January 7, 2020

Healing The Mother-Daughter Relationship

Mother-Daughter Relationship Are Often Times Rocky & Challenging

The goal of having a strong mother-daughter relationship is common to almost all cultures, races and ethnicities. From the moment a child is born from their mother’s womb, the bond of attachment begins to form. During the time of early nurturing from their mother, babies form connections and the basis for security. The process of attachment continues long into childhood, adolescence and even adulthood. It is an ever-evolving concept that has far-reaching consequences for future relationships.

Daughters, especially, develop their sense of identity from their own experience with their mother. Other aspects of development impacted from the attachment to their mother include self-esteem, femininity, sexuality, the role of a partner in a stable relationship and how one associates being accepted in their own world. While attachment can, hopefully, produce positive regard in these various areas of a women's development, the opposite is also true: lack of a secure attachment can negatively impact a woman as she matures and enters into various future relationships with their own life-partners and children.

The Unique Mother-Daughter Dynamic

Mother-daughter relationships involve many facets to analyze and understand to keep the dynamic intact and mutually successful. I often hear the mothers and daughters that I work with in therapy tell me how hard it can be to keep the relationship flowing easily and smoothly. There are many obstacles and pitfalls, such as when a conversation suddenly goes wrong, hopes and dreams become opposing or conflicted, or when each sees a different path forward for the relationship. Sometimes, the connection between the mother and daughter feels like it's being held together by a thin thread.

Issues that often arise between a mother and daughter may stem from anger, acceptance, jealousy, and asserting the role of a parenting figure. In searching for ways to traverse the relationship, I’m often met with uncomfortability and pushback as each person become aware of hidden feelings and emotions that have often been kept buried deep inside for a long time. 

During my time counseling a myriad of mothers and daughters through this challenging, but ultimately healing and rewarding journey, two questions that often comes up are “Who am I if I am not the person my mother told me I am?” and "what is my role if not as a caregiver to a young daughter?"  Both mother and daughter come to realize that they have assumed certain identities throughout the course of their relationship that it is hard, frustrating and confusing to explore new identities and roles in the ever-evolving mother-daughter relationship.

Part of the therapeutic process involves learning to let go and then reimagine what the "ideal" mother-daughter relationship is and could be that will meet the needs of both the mother and the daughter. For the daughter, it may be coming to terms with the reality that their "mom" may not be the mother that will wipe your tears away, clap for you in the background, or be that support for you when you fall down in life. You just may have to rely on yourself for all those “mommy moments.” It’s one of those “aha moments” that grabs you and points you in the direction of speaking to your own inner kindness and development into a young independent women. For the mother, it may be coming to terms with the reality that their "baby" is no longer a baby or young child that needs daily caring and doting over. Rather, your role as "mom" may need to evolve to meet the ever=changing needs of your daughter who is now a young woman.

I can help you both to navigate this challenging relationship metamorphosis to create a new and more mutually satisfying mother-daughter relationship and dynamic.

Mother-Daughter Relationships Need To Evolve & Grow To Flourish

Typical Questions Asked By Mothers & Daughters

  • Can I ask for things that I need from my mother/daughter without disappointing them?
  • Am I entitled to receive unconditional love that I deserve, or do I need to look outside of the  relationship to get my needs met?
  • Am I overcompensating for what I need from my mother-daughter relationship by seeking it our in other relationships?
  • When I expect things from others or have unrealistic expectations of myself, is that because I am constantly being reminded of my mother’s or daughter's unmet projected feelings of me?
  • Am I now playing the role of rescuer or healer to nurture my mother’s or daughter's needs? 
  • Am I mirroring deficits in our relationship when forming other relationships?
  • Am I mirroring my mother's "inner critic" with others in my life? 
  • Does my daughter truly understand what I want and need from our relationship?
  • Is my mother more controlling than supportive?
  • Is my daughter more distant than close?
  • Does my mother show me off to her friends (like a trophy) or praise me in order to gain self-satisfaction or self-praise?
  • Does my mother or daughter have unrealistic expectations of me?
  • Are we ever resentful or envious of the other because of appearance or successes?
  • Is my mother jealous of my life and perhaps trying to sabotage me?
  • Is my daughter neglecting my needs and focusing too much on herself?

It's Healthy To Verbalize These Questions - Let Me Help You To Answer Them!

Are You Ready To Heal The Mother-Daughter Relationship?

If you are at a cross-roads moment in deciding whether you would like to figure out a new future for your mother-daughter relationship, and are both ready to talk about some potentially ‘taboo topics’, then please reach out to Erica and let me help you both. If you are both ready to critically examine your mother-daughter dynamic and work to repair any past pain and damage to create healing and satisfaction, then its time to say good-bye to old behaviors that aren't working and to create a new path forward.

It's Time To Heal The Bond Between Mother & Daughter!


Erica and Eric are a Husband & Wife Team of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists practicing in Florida. Our mission is to provide effective, non-judgmental and sensitive help to Couples, Adults, Teens and Families. We work with clients from diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations.

If you, you and your partner/spouse, your teen or family are ready to explore your emotions and resolve obstacles in life or relationships, we welcome you to contact us to answer all of your questions and explain the benefits of therapy with Erica, Eric or both of us together in Co-Therapy.  


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