A Woman's Voice

Thoughtful Thursday ~ Dysfunctional Mother/Daughter Relationships — January 13, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

Over the Christmas Season, I had the opportunity to enjoy a few movies.  For several days, both my husband and I were struggling with the flu and colds. It was a great opportunity to find some enjoyment during the recuperating period by watching movies on TV.  My husband went to bed earlier than usual one evening because he was feeling so under the weather. While I was channel hopping I came upon a movie that was already in progress. It was a simple, little movie that would appeal to all age groups but probably more to children than adults.

It was the story about two mothers who were extremely different.  One was a teacher and she was very concerned about the education of her teenage daughter. Her main desire was to see her daughter excel academically and to get accepted into Harvard.  The other mother was an ice skating coach. She, on the other hand, wanted her daughter to excel at ice skating and perhaps qualify for the Olympics.  As you have probably already guessed, it was as if each of these mothers had given birth to the wrong daughter. The daughter with the academic mother was a gifted skater and it was her dream to be an Olympic champion. The daughter of the ice skating coach wasn’t at all interested in following in her mother’s footsteps. She wanted to excel academically.

Both mothers refused to look at what their daughters aspired to be and only looked at what they wanted for their daughters.  They both thought that they knew best and were extremely adamant about it. The academic mother went so far as to refuse to even go watch her daughter skate. She was totally unaware of how gifted her daughter was in this area.  She was very closed-minded. In essence, both these mothers were living vicariously through their daughters. They actually wanted their daughters to succeed where they had failed. They were both so controlling in trying to accomplish their own end goals.  How many of us are just like that?  We have our own agenda and we look at what we want without giving any thought to what anyone else wants.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship.  This  lack of communication and unattractive power struggle can be found in any relationship.  Are we really looking at the people in our lives from their point of view?  This is no easy task.  What do you think?  Do you feel that you must suppress whom you really are in order to stay in a relationship or do you feel the need to be in charge because you are insecure or threatened by those around you?  Balance…equality…mutual respect.  These may appear to be lofty goals but with honesty, desire and hard work, they are definitely attainable and well worth the effort.



“You will become as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration.” (James Allen)


8 Responses to 'Thoughtful Thursday ~ Dysfunctional Mother/Daughter Relationships — January 13, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte'

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  1. Mary Haskett said,

    Good observation Dolores. I think this is hard lesson for many parents to learn. If only we could, let go and let God!

    • Thanks Mary and how true….let go and let God is not always easy. I appreciate your support and your comments. I hope you are doing well as I know it hasn’t been easy for you over the last several months with the loss of your husband. Take care.

  2. Peter Black said,

    I really enjoyed this post, Dolores; and what an insightful statement by James Allen!

    • Thanks so much Peter for your encouraging comments. I always appreciate what you have to say and I agree with you about James Allen’s quote. There is plenty of wisdom out there to learn from and this is a perfect example.

  3. kay wielinski said,

    Many seeds for thinking – thanks for your inspiration.

    • Kay…you are very welcome. You have been a great inspiration to me too. I am so happy to have the opportunity to enjoy your company on a daily basis as we share our ideas with each other.

  4. Sarah said,

    we’ve seen this movie..and loved it. Great lessons learned too. Me and my kids…we always talk…and I know God has some amazing plans for their lives…plans that have nothing to do with what I think…I’ll always be in their corner…whatever they choose to do.

    • Hi there…and thanks for your comments. I agree that there were some great lessons to be learned in this movie. I know you have a wonderful and open relationship with your daughters. As a mother of three daughters I know full well the importance of good communication skills.

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