When I was much younger, my mother and sister’s relationship took a dive when my sister decided it was time for her to grow up, that she was now a woman and had her own interpretation of the world; that never sat well with my mother and a conflict developed. As the eldest among my siblings, my mother would complain bitterly about my sister’s behaviour and my sister would just come in my room, sat at the edge of my bed and complained bitterly about how unreasonable my mother was. It was funny but I was not laughing at the time, funny because both had great points, so why they were not able to see each other’s opinion was beyond me.
I would go to mother and explained my sister’s feelings, she was able to see it then but as soon as a couple days would pass they were at it again, needless to say the relationship broke down. They are so much better now that my sister is married and long gone from our parents’ home, however I still think that the journey could have been better if they both had the knowledge of how to deal with differences the trait that makes it difficult for mother and daughter to amicably co-exist in the same circle; there will be conflict when daughter has finally decided that she is now her own woman, it is equally important that both know how to handle and be prepared for it or both could destroy what could easily be a wonderful relationship between mother and daughter.
In her new book, You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation, Deborah Tannen, Ph.D., describes the intense connection between mothers and daughters-and how we press each other’s buttons. A best-selling author (You Just Don’t Understand) and a professor at Georgetown University, Tannen had a sometimes strained relationship with her own mother, who died almost two years ago, at 93. “My mother,” says Tannen with a smile, “was kind of extreme case of needing to be the center of attention.” Over tea at her home in suburban Virginia, Tannen answered questions and described how she finally learned to appreciate her mother, to whom her latest book is lovingly dedicated.
These are the findings after research:
- The explosive and complex conversation, between a mother and daughter sometimes comes out of a woman’s natural need to express herself. It is said that women have more words than men, so if you have the tendency to talk too much it would follow that you are going to put your foot in your mouth at times. The mother and daughter do share because of a woman’s natural tendency to share her feelings, but most times what happens is that both are now vulnerable to the other and will react to words said causing conflict.
- She presses my buttons! My sister would just go the hair dresser and get a style done, my mother would take a look at it and make her comment, and here we go again. My mother would wonder why my sister would fight back when all she was doing was giving her an opinion in wanting her to look better when my sister is thinking that she cannot do anything right. It is important that mothers know that sometimes you resist making a comment unless your daughter ask for your opinion, not the easiest thing to do but for peace sake, this is something to consider.
- Mom loves to meddle, is a common thing with the mother and daughter relationship, so mom would say, ‘she doesn’t talk to me anymore’ and would ask questions not necessarily to meddle but to connect, but the daughter’s interpretation is ugh! Mother would say, “She is so sensitive, I cannot say anything without her taking it the wrong way”. Never understood it then but now I do, both are just at different places in the growth process, sure they want the same things, to be understood and be accepted but neither wants to accept the other.
- She doesn’t let up, is a statement my sister would use in describing my mother but when it comes on to issues of safety a mother should never let up, but not letting up and being forceful are very different, so yes it is possible to talk to someone on topics that are important, yet not pushing the information down their throat like the world is coming to an end.
- The worse mistake a mother can make, is to be talking to her about an issue that you are concerned about and then bring up issues of the past, things she shared with you in your private talks with each other, she will shut down. She’s going to feel, I never know when she’s going to hit me. Then there’s the spiral, where mother and daughter drive each other to ever more annoying behaviour. For example, a mother calls her adult daughter to talk about how lonely she is, which makes the daughter feel guilty. The mother thinks that talking about being lonely will encourage her daughter to call more frequently, but it does the opposite. So the mother calls more often, which makes her seem even more intrusive to her daughter, who pulls back further.
- How to stop the spiral, a mother should always remember her daughter will always be a daughter, no matter how old she is, never try to make her your best friend, if it happens then it just does, but not with your effort.
- Complement each other, is one of those things that does work, there is always something good in each other, you can always find something to complement, focus on that, you will see your mother/daughter face just light up!
The relationship with mothers and daughters can be great! In fact it is one of those relationships if you have it good, it can be very good. I know some excellent mother and daughter relationships to this day and I must say you can see how happy they both are. I hope with this read, you are encouraged and if you have conflict then this would assist you in maintaining your relationship, if it needs improvement, then improve it, and if it’s really bad then work on changing it. A mother and daughter’s relationship can be a beautiful… protect it.