Mother Daughter Conflicts

khandiMay 24, 2008

An ex-friend of mine (I'll call her Ann) told me when we first met and we were both newly married with babies that she didn't get along with her mother at all. In fact, she said the reason her parents divorced was because her mother would "freak" out often.

Fast forward... Ann has two kids (2 and 3) and her father lives with them. Father tells Ann that she has no patience with her kids, etc. Whenever I was visiting, I found that she had a lot of patience. But then... there were SEVERAL times that I appeared at her door and heard her screaming hysterically at the kids. Twice at my own daughter while she was babysitting her!

Fast forward again... Today, she is divorced from her husband and her daughter (15) is EXACTLY like her. Ann is like her mother, and Ann's daughter is exactly like her! The 15 year old daughter has trouble socializing and keeping friends because of her outbursts. She tends to get involved in other people's business by freaking out at them and starting gossip.

It's kinda weird how this "character trait" has followed mother and daughter over 2 generations. Ann and her daughter have tried counselling, but it didn't work. She's freaked out at her daughter so many times for actually stupid reasons. Has even kicked her out of the house! Her daughter is in the 10th grade and has received the highest award for academic excellence in all her classes for 2 years in a row! She doesn't smoke, drink, or do drugs. They tend to "freak out" at each other all the time. Daughter tells her friends that her mom is crazy! The ex-husband has MS and Ann has some how "polluted" her kids' heads with stuff about their dad. How he was a nuissance, irritating, etc. That they'd had enough of him! He's got MS for goodness sakes!

The daughter is very smart academically, but lacks social intelligence. Like her mother. And both have little friends because they tend to stab people in the back too often.

Sometimes we see in others things that we fail to see in ourselves.

My husband tells me that I'm just like my dad, and I tell him that he's just like his mother. LOL Ironically, he will say things about his mother that really bugs him (how stubborn she is, doesn't really listen when you talk, etc.). That's when I tell him that he's the same way and now he knows what I go through with him! LOL

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dirtboysdad

One of the things people who rail about their parents or in-laws fail to see is how very much like the person about whom they are complaining they themselves are. Or how like an reviled in-law a spouse will become.

"Oh, my husband is not like his mother at all. He's sweet, considerate, etc., etc., etc." To which my response is: just give it time and you'll see that he has many of her traits.

Unfortunately, it often takes years of maturing before one can see that - and by that time, a great deal of damage to a relationship could have been done.

I would wager, khandi, that if you'd known the grandparents and greatgrandparents of your friend, you would have seen those traits back then also.

You can't get away from your family - they are always with you.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 2:20PM
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stargazzer

I think this kind of thing is in the genes. My youngest is just like his Dad and was from the first, before he was even aware of his Dad's characteristics. My oldest on is just like my Dad and he died before my son was in school. I am sure this can be learned but it's not so in our case.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 6:20PM
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popi_gw

I think, because I know how my mother behaved...it makes me NOT behave that way.

She was an anxious sort of person, sometimes negative and rather phobic...so I am well aware of what it was like to be the daughter of someone like that, and how that affected her and others.

Its made me cautious about ending up like her !

We don't have to end up with the negative traits of our parents, do we?

My parents where authoritarian, in their disciplining...but I am certainly more along the lines of positive parenting with my children. Once again...I was the child of that parenting...but that made me think, when it was time to rear my own children...that there must be a better and fairer way to raise children.

Good discussion.

Cheers.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 4:03AM
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stephanie_in_ga

I don't know what makes some adult children follow their parents negative ways and what makes others take the opposite path. I think it has to be a decision, like Popi, to take another path. Also, the other path has to be learned from somewhere. I think there are some people who, sadly, grow up never knowing there really is another path to choose.

I have an aunt who was (I'm sorry to be so blunt, but it's true) a terrible mother. She just could not take care of herself, much less others. She had two daughters who have chosen different paths quite deliberately. One married a man with children, had a couple of their own, and have custody of all. She studied child development and stays home w/all of them. She devotes herself to learning and being a good mother/teacher to her children. Emotionally, I think she not only wanted that for her own children, but she wanted to "fix" it for her husband's children (who don't see their bio-mom) like no one fixed it for her/her sister.

Her sister is 30 and still solidly devoted to not marrying/having children to screw up. LOL. But she is very supportive of her sister, helping w/neices and nephews.

I worry about both of my cousins and the lasting effects of their childhood. They seem to be "over it" but sometimes I see how it defines them and their choices. They had to have other influences to counteract their own home life. They have told me it is MY mother, not their own, they look to as an example. They would spend weeks w/us in the summer and they have recently told me what a relief that was to them.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 1:09PM
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popi_gw

"Also, the other path has to be learned from somewhere."

I read LOTS of books, and still do, on different ways of looking at life. There is always a better way...or a different way...worth exploring.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 6:31PM
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