Why are mother/daughter relationships so hard?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by nettiesinsac, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. nettiesinsac

    nettiesinsac New Member

    The struggle is real-I've noticed the relationship between my 27 year old daughter and I suffering but never really stopped to think about why. I have a 3 year old granddaughter that i'm extremely close to and spend time with every Sunday. This last Sunday, my daughter made other plans with my granddaughter that didn't include me and I became very upset. My daughter and I finally talked about it and she accused me of being very judgemental and said some things to me that were very, very hard to hear. When we hung up, I spent a lot of time thinking about what she said and is it really true? I turned to this forum this morning and it was so nice to hear that I'm not alone! Thank you for that!
    I don't think its so much as being judgemental as my own insecurities. My granddaughter spends a lot of time with other family members and I feel left out. I'm afraid that she's going to forget about me, or not want to spend time with me. I feel left out. There-I said it. I want to be the center of her life and if I'm honest with myself, my daughter's life as well.
    I have to ask myself, why is this? I have friends, really good friends that I spend time with. I have an active social life so why is it so important that I need to be the center of my daughter/granddaughters life? This I'm still trying to figure out. But one thing is for sure--I need to let go. I DON'T need to see my granddaughter every single Sunday. I need to be okay with that. She's not going to forget about me-I know this but how can I get past the feeling of being left out? This is where I struggle. And part of me feels guilty for not spending time with her.
    I want to be the best Mom and Gramma that I can possibly be BUT that doesn't mean spending a crazy amount of time with them or being involved in every aspect of their life! Easier said than done, right????
    My daughter said some really unpleasant things to me that hurt a lot and I'm still trying to digest them and accept that some of them may be true...we've agreed to give each other some space and get together this weekend to talk about it. Until then, i'll be spending a lot of time on this forum and realizing some things about myself that I'm not going to like and/or realizing that I need to make some serious changes in my life. I find myself putting my life on hold in the event my daughters (I have 2) need me. Really? How crazy is this??
    Anyone else going through something similar???
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Not all mother/daughter relationships are hard at all. My younger daughter and I are very close.It isn't uncommon.

    I think this is more common when the girls are troubled, then they take it out on Mom.

    But so do troubled boys.

    Mom is seen as the caregiver so we get the blame.

    Help us mothers!!!
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  3. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I see I didn't answer your question. I have a possible few suggestions that may work for you.

    First of all, I think therapy is great at helping us find new ways of coping and thinking about problems that trouble us. I make sure mine is female. It is nice to get suggestions and feedback from an uninvolved person. Mine helped me a lot. My hub and I also see a husband/wife team for marital counseling.

    Secondly, can you just go along with making your own plans for each day? See your daughter and grand when invited, but don't stop the rest of your life waiting. Your fears about grand forgetting you are unrealistic, which is why I suggested therapy. Also needing to be the center of your daughter and grands life isn't going to happen. Most of us know this. They have same age peers to hang with. Makes sense. Therapy can help you there too, I believe. It sounds as if you are insecure, but you can learn skills to get past that. I hope you do.

    If God is in your life, I find him to be a tremendous help. I go to church when I feel as if I need a loving Parent to guide me, even if nobody else is there.

    Blessings and hugs.
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  4. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, nettie

    You said something very important:

    That is a problem.

    You should apologize to your daughter.

    You can’t obligate other people to make you the center of their lives. They are going to get tired of feeling obligated to take care of your emotional needs and lash out.

    You could get into counseling to help you work on this problem.

    Continue to post and let us know how it goes.
  5. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Welcome Netti,

    I'm on board with the suggestions from the other ladies but I would like to also recommend in the interim that you read some good books on enabling. There's a few by Melodie Bettie that are terrific. Maybe you might get some insight on why you need to be the center of your daughter and granddaughters life. Perhaps it's a controlling thing. Many of us here suffer from that and are working hard at getting better.

    Not knowing your whole story, maybe at one point you were the center of your daughters life and now that she has a daughter and should devote time to her you maybe feel left out.

    In my opinion, you likely didn't arrive at this point by your own accord. The relationship must have allowed for it to get to this point. Don't be too hard on yourself. You're not a bad person.

    Don't think of this as a bad experience, think of this as a new chapter of your life where you can learn more about yourself and grow as a person. I know I boxed myself into some cookie cutter predictable patterns for a very long time until my entire life took a turn for what I though was the worst. As it turned out I have learned so much about myself from the crisis' in my life. I'm sure if you put effort into it, you will too.

