Strained mother/daughter relationship - FamilyEducation
Strained mother/daughter relationship
08/08/2008 at 11:51 AM

Hi, I am new to the boards.  Have a problem that I am hoping I will find someone that also is experiencing the same ordeal.  Maybe a little unusual, but am hoping that I am not the only person in this situation.  My daughter has  a MIL that is very controlling and so is her husband, so she has just conformed to only spending time with his side of the family and leaving the rest of us out of her life.  We all live in the same town, so it breaks my heart to see them spending every day doing things together.  I was hoping once the kids came, she would include me in the grandmother role, but not happening.  She is angry with me because she thinks I am being childish and that she had to share me with her step sisters for 18 years, so guess now it's her turn to get back at me for that, which of course is only part of the problem.  She says that her relationship with her MIL "is what it is" and that I just need to accept it.  She did not even recognize me on Mother's Day and did apologize for that about 3 days later with a card and a letter that expressed how she felt and that I am just supposed to "get over it."   That probably hurt me more than anything she has done for the 30 years.  I hate being obsessed with this, but just can't get it worked out in my mind that she doesn't want me to be a part of her life in any way.   Hard to give up mainly because of the grandkids.  I know they will never know us anyway, but just have to pray that something will change some day for the better and God will answer the pleas I have to him to help.  My husband doesn't think I need counselling because I can't make her change, but I am so sad and just hoping someone sees this and has some suggestions on how to cope.  Sad mom in the midwest


I had a difficult relationship with a couple of my daughters, one particularly, for years. One of the things I did that made a difference is I took some time to reflect on our relationship and tried to think of all the times that I was not the best mom. I wrote them all down, then drafted and re-drafted a letter of apology. I didn't try to explain away the bad times, just genuinely apologized. I took full responsibility.
It wasn't overnight, but after about a year, we began to have a better relationship. Over the years, I have become aware of additional times that I was not the best mom. As those things came up, I offered new apologies, taking responsibility, not explaining. It is VERY HARD to not explain, but it is really important. Any time you offer an explanation, it sounds to the kids as if you are justifying a bad decision. It makes things worse instead of better.

I do understand your situation, I have a similar situation but no real resolutions. My youngest daughter (married and 2 children and educated) is very unforgiving because I disrupted our family by divorcing their father 10 years ago for multiple discretions. ( My daugher's think there was only one incident). For five years my youngest daughter refused to have a relationship with me, the other daughter 3 years after the divorce). Now that the youngest has 2 children there are birthday parties ect that we all meet together. My daughters refuse to acknowledge that my family exist (aunts, uncles, cousins). My youngest daughter will rarely bring the grandchildren to see me and my 2nd husband, but yet spend endless hours with her Dad's family (grandmother, ect). My youngest daughter tells me (it's all my fault, I created the situation by choosing to divorce). I often tell her, no he made that choice when he could not be faithful. I give into the girl's hateful remarks, I try to not interupt with their family times, however, I miss the grandkids so much, I just call and ask "can I visit the kids". Generally, just wanting to visit the kids for 1-2 hours is asking way to much. Every disagreement I have had with my youngest has been related to a visit to thier house. I would take meals, I would help with laundry or kitchen, and babysit, none of which were appreciated and told to leave it alone,not bring food ect. They tend to idolize their DAD. He's a real charmer and controller. I like you get depressed and sad after the ordeals which is on the phone. I do not know how to not do anything that doesn't upset her (youngest daughter). The only reason my grandkids know me is because over the past 3 years I have called and ask to visit (which always makes her mad). She told me this week that 2 weeks ago when I visited on a Sat I was to be there at 2pm and didn't arrive until 5 pm. However, she has completely forgot that she ask me to wait till the baby woke up which would be 2 hours. She said she tired of grandparents messing up her weekends. Two weeks ago, she could not go anywhere becauce the baby was sick. We have had at least 3 confrontations the past 3 years over visiting. I am afraid that she will decide to completely put me out the picture for the next 5 years as she has done before. Can anyone relate to my situation?

