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Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Regent University professor
Former adjunct professor, Wheaton College
Former assistant professor, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA
Married to Norm, 2 children - Matthew and Kaitlyn
Ph.D., Old Dominion, Norfolk, VA
B.A., MSW, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
"I love my mother, but sometimes she drives me crazy!" There is no doubt that the mother/daughter bond is a powerful one, capable of shaping our lives forever and taking us into the future with clear notions about love, family, and connections. It is also loaded with potential to annoy or enrich you.
Dr. Linda Mintle says it is possible to have a meaningful adult relationship with your mom. She says the mother-daughter relationship is the perfect arena to develop and practice relationship building skills that form and shape every other relationship in a woman's life because the mother-daughter bond is such a close one. It's so close in fact, that you can't just forgive and forget the past. The more you learn to make peace and find a meaningful connection with your mom, the richer other relationships will be.
Linda recalls that much of her therapy practice was spent helping women deal with mother-daughter issues. Whether the relationship was great, terrible, or somewhere in between, women have areas that need to be worked through in order to develop intimacy in all their relationships. Even though it may first appear that "mom" is the root of all of a daughter's problems, Linda says this is not so. Her goal is to help women understand their moms so that they won't blame them for everything and can actually have empathy for them.
Linda warns young men to look at a girl's mom. She says that whether the girl had a good or bad relationship with her mom doesn't change the fact that in many ways he will be marrying the mom. Much of whom the mother is or was comes out in whom the daughter is. But a woman's hope is that once she is aware of some of the influencing factors of her mother-daughter relationship, she can begin to change those things that need to be changed in herself.
Linda tackles the issue of mother-daughter relationships with the tools of her trade as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and with the firsthand experience of being a daughter. She says she and her mom now have a good relationship, but they have had to work at it. Linda says they are both strong women with thoughts and ideas of their own. Linda learned to apply professional training to her own situation to break down her own attitudes and resistance to a good relationship with her mom.
Simple Effective Tips to Improve Mother-Daughter Relations
" Don't try to get others on your team. You decide how you feel without
" Change for yourself, not because someone else thinks you should or is pressuring you to change.
" Don't underestimate your mother's reaction. She may object to changes in the relationship. That doesn't mean you're wrong to make the change.
" Keep your visits limited and focused. This helps you hold onto your own sense of self.
" Write out your thoughts in a letter or rehearse a conversation using a chair so that you can put your thoughts together.
Once you have a better sense of yourself, you can learn to be more empathetic, listen better, consider your mother's worth as a person, be concrete in communicating rather than talking about feelings or vague issues, and allow yourself to see a wider, more fair view of who your mother is and was. All these tips will help you improve communication with your mom and help you to interact healthily.
Having a Child of Your Own
One big equalizing factor for many adult daughters is when they have a child of their own, particularly if that child is a girl. According to Linda, having a child or children of your own usually creates more empathy for mom. When an adult daughter begins to grasp what her mother went through and how really tough parenting can be, she can then begin to have more grace for her mother, and forgiveness and acceptance can follow.
Linda builds on principles in God's Word as the foundation on which her counsel stands. She reminds us that although the oneness we had with our moms before birth is the closest to oneness with God, human relationships will always have flaws. A daughter's yearning for intimacy and closeness is ultimately one that only God can truly satisfy. And she reminds us as we contemplate our own journey home, to look for the expressions of God's love outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 as we mother and are mothered. She says love opens up possibilities. Because of love, we can and should make the journey home again.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.