Wedding Woes

You're never going to get the relationship you want from her.

Dear Prudence,

My mom and I have always had a tenuous relationship. She never agreed with my life choices or lack of religion and I never felt good enough. I tried too hard to win her approval and grew up with a lot of shame that took years and distance to heal. Since moving away, we have enjoyed a fairly cordial relationship that consisted of occasional talks on the phone and a couple of visits a year. But every time there is a visit, one of us inevitably gets hurt and my mother always throws massive tantrums poised at hurting me. However, this last trip was the worst.

She came to visit and it was nothing short of horrific. There were tears and yelling and so much stress. The straw that broke the camel’s back was that she made my child cry and doubled down by saying, “I don’t care.” She left without a goodbye and it felt more like a good riddance. But I am still struggling. I understand the fight escalated because of past traumas and triggers. I am certain there are underlying, undiagnosed, and untreated mental health issues and I feel for her and her inability to take responsibility for her actions or control her emotions. But then I also feel that that does not excuse her behavior. Part of me wants to give her grace and the other half wants to protect myself and my child from her meltdowns. I want a mother-daughter relationship with her more than anything and I have tolerated so much over the years in hopes of obtaining that. Is that desire even justified if it hurts my kids? How much more should I even allow myself to tolerate? I feel so stuck between being a good daughter and being a good mother.

—The Not So Perfect Daughter

Re: You're never going to get the relationship you want from her.

  • You need to strive for a mother daughter relationship with your own child and protect that child from a person who can actively damage it.  

    You won't have the relationship that you want with your mom but you can be clear to her about what you will and won't tolerate.  Accept that it may mean you have no relationship at all but prioritize the child - not the grown adult. 
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • Oooh boy. Your mother isn’t going to change, but you can change the pattern for your daughter. If you’re stuck between being a good mother and being a good daughter you choose being a good mother every day of the week, every scenario. Your child is just that, a child, and it’s on you to determine what you expose her to. If this has had such an impact on you, why would you want her to experience the same thing? 
    short+sassy
  • Wish in one hand...

    I mean, get therapy to process what disappoints you about this relationship and take care of your kid and surround them with healthier relationships than you had
    charlotte989875
  • Since the LW still wants a relationship with their mother, I think the best compromise is to keep it at a distance.

    Calls, text messages.  Possibly occasional video chats, if the mom doesn't cause issues.  But don't see each other in person anymore.  It's always been upsetting for the LW anyway and now they have their own child to think of.  There is little to no benefit for more visits.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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