    Keep posting.
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I got along very well with my mother. I suffered greatly when she died young. It was so tragic. I try to look back to figure out what it was that I liked about her so much. I think it was that her love for me was genuine and soooo obvious. She was slow to anger and even slower to judge. She made me feel good about myself. She was quick to point out what I did right. BUT...then again, I was a very good student and not a troubled kid. I was NOT perfect though and had my difficult moments. But, she tended to focus on the positive. And, if I did something "dumb," but rather inconsequential, she might not even mention it. I also felt respected by her. I knew in my heart that my relationship with her was in many ways "special," because many of my friends did not enjoy such a good relationship with their mothers. NOW, don't get me wrong...NOT the type of stuff I see here with our troubled kids.

    Troubled kids seem to have their own special brand of sensitivity and often over sensitivity. Some say they lash out at their mothers because they feel "safest" with their mothers. And their lashing out has little to nothing to do with their mothers, but more with their own issues or insecurities and their mother's are safest because their mothers are least likely to walk away. Do this stuff to a friend...or a distant relative and they are liable to tell you to "get lost," and mean it.

    I think adopted children...often "test" their mothers. Not sure.

    Anyway, I do think it's best not to be the center of our children's lives and this goes double if that "child" is now and adult. Also, I agree...definitely avoid putting your life on hold until your daughter does something...whatever the case may be. This doesn't seem healthy to me. Develop your own interests that are so pleasing to you, that this stuff just doesn't have as much "hold," on you. YOu will very likely be a healthier person and even potentially a much more attractive / interesting person to your daughter. NO reason for her to call you names...not sure if that is what happened here. You certainly have the right to ask her not to do that. And, absolutely consider therapy if you are in emotional pain. This stuff can be hard. Wishing you well.
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  7. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Welcome Netties, What an authentic post. I understand much of what you wrote. You had mentioned seeing you daughter and g daughter once a week on Sunday. That is not seeing them a lot especially if they live close. I am trying to figure out my emotions also and I think the reason I feel left out of my 37 year old daughter's life is because our connection is so off and on. If I had a truly satisfying deep connection when we did see each other I don't think I would feel left out. I only see my daughter once a week and she lives in the same neighborhood. Time is moving at record speed, I am 62 years old. I would like to spend more time with my daughter. My grandmother lived with us growing up. She got to enjoy the day to day things and we got to enjoy her. I too have friends, a social life and a great husband but I still want that close connection with my daughter. I have tried to fill that void with many things but there is nothing as satisfying to me than to feel deeply connected and loved by my daughter. Her love for me is not consistant and keeps me off balance. I keep trying for something that happens once in a blue moon. I think if I felt deeply loved by her I would not keep trying so hard to get little nuggests here and there..Every once in a while I do feel close to her and it is healing to my heart. I love my daughter deeply but do not like the things she says and does. I have done a better job of slowly detaching. My daughter spends time with her boyfriends family. My daughter does not want the families doing things together. I feel left out and hurt so many times by her. I give her my best. I give her my all. She gives me crumbs. We do our best and I pray for you.
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  8. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Nomad, I am deeply sorry that you lost your mother when she was young. I recently lost my mother and I miss her so much. I feel a bit lost without her. She was just like Andora on Bewitched. Colorful and funny. Blessings to you.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Condolences, Newstart.
  10. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Thanks for being so candid in your post. Sounds like you were working through your thoughts a little in it. It's good to chew on what your daughter said and, if you feel it is needed, apologize if you were in error.

    My relationship with my daughter is troublesome. There are times we do get along and times where I need literal physical distance from her. My mom, though I loved/love dearly and wanted to be the center of her world when I was growing up. Now I'm happy and fine that I'm not and I'm glad she has her own life and is enjoying it. It makes me satisfied and happy to know that she is enjoying her retirement and her health.

    What others said - therapy, journal, and keep posting. I'm sure you are hurting right now. Not trying to downplay that. I'm glad you're here.
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  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    There are intricacies in here that resonate with me and my own family dynamics.

    We have a family member who doesn’t have the nicest mom. But they live close to one another. I see her daughter try to see her very often and the mom , at times, take a little advantage of that. Having her daughter drive her places etc. Her adult daughter wants, needs and craves that closeness.

    It’s bothersome to me although it’s truly none of my business because I didn’t have that opportunity even though my own mom was super nice (she died young as I said). Additionally, our son lives 25-30 mins away and at times I feel like it might as well be much farther. He is not very quick to come over and at times complains about the distance. Yet, we changed cities to be near him etc. Knick on wood...there has been some improvement. I guess the contrast is noticeable.

