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Mommy Dearest

Dear Sugar
I am a 40 year old woman who you would think would have the Mother/Daughter relationship down pat by now, but I don't. She is a very controlling jealous person who doesn't think twice about telling me what she doesn't appreciate about me. I seem to keep hitting a brick wall with her and have run out of ways to handle the situation.

I don't live in the same state as my mother and very rarely see her, however, we talk on the phone every Sunday. When I do go home, I feel nothing but stress around her because I'm not sure when I will upset her. I have always felt sorry for her because she had a horrible childhood, but I have my own life and family now and can't handle this baggage anymore.

The thought of having her mad at me kills me. I guess I still need approval from her but I don't want to feel this way for the rest of my life. Like I said, I am already 40 years old. How much longer is this dance going to continue? Do you have any advice for me? Tormented Terra

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Tormented Terra
I am sorry to hear about your struggling relationship, but you are not alone. Many daughters have a difficult time getting along with their mothers, no matter what their age. Since your mom had a tumultuous upbringing, she could be putting extra pressure on her relationship with you and as a result is making the problem even worse.

Have you ever thought about going to therapy together? It sounds like you keep your distance from her, but if you don't tackle this problem head on, it will only get worse. Most daughters crave the acceptance, and approval of their parents so don't expect it to go away overnight.

You are both adults, try opening the lines of communication and talk to each other. Could your mom be acting this way because she feels neglected? Try to take a step back and see your mom in the same light as her peers. Does she have good relationships with her friends? Does she have a good relationship with other members in her family?

Unfortunately, you can't change your parents, but you can change the way you react to them. If you are going to accept the guilt that she gives to you, then this becomes your problem. Do you understand what I am saying to you? Try to let it go and not be bothered by her. Going to therapy on your own is a great way to work through these ingrained feelings. Good luck.

Marci Marci 10 years
I, too, was going to suggest Deborah Tannen's book. It's called 'You're Wearing That?' and I think any mother and daughter will recognize symptoms and behaviors of their relationship in there. I had a good and close relationship with my mother but we still had our things. Unfortuanately, she had passed away by the time this book came out. While I was reading it I had deep moments of sadness because I saw things in there we could've worked on if she were still alive.
Christina362536 Christina362536 10 years
i completely understand what you are saying. I have that same struggle with my mother. Hopefully as time goes on I won't feel that way anymore. I know it feels like you are stuck in a rut. just be strong and stand up for yourself!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
Deborah Tannen recently wrote a book about mothers communicating with daughters. I have heard good reviews - might be worth checking out and buying her a copy if you like it.
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