My Mom Gives Me the Ick: Dealing With Uncomfortable Emotions

What Causes Girls to Get the Ick?

What causes girls to get the ick? At the root of it, very often, getting the ick is a defense mechanism, she says. The attention, sensitivity, and emotional attunement this person is giving you is something you need but may have grown up without or been missing in past relationships, explains Cohen.

When a girl starts to feel the ick, it can indicate some underlying emotional baggage that needs to be addressed. Perhaps she’s been hurt in the past by someone who appeared loving and attentive, only to later reveal their true colors. This can make her wary of receiving genuine care and affection, leading to feelings of discomfort and unease.

Furthermore, the ick may arise when someone feels overwhelmed by vulnerability. Opening up to another person and allowing them to see your true self can be terrifying, especially if youve been hurt before. It’s easier to retreat and distance yourself rather than risk exposing your deepest fears and insecurities.

Another factor that can contribute to the ick is the fear of losing independence and autonomy. When someone becomes too close, it can feel suffocating and restrictive, leaving a girl longing for her freedom. This can be particularly challenging for individuals who’re used to being self-reliant and independent, as they may struggle to strike a balance between intimacy and maintaining their individuality.

In addition, societal expectations and conditioning play a significant role in how girls perceive and respond to uncomfortable emotions. From a young age, girls are often taught to prioritize others needs over their own and suppress their own emotions for the sake of maintaining harmony. Thus, feeling the ick can be seen as a way of protecting oneself from potential harm and prioritizing self-preservation.

Understanding these underlying factors can help individuals navigate and address these uncomfortable emotions in a healthier and more constructive manner.

Strategies for Addressing and Overcoming the Ick Response in Relationships.

  • Recognize that the “ick” response is normal and common in relationships.
  • Acknowledge and validate your own feelings without judgement.
  • Communicate openly and honestly with your partner about the “ick” moments.
  • Practice empathy and understanding towards your partner’s experiences and triggers.
  • Seek professional help or relationship counseling if needed.
  • Work on building trust and creating a safe space within your relationship.
  • Focus on the positive aspects of your partner and relationship.
  • Find healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the “ick” response, such as self-reflection or self-care activities.
  • Set boundaries and establish clear expectations within the relationship.
  • Remember that overcoming the “ick” response takes time and effort from both partners.


In conclusion, navigating the complexities of our emotions, particularly when it involves our relationship with our moms, can be challenging. The discomfort and unease we sometimes feel towards our mothers, as expressed in the colloquial term "the ick," is a valid and common experience. It’s crucial to acknowledge and honor these emotions while also approaching them with compassion and understanding. By actively engaging in self-reflection, open communication, and seeking supportive resources, we can begin to navigate through the discomfort, fostering healthier and more authentic relationships with our moms. Remember, it’s okay to feel the ick, but it’s what we do with these emotions that ultimately defines our growth and wellbeing.