I feel so much the mother's pain. I understand completely how it feels to be shut out of your grandchildren's lives. My daughter has used them as a tool in the past to control me. I honestly feel that my daughter hates me. It hurts so much to know that but I have learned to accept it. I have bent over backwards trying to help my daughter. Sometimes the only things we can do as mothers is to just pray and ask God to help us get through it and to soften our daughters' attitudes toward us and to touch them and let them know that they should not use their children as pawns. I am a firm believer that what goes around comes around and that someday the daughters who mistreat their mothers will one day know how it feels. I am not saying this as hope that they are hurt as much as we are but I do believe that is what happens in life. We do reap what we sow. I know any of the mothers yearn to have good relationships with their daughters and maybe someday many of us can. That is my prayer.

I am a mother. I love my children and experienced no difficulties loving them. However I did not bond with my own mother and more recently told her this, with some advice from mental health specialists I have no contact with my parents and sibling in the past few months. Further negative is this may not change. I feel she should be able to listen to my problem instead of getting hot headed and shouting or hanging up the phone. We are past communication at all at the moment. This means my children are seeing less of their grandparents and family. They both grown up in a one parent family, me being that one parent, first as a young adult and again in my mid thirties. Equals two kids neither of which have had a regular two parent home life for much of the time. I learned with help from psychologists I had RAD (Reactive attachment disorder) from early trauma in infancy. My mother will never accept this. It has been a very rough time. The past winter being the toughest in a long time. None of my family want to, listen, consider or try to understand my predicament. I only wish grandmothers in awkward relationships with their daughters could make the wiser move and listen before rejecting. The same is true of my x mother in law. She did not even ask if we were stuck for anything, after her son left our home finished being controlling abusive alcoholic. We have had no communication with her in five years. I can feel as bad as I like about writing this about my mother, but as I see no alternative to try to overcome my own difficulties without normal support from her. At times we got on fine, so long as I did as I was expected and told. Peculiar and negative comments relating to my circumstances, including financial. Questioning my level of communication with my own children. Expecting my not to be able to manage. Suggesting she will pay or do something for us only forget about it after. So I hope mothers in general can question what they themselves can do to make sure there is less discomfort, less stressed atmosphere radiating from them, directly toward their 'mini me', daughter. One thing I felt strongly about, if a daughter cannot relax and be comfortable in her mothers company, it may be more than just a shame. It may be soul destroying. Especially if this has been a continuous trait throughout the relationship. Reach out in some way. I cant at the moment but hope to one day in the future.

I can relate to what you are feeling, except normally I am not kept from my oldest daughter and I don't have a good relationship. I have apologized for any hurts I caused as a parent but continuously get it thrown up in my face. I recently drove 12 hours and paid to move her and her 2 children home to live with her younger sister who is a first time mom and goes to school. This is when she was losing her home and could not find a job. She has told me she never wanted to live here again! I could go on and on but don't know where to start...just keep praying for things to get better is all I can offer to you as well as you are not alone.

fzwy. There's somebody who says you get two chances to have a good parent-child relationship. When you are a child, you don't have a whole lot of control, but when you are the parent it's a whole different story. I'm glad that for you and your children it IS a whole different story. I found it useful to write a very long letter to my parents in a bound journal. Never sent the letter. Added to it once in a while. After all the toxin was out on paper it had less and less power in my life.

I wasn't sure which post to reply to but i hope someone can help. I am completely devastated about the current situation between my daughter & I. We have been arguing for the past month & i don't know what happen. My daughter turned 18 in the beginning of April. She moved in with her boyfriend in his mom's house on her b-day. I was dreading that day. I didn't want her to move so young. Actually, I would have been happy with her living at home till she was 30 or forever. Of course they grow up & move on & have their own family. So i knew i was wishful thinking. Anyway, I took her moving out very hard and still haven't gotten past it yet. She agreed to come home 2 nights a week. Well, after the first week she started making excuses not to come over & started pushing us (me, husband & her lil bro) aside & acting like his family was her family & we aren't. Mother's day, she came over to do something with her bro for his birthday for a few hrs. She texted me before she came saying "happy mother's day", once she arrived, she never said it. She went home a few hrs later, saying she had homework & would be back to watch her brother for me to go do something. Later, she made an excuse not to, then i found out she took his mother to dinner. I was heart broken. Then it turned into an argument that has completely gone to another level. There were extremely hurtful things said to me & basically said she wanted nothing to do with me & i didn't understand why or what happen to our great mother-daughter relationship. I almost missed very important end of her High School Senior yr. activities do to her not wanting me there. I went to all of the activities, but it was heartbreaking, she wouldn't acknowledge me or speak to me. I cried through all of them. After 3 weeks, she told me she was sorry & didn't want to argue or loose me, she loves me & needs me to be there. But she wasn't ready to say why she acted that way. I also apologized for arguing & for whatever i did in her life that has her feeling this way (even tho I'm not sure what it is). It lasted for a week. The night before her graduation the arguing started again. I went to her graduation the following day & was dumped on again. I had to sit in the second level while her boyfriend's family sat in the first. After, I asked her to take pictures with me, her dad & her bro, she called her boyfriend's family over & his mother started taking pictures with her camera, leaving mine out & telling her to take pictures with his family. I felt she intruded & could have waited till the mother finished. I ended up getting 3 pictures & none with her dad or the 4 of us. I was completely crushed & it was suppose to be a happy day for me also. I can't ever get that moment back. The only thing i can think of is her dad & I don't get along & there has been arguing between him & I throughout her childhood. She has expressed her concerns & we have talked about it many times, so i still am unsure why this is happening. I really hope someone can give me some advise. I am extremely hurt & need my baby girl back. Thank you

