is in turn formed by other structures, like the hippocampus and amygdala, which are also responsible for emotions like fear and your ability to integrate memories.
  • The director of this study was the psychiatrist Fumiko Hoeft, a specialist in childhood and adolescence. Its primary purpose was to find out whether there were similarities in the various regions of the brain between relatives (mother and daughter, father and son, and so on…).
  • What she found through various non-invasive MRI tests is that mothers and daughters shared the same shape and neurochemical activity in their limbic systems, an area which, as we mentioned above, is closely linked to the world of emotions.

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3-brain-healthThere’s a “predisposition” to suffer from the same emotional problems

Let us repeat once again that a predisposition is not a direct cause: it’s a risk, a possibility. This information has proven to be so important to the field of medicine for the following reasons:

  • Any emotional problems, such as stress and depression, are based on the same neurochemical activity in which there are fluctuations between dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and more…
  • If mothers and daughters share the same brain activity, with peaks and troughs in the limbic system, that means that their reaction mechanisms may also be similar when faced with the same stimuli, situations, or problems.

These data could certainly help prevent certain types of psychological disease just on the basis of this genetic component.

Daughters are not copies of their mothers

Thanks to this information, it’s possible that some people might somehow believe that daughters are copies of their mothers. At least, as it relates to the emotional dimension.

This is not true. To understand the mother-daughter bond and relationship, consider for example the following aspects: if your mother suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, deep vein thrombosis, or is obese, it doesn’t mean that you have a 100% chance of developing those same problems.

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  • You need to see this information for what it truly is: a fact to keep in mind to prevent certain things.
  • A daughter will never be a copy of her mother. Her personal situation is different, and her education, personality, attitude, and values may also differ widely.
  • Sometimes when a child has grown up watching their mother isolated in her room, facing her dark side, her loneliness, and her emotional complexity, they can become aware of certain aspects that they’d really like to avoid tomorrow.
  • Everyone’s personal focus will be different. Although this predisposition may exist, your experiences growing up will provide you with appropriate strategies to develop resilience, become stronger, and avoid the same depressive disorders.

To conclude, the present study found that while maternal inheritance was linked to the emotional world, the biological father may be related to a predisposition for dyslexia or autism in children.