"You told me you weren't seeing him anymore, you lied to me!"
"He texted me that he was in town and just wanted to get together for lunch. What was I supposed to do?!"
What follows is about negative relationships that seem to take on a life of their own... ending and being reborn again and again. We're not talking about the healthy ones!
Dating is difficult at best. Finding a great companion is no easy task. Mothers and daughters who are close tend to discuss relationships. Communication is great. But what often transpires is sometimes more frustrating and destructive than harmonious and helpful. No one is to blame!
Old habits die hard, and past relationships tend to rekindle, carrying with them lots of baggage and trash that calls for a reassuring talk with Mom.
Often, it's a daughter turning to her mother for advice when her feelings are ambivalent, even knowing -- albeit subconsciously -- the suggestions won't be liked or taken. Sometimes it's looking for approval or to relieve guilt.
Spiraling out of control might be an apt way to discuss common mother/daughter interactions in this scenario. Let's talk about defusing and helping prevent these emotionally draining interactions.
If you share a history of 'battling' over dating choices, now's a good time to be mindful and determine how to achieve a more positive outcome.
We'll begin with a Mind Acrobatics exercise to help you set boundaries that will minimize stress and champion positive interaction.
Exercise: "What I'm Really Willing To Hear & Accept"
Time: 20 - 30 Minutes
Materials: Pen, paper, music and comfort food
Place: Anywhere relaxing with no distractions
*Special Instructions: For this exercise you may choose whether or not to write down what comes to mind. The key is about raising awareness.
- Spend a few minutes slowly breathing in and out.
- Recall positive moments you've both shared over the years.
- Begin writing about great dates your daughter has discussed.
- Relive the good feelings when your daughter has been happy.
- Move on to negative relationships.
- How did your daughter feel? What was the impact on you?
- Perhaps you said some things that seemed to help. Recall them.
- What utterances if any triggered anger and resentment?
- On a scale of 0-10 how stressful were the discussions?
- Did they ultimately end positively?
Unfortunately, we can't live our children's lives. We can empower them and share the benefit of our experience and knowledge. Expecting our advice to be taken verbatim is a recipe for emotional anguish! It's not healthy, is stressful, weakens our immune system and ultimately contributes to deterioration of the relationship.
No matter how close a bond you have crafted with your daughter there are things she will never share and advice she'll never take. The key is to determine how to accept what you don't want to hear and share what you feel you must.
It's understandable for a mother to become incredibly frustrated when her daughter seems to make the same mistakes over and over. This is particularly the case in those never ending self-perpetuating relationships that disappear only to return at a later date like an old moldy tomato buried in the back of the refrigerator.
Perhaps your daughter has told you she is over "John" and she hasn't seen him for eight months. Suddenly you get a call that she is spending the weekend with him but they are not back together. Or perhaps she has decided to date him once again. The scenarios are endless.
It's very important to understand what your daughter is experiencing in the moment and how you can be of most assistance.
As a Mom it's difficult to be supportive of what you believe to be a negative relationship. However you can determine the calmness of your reaction should one arise in discussion.
Every situation is different and you must be guided by what you feel will work best. Simply plan the type of initial response you feel will be most effective, then listen and respect what your daughter has to say.
The key to establishing and maintaining a healthy dating communication relationship with your daughter is determining in advance what you will and will not accept, what you can or can't deal with and the level of autonomy you are able to grant her.
Define 'your boundaries' and stick with them. You'll find that in most cases this will be effective and help reduce stress.
Naturally there will be occasions which drive you to distraction. Guys you just can't bear to see your daughter with and advice you feel absolutely must be given no matter what the response will be.
The key is that you have created an effective communication protocol for interaction with your daughter. You have built a sturdy relationship. If the need arises tell it as you see it and say exactly what you think. It will be far more effective when you have a history of respectful and empowering interaction.
This article is based upon years of coaching moms and daughters. No two families or situations are the same. However open communication, respect for one another and empowerment are universals that contribute to the healthiest family relationships.
I welcome your comments and thanks for reading this article.
Visit my HP BIO PAGE for additional articles on dating and strategies for creating and implementing empowering life change.
Contact Life Coach Dave Kanegis at: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.
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