My mom and I were estranged.
People look (and still look) at me strangely when I tell them I didn’t go wedding dress shopping with my mom. Am I a bad daughter because of that?
Because I was being responsible to keep myself safe.
Safety is something every daughter needs.
And when a mom is not aware of what she is doing that makes her daughter feel unsafe, then there is an increased chance that their mother-daughter relationship will become estranged.
WE WERE AN ESTRANGED STATISTIC
The statistic: By the time a daughter becomes an adult and has her own children, 52% of them will be estranged from her mom.
Estrangement defined is “…a state of being alienated or separated in feeling or affection; a state of hostility or unfriendliness; a state of being separated or removed.” In psychology, it refers to a broken or disrupted family relationship in which family members have reduced or stopped communicating and interacting with each other.
For me and my mom, we became estranged over time. It wasn’t one “big event.”
It was the “little things” – the criticisms, critiques. For my mom, there was always that needing “to have the last word” on a matter, which would undercut my sense of confidence as a person. My mom just had a way of saying that one “little” comment or giving me that “look” (a.k.a. micro-expression) that would cut like a knife.
So, by the time I went off to college at Brown University, I felt that I earned my first breath of fresh air. Yet, by the time I graduated college, I realized that she was still my mom and I needed to find a way to interact with her; but at a (healthy) distance.
HOW TO BE OKAY WITH ESTRANGED DISTANCE
It took nearly 5 years for the both of us to reach our new “happy place” with each other. And I felt safe enough to tell her “I love you” and for the sentiment to be reciprocated… lovingly and with no strings attached.
That new understanding between us became a safe space within which I could matter-of-factly tell her, “I am going wedding dress shopping,”… and be okay with the silence…and eventual albeit delayed, “Okay” response from her.
How did I come to that decision point?
What I tell my one-on-one mom clients is that when you are navigating an estranged relationship with their mom, you need to…
Know what’s going on in your B.E.D.™
By a B.E.D.™ Check, I mean that you need to pause to consider (#PTC) what’s going on in your:
Body: What physiological reactions are you having before, during, and after you interact with your mom?
Energy: What is your energy level after interacting with your mom?
Demeanor: How do you tend to behave, what is your countenance, and with what manner do you interact with the other people around you after interacting with your mom?
Once you know what’s going on in your B.E.D.™, then your can make the adjustments needed to be okay with the degree of estrangement in your mother-daughter relationship.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR B.E.D.™
Start your healing process now!
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