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An exploration of mother-daughter relationships by Smith Lara





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An exploration of mother-daughter relationships by
Article Posted: 05/07/2017
Article Views: 204
Articles Written: 2232
Word Count: 441
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An exploration of mother-daughter relationships


 
Health
It is a natural part of my role as a mental health therapist that I am continually challenging myself on many of the key questions of how we can guide ourselves to better psychological health. Periodically over the years, those contemplations have brought me to the subject of mother-daughter relationships, and the toxicity that can occur when the mother is not attuned.

The relationship that we, as daughters, have with our mothers is perhaps the most significant we have as girls and women. Daughters who receive insufficient maternal warmth and validation from their mothers can suffer from low confidence and a fragile sense of self. It can cause them to be wary of close emotional connection and can shape them in other seen and unseen ways.

Some of the most common mother behavioural patterns

My work as a psychotherapist has consistently brought me into contact with wide range of dynamics between mothers and daughters, many of which are far from healthy. There is the ‘dismissive’ mother, for example, whose constant undercutting of her daughter’s achievements can lead to the daughter doubting the validity of her own emotional needs, feeling unworthy of attention but also intensely longing for love and validation.

Other classic examples that I have observed down the years have included the ‘controlling’ mother, whose micromanagement of her daughter instils a sense of insecurity and helplessness in the child, and the ‘unavailable’ mother, who may withdraw emotionally at the approach of her daughter. As a daughter, you may also recognise the ‘combative’ mother who is actively denigrating, as well as the ‘self-involved’ or narcissistic mother.

Others grow up with an ‘enmeshed’ mother, the kind of mother who is far from emotionally distant but instead fails to acknowledge any boundary between herself and her daughter, and lives through her daughter’s achievements. The ‘unreliable’ mother, meanwhile, may be the most difficult type of mother for daughters to grow up with given the mixed messages that she communicates, and the potentially precarious and fraught nature of the relationship as a result. Don’t hesitate to talk to me about your concerns

If any of the above patterns sounds familiar to you or you feel unresolved pain and suffering related to parental relationships that you would like to work through, I can draw upon my considerable experience in discussing your concerns and helping you to move forward. Contact me now to arrange a consultation.

In the meantime, I leave you with a poem that speaks to my own sense of the essence of the mother-daughter relationship. It plays on the French for mother - la mère - and is titled La Mer. Please enjoy.

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