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Daughters who don't get along with their mothers......UPDATED!!

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Anyone have any stories they want to share........................................ .

 Here is the letter I'm thinking of sending to mine......

"I can’t keep pretending like everything is fine between the two of us. It hurts my soul, makes me sad, makes me angry. I try to figure out where it all changed. I can tell you exactly when, but don’t feel the need to go into detail. At this point, I wish to receive no phone calls from you. Please don’t attempt to call me once you get this letter or write: don’t call me for holidays, birthdays etc. The pretending like everything is fine has hurt my soul and I can’t take it anymore. I’ve tried to voice my opinions with you in the past but they have been disregarded and you control the situation in the end. It’s time that I stand up for myself for once in my life, I can’t keep taking this, we don’t have a relationship and I don’t want to pretend like we do. I’m doing this for me. Don’t worry I’m not angry or bitter, actually I feel rather free and with the help of therapy I feel I will find peace one day. The thing that sucks about this the most, is your going to get this letter and be in shock but if we had a relationship you would already know what’s going on, but if you just sit back and think I’m sure you can figure it out."



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That's terribly sad.   My mother and my grandmother didn't really speak for the best part of 50 years and only partially reconciled before my grandmother died a few years ago.  They were certainly chalk and cheese in personality and my grandmother was a long way from being 'parent of the year'... quite abusive, for one thing.   From what I know about my grandmother -  an orphan who ended up in a convent and went on to live a very hard life - her behaviour may not have been excusable but maybe it was understandable. 

Like you, it was my mother's decision to break contact.  Outwardly, she's a tough old cookie and would never admit she regretted the move.  But I know that it has affected her quite badly.  Losing your mother hurts at any age and in ways you don't necessarily expect.  'Blood is thicker than water', etc.

Basic fact of life is that we don't get to choose our parents and they don't get to choose us.  There are no qualifications for being a parent, or training in how to be a good one.   As a mother myself I'm very conscious that parenting is something that you very much muddle through, doing the best you can, hoping you don't screw up too badly along the way, knowing there's always a chance that when your kids' autobiography comes out you'll be cast as the wicked witch.  We say things we don't mean, make promises we don't keep, do things we regret, we're annoying and embarassing, we hurt feelings.   And kids are exactly the same.....  As I tell my son when he's being a pain in the arse, 'it's a good job we're related'.  Are you a mother yourself?

I wouldn't send that letter, personally.  Keep your mother at arms' length by all means but don't burn the final bridge.  Never say never.

If you feel the need to send this to your mother then there is a good chance that she will never admit that she did anything wrong and therefore the upset this will cause you and her will have been pointless.

I have never had a comfortable relationship with my mother and I mean never. In part lets just say that if I knew then what I know now the chances are my mother would have been locked up.

I spent 6 months not speaking to her and figured that when we did start speaking again she would have realised what she had done, but she didn't because she never believes that she has done me wrong in anyway it's always been my fault. Things were OK for a little while then she started her mind twisting crap again.

Ten years ago I up sticks and moved as far away from her as I could because I realised that the only way to stop it was for me to sort my head out. I spent 6yrs away (although I did still keep limited contact with her) and learnt to detach myself from her and her ways. I have since moved back but still at a distance and without me having said anything to her which may have caused her upset she has picked up on my detachment and realises that she can no longer touch me in anyway, that's had a more positive effect than any words ever did.

Please think very carefully before sending such a letter, you need to learn to move on from it and find a way to have a relationship with her that is comfortable for you to cope with. The day has come for you to stop blaming her for your problems, take control of your own feelings and life, you are an adult and therefore no-one hurt you unless you allow them to.

Close the book and move on, the very best of luck to you. 


It took two years of twice a week psychotherapy for me to learn how to handle my narcissistic, manipulative and demanding mother.  All my life she made me feel like I just wasn't good enough - ever.  I never felt love from her and she never supported me emotionally or took my side in hard times, and I had a few I can tell you.

