Improve Your Mother-Daughter Relationship
SM: How is a daughter's relationship with her father different than her bond with her mother?
LPG: Your father has the capacity to see you as separate from himself. That's really key. He sees you as your own unique being. It's more difficult for a mother and her daughter.
SM: You say that when a mother and daughter are too close, their potential to grow is less. How does it affect a daughter?
SMS: If, as a mother, you're continuously rescuing your daughter, then how does a daughter ever feel that she can manage on her own? That she can take care of herself? That she can become self-sufficient? That she has the right to be able to forge her own identity and her own path? What we try to talk to mothers about is that we really want to go along on the journey with our daughters, but once they become adults, they shouldn't control it. That's where it becomes too close for comfort.
SM: How does a mother-daughter relationship that's too close affect the mother?
LPG: A mother's really not able to see her daughter as a confident adult. What happens is she probably becomes more of her extreme self. For instance, instead of a mother gaining her own identity and understanding that she has brought up this wonderful adult daughter, she's acting in a way that she doesn't know where her identity ends and where her daughter's starts, which leads to all kinds of problems. A mother feels responsible for her daughter's happiness, as opposed to a mother being a partner in life with her daughter, being there as a guide, giving her a message that she's okay regardless.