Good Daughter or “Bad” Daughter? by Laurie

“I get angry at my mother sometimes.”

That was a very hard sentence for me to write.

It makes me feel like a “bad” daughter…how could one feel that way about one’s mother?  But I do sometimes and if I understand that anger actually comes from hurt, I can look at what is really making me “angry.”

A small example:  my mother is not fussy about things, so whenever I would show her a photo she would take it in her hand and not be careful about her finger prints or crushing the corners or making creases in it.   For years I would hand my mother a photo and say, “Mom, please be careful with the photo”  and she would invariably mar my photo in some way and I would get angry and yell “You don’t care about what I say and my things and you never listen to me!”

Then I would feel awful because I just yelled at my mother over a photo!  What kind of maniac am I?

I realize that it is not unreasonable that I would prefer not to have my photos crushed (and obviously there are some other issues mixing in there too), so now when I show my mother my photos I say “Mom, I love sharing with you but I would prefer to hold the photos and show them to you.  You don’t mean to but you sometimes get prints on them and that bothers me.” And I DON’T hand her the photo! And it has worked.

I’ve learned that it is important to acknowledge feelings and to allow them to exist but not act on them. When I look at the situations that sometimes arise, I actually see that my mother can do some hurtful things at times. If I can focus on what is hurting me and get to the root of that then I can change how I deal with these situations.  This has actually been working!

Forgiving myself has been an important part of healing my mother-daughter relationship.  Sometimes I can get very angry at my mother and then I feel badly about myself and that makes me like the relationship with her less.  As I learn to accept that feeling anger towards my mother is okay, I can learn ways to deal with it…walk away, choose to keep my mouth shut, make a change, have a sense of humor.   Before, when I wouldn’t “allow” myself to admit I had these feelings and I denied them, I couldn’t do anything about them, so they would just build up.  I would then invariably end up exploding and yelling at my mother and then would feel guilty.

I was able to make this change by learning that not only am I not alone in getting angry at my mother but that this is the norm more often than not.  It also seems that by talking about the challenges of the mother-daughter relationship, a window is being opened and fresh air is coming in…that the “shame” and “guilt” and feeling of being alone can now fade.

It is a small thing, of course, but it represents a VERY big shift in my thinking about taking care of my feelings, being responsible, and taking steps to change how I handle situations in which I have tended to get angry.  But first I had to admit I was angry!  Then understand that it was okay to be angry.  Then look at the hurt underneath the anger.  This has all been about me.  I did this to help myself be better able to deal with the relationship.  The amazing part is that it is changing my mother too.  I guess she didn’t know how to change the situation either and just accepted that yelling was a part of our pattern.

I love my mother, she loves me and with that comes a lot of power to hurt each other…accepting that and having “I’m sorry” as a tool makes a big difference.  I can tell my mother is so relieved to have a way to change our old patterns too.

Interestingly, while I am so grateful to have learned forgiveness and to say “I’m sorry,” the biggest thing has been being able to forgive myself when I slip.

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One response on “Good Daughter or “Bad” Daughter? by Laurie

  1. AvatarCsp

    Dear Daughter’s and Mother’s
    It is so important the message in this article. There is no time to Snooze and Loose w/our Daaughter’s
    and our love for each other. We have to keep reaching out until our arms feel like they are going to fall off so out hearts and minds open as WIDE as they can.
    Thanks for sharing………….
    CSprann

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