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Strained Mother-Daughter(son) Relationships

Not everyone has a great relationship with their mother. What looks like a great relationship may indeed not even be close to great.

Dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships can come in many forms. Often, it can take form in criticism, where a daughter feels like she’s constantly getting negative feedback from her maternal figure. Sometimes, it can take the form of detachment. Some women are simply not close to their mothers.

Signs of an Overbearing Mother

• She Voices Unwarranted Opinions About Your Personal Life.
• She’s Still a Helicopter Parent, Even When You’re an Adult
• Constant Criticism
• Unsolicited Advice
• Unannounced Visits
• Perfectionism
• She Expects Special Treatment from Her Children
• Feelings Are Not Allowed

Jealousy – Broadly speaking, when a mother exhibits jealousy toward one or more of her offspring, she falls within the signifier of being a “narcissistic mother.” Senior therapist Sally Baker elaborates. “This is when a mother puts her own emotional needs above those of her children.

“The mother wound is a concept that speaks to the generational pain inherited and passed down between grandmothers, mothers, and daughters caused by living in a patriarchal culture that’s oppressive toward women.” Julie Nguyen

– A jealous mother may perceive her daughter as a threat.
– When a mother envies and then criticizes and devalues her daughter. She diminishes the threat to her own fragile self-esteem.
– As a daughter analyzes what her mother appears to be jealous about, she comes to feel unworthy. The mother can be jealous of her daughter for many reasons—her looks, her youth, material possessions, accomplishments, education, the girl’s relationship with the father. Psychology Today

– She’s a narcissist or has narcissistic tendencies.
– She’s in menopause (or perimenopause).
– She’s possessive of her husband (your father).
– She regrets her unfulfilled dreams.
– She’s emotionally absent (her jealousy makes her cold).
Jealousy is a response to a perceived threat to an important relationship. Part of our feeling of who we are comes from how others treat us, and when one special person seems to shift that treatment to someone else. It is normal to feel insecurity and a loss.

Co-dependency – Most codependent mothers form an unhealthy attachment to the child, expecting (and in some ways demanding) a sense of devotion and love from their children that is harmful and destructive. This codependent parent-child relationship is intended to make up for what the mom or dad lacked in their past relationships.

Emotionally absent or cold mothers can be unresponsive to their children’s needs. They may act distracted and uninterested during interactions, or they could actively reject any attempts of the child to get close.

Signs you might have a toxic parent include:

• They’re self-centered. They don’t think about your needs or feelings.
• They’re emotional loose cannons. They overreact or create drama.
• They overshare.
• They seek control.
• They’re harshly critical.
• They lack boundaries.

Steps for healing from the mother wound

• Express the pain. The first step is letting yourself say, “Ouch” — and more — if you need to. Feel the pain to heal it.
• Love yourself. Our concept of self was built through the way our mother interacted with us.
• Develop self-awareness
• Parent yourself (inner child healing)
• Forgiveness. Forgive yourself for hanging on to the wound for so long. • Establish boundaries. You may even need to step away from the relationship temporarily or maybe permanently.

This is a reel I found and he talks about strained relationships. Good to hear that attitudes are changing surrounding these toxic relationships.

These are definitely not all the points about traumatic mother/parent relationships. I know personally I have had some but not all of them with my own mother relationship. I don’t believe I have worked through the issues I have with my own mother, but I definitely work on them when they arise. I have a lot of peaceful energy where there used to be chaos. Shedding light on, reflecting, and bringing awareness to feelings has been a big help. Re-parenting myself to feel safe has been part of the process I have followed as well. It’s not perfect, it’s perfectly imperfect. Find what works for you and apply it to your own life. You’re not broken. You are healing. You can do it!!


© 2014 & beyond Jenn Moreau

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