Ever since I can remember, starting from when my mom and dad got divorced, I was ill treated by my relatives on my mother’s side. I am not sure why it was but perhaps because I maintained good relations with my father despite the divorce. My father was never around since I can remember and I can recall being bullied by harsh words and being mocked at in front of my mother but she would never say anything. Sometimes they would say really nasty things about my dad in front of me and mock me for talking to him, other times they would call me anorexic although I was average fit for my age at the time. I didn’t know even the meaning of anorexia at that time, I must have been 10. Once during my exams, I remember having a huge argument with my mom over how her relatives treat me that way and how she doesn’t stand up for me. I must have been around 14 that time. But my mom always told me to be patient and that family is family. Once I told my Dad and he went in to a fit of rage and threatened my mother that he would take me and since then I got scared to share with my Dad so I only had my sister to really lean on to. But she was a different personality and would always be very silent. It’s been years since then and every year we experienced in our lives not one has gone by where we have not been criticized by them despite our mom having raised us all by herself. They neither helped us but it seemed were only there to criticize us. As I grew up I felt no sense of belonging and wanted to be away from them. My mother still tolerates whatever they do because she loves them despite the things they do. But when they treat her badly I have to hear it like a part of my life even if I no longer live with my mom. I am afraid if this continues I might lose needing my mom in my life ever which I feel guilty about. (From Malaysia)
I’d rather see you struggle with the guilt of detaching from your relatives and mother than add to the resentment from their bullying and your mom’s lack of empathy or support. I don’t think it has to be declared or made a big deal. Rather, expect less from them and continue investing in your own growth and development separate from your family.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Mother Daughter Relationship Strained. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/11/11/mother-daughter-relationship-strained/
Last updated: 9 Nov 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 9 Nov 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.