What I learned in therapy was that I can't control her behavior.  But I can control how I react to it and what I do about it.  I learned to say no and stick to it without getting angry.  I learned to leave or hang up when the conversation got uncomfortable for me, before it got unbearable.  I also learned to deal with pressure from relatives who she told what a bad daughter I was being.  I simply told some people that mother hates being told no, but since I can't handle her demands I have to say no sometimes.  I learned to do this without getting mad or hurt.  It took a lot of time and it wasn't easy.

Don't send that letter.  Do change the way you think about it.  She can't do a thing to you if you don't her.  It will be worth the effort in the long run.

Good Luck!

Wow, Gi-Jane, Clairelaine and andie-joe all gave wonderful posts.. nothing more to add.

Don't send the letter.  Hold it for 6 mths. Read it when you're feeling upset.. sometimes just writing the letter and holding it is all it takes to make you fell better.

I sent my mother a very similar letter about 2 months ago.  Here's what I think the differance between should and should not send the letter is.  Is she continuing to be abusive?  I don't mean just not admiting.  My mother was.  She started cussing me, bringing up everything I'd ever done as a child, telling me I had mental issues (which I did for good reason, and through therepy have corrected), and even went so far as to tell me she thought about having an abortion w/ me b/c it would have been easier for her (and that I should somehow feel greatful she just couldn't).  I learned that I cannot control what she says/does, but I can refuse to allow the abuse to continue.  I let her know that I was willing to have an unconfortable realationship with her (as we have the past few years) with hopes of it getting better, but that I would not allow her to continue to abuse me, reguardless of her excuses (how she was raised).  I am happy with my decision, although I do wish to have a realationship with her.  I can't tell you how I'll feel in 10 yrs, but I think it was the best thing for me and my daughter.  By the way, today is my mother's birthday. I'm not going to send the letter....but I guess I still have to change the way I think about the situation. My mother is very manipulative and a control freak and dislikes my husband. The last time I talked to her she told me "I have a more special relationship with your sister." who tells their kid that? I've just got to learn better ways of dealing with it than putting her out of my life, thanks for sharing and keep sharing if you have more advice.....

all i can say, booster, is that there were many, many times when i wanted to send a letter just like that one.  i used to have a moment every time i visited when i would decide that i was leaving and never going back.  but at some point in my early 30s i decided that my parents (both of them) could only impact me in ways that i let them impact me. 

now, at 40, i'm really glad i never said or did anything that i couldn't take back.

pg, I guess I just can't wait to get to that point. I'm ready now

IMHO, it really depends on the situation.  If she is abusive you have absolutely no obligation to keep her in your life.  I absolutely disagree with the idea that we have to keep abusive family in our life simply because they are 'family'.  The whole 'turn the other cheek' mentality born of the 'cult of nice' -- it flies on the face of self preservation and sanity.  Mental abuse is no less destructive just because we can't physically see the scars and bruises.

If it is an abusive relationship, cut her off if that's what you need to do.  My sister nearly drove me to suicide when I was already depressed.  Even one of my brothers, the endless peacemaker, could only live with her alone in an apartment for 5 months (at 4 months she tried to fist fight him).  She's slowly driving away the family; even our parents see that she's only 'nice' long enough to get her way.

Not cutting her out of my life would have probably been the end.  The last thing I needed was to be told multiple times a day what a worthless person I was when I was considering the when, where, and how of suicide.  It was bad enough watching her abuse the rest of the family, who had been 'trained' to not fight back.  Real family wouldn't treat each other that way and any one who does has lost the privileges of 'family' in my book.  Especially if you are depressed don't underestimate the impact relationships gone sour can have on you.  Even a short no-contact break could make an enormous difference.

So, look at your relationship close.  It's not a trivial decision to cut someone out of your life, especially when society looks down on cutting off parents/family, but you need to do what is best for your well being.


Original Post by bootser1:

pg, I guess I just can't wait to get to that point. I'm ready now

yeah.  well, it's not magic, booster.  you can't change your mom; all you can change is your response to her.  not that it's easy, but...there's a lot of power in deciding that your emotions are your own.  you know?

OP, you mentioned therapy. Have you tried to go to therapy with your mom? She may honestly not know there is a problem, or that she played a role in it. People can put on blinders.

Family friend went through a nervous breakdown and wrote letters to his mom to tell her how her treatment of him had started the breakdown. Very touch and go for a while, but they eventually reconciled.

