There is something special about the relationship between a mother and daughter. When all is well, there is a unique friendship that can be had; a closeness unmatched. The dark days are more bearable and our burdens not so heavy.
On the flip side, a damaged mother-daughter relationship can cause for a rocky foundation, not just between mother and child but within the daughter herself. Daughters learn from their mothers (or female caretakers) first what it means to be a woman – how to nurture, how to take care of Self, and walk securely in her feminine being. However, our mothers cannot give us what they do not have.
When a daughter feels failed by her mother on any level, it is very easy for her to point a finger and say, “She should have taught me …” or “Why can’t she just …?”. It is difficult to take in that our mothers could be as lost as we are or worse. As children, it can be almost impossible to understand and harder, still, to let go once we become women. Instead, we learn to adapt using defense mechanisms and other survival tactics before we even realize that is what we are doing.
These methods serve us for a time but eventually its effectiveness will dwindle and in some cases, even become harmful. It starts to become apparent with the difficulty in our friendships, work, and romantic connections. It will also affect how we see and treat ourselves. There comes a very obvious time when we must try something new in order to really thrive and not just deal to survive.
In the words of Haruki Murakami, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” The hurt of being failed by a parent is natural and should not be considered a weakness; it also does not have to define us. The shift must happen in the mind! No matter the situation, we can change how it affects and whether it affects us at all. Meditation is a great way to initiate and maintain that shift. Here are a few lines one can meditate on to shift her view about her mother-daughter bond:
Clingy/Controlling Mother: “I accept and appreciate my mother’s love wholeheartedly but will draw necessary boundaries where I see fit without compromise. May we both find peace.”
Hostile/Judgmental Mother: “My mother could not give me what she did not have nor demonstrate what she is not. Therefore, I thank her for being an example of what not to do so that I may be better for my Self and my house. May we both find peace.”
Absent/Unreliable Mother: “I welcome any and all positive energy to fill the space that my mother left open and cherish what [time, gifts, life, etc.] she has given me.” May we both find peace.”
Each saying ends with “May we both find peace,” to encourage the release of anger and bitterness. We sometimes claim to have let things go but will recall memories with harsh words and negative feelings. In this case, we cannot be liberated from the baggage and it will continue to show up in our lives and disrupt our growth. Whenever those negative thoughts and feelings resurface, recall one of these lines or make up your own. You cannot change who your mother is but you can change how you receive her. That change can make all the difference.