Daughters and Their Mothers – Cutting the Cord

Daughters and Mothers – Cutting the Cord

Cutting the cord has always seemed to me to be too simple a statement of the process of daughters letting go of their mothers.   “Sawing the cord” would perhaps better  describe the long process of a daughter’s separation and individuation process.  This theme of a  daughter’s individuation has been the most common thread in all of the women clients I have treated over the years.  I have decided to start recording some of the stories of this struggle so if there are any readers of my blog out there who would like to share some of their own personal struggle with their mothers   I would appreciate the input.   Names and particular circumstances would of course be confidential.  Share what or as much as you want.       
Simple questions come to mind as I remember women clients I’ve treated.    How to stop the daily phone calls?   How to stop her dependence on me to make sure she is not alone at holiday time? How to encourage her to have a life outside my life and my children?    How do I handle my own feelings of duty and obligation so that I can say “no” and not feel so guilty?     How much separation do I really want?  How much do I want her in my life? How can I love her and yet not feel strangled?    
In the therapeutic setting the first things we explore are the family history and the cultural values and then move on to how much of that the client wants to keep and how much needs to be examined as problematic and relinquished.  The woman can identify that she is stressed, unhappy, angry; however, she is usually  unable to identify the patterns that cause those feelings.     It is almost impossible to sort out the causes when you are upset and especially in a relationship with all the loaded emotions of mother – daughter. 
My own relationship with my mother was very conflicted and there were many hard  struggles in my quest to be who I am.    She has been dead now twelve years and I still miss her.  She was my “safe enemy”.   I have known a few women who have peaceful relationships with their mothers. Perhaps they are lucky, however, they are not the norm.    It’s very hard to become an adult especially when you have a mother who does not want to let go.     

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