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qwertyuiop's avatar

How to overcome mother-daughter relationship problems?

Asked by qwertyuiop (12points) July 2nd, 2010

I’m 24, single and I work for myself. My mother and I often argue with many things. she really tend to give negative comment on whatever i do, which includes skincare that i use, my clothes etc.. well, who does not feel dissed if someones always criticize…criticize and criticize. It drives me crazy seriously.

We use the same car when we go to work. I pay for most of the fuel and my salary is not that big so I think it is normal for an individual to save their every penny. The problem is, I really do not favor the way she drive the car because she does not use appropriate gear and like to accelerate suddenly, etc.. This cause quite remarkable fuel wastage, you see (proven). I often reminds her and sometimes i was being harsh. So we had a very serious quarrel where she shout at me and said ridiculous things that I think a mother should not say.

I am the only daughter in the family, so I thought that mother is being intolerant towards me all this while as the reasons to protect me. But what I see is mother is always by the boys’ side eventhough it is clear that I am in the right side. One could tell that any argument between siblings, mother will defend the boys, really.

Everyday, I try to keep our relationship better. I give little money to her every month, so does my much-bigger-earning brother. I’m the only child that give her body massage everyday (seriously), chat with her more, jokes together, serve her drinks, pluck her white hair. Of course she is happy with all these which exactly what I wanted. But yeah, unfavorable situations often come.

When I have my own problems, I always come to my mother. She would give me advices, but not being a shoulder to lean to. My friends also can give advices. But what should make a mother different is their mother-ly character. I am certainly seeking that from my mother that I would say she has NEVER give, but only to my brothers which I seldomly saw with my own eyes.

Sometimes I just cry like a small kid, alone, and I did not know what to do. I just go to sleep and wake up in the morning pretending I was okay and talk less…

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14 Answers

Seek's avatar

Hey, and welcome to Fluther.

Sometimes, we end up with parents that just don’t fit what we expect of them. We want the mother that nurtures us like precious flowers, and acts as our strong tower or our shoulder to cry on. Unfortunately, you can’t change a person’s character. It seems you have a pretty good relationship (talking, joking, caring for each other) aside from the criticising.

At first thought, I would say to stop (or at least ease up) the practice of constantly slaving for your mother in hopes of making her “like” you more. If she’s already under the impression that she deserves such treatment, any extra that you do will not be appreciated, and your hard work will be in vain. If she asks you for a drink, and you’re not otherwise occupied, fine, but you don’t have to wash her feet with your hair like she’s Jesus.

It is time for your mother to come to terms with the fact that you are an adult, and for that to happen, you should carry yourself like one. Perhaps in the middle of a criticising session, you could say “Thank you, Mother, but I like this soap – it smells nice.” and then say nothing else on the subject. An argument can only survive if two people feed it.

As far as the car… I can’t really help you. You might try to get her to pitch in more for fuel, or try to save up for an inexpensive car of your own.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I hear you and I fear it ain’t gonna get any better. My mother and I have been having serious issues for over a decade now and nothing has worked to improve things much other than scandals and me screaming my lungs out.

Coloma's avatar

It sounds as if your mother doesn’t know that her job is DONE! lol

My daughter is now 22, almost 23 and we are on a totally equal basis..I don’t criticise her, advise her or lay any trips on her whatsoever..guilt, ‘shoulds’..nothing.

My ‘job’ is done..and now we are peers.

Not to say that I would not help her or offer up some wisdom, but ONLY,if she ASKS!

Your mother sounds co-dependant.

aniisback's avatar

hey,the thing is your mother is totally attached to you,whether she accepts it or not..she has developed some kind of a bond with you that makes her think you are someway or the other the reason for her existence.if you are really worried about your privacy and life then you should have a open discussion with your mother..just make sure you communicate everything in a nice way(not a criticizing attitude) and i am sure she will definitely try to less icky the next time

janbb's avatar

I’ve got three words of advice:

Distance, distance and distance! Your relationship should improve when you are not driving to work together, not living together and not always going to her for advice. It’s not always easy to do, but your relationship will improve if you move physcially and emotionally away from her. Believe me, I am speaking from experience.

wundayatta's avatar

You sound like English is not your native language. If you come from a different culture, that would be useful to know. The rules are much different in Asian or Spanish cultures than they are in a typical WASP home.

I suspect that it would be very difficult for you to move out, but if you can, I think that’s what you should do. It sounds like you love your mother very much, and you want her to treat you more respectfully. She may feel it is a daughter’s duty to serve her as you serve her. It is your place. Particularly if she comes from a culture where that is normal.

It sounds like you are trying to buy her affection. You pay a small rent and you provide all these services, and in return you expect advice (which you get) and a shoulder to lean on (which you don’t get).