    Bottom line...I totally “get” that desire to be with our adult children and grandkids and at times feel left out.

    Of note...even thought that other relative loves being with her mother ...at times she does find it tiring. I think after children come into the picture...time is less available etc.

    We are doing our best to fill up our times with travel when we can and pay attention to any good deals at restaurants. Heck, I guess we’ve turned into those folks we use to giggle at searching for a good early bird special! Oh my goodness! Yikes!!! (But we do have fun...this is important! :) )
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  12. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I have learned it's best to address specific issues mindfully, logically, and reject letting my emotions get involved. I read a book, which us in my sig line about how to stop enabling our adult children. It wasnt as helpful for me in my situation, but I think it might be perfect for you. I am currently reading Radical Acceptance, which is helping me a lot.

    Welcome and keep us posted.

    Love and light
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is a lot!! That you have a daughter with the willingness and motivation to talk the truth to you. What a gift! Seeing the glass half full is a great practice. But being able to experience the reality and pain of a half empty glass, is a gift too.

    I stayed away from this thread for a few days. I am sorry. I told myself that I don't have a daughter. But the reality is that I am a daughter, and I had a difficult relationship with my mother, who died 6 years ago. I was with her. Her death and the aftermath were the hardest thing I have experienced, in a life that has not been easy.

    I loved my mother. But for maybe 10 years I did not see or speak to her. And even when we resumed a relationship her relationship with my sister was closer. I would call my mother and she would cut short the call in order to meet my sister for dinner, for example. They would have holidays together without inviting me. While I did not live nearby, I lived in the same state.

    My sister acted as if she was an only child. My mother always favored her, and protected her, even over my own interests, and feelings. Most of the time I tell myself that I ceded the relationship to my sister. But that was not the whole truth. I think it was a cover story. For some reason, my mother preferred her younger daughter.

    I do get how painful this can be. When I turned 50 I had a special day with my mother. We went to lunch and to downtown Los Angeles where they sold wholesale upholstery fabric. We had a wonderful day. It was one of the best days of my life, maybe in the top 2. I remember every minute of it. In the last year of my mother's life I told her how special it had been for me. She did not remember the day at all.

    In the last couple months of her life, she was in and out of the hospital. As she laid in the bed there I said to her, I love you Mama. Do you love me? She looked into my eyes, across the bed. Maybe 25 seconds passed, and she answered "yes." I have always wondered why she withheld that yes for nearly half a minute. What took so long? I savored the "yes." But what was the wait about?
    I did not feel deeply loved by my mother.
    I was left out.

    Only now since my mother's death have I been dealing directly with these feelings, and giving them a name. It has been a very painful period. As she was dying, I was panic-stricken and horrified as I realized that that place in me that craved her love would never be filled. Mourning her death was like spinning and spinning around like a top, because there was no place to settle myself. Because not having had the love of a mother, that I had needed, I had no place to settle. That place was empty. And this emptiness terrified me. It was a deep hole. All of this was happening at the same time my son was spinning out. I was out of my depth.

    Nettie. I am wondering if in you, there might be something similar going on. Somebody used this phrase to me in the last couple months. I am listening for the space between the words.

    Sometimes, what runs us in life is the deep space where there is nobody and nothing. But you know what I am learning? There's power and possibility in that place. Because here lives potential to be named and claimed in whatever way I seek to. Here can live meaning. Here can live compassion. Here can live creativity and art. Here can live faith.

    And it is exactly this that I have found in these 6 years of suffering. Both my pain and emptiness and my possibility.

    A wonderful thing has happened for you, perhaps. Have you gotten in touch with your real self? It's (very) painful at first. Because this place feels empty. But think about it. Here can live the real you.

    More and more I am trying to define myself and my life by this gift. I want to thank you for this thread. I woke up this morning feeling bereft, untethered, lost. By posting here I am remembering that I am home. In myself. My goal in life for right now, is to more and more feel that and to make that home rich and meaningful and full.

    I am listening for the space between the words. For half a minute my mother could not tell me she loved me as she lay dying. As I write this I feel a deep pain in my belly. An emptiness and an ache. Which is as real and true as anything in my life. I don't know why she waited and I will never ever know. Any thoughts I come to would only be more spinning. That pain is my real life. The half minute that my mother gave me to fill with my own love. For her, for others, for myself.

