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Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Handling Mother-Daughter Conflict

If I asked you today, how you feel about your mom, would you be conflicted?

Does that question raise anxiety in you, or make you feel upset, or do you just want to avoid the answer? The powerful mother-daughter bond is a hotbed for all kinds of emotions. And it doesn’t much matter what age we are, or if our mother is alive or deceased. When emotions run positive, the mother-daughter bond is like no other. But when negative emotions rear their ugly heads, poor reactions and coping lead to depression, anxiety, anger and a host of bad feelings.

So how do we handle the strong negative emotions we sometimes feel towards our moms? For example, have you ever visited the home you grew up in and felt like you were ten years old again. That happens when you don’t have a strong sense of who you are apart from your mother. The way we listen without becoming defensive is to first figure out what we think and feel. When we have a handle on our own ideas,  it si easier to listen to her thoughts without becoming angry or deeply hurt.

So when your mom says something that upsets you, take a deep breath and think about what she is saying. Is there any truth to it? If so, listen and take it to heart. If not, don’t lash out just because you feel wounded. Instead, tell her how the hurtful remark made you feel and ask her to be more careful with her words. Here’s an example, “Mom I felt hurt when you criticized my outfit.” If she continues, repeat your statement and ask her to stop. If she still continues, excuse yourself from the conversation. This is called setting appropriate limits.

The important point is to practice staying calm by knowing what you think and believe apart from your mother. Yes, her opinion matters, but it doesn’t have to run your life or your emotions.

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