I would send a letter, but not exactly like the one you posted here. Talk to your therapist about what you should mention. Possibly give her a timetable and if she doesn't keep up her end, then your out. I don't normally recommend cutting out your family, so I say close the door, but don't throw the deadbolt.

I've been to therapy but can no longer afford it. I think that pg and some other people are right that I just got to change the way I think about the things she does and says...I have to not let them affect me, she has way too much power over me, very sad..I just need to figure a way to change it. Luckily, I don't live near her and don't plan on seeing her for a long time--so no family therapy is not a good idea for us. She knows what she does, I think she's aware but just used to people walking all over people and getting her  way and I won't take it anymore.

Original Post by bootser1: I'm not going to send the letter....but I guess I still have to change the way I think about the situation. My mother is very manipulative and a control freak and dislikes my husband. The last time I talked to her she told me "I have a more special relationship with your sister." who tells their kid that? I've just got to learn better ways of dealing with it than putting her out of my life, thanks for sharing and keep sharing if you have more advice.....

 It really hurts when your own mother makes sure you know that you are a disappointment.  Mine would tell everyone that she had wanted a son as her oldest child and that my father lost a bet on who among his friends would have the first son, because of me being born.  She is so nice to everyone else that nobody would believe the cruel things she's said and done to me.  My brothers are just beginning to get a clue about it and have been very kind and supportive to me.

You hang in there.  I've learned to deal with it and so will you.  We're all responsible for our own inner happiness.

Claire I can relate to that, people think my mothers the nicest person in the world ...she's a boss and some of her employees call her "mom" ....they don't understand why we don't get along, sometimes I just want to tell them the truth, that she's not all she puts on....

Original Post by m0m6:

OP, you mentioned therapy. Have you tried to go to therapy with your mom? She may honestly not know there is a problem, or that she played a role in it. People can put on blinders.

I doubt that would work if the woman is abusive and self centered.  There is no way a person like that can admit they have responsibility.   I didn't want my mother privy to my therapy because she would have most certainly used it as ammunition to belittle me further, and then I would have nothing.   I've seen her operate for too many years.

There's nothing wrong with telling her that you need a break (okay, she might call  you an ingrate and bad mouth you to everyone in sight, but there's still nothing wrong with it) and taking it.  Call her and say hey, I'll talk to you again in a month, don't call me, I'll call you when I'm ready.  This is your choice.  If she calls in the interim, say you'll call her in a month and hang up.  If well meaning friends or relatives try to interfere tell them that you'll discuss any other subject but if they have nothing else to talk about that you'll talk to them when they do have something to talk about.

I have some people (not my parents) who are highly manipulative and very needy.  If I'm around them frequently then they treat me not so great to occasionally abusively.  When I call and visit them on my terms they are much nicer and more appreciative of anything that I do for them.

After a month call her and decide if you need another month.  If she's reasonable, then talk and see how it goes.  The minute that something hurtful comes out of her mouth tell her that was mean, I'll call you next month.

I'm glad you decided not to send the letter - it would just be stooping to her level (and depending on her nature it might give her satisfaction to know that she's hurt you, or else it might just make things worse because she'd think you were trying to hurt her etc.) You say you don't live near your mother - that gives you the perfect excuse to limit contact to the extent that you feel comfortable with. Be courteous to her on the phone, but the minute she says something nasty to you, say 'I didn't call to talk about that' and if she continues, then say 'goodbye mother, I'll talk to you next month', and hang up. You don't have to be aggressive or a doormat, just take positive control of your interactions and remember - her problems are HERS, not yours.

