Yet from high school on, her biggest struggle was that her mom was so involved in her life it was suffocating.
“You’re so busy; come home this weekend and I’ll get it all done.” Her mom did all this with the best of intentions, and she expected from her daughter in return.
Then they are free to return on their own timetable.
Just as Julie and her mom experienced from establishing boundaries, our relationships with our own daughters will actually be much healthier and the time we do spend together more enjoyable if we do the same.
We can share thoughts and appropriate feelings, of course, but it’s not a daughter’s job to be the repository of intimate details of your life. When you shape her into that role, it brings turmoil during a formative stage of her life and can mess up her own sense of identity and sexuality.
It’s vital to avoid confiding to her toxic feelings about her father (or another family member) that will negatively affect her relationship with that person. She’s still your daughter, and you are her little girl.
Being mom’s main emotional support felt spiritual and noble, especially when she had to sacrifice some of her own fun times with friends, but it was actually detrimental to the process of Julie’s learning to grow up and live her own life.
When she started pulling away in small steps during college, like spending the weekend on campus for an activity with friends, her mom asked guilt-producing questions like, “Why aren’t you coming home more? ” Being a compliant people pleaser, Julie got sucked into an enmeshed relationship with her mother.If you don’t switch the roles, the relationship will be healthier—and isn’t that what you want?Your daughter will be freer to live her life and develop her own identity, friendships, and interests.And as you are available without hovering and detached without cutting her off, she’ll have the emotional energy she needs for learning and tackling the normal challenges of her adult years.The key is balance As mothers, when we find our own best friends (in addition to close communication with our husbands, if they are in the picture), it doesn’t diminish our relationship with our daughter. We need women we can confide in and trust because developing connections with other women is part of taking care of ourselves.She got involved in a Bible study and community projects, participating in life on her own for a change. As Julie and her mom created some space from each other, their mother-daughter relationship became more open, and what her mother had longed for happened: Julie drew close and began to enjoy her mom more than ever—quite a contrast to spending time with her because she felt obligated to.