Is my mother interested in me?

Mothers & Daughters: Why the relationship is so difficult

Of course there is, the harmonious mother-daughter relationship in which both sides feel equally comfortable. In most cases, however, this relationship is peppered with disappointed expectations, insults and feelings of guilt. Many daughters suffer from their mothers - and vice versa. Read why this is the case and how the relationship can work better. By Karin Kirschbichler

The demands are high. Very high. A mother should exude warmth and security, she should accept the daughter as she is, encourage her to go her own way, and give her a protective and guiding support whenever she is needed. A daughter wants love from her mother, the highest form of love, unconditional love: motherly love. And doesn't get it.

Why not? Because the mother is only human. “Because she probably didn't experience this love from her own mother, because she didn't have a model from whom she could learn,” says Mag. Sabine Standenat, clinical psychologist with a practice in Vienna. “It always amazes me,” adds the therapist, “that you need training for anything and everything, just not for bringing up children. That is why so many bad things are happening. "

I love you when ...
What do many daughters get from their mother instead? “Control, strict rules, and a bunch of old programs that are often subconsciously conveyed and that are the complete opposite of unconditional love. This is expressed in demands that are usually only expressed indirectly to the daughter, such as: You are only loved if ... For example: if you achieve something! ”And the vicious circle begins, from which many daughters cannot free themselves for a lifetime. They start a fight for this love by trying to meet the expectations of the mother - and fail.

“Nothing I do is good enough for her.” - “Whatever my business, my mom only has criticism for me.” - “She does not respond to me at all. It was like that in my childhood and it is still like that today. ”-“ My mother makes me sick. She wants to know about every step I take. ”These are just a few of the many daughter statements that Mag. Standenat deals with in the therapy sessions. “For 99 percent of the women who come to me, sooner or later it comes down to the difficult relationship with their mum,” says Standenat from her practice.

Never be like them!
That is not by accident. After all, the relationship with the mother has an impact on many areas of the daughter's life. About the partnership. Women who have suffered or are suffering from the lovelessness of their mother, often overwhelm their partner with the expectation of having to provide permanent proof of love. Or they unconsciously look for a partner who treats them just as lovelessly as their mother did. The relationship with the mother can also affect the child's life. It can happen that the daughter remains trapped in the role that the mother has set for her and she repeatedly catches herself uncomfortable following the role model. “You are like your mother!” - Hardly any woman likes to hear this sentence. But there are also many women who live in permanent opposition to their mother. “Never be like her!” Is a phrase often heard from her daughter's mouth. In any case, the child does not live his own life, but that of his mother. "And the daughter has to free herself from this in order to be able to find her own path and inner peace," says the psychologist.


When the relationship makes you sick
Dr. Beate Schaffer, general practitioner and psychotherapist in Vienna, explains which diseases can arise from a stressful mother-daughter relationship:

  • Functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract: often gastritis, colitis, food intolerance (e.g. from a patiently endured dominant mother who turns "anger in the stomach" into a disease).
  • Disorders of the respiratory tract: often asthma (e.g. from an over-anxious, possessive mother who “takes the air we breathe”).
  • Skin diseases: often atopic dermatitis, chronic itching (e.g. from a hostile mother, whose behavior really "gets under the skin").
  • Neurotic disorders: often anxiety disorders, hypochondriac disorders (e.g. caused by an over-anxious, possessive mother).
  • Behavioral problems with physical disorders: anorexia, bulimia (e.g. due to disturbed female identity).


The way out of the dilemma
1. What daughters can do for a healthy detachment from their mother

  • Say goodbye to the claim that you must love your mother unconditionally. Admit to her that she may not be able to.
  • Realize the reality. See the mother for who she is, not who she is supposed to be. "The liberating effect of these findings should not be underestimated," says Mag. Sabine Standenat. These insights also sharpen the eye for the mother's good sides, which one may have overlooked in the intoxication of the conflict.
  • Acknowledge all the feelings you have about your mother. “This can range from anger to sadness and pain to hatred.” This alleviates the often excruciating guilt that many daughters have towards their mothers.
  • Stop looking at your mother through the eyes of a four-year-old who is desperately pleading for love, and step onto the same level as a grown woman with her. “This is how you break the power imbalance,” the psychologist knows.
  • Find an explanation for why things went one way and no other in childhood. For example, by taking into account the kind of upbringing your mother received. Or the other circumstances in which she grew up.
  • Forgive your mother for acting this way and no other way. “That doesn't mean that you apologize for really bad childhood things that your mother might have done to you. It just means that you no longer give your mother the power to rule your life. This is the most important step towards a healthy detachment, ”says Mag. Standenat.
  • If the conversation is not possible: “There are mothers who, at the slightest breath of an attempt to address things from the past, break into a crying fit, run away and say: All the things I've done for you - and now this! In such a case, the daughter should say to herself: I cannot change her, but she still means something to me because she is my mother. But I need distance to be able to recover. "

2. What mothers can do to make the relationship a success

  • Listen to your daughter talk to you about shared experiences over and over again. And allow a second truth. “Accept that she may have experienced things very differently from yourself. Admit any mistakes and say to your daughter: I was not aware of what I was doing. I didn't mean it badly, I didn't know any better. "
  • Instead of indulging in blind reproaches, question yourself. If your daughter barely shows up at your place, ask yourself if there could be a specific reason for this. Perhaps you tend to criticize them too much, to shower them with well-intentioned but undesirable advice?