The bond between a mother and her daughter is the deepest that exists, as discovered by science some years ago. Joint research from the University of California and Stanford University published in 2016 in the Journal of Neuroscience found that the mother-daughter relationship had very similar neural connections, far removed from those of any other family link. And it is that the brain of mother and daughter is very similar in the field of emotions and moods, which would explain why sometimes a mother knows her children from the inside almost as well as they know themselves.
1. The Closeness
Such closeness, however, may also be the reason why these relationships are the most complex and delicate to manage. Some children find it hard to connect with their mothers up until they are grown adults. In fact, some may feel as if they are still in the childhood stage of their lives while in the presence of their mother. It is like a regression to the past. While not all children feel this way, there are many that feel no connection to their mothers.
2. Mother and Daughter Bond
People often idealize the mother-daughter bond, but the truth is that it evolves over time and takes different forms, even within the same family. When it is most often talked about, it is in the early years of parenting and adolescence, but maintaining a healthy bond with our mothers continues to be just as important in adulthood.Some daughters even have the trepidation of visiting their moms after leaving home, once and for all. They know that it may be required of them to reach out to their mothers, but because of the lack of communication and connection, it takes a lot to do. So, how do you manage to maintain a more positive relationship?
3. The Mother’s Influence
A mother inevitably influences a child’s story. She provides for her children, even before they are born, and gives them their first experience of love and security in life. Through this experience, more or less loving, more or less safe, children learn to relate to themselves and to others. They understand what it is to be a woman and how they can take care of or neglect themselves. If the mother conveys positive messages to her children, these will become part of the daughter’s beliefs and her self-image.
However, maternal inheritance can also be negative when the messages are -not always explicit- and it cuts a connection and becomes toxic over time. However, it is not useful to spend our lives blaming mother for all our traumas and problems because, once we are adults, the responsibility to damage or heal our own wounds is ours alone.
4. Beware of Expectations
Depending on the type of family and our personal characteristics, it is common for mothers and daughters to develop certain expectations that may cause conflict and a disconnection. There are cultures, for example, in which daughters are expected to be submissive to their mothers and respect all their wishes, while in others they are expected to detach themselves from their mother’s influence and bravely set out to conquer their own purposes.
Today, for example, women are encouraged to be independent and successful in their jobs, unlike the previous generation, who had to be able to focus on caregiving first and foremost. These differences can be the cause of many frictions and disconnections.
Many of us also have expectations based on what our own experience was. Both mother and daughter may have higher expectations than is warranted. If those expectations are not met, then it causes disconnection and miscommunication. If those expectations are not realistic, the mother and daughter relationship can become toxic and conflicting.
5. When Conflicts Arise
Conflicts, in short, usually arise when one or the other does not comply with what they are expected to do. In these cases, it can be useful to think of the relationship as we would any other adult bond in which we tend to accept the limitations of the other person with fewer problems. A friend, for example, can disappoint us, but we tend to accept his failures more easily if we think that he is having a bad time or is extremely busy, and that is why he cannot do what we would like. Why is it difficult for us to do the same with our daughter or with our mother? Thinking about them, accepting them as they are, without expecting them to always do everything perfectly or in our own way, prevents us from taking things so personally and can greatly improve the relationship.
6. Put Criticism Aside
This is the most common complaint as it relates to no connection with our mothers. That comment that the mother makes with the intention of helping her daughter to improve is usually perceived by the latter as hurtful and makes her feel inadequate. As adults, daughters still need their mothers to be by their side and see them as competent and beautiful women. All they want to hear from them is, “You’re wonderful.” Practice it a few times, no buts (“but you should lose a little weight…”) and you will notice the difference.
7. Spend Time Together
Finding activities that you both enjoy is a way to deepen your bond and build trust. Read the same book so you can discuss it. Establishing a tradition like watching a movie on Thursdays, or going on a mini-vacation or retreat are activities that can help build a positive connection.
If it’s hard to find common interests, it may be okay to find a new hobby. Sharing, for example, an Indian cooking or language course can give rise to funny anecdotes and contribute to creating new and good memories.
8. Set Limits
Many conflicts tend to surface in this area as well. It is important to remind ourselves that we are now in an adult relationship . And this means that we cannot act in the same way as when we were children. The connection is important, but it is also crucial to respect each other’s autonomy and not ask too much or interfere in the other person’s decisions.
9. Do Not Hesitate to Apologize
Even the best mother in the world makes mistakes, although in some cultures, it is not so common for parents to apologize to their children when there is a disconnection, as it is often perceived as a loss of authority or hierarchy. Apologizing and acknowledging that we have made a mistake as a parent, and that we are capable of seeing the pain caused, can be a balm that repairs many wounds. Asking for forgiveness has effects in many areas and can help to reconnect parents and their children.
10. Being Vulnerable
As adults, we can allow our children (adults too) to see us as we are. Telling them about our childhood, our own relationship with our mother, the things we liked and didn’t like, helps to strengthen the connection. Vulnerability, although it may seem otherwise, creates trust and bond.
11. Acknowledge Her
A mother’s biggest fear is not having done it right. Many people keep very vivid images of difficult situations experienced with their mothers, but they have forgotten many other moments in which they were looked at, cared for, fed, loved, held in their arms, listened to… Raising a child requires tremendous energy. Valuing those other moments and the very gift of life that we receive from our mothers is important to maintain a more loving and satisfying relationship.
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