Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Lindsay and Dina Lohan: 5 Signs of Mother-Daughter Dysfunction on Display

Lindsay Lohan could be quoting the title of  my book pictured here, I Love My Mother But…She may love her mother, but the two are quite the dysfunctional pair.

The latest incident reported by all the entertainment sites involves an audio tape obtained by TMZ of Lindsay calling her father, while arguing with her mom in a limo around 4:00a.m. In the audio tape, Lindsay accuses her mom of using cocaine and threatening everyone in the car. The argument was over money Lindsay supposedly loaned to her mom to make a house payment. Dad, Michael, dialed 911 to call the cops.


There is so much wrong with this picture:

1) Enabling substance abuse. What are the two of them doing out partying until 4:00a.m? Lindsay has already served three times in jail for probation violations linked to two drunken driving arrests. What mother goes clubbing with a child who got out of Betty Ford Rehab Center in 2011 and has a history of drug and alcohol problems and has her own drug and alcohol problems?

2) The child becomes part of a dysfunctional martial triangle.  When two married or divorced people can’t get along and drag their child into the middle of their dislike for each other, they form an unhealthy triangle. On the audio recording, dad is heard telling Lindsay that her mom is horrible. And in the past, mom has had plenty of negatives to say about her husband. It’s a classic triangle in which the child is caught in the middle and plays the two. It’s highly dysfunctional.


3) Conflict that escalates from verbal to physical. If the reports are true, the screaming and arguing between the mother-daughter pair also led to a gash on Lilo’s leg and a broken necklace. While no domestic incident report was filed, escalation to a physical end indicates trouble.

4) Name-calling and blame. Accusing your mom of being on cocaine and kidnapping you are not common themes with most mother-daughter pairs. Blame, criticism, and contempt are part of a larger pattern of emotional distancing.

5) Lack of clear parent-child boundaries and clear definition of parent-child roles. Mom needs to start acting like a parent and not her daughter’s friend. I suspect that would take individual therapy to help her know what that would look like and how to lead by example.

It’s all very sad, but could be corrected with a willingness to stop this insanity and get into family therapy. Let’s pray the family sees this dysfunction and agrees to a road of healing instead of more harm and in the worse case, more destruction.



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