Why Soul Work is key for the Mother Daughter Connection
Oh I can still remember those words and that feeling when we got the ultrasound.... it’s a girl!!! A girl?!?!? What a blessing from The Most High! How exciting, how special, how important, how meaningful! But honestly my first thoughts were... uh oh! Now what? I don't have the tools to cultivate a close, genuine soul soothing connection with her. Filled with fear and anxiety, I went into action mode.
Mother-daughter relationships are complex as we know, igniting a special set of emotions. Even the healthiest of relationships can be at times fueled with real challenges. This is oh so common. But as mothers we so want to get it right.
What I've experienced personally and seen in my friends' relationships, is the shift happens in the teen years. As they grow and become more aware, that early adoration they once felt for us often changes into other emotions. For some daughters, it becomes a more realistic version of that prior adoration – love, mutual respect and friendship. For others though, their relationship with their mother starts to move in another direction entirely.
As young daughters I imagine it’s hard to let us mothers give advice, they probably feel like we're intruding on their time to figure things out on their own. Often times, unknowing, we want to live our lives through them, prohibit them from making our mistakes, feeling our pain. But what we don't realize in the moment is we're setting up the relationship to fail because we're leading with our ego.
What I've noticed is the conflict between mother and daughter often starts with hormones during puberty and transcends into early adulthood... daughters become inaccessible, removed, more expressive. They shut down when they feel attacked or judged. It's almost as if they want to be a part of our lives, but they lose their way.
The mother/daughter relationship didn't start off so complicated. They idolized us. Wanted to be up under us, imuluate our every move, learn from us, dress like us... be us. But at some point, things shifted. At some point we became stressful to them. I'll blame it on the hormones. They no longer welcome our advice. Our stories and wisdom become inapplicable. And because of that, the tension and animosity festers. We start to take things personally and can even begin to blame our daughters rather than trying to go deeper. So this is when as mothers we have to start doing the Soul Work to figure out why we aren't connecting, why our daughters don't feel seen or heard, where the breakdown in communication came from, and to heal... not only ourselves but our relationships with our daughters. So how do we begin the Soul Work to heal our relationship?
- Set boundaries as a parent and relinquish the ideal of her being your "friend" at this stage. That will come later with maturity and shared experiences.
- Be honest with ourselves about our inadequacies and our triggers and face them head on instead of acting like they don't exist.
- Allow ourselves to be soft and vulnerable with our daughters instead of always appearing to be "strong" and capable.
- When you are concerned for your daughter, listen instead of advising, show concern and empathy rather than criticism. This builds connection rather than disconnection.
- If your daughter is in therapy and wants to discuss your relationship, don’t be defensive or focus on proving your point, this deepens her wounds. Practice listening and ask her what she needs from you. Remember...you are the parent. You set the tone.
- Value and encourage your daughter’s independence, autonomy and sense of self…always! Even if it is not in alignment with your own.
- Commit to showing up as your best self, building your own sense of self-worth, remembering that you are always setting an example no matter how old she is and learn how to meet your needs in a healthy way, rather than relying on your daughter to meet your needs.
Let's think of it this way. Our relationship with our mother is often our first and primary attachment relationship. It is the barometer for all of our future relationships with self, family, friends, colleagues, partners and our children. We look to our mothers for validation and affirmation. We are born into her world and this helps shape:
- our sense of self-identity
- our feelings, needs and desires and whether they are acceptable or not
- our self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence
- our experience of our body, femininity, power and sexuality
- our capacity for nourishment, self-expression and self-care
So it's important for us mothers to realize that in order to achieve and maintain healthy relationships with self and others, we need to have experienced an accepting, unconditionally loving, nurturing and nourishing mother to use as a reference point. But what if we didn't have that? What if we never experienced a nurturing mother? We can get caught in a vicious cycle of searching outside ourselves for others to meet our needs and to affirm our worth in the world. Even requesting this from our daughters. This is when our ego controls the relationship and it starts to manifest in the worst way possible. It can lead down a very toxic road if we don't take ownership of our role as mothers and do the work.
We know that these strains in the mother/daughter relationship can be major contributing factors to our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing. Symptoms may include addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, poor relationships, a lack of self-worth as well as numerous other concerns. That's where Soul Work comes in. Digging deep into the root of our emotions and what leads us to respond the way we do. That's were the magic happens. That's where the transformation takes place. We owe it to ourselves and to our children. It's our legacy.
photography by dianneaveryphotography
Angela Williams brings her background as a personal concierge and graphic designer to this role. Her love for providing personalized service, keen attention to detail and an eye for visual.Read More
Sign-up for our newsletter