Can your mother empathize with you? Can she get past her defensiveness and put herself in your place? What if the answer is no? What if she doesn’t get you and never will. How do you let go of the hope that she will and move on with your life? What if you need to get past this, claim your life for yourself and parent your daughter.
First of all -this can be hard, very hard. Those of us who have traveled this road can tell you, there are are some things that don’t get better just because you continue to try. Trying to get a mother understanding when it isn’t in the cards is one of those. There comes a time when you need to be your own witness.
As hard as this is, it may be the only way to freedom. Trapped in the role of the “good daughter” of your difficult mother, you bear the mark of your mother’s pain in this way- You have put your mother’s needs ahead of your own. In the relationship dynamic, you had no choice. To end this cycle, you might need to face the fact that justice is only going to come from you, and that will have to be enough.
The little girl in you wants for mom to understand and approve of you. You have worked so hard to be good for mom. But what if you need for her to understand that she is hurting you and she just can’t give you that one? Because of her limitations, she can’t put herself in your shoes and see things from your perspective. Some mothers just can’t. And you have your own little girl looking at you…needing you. She needs you to be there for her. It is decision time.
At some point, the only relevant question becomes whether or not you are going to spend a lifetime trying to be heard and seen by someone who just can’t see you or hear you. If you’ve talked yourself blue in the face and find yourself always on the defensive, chances are there isn’t anyone home- psychologically speaking. At least not enough of reflective self to take in what you have to say. Whether she is narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, depressed, addicted, a toxic combo or you have simply hit a hot-button issue, she might be incapable of taking in what you have to say.
How do I know? I’ve heard many a daughter, trapped in the role of the Good Daughter on my therapy couch describe this same scenario over and over. Unconsciously, you blame yourself and stay tied to a mother who can’t truly empathize with you falsely thinking if you could only get it right then mom will understand and accept you.
If mom can’t empathize with you, you cannot experience the understanding you hungry for. So, one more explanation that falls on deaf ears is one too many. Let me save you some time, trouble, and possible therapy dollars. As difficult as it is, at some point, you are better off cutting your losses, grieving, and moving on. Calmly, peacefully and thoughtfully, but definitively.
To continue in the exhausting exercise of explaining yourself reaches a point of diminishing returns.No one can tell you where this point of diminishing return is. You have to sort it through for yourself. No contact, low contact, or reconfigured contact. But somewhere, sometimes, you will need to let go of explaining yourself to get free.
Whether you are giving up being understood on a certain hot-button issue or need more of a relationship overhaul, that is up to you. Either way, giving up and letting it drop is hard. Mom may have limitations she cannot get past. Staying angry with her doesn’t necessarily get you anywhere. It only keeps you stuck and feeling guilty. The positive grown-up thing to do is to accept the loss and give up wishing she was different. You can use that same energy to decide to be different yourself.
To find out if you suffer from the Good Daughter Syndrome – go here.
DO YOU EXPERIENCE THE "GOOD DAUGHTER" SYNDROME?
Do you have a Narcissistic or Difficult Mother? Are you the "Good Daughter"? The Rebel? or The Lucky One? Take the quiz and find out!