It’s a terrible choice to have to make.
Feeling like you have to choose between your partner and Mom can be gut-wrenching. Your childhood self is programmed to obey and respond to mom. You feel guilty if you don’t choose mom.
On the other hand, you know you need to choose your partner to establish trust and closeness. When mom puts you in this untenable position & doesn’t let go, this makes it hard for you to connect with and invest in your partner.
Here is how this breaks down-
When a daughter leaves home and makes a healthy separation from mom and dad ideally she transfers her primary emotional connection from her parents to her partner. This is healthy and necessary. Mom’s task is to let go and her daughter’s task is to grow up and leave.
Each has her own separate emotional task.
Leaving and being left is a necessary developmental task for both the adult daughter and her mother. If this doesn’t happen the adult daughter will not be free to invest fully in her relationship with her adult partner.
This transfer is vital to the health of the newly developed partnership.
- It is a mom’s job to let go and accept her daughter’s leaving. She needs to connect with and get her emotional needs met by her peers.
- It is a daughter’s job to enter into an equal relationship with a peer and leave behind her role as a child.
This is the way of healthy development. Each task has its own challenges and responsibilities. Leaving home and making a home of your own is the healthy trajectory, one paved with both loss and gratification.
Letting go is the path toward growth.
However, when mothers make their adult daughters feel responsible for their emotional well being, things are topsy-turvy. Only dysfunction and misery follows. Daughters resent having to care for mom emotionally. Underneath it all, they feel something isn’t right. This emotional burden prevents them from making the healthy separation they need to make for themselves. This is especially true for the daughter trapped in the role of the good daughter and part of the good daughter syndrome.
Here is how this happens –
It is one thing for a mother and daughter to re-establish closeness after a period of healthy separation. If the period of healthy separation never happens then a genuine adult closeness can never take root.
However, if a mother clings to her daughter and doesn’t let go- her daughter can’t help but feel growing resentment that ends in a mother/daughter tension that is never-ending.
Can mothers and daughters ever be close in a healthy way?
Yes, but first, mom must release her daughter into her own life in order to set the stage for a no strings attached adult relationship.
If your mom can’t let you go and you see yourself in the “good” daughter role there are steps you can take.
If you need a script to tell mom to take a step back and stop giving unwanted advice here is one that is kind and respectful. If you suspect mom might be Narcissistic, Borderline or Histrionic, or has traits of these disorders here is a way to tell.
To find out if you are trapped in the Good Daughter role -go here.
Raise Awareness. Tweet It Out.When mothers look to their daughters to be their primary partner, this interferes with their daughter's emotional growth. Click To Tweet It is mom's job to let go and accept her daughter's leaving. Click To Tweet It is a daughter’s job to enter into an equal relationship with a partner or peers and leave behind her role as a child. Click To Tweet It is one thing for a mother and daughter to re-establish closeness after a period of healthy separation. If the period of healthy separation never happens then a genuine adult closeness can never take root. Click To Tweet Leaving and being left is a necessary developmental task for both the adult daughter and her mother. Click To Tweet