It's important that you come to the realization that you each have a different relationship. It doesn't matter how many siblings that you have. You may share the same woman as a mother, but not the same relationship with her. My mother speaks more directly with me than my siblings. She also spends more time with me than my siblings. She calls me more than she does my siblings too. It isn't an indication of more or less love. The relationship your mother has with coworkers isn't the same one you share either. You're never going to have the relationship your mother has with others. All you can do is control and maintain your relationship with your mother. Stop comparing. I'm not jealous of my mother relationships with others. Nor do I compare them to my relationship with her to theirs. I've been accused of being the 'favorite.' I've always been perceived as such. Do I call myself that? No. However, I do have the most interactive relationship with my mother out of my siblings. The reason for which being that I pursue a positive relationship. I put forth more effort than they do because it matters to me. I call her. I visit her. I don't wait around for her to call and visit me. To pursue a relationship with me the way I want. Instead I ask her when she isn't going to be busy so I can come to her. I've always had a good relationship with everyone within my family. The reason for which being that I'll do anything to ensure it. That doesn't mean that I don't have problems with family. It doesn't mean that my mother and I always agree. It means that I control my reaction to problems. My daughter is accused of being my mothers favorite too. My older sisters rant about how my daughter gets more attention. That she is given more time and my mother always has something for her. I want to laugh in their faces. The reason my mother spends so much time with my daughter is because I set it up. My daughter calls her nana all the time. In turn my mother calls to speak to my daughter. I'll say " Lets call Nana! We love our Nana. -nods. " I arrange times for them to do things together. Sometimes that just means showing up when my mom gets home in the evening. That way my daughter can play in living room for thirty minutes with the family dog before she hugs and kisses nana goodbye. I want to ensure that my daughter has a special relationship with her grand mother. The way I go about ensuring that is making her available to be loved. They do not make their children available to my mother. I go out of my way to do so regarding my daughter and myself. That way we're available to my mother. At a certain point the relationship you have with your parents and family is your own creation.  As an adult your choose the terms to all of your relationships including that of which with your parents. As an adult your relationship with your parents is just as much your responsibility.  We can't make others show accountability for contributing to something undesirable. We can control our reaction to them.There is a point when it's not even a valid argument. The reason for which being that it's just so far gone.

I suggest that you focus on your own accountability to the situation.Regardless of past circumstances focus on the present. What can you do to ensure a better relationship with your mother? It's productive to do your part in building a secure bridge to your mother.

Original Post by bootser1: I'm not going to send the letter....but I guess I still have to change the way I think about the situation. My mother is very manipulative and a control freak and dislikes my husband. The last time I talked to her she told me "I have a more special relationship with your sister." who tells their kid that? I've just got to learn better ways of dealing with it than putting her out of my life, thanks for sharing and keep sharing if you have more advice.....

 I am the only child my mother has every told directly that she hated. Flat out.

"I HATE you." Who says that to their kid? There is nothing I can say that makes it right. What did I say in return to it at the time? "I KNOW you DO! "

It's all in how you respond to things at certain points. Four years later we were driving down the road and she said " Oooh, I love you."  and I said " I know you do. I love you too. " ....and she said " Do you remember when I told you I hated you? " Me: Yes, I do. You did at the time. -smile-

Her: No. No. I never did I just hated the way you were enabling your daddy. I'm sorry I said ...

Me: Hush. You can love and hate me all you want... I'm still your daughter.

Seriously. There will come a point that all the nonesense won't matter. I don't care if my mother says something off the cuff. She's still my mother and I'll always be her daughter. She'll always be there for me and I for her. Even if not always in the ways we want each other to be. Lol

Enchating: I see where your coming from and agree with parts and disagree on parts. I'm here to learn not to debate.

The thing is I've done everything I can do ensure a better relationship with my mother. The point where I'm at right now is trying to understand that I can't control what she does or says to me but I can control how I react (tell her I'll talk to her in a month). I don't think you should ever tell your children that you have a more special relationship with the other child or the child is a favorite, I would have never have given it a second though if she would have never have said it, it does bother me now but I do have to learn about what I let bother me so she doesn't have that control over me. It sounds like you have a perfect relationship with your mother and you try very hard. I tired very hard for years but she continually put men and my sister before me. She continually looks down at what I do in my life and makes it known. I really think I've done everything I can in the situation, also going to therapy and getting an unbiased view. All mothers aren't like yours.....In my situations, again, all I can do is change me and the way she says nasty things to me and I'm going to remember that the next time she does, I'll say "I'll talk to you next month."  Also, I don't agree ..I need happy positive energy in my life, and my mother is not there for me in that way or at least don't bring me down constantly--- I think a person deserves more.......................

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