Hopefull's picture

Strained Mother Daughter Relationships

I am having a difficult time developing a relationship to my 21 yr. old daughter. As I have read through these boards, I can see that I'm not alone. I relate to many posts that I've read, however, there are more people asking for advice then there are concrete steps to resolve some of the issues. The one bit of advice offered over again was to write a letter apologizing to our daughters in order to open the lines of communication. I have not tried that so I will definately do that but I wanted to open this discussion so that as some of us work through our relationship issues we may be able to share our feelings, advice and pitfalls to avoid with each other.

My specific problem is that my daughter has shut me out of her life, she has pent up anymosity towards me, unforgiveness, a sense of entitlement and that she does not take any responsibility for her part in our issues.

mayamay's picture

Just a word about your letter. To have the most healing effect, your letter should be all about you. I know that sounds odd. It should only talk about what you did wrong, what effect you saw it had on her, and how sorry you are.

Even saying 'I hope you can forgive me' may decrease the positive impact of the letter. A follow-up letter after about a week could be the method for communicating that hope.

As for her responsibility in the conflict, write a separate letter about that. Write several drafts if you need to. Write a final copy, burn the drafts, and keep the letter in a secure place where no-one will ever see it, even after you are dead.

Daysy's picture


Me, too! My daughter will be 36 in Oct, (I am 56) and we have been strained since my divorce from her father in 1988. He remarrried a woman who lived across the street from us then, (she was married, the homewrecker) and now together they have turned my children away from me.I have most details in my profile of it all. I don't even know where to start to fix things. I can only apologize so many times, and time & time I have. She has completely shut me out. Heartbroken Here!

cwoofter's picture

I am having the same issue with my 29 yr old daughter shutting me out of her life. She too has displayed the same things as your daughter. Now she has shared those same sentiments with my 24 yr old son and his wife and now they have shut me out. I can't even see my grandchildren. I'm sorry I don't have any advice; I came here seeking some just as you.
This has been going on for over 8 years off & on like a roller coaster with my daughter, but just recently an episode happened whereby my daughter thought she needed to step in and tell my son something I had shared with her. It turned out now that he and his wife won't talk to me.
Any advice from anyone would be great.

Mawt28's picture

This past years has been very traumatic for me-my husband was diagnosed with HD, In Mar 2010 our son,age 22 was diagnosed with malignant brain cancer, HD and now suffers with awful seizures. Both husband and son have attempted suicide several times since March 2010.

I truly believe that I am suffering from PTSD from all the trauma. My doctor is treating me with meds..but I just couldn't keep my emotions in check and my mouth shut, I struck out verbally..literally acting crazy.
The other children seem to understand, but my daughter will not forgive..she has cut me off completely.
Now I need to know what to do? I want to write a letter, using the words me, me, me, but still want to explain myself as not being 'myself' due to the extreme stress. I want to explain to her, but it sounds like excuses. Do I wait it out?..write her?..she won't take my calls or answer email....her other brothers and sisters have contact with me..but she has shut me out completely!!

Mom22199's picture
I have 1daughter and 2 sons. I have always been very close to all of my children. My daughter is a senior in college and our relationship is so strained now. She used to share everything with me. Now, she is very short in responses and does not like when I give her advice or opinions about anything. She is very quick to criticize me and be quite disrespectful towards me. I hope this temporary.
mayamay's picture
Once my children are 14, I pretty much keep my nose out of their business, and only offer advice if they ask for advice. I told my children as they got married that they could only tell me about problems in their marriages AFTER they had spoken to their spouses about those problems. I told them I would NOT ask them about their plans for having children, though I would certainly want to be a resource for them if they were having problems. Putting the responsibility for communication on their shoulders has made it so that we are more open and more involved. Your daughter is an adult. Be respectful.
sammyd's picture
my daughter as hurt me so many times, she is 28 is married and as two beautiful children.my husband and i have helped them with money as they got into a lot of debt we have also been there for here when things were not going too well for them in there marriage but we never tried to interfer with there problems we were therefor her to have a shoulder to cry on.they manage to get over there problems and carry on. since then things have got worse between us her husband as never really got on with me and my husband, he never speaks to us not even before they had problems,he makes no effort to make us feel comfortable when we have visited them,At xmas me and my daughter had a arguement she told us that all that matters to her is her husband and the kids anyone else is not included in her family unit and she does not care about them. i love my daughter and the gran kids but they wont let us visit them now im so gutted , ive since heard that she now considers his mum her family,
TinkerShelley's picture
I had the worst relationship w/my mom 2much2share I hated her&moved out@17. @39 Ihav a daughter..16&vowed 2 do everythin better. Talks, homework, charts, etc-everything! Now, mom&I r besties. I learned the hard way bt understd the stress’ parents endure. &my 16yrold just moved in w/Dad4the3rd time. What will I do? NOTHING! U lov ur kids&worked hard2raise them, sacrificed,etc. U hold ur head hi, even w/few mistakes, bc u did the best u culd.B proud of urself&let her go. If any letter? List all u did 4her. Adding she will NOT use ur relationship as a weapon, or she will lose ur lov also. I lost yrs w/my mom&I regret it. Better 2understand tho. They WILL come around! Bc of learning or they need u. Bout the hubbies bein the ‘world’? PERFECT! More time 4u, go out w/frendz or vaca? Even I c that won’t last&shell call sooner than u think. As 4the grankids? Sux! No 1 shuld use kids as a pawn. Take em2court 4visition or ride it out. Jst b sur2send cards/gifts 2the kids. Good luck.
imarockstar's picture
I am 21 and my relationship with my mom is strained. One of our problems is that she expects me to open up to her about everything going on in my life without telling me anything happening in hers. To have authentic communication the street has to go both ways. If you want to know about your daughter, let her know things about you. You're never going to know anything about your daughters life if you pester her for it. I feel to have a successful relationship with your 21 year old you need to respect her privacy. My biggest problem with my mom is when I do try to open up to her she tries to give me advice in areas where i dont feel a. that it is necessary or b. that it is appropriate. My suggestion is to bring your daughter out. Dont use this opportunity to talk about the issues in your relationship but instead try to create new memories like going for a bike ride or out to dinner at a comedy bar. Give her an opportunity to come to you when she needs to talk or needs your advice.
colalynn's picture
I am 23 years old and still at my home with my parents and I have a 3 year old son. I thought with the help with my son would be better environment but I learn its just getting worse. Me and my mother has horrible fights all the time and its mostly over my son. She acts like I am a bad mother and trys to do everything for him,and if I try to be a mom I just get push away. I love my mother buts its hard to stand her anymore and im so unhappy here. My mother is not talking to me and we just had another huge fight over me moving to Georgia with my military boyfriend and my son. I need advice on what to do since every time I try to move out she gets all mad at me and goes overboard so I just back out and I am so afraid of my moms ways I will lose the love of my life and she wants to keep my son all to herself.