Why Communication With Our Mothers Can Be So Difficult

There are a lot of reasons why many adult children find it hard to talk to their mothers 

My relationship with my mom has been complicated for many reasons. It wasn’t so complicated when I was a kid. But as I grew up, our relationship dynamic became more complex. 

I believe many daughters can relate to the main reasons why relationships are hard concerning mothers. My mom doesn’t listen to what I have to say. If she does, she becomes defensive right away rather than showing understanding and open-mindedness to get a better sense of where I am coming from. 

Everything comes across as an attack when all I’m trying to do is communicate and express how I’m feeling. I’m trying to do these things to better our relationship. I’ll give you an example of this behavior. I still very much want to improve my relationship with my mom. And the best way for me to do that is through writing her a letter explaining and expressing myself. I had thought that this would be the best way to go about it because my mom is very reactionary and defensive. So how did she take this letter? Not well at all. She said it was the most hurtful letter she had received. She chose to see it as an attack on her when it wasn’t. 

I personally believe that it’s so hard for mothers like mine to truly listen and understand our perspectives because they didn’t have that with their own mothers.  

Therefore, they might have a lot of unhealed pain and trauma. But they refuse to do the healing work because they might start to see where their behaviors come from. They don’t want to take responsibility for their recovery or take accountability for their actions. By not doing that, they may be more harmful to their relationships with their kids, especially mother-daughter relationships. 

This can unfortunately cause some resentment from daughters because they might see that defensive behavior early – or later in life, as I did – and you recognize that you don’t want to have those same behaviors.  So you do the work, and you find healthy coping mechanisms – journaling, therapy, or finding your group of people who listen to you actively and support you.

So after you do all the necessary work, you feel better, but your mom is still who she is. 

What do you do? It will be hard to hear, especially if you desperately want a relationship with your mom: absolutely nothing. I know it’s hard, but that’s what you have to be willing to do. 

If she wants that relationship you wish she did, she’ll do the work necessary to work on herself and, in turn, be willing to work on her relationship with you. If and when generations of moms do that work for themselves, not anyone else, mother and daughter relationships will be healthier and happier.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


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