How to Heal a Mother-Daughter Relationship

mother-daughter relationship

Ideally, parents and children would have healthy, respectful and mutually beneficial interactions, but reality doesn’t always align with those perfect expectations. Many relationships are so toxic that they eventually lead to estrangement – an issue that often results from a parent failing to be supportive or respect their adult child’s boundaries. If your mother-daughter relationship is a source of anxiety or guilt, here are some ways to improve it.

1. Let Go of Resentment

Often, mother-daughter relationships have simmering acrimony stemming from unresolved disagreements. However, holding years-long grudges is terrible for your mental and physical well-being. An inability to forgive and forget increases blood pressure, heart rate and nervous system activity. On the other hand, letting go of anger and bitterness can reduce your stress levels.

2. Agree to Disagree

Mothers and daughters must remember that they are separate people with unique identities. They grew up in different generations and have had distinct milestones and memories shaping their lives. Moms and their children might have longstanding disagreements – for example, perhaps your mother had her heart set on grandkids, but you’ve decided to remain childfree. It’s vital to pinpoint where neither party is willing to budge and agree to accept those choices without judgment or hostility.

3. Set Reasonable, Effective Boundaries

Boundaries are the foundation of healthy relationships, and maintaining them is the secret to nipping mother-daughter drama in the bud before it starts. When defining boundaries, be sure to outline any behavior you view as unacceptable, then explain the consequences for stepping over the line. Be specific about the insensitive things your mom or daughter says or does. For example, you could say, “It hurts my feelings when you are overly critical about my appearance,” or, “Please don’t belittle my career choices.” You can also let her know that if she doesn’t change her attitude, you’ll start visiting her less to protect your mental health.

4. Find Shared Interests

If your mother-daughter relationship has become strained, the idea of spending time together might seem overwhelming. Still, one way to heal is to find a leisure activity you have in common and build a bond around that. If you don’t have any hobbies in common, try new things until you find something you both enjoy.

5. Work With a Therapist

The mother-daughter relationship is central to women’s identities and self-image. If you have a fraught relationship with your mother and fail to address it, you risk perpetuating the cycle of intergenerational trauma. Children who grow up with unaffectionate or emotionally distant mothers tend to be more vulnerable to developing mental and behavioral health problems later in life. A therapist can help you get past any guilt or shame you feel about your perceived failures or inadequacies, so you stop blaming yourself for your relationship difficulties.

Find Healing and Growth

At Canyon Crossing Recovery, we equip women with the tools they need to handle life’s challenges with grace and integrity. Here, you can learn how to overcome fear and anxiety in an empowering, women’s-only therapeutic environment. For more information about what we offer, including our family programming, please connect with us today.

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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