Mother Daughter Relationships – Unfortunately They are Often Strained

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Comments (2)
  1. Judi says:

    I agree with this synopsis but I am facing a different issue. My daughters and I have made it through their 30s and 40s but are now faced with their 50s and my 70s. They, of course, are menopausal and prickly. Now when we talk they expect me to add nothing to the conversation especially advice or insight through personal experience. It’s like I have no right to conversational input at all. I feel like telling them I am not a priest, shrink or impartial confident and if I am not allowed to add to the conversation they need one of those and not me. I am becoming quite resentful especially when they let slip that they have been talking to each other about what they think are my short-comings. For instance; One daughter preparing to move to CA from IL was telling me her landlord changed the front door lock and back door lock-code after she gave notice of her pending move and while she was out of town on business. I tell her they cannot legally do that and she should document it. Guess I spoke too soon as she became very disgusted with me, hung up and called her sister to report I was giving unwanted advice again. It is getting so bad and sooo upsetting I feel like separating myself from them altogether for their sake as well as my own. We currently live many miles from each other but talk (they talk – I am expected to listen) most days. Due to my age, 75, I sense they fear that somehow, someway they will be responsible for me. If so, it may be what is driving their attitudes. I hope not. Maybe it is menopausal attitudes??? Can you help us?

    1. Frances Delahanty says:

      Dear Judy, I can hear your pain in your input not being welcomed by your daughters, and that they also talk about how you have “again” given unwanted advice. And I’m guessing that at your age, you long to have the better connections you had with them at their earlier ages, and that you long also to be included in their conversations and in their lives, and have the same respect and inclusion that they seem to offer each other. These are very understandable needs. What might help is that you find an alternative way of contributing to their conversations, other than adding things that you feel would help or fix the problem. This will take some restraint on your part unless you come to value what I have found to be even more helpful to my children than my advice – and that is to listen with empathy to whatever they are willing to share – to try to see it from their perspective, and make “empathy guesses.” An example would be “Are you feeling angry and frustrated that your landlord changed the lock and you weren’t able to get back into your apartment after you came back from your trip – because it didn’t meet your needs for fairness and consideration – especially since you had given him notice ahead of time so that he could find another tenant?” To most people in our culture, a question like that would not seem as helpful as advice, such as you offered your daughter – but most women mostly just want to be HEARD for their pain, and it better meets their needs for being cared about when they are just heard, and not advised! I hope this tip has been helpful for you. I have a few more on my website, as I specialize in helping mothers repair their strained relationships with their daughters. If you want to learn more, you can check me out at http://www.francesdelahanty.com

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