Crushed- You will probably get more responses if you start a separate thread. I think relationships can go through a sort of transition period around this time. You and your daughter have to figure out how to have an adult parent-child relationship that works for you. I would try to get her to communicate and open up about why she is putting distance between the two of you. Persist even if she is not willing to open up right away. She may still be having issues with the problems between you and her father. I think it best to be honest and express that you are hurting and would like to work on your relationship.

If you really want to heal your relationship, figure out some of the things that you have done that caused her pain, and apologize for them specifically and in detail. Nobody is perfect, so I'm sure you can think of some things that you would have done differently if you could do them over. It is remarkable what a difference a genuine apology makes.

Thank You for your suggestions, as I am going through some rough times with my 3 young adult daughters, who feel I am the responsible person for many of their problems, any suggestions on how I can get them to get along and come together.

I just found this site and signed up and found these discussions about mothers and daughters and the problems that they go through. I am having terrible problems with my older daughter and it is absolutely breaking my heart. I was a single parent to 2 daughters by two different marriages and they both live in other states. My older daughter is the only one with children right now. She is married and has a daughter and a son and because of the problems we are having I am not getting to see her or my grandbabies. This hurts worse than anything I have ever experienced in my whole life and I hope that by reading some of your experiences I may find some ways to understand and cope.

I feel no matter what I do it is never never enough for my daughter. So much anger and resentment. She had a charmed life but never appreciated or was grateful for anything. Always finds fault...I dont even no where to start...high expectations for me but no expectations for herself. I need advice on coping skills..I feel lost no talking does any good...

My daughter counted on me no matter what. Her husband is a good man. I was there for them emotionally, financially took care of their needs and was close to being the three grandchildrens mother. Last year my daughter was in a texting frenzy with an old boyfriend. My daughter has 3 degrees, a professional position and her husband the same. This other person held nothing they were on the phone all day/texting day/night. Her husband was in distress and asked us for help. When it was over she blamed me for trying to run her life. I never did anything to interfere and her friends would tell her how lucky she was to have a mother that was always there. She keeps the little ones from us does not speak to anyone in our family.our four year old will have kidney surgery next week. We live in different states I will be there to visit my mother but not sure I can go to the hospital. I have taken the fault,appologized I asked forgiveness.She has been very ill herslef this past year.

I am the mother of a 25 yr old daughter who told me the last time I saw her that I was a terrible mother and that I bummed her out so much she can't see me at all. This is my first born, once my pride and joy, and now she is the source of major sorrow and hurt. I was a single parent for most of her upbringing. It was tough but I feel that I tried my best, and this daughter seemed well adjusted and fairly happy until highschool when she developed anorexia, and one of the worst journeys I've ever been on started. She ended up in treatment at a very expensive place in Arizona. She was close to death when we admitted her- on a feeding tube and unable to eat. It almost broke us financially, not to mention the emotional toll. This is when we as parents became the bad guys, especially me. I felt that there was a profound change in my daughters attitude and opinion of me.

You are a good mom, just take a deep breath, forget what happened in past and then again start to work to make this relationship more sweet than before.