    The only person who can fill this space, and assuage the pain, is me. Writing that feels dizzying. In possibility. I think by facing it, head on, I can find self-definition and touch bottom. Thank you very much.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  14. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Yes, yes, yes! I so echo this post. I, too, have figured out that the love I yearned for my whole life, I can only give to myself. I can do it, too .I did not believe that for a long time, but I do now. By tending to myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually, I have come to love myself at deeper and deeper levels. How do I know ? Because I hardly ever critizise myself anymore .I am getting so much better at no longer scaring myself. I am so much less judgemental of myself. I look in the mirror every day and say "I love you" and I mean it. It's not hard anymore.

    I am slowly stopping the self abandonment I used to practice. I feel my feelings and identify the distractions my mind wants to conjure to cope rather than remaining present.

    Sometimes, I still don't want to make the time. And then I realize that it is I who gives the love that is there away. I am the one who doesn't always want to love myself as if I am not worth the effort.

    My Mother is still living . And I have let her off the hook. She did the best she could do with the tools she had at the time - just as I did with my kids. She held unresolved pain - just like I did. When I seek to love her and be of service and don't expect anything back in return, I allow the love that flows inside of me to nurture me and to fill the holes my perceptions tore into myself.

    It all comes back to me and my relationship with myself . How do I treat myself? How do I honor myself?
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  15. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Copa, Your post had me thinking. My mother favored my youngest brother and most of her love went to him. My grandmother lived with us, I was her favorite, I knew this and I felt it. I felt deeply satisfied being loved by my grandmother. Her love for me was so genuine and so God like. I think since I have experienced such a strong sisterhood with her I know how healing and wonderful that type of connection can feel and I would like something like that with my daughter but I do realize that she is who she is and her and I are not my grandmother and me. My son and I had a deep love for each other, I saw it in his eyes and body language and how he thanked me each night before he went to bed for being his mother or telling me how much he appreciated any little thing I did for him. With my daughter for many years I just got used and the bird shoved in my face. My daughter has grown some the past few years, and I get bits and pieces of love and the degree depends on which way the bipolar is swinging for the day. To have constant deep nourishing love on a regular basis is truly healing. I have it with my husband, had it with my son and my grandmother. I keep trying with my daughter and have to learn to be satisfied with the bits and pieces of twangled love I get from her. Somedays it is just not enough.
    Copa, I am so sorry you felt left out by your mom. It must be very painful for you. Add the grief with your son. My prayer is for you.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Great thread!

    As was mentioned...Although I believe as the result of abuse by my father...
    1. I too had to learn how to love myself and to stop being over critical of myself
    2. After my father’s death there was a strange and powerful resurgence of painful feelings that like it or not I had to process.

    Of note..
    1. My unwell daughter isn’t truly able to show love consistently. She has too many mood swings. Interestingly, she does say “I love you “now and then, and not always when she needs something. It’s confusing. Nice, but...she can be very unkind and peculiar . As I said, confusing. I believe a friend or two have admonished her for not being more consistently kind to her parents.
    2. Our son is usually very kind, but anxious and very rarely can express love. His anxiety can cause him to sort of not be present. He is doing a little better though and I’m very grateful for this.

    I’m trying to learn to be more accepting.Both are very good people at heart and it shows.
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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  17. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    in my opinion we need to remember that WE do the best we can too. And, like our mothers, sometimes we inadvertently fail and hurt our kids.

    I had very good parents who favored none of us (except in my mind) yet I gave all my attention to Kay. I feel terrible about it. Our parents may have eventually seen their flaws and felt bad. Some may have been too proud to say so. It was another time back then. Parents were in authority and kids were seen and not heard as much

    in my opinion it just makes it harder to deal with our disturbed kids if we remember our own childhood pain, and I had some. I had siblings who were smarter than me and I felt my parents were prouder if them. I have a big family. I felt like the ugly duckling. Nobody called me that. I labeled myself.

    We live our lives through the eyes we choose to see through. If we think we are lesser than, this is how we will feel and act, even toward our beloveds. If we love ourselves we see things in a brighter way. Years of therapy has me seeing me from a better place. We need to forgive us and in my opinion forgive our imperfect parents, unless we were truly abused and they knew it.

    I love the choice to forgive others AND ourselves. And I try not to focus on how I was the ugly kid or the less intelligent one. Nobody told me I was either except for my.own ego mind. Nobody abused me more than me.

    God bless you all. Let's be good to ourselves.

    Yesterday is history,
    Tomorrow is a mystery,
    All we have is today.
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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019