Toxic Mother-Daughter Relationships: Sometimes The Differences Are Irreparable

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Like every other bond, mother and daughter relationships also have issues that are often beyond repair. Bollywood has mostly romanticised the relationship between a mother and daughter- portraying them as dedicated caregivers or friends. But in real life, many mother-daughter relationships are marred by resentment. It is important to discuss such relationships too because it helps women accept that there is no one way of having a “normal” relationship with their mother.

A mother-daughter relationship is considered one of the most strongest and sacred bonds in society. The bond involves the interaction of women of different generations and generates a space of balance between two different thought processes. But sometimes the same generational difference leads to an unrepairable rift in the relationship. I am talking about those mothers and daughters who refuse or are not able to maintain a balance in their relationship. While the mother is bent on imposing patriarchal norms on the daughter, the latter villainises her mother for oppressing her.

Neither are mothers ready to unlearn their patriarchal conditioning nor are daughters ready to budge from the expectations they have in life and try to forgive their mothers.

Let us accept that unlearning patriarchal biases is not an easy task. It is like the basic lessons of life that have made a home in people’s minds. While on the other hand, it is not right to change the new mindset that completely defies the patriarchal biases. The problem however is that when it comes to a rift with a stranger, you can sort it by putting a distance between them and yourself or entirely going separate ways. But when you have to live under the same roof and face each other daily, the situation only aggravates the discord.

Patriarchy’s role in toxic mother-daughter relationships

Patriarchy often plays a significant role in pitting women against each other and this holds to from mothers and daughters as well. Mothers with an orthodox mindset forces their daughters to dress a certain way, speak and laugh in a lower tone and not follow their ambitions. They obsess over their daughter’s looks and police their life to ensure that they do not do anything which could lead society to label them as “bad” girls. Such mothers are more likely to push their daughters into marriage as soon as possible. The imposition of patriarchal values doesn’t stop here. Mothers also insist that their daughters produce male heirs for their family. When the circle completes, a patriarchal mother has turned her daughter into another version of herself who will rear her own daughter just the way she did.

Suggested Reading: Why Can’t Parents Interfere In The Issues That Their Daughters Are Facing In Marital Home?

It is not as if patriarchy doesn’t influence the outlook of modern daughters. How many daughters accept and encourage their mothers to walk out of a toxic marriage? How many of them raise a voice against mistreatment of mothers at home and call for equal distribution of household chores? How many daughters will encourage their mothers to get a job or start a business even if it means that they will have to pick up some chores around the house?

We need to accept the situation

So what can be done to solve this relationship? I guess nothing but accepting the fact that the fissure in the bond is unrepairable. Adamant mothers who often hate their daughters must maintain a distance from the daughters who consider their mothers their biggest enemies.

I am not propagating the idea that mothers and daughters should part ways if there are differences between them or blaming anyone for being on the wrong side because, as I said before, it is neither easy to unlearn conditioning nor adjust to a different mindset. But when differences become so toxic that neither is happy or able to live peacefully, the only option is to part ways. Don’t we advise the same when it comes to toxic marriages? Similarly, toxic mother-daughter relationships too reach a level where nothing can be done to resolve the differences.

The rule of walking out of toxic relationships applies to all bonds- be it those related by love or those related by blood.

You might wonder why am I being so harsh towards mothers and daughters. But in my defence I will just ask one question- is it right for either the mother or the daughter to live a life in which they are not happy or are not satisfied? No, because every person has the right to live or change at their own pace. But if relations of blood are stronger than any other bond then it won’t take much time for toxic mothers and daughters too to resolve their differences and end the pain of parting ways.

Views expressed are author’s own.