I’m not sure you get good advice. If you are from a different culture, I’m sure the advice wouldn’t be appropriate for the US. But perhaps you don’t live in the US?

You can’t buy your mother’s affection. She loves your brothers and thinks you are a servant. An American might try to have a direct, honest talk with their parent. But most likely they would just move out, or try to stay as far away from their parent as possible.

In your case, you need to get her respect. I have bad news. I don’t think you can. I think you have choose—do you want to stay like this until she dies, or do you want a different life.

Of course, problems like yours are not exclusive to any culture. I’ve been trying to earn my parents respect all my life, and I don’t think I’ll ever have it.

MaryW's avatar

You actually are on the correct tract for reaching your own maturity. One of you has to grow up and realize that the other is who they are. Then you keep loving Mom and giving but realize that she IS who she is and may possibly not change. At some point we love ourself and think through the process and then we find a sudden peace. Not to say of course that the flaws in the relationship will still not arise. You can be prepared for the problems and not allow them to control your happiness. When my Mom got ( she is deceased ) silly critical I just kissed her and say see ya later and left. I left the room, walked around the block, or went home. I can truely love her but I sure do not like the uncalled for criticism and second besting. I did not sit through it. It shortened some holiday phone calls too. I love her and she was a great mom in a kazillion ways. She just was never satisfied with my efforts at anything. Her problem not mine.

MaryW's avatar

On one more note, I percieve that you are more mature than your mom so do not expect her shoulder to lean on. She just simply can not be stronger than you. Have fun with her and continue with your maturity growth. You are a good daughter and your mom can not give you advise…maybe because she can not separate the idea that her words are only advice now and you MAY use it or not. She may be forever stuck in the idea that she must criticize you to better you.

Marva's avatar

Sometimes the best way to overcome a situation, starts with accepting it.
This is your mother: She critisizes everything you do, she has a problem to be at your side, to give you a shoulder to lean on, she has no gratitude for your endeavoring actions, she is a bad driver, and more.
Accept it. She is the way she is.

Once accepting it, you can free yourself from doing all of the things you do to try and make it better, because it won’t be better: you can stop seeking that shoulder to cry on, because you won’t have it and running into this wall just causes you pain. you can stop expecting her to judge in your favor when you fight woth your brothers, because she won’t.

And you can start to just be yourself: do only the things you want to do, give her only the money you want to give (or not), use only the skincare products you want to use, seek another shoulder to cry on, seek support outside of the family, don’t let her drive your car if you don’t want her to.

I know it’s hard to give up these mother-love-symbols, but you are not recieving them anyway, so the least you can do is spare the pain of constant disappointment.
In the bottom line, she does love you very much, she just has a diffrent concept of showing it. I agree it is a shitty way of showing it, but even that won’t change her.

Being your own person, making your own descisions and having your own support system will give you the strength and love you need and will help you feel happier in your own life. you are 24, this is the time to enjoy life!

If you do this, and become a stronger, independant, happier person, eventually your mother will feel that, she will feel that you no longer need her, she will respect it, and eventually she will then seek for your love.
You might find then, that she will voluntarily give you everything that you were trying to achieve.

Good luck!

YARNLADY's avatar

These answer are very good. As stated above, you cannot change her, but you can change the way you react to her. Try to say “thank you” whenever she criticizes you. Hear that as her offering help, in her own inappropriate words.

If you familiar with the Harry Potter books, several characters in that book are shown ‘helping’ Harry by using similar tactics.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It sounds like your relationship with your mother is both mother-daughter and as friends. You need to treat your mother respectfully because she is your mother, but you are too much in each other’s business, and you need a little more separation and privacy. If you are not happy with her driving, suggest that you drive, or change your schedule and take public transportation. Talk over your personal life with girlfriends instead of your mom, if you can.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@qwertyuiop, in re-reading your question, and not knowing where you are from, I would have to think that the difference in how your mother treats you and your brothers has to do with how your mother was raised. Many cultures prize male children and see the role of female children to take care of the parents. Maybe you should stop doing the things that you do for your mother, like the massage and the hair-plucking, and whatever else you do, for awhile to make her aware of what you do by the absence of it. It is only then that you will be able to have her attention to have a conversation about how she treats you.

You are living up to the expectation of obedience. Your brothers don’t have that same expectation, or if they do, it’s for something else, like being successful.

ericnueman's avatar

Older folks are less apt to change old deeply ingrained habits… It’s very good to be the example when with your parent.—And it’s very good to have a vision to move away from family eventually to start living & thinking on your own without their attitude problems as much as we love each of them. I’ve come clear over to another continent and remain in prayer for my loved ones & am doing better. have tremendous helps concerning relationships & critical spirits etc…See issue guide to the left of the home page.


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