There are more unhealthy mother-daughter relationships than you might think. In fact, it’s possible that the connection with your own daughter is flawed.
What you once thought was normal behavior may, in fact, be toxic. There are little indicators that prove you’ve witnessed unhealthy mother-daughter relationships, which are in dire need of repair. Those snarky remarks aren’t cute and no, they are not to be looked over. These things are signs of trouble, and if you can catch them in time, you may be able to save your relationship. If not, your entire life can be infected by bitterness.
Discovering the flawed connection
Unhealthy mother-daughter relationships come in various forms. There are no singular ways to describe the characteristics. On the other hand, these relationships can be placed in categories to help you understand the types. Here are a few examples and how they affect your future.
The controlling relationship
This form of parenting is seen quite often in mother-daughter relationships. It is also considered a normal way of parenting for mothers who have endured the same behavior from their own mothers. Controlling mothers pay little attention to their daughter’s feelings and needs. They often project a set of needs onto their daughter and say that it’s for their daughter’s “own good”.
At the same time, the mother will keep the daughter pressed down so that it’s easier to control the entirety of her life. The daughter complies because she believes she is never good enough to do things on her own. Behavior like this can affect how the daughter performs in school or work and keeps her from reaching higher goals. It can also become the same parenting technique for when the daughter has a daughter of her own.
The critical relationship
It’s okay to be critical of some things, but it’s unhealthy to nit-pick everything your daughter says or does. Being overly critical is seen in many mother-daughter relationships. This is why we see so many mothers pressuring their daughters to be more, do more and look better.
If a young woman fails, her critical mother will recognize each failure and make it larger than it really is. Enduring a critical mother can make it hard for a daughter to love herself properly. She will never think she’s good enough.
My aunt had three daughters, and she fought terribly with all of them. However, the youngest daughter seemed to make her blood boil. My aunt would grab her by the hair and throw her across the room. I’m surprised she was never arrested for child abuse. The point I’m making in saying this is some mother-daughter relationships are one big fight, all the time. To them, it’s normal to “raise hell”.
Unfortunately, abuse or even just constant fighting can cause so much damage to a woman. She will never be able to see her mother as a loving and caring protector. Some daughters see their mothers as the enemy, and that’s a shame.
The big joke
Sometimes mother-daughter relationships can seem like one big joke, literally. In many families, parents, both mothers, and fathers thrive on poking fun at their children.
This can be okay if it’s only occasional joking. But when a mother jokes about her daughter constantly, it can cause psychological damage. After the same jokes are told, the child starts to believe these are facts, insults that the parent want to make but put them in comedic form.
Children are smart. They hear redundant things and they read between the lines. While some mothers simply enjoy cracking jokes about their children, they don’t realize that their words have the power to make or break their daughter’s self-esteem.
Some relationships between mothers and daughters are dramatic productions. Simple communication is just not enough to satisfy this toxic mother. She must make every mistake seem like the end of the world. The family drama includes screaming, throwing things and insults, designed to instill fear into the other person.
Mothers who use such drama believe that there is no other way to get their point across without blowing everything out of proportion. The long-term effects of this for daughters means the possibility of experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or passing on the same behavior to later generations.
The dismissive relationship
One of the most hurtful relationships between mother and daughter is the dismissive type. This sort of relationship leaves the daughter feeling as if she doesn’t exist. The mother always has her own agenda and despite how hard the daughter begs for her attention, the mother cannot see the effort.
This relationship form can lead to low self-esteem and constant competitiveness. The daughter will continue to seek the attention that she did not receive from her mother and fail to provide the same attention needed by her own daughter.
Opposite of the dismissive relationship is the one with no boundaries. Some mothers are always snooping around and invading privacy, or as they call it, “just being concerned for their children”. I bet you’ve heard that before. Maybe you are the mother trying to break the passcode on your daughter’s phone…tsk tsk.
Well, it’s actually healthy to have boundaries between mother and daughter, but it’s a fine line. While you want to make sure you are keeping your offspring safe, you also want to give them room to be themselves. As for adult mothers and daughters, yes, your child still needs healthy boundaries with you.
A mother-daughter relationship can be healthy
For unhealthy mother-daughter relationships, I think, before tackling these issues, you should find time to sit and just communicate. As a matter of fact, when was the last time you actually talked to your daughter? I don’t mean when you delegated responsibilities or you reprimanded them for a bad decision. Adult mothers: I also don’t mean when you fought with her about her own parenting skills.
When I say communicate, I mean getting to know each other as individuals. This is a great way to be fair and to set ground rules for the household. Communication opens pathways to these other issues so that you can find ways to repair all the toxic symptoms.
Yes, I do believe mothers and daughters can have a healthy relationship. So let’s get started now!