Updated: Aug 5
By Laxmi Parmeswar, MA MS LPC
Mothers and daughters are very special and understanding these relationships is not as simple or easy as one might expect. Whether you are a mother or daughter and/or both, there's a good possibility that you have had to navigate through turbulent waters in these relationships. Recognizing how rich these emotional ties can be, is also acknowledging how important it can be for one's own personal growth and emotional well-being.
Women, not surprisingly, have a very large emotional wardrobe. There are so many permutations and combinations of this rich tapestry of emotions that both mothers and daughters experience at any given time; it can be a miracle when things do go smoothly! The trick is to transform these precious moments into a recurring and relational pattern of mutual love, respect and understanding. So how does one get there?
Create a large tool box of resources for yourself- more like a "go to" place when things aren't going that well. The most important tool you can access from your resource pool is "to listen and not judge". Easier said than done, even though it sounds so simple. One actually needs to train oneself to listen and not judge. The listening part is easier than the 'not-judging' part!
Most of the time, the mother-daughter relationship is fraught with judgments. Understandably so, because as women, we are being judged all the time by society for not being good enough, and/or being too 'good'; not being smart enough and/or being too conniving; not being pretty enough and/or being too attractive; being too much like a man and/or not being man-enough; and the list goes on and on and on...
What makes it particularly hard is also the fact that a big part of this relationship is the parenting element which comes with an ample dose of judging and being judged by both mothers and daughters. Because of this occupational hazard, it takes deliberate introspection and self-discipline to successfully practice listening without judging. But once perfected, it is a guaranteed means to a healthier and more meaningful mother-daughter relationship- almost akin to a transformative and positive life force that can enhance all other relationships.