Understanding the Mother – Daughter Relationship


Mindfulness | 21 March 2022

I recently attended a coaching webinar covering this topic and it was a real eye-opener for me. Let’s be honest, within society, culture and generational conditioning, mothers are not treated as people first but as caregivers, there’s so much pressure on mothers from the external world. Mothers are expected to prioritise men’s needs and their children’s needs before their own, to be the supporters not the supported, to be the listeners but not listened to, being at the bottom of the priority list. On a generational level, mothers and grandmothers have been emotionally silenced to fit in but deep inside they are screaming to be seen, heard, understood and healed. This has a huge impact on daughters leading to repeat behaviours and patterns in future relationships with their own children.

The Mother Wound

There is no blame here; I’m exploring these themes to raise awareness of a relationship that can be so complex and how external factors can impact mothers and daughters. There’s even a term called mother wound which means ‘the pain, wounding and trauma that’s carried by a mother and inherited by her children, with daughters facing the brunt of this wound.’ What was uncovered in the webinar is that the ‘mother wound’ comes across as mother blaming whereas it’s more to do with society wounding, a patriarchy wound as opposed to the mother.

Fathers have a role to play too

It also came to light that mothers can only mother to their own emotional, physical and financial capacity. Fathers have a significant role to play in the relationship dynamic; how they treat their spouse and whether mother is being emotionally supported. If the father is being supportive of the daughter but not for the mother this has an affect on the mother – daughter relationship too, the daughter sees the mother being neglected causing confusion. Maternal jealousy was another theme that we explored, jealousy is a sign of grief for an unfulfilled life, the career the mother never accomplished, the love they never fully received, the visibility they never had and to watch their daughters living the life they only dreamed about.

Mother Daughter Relationship

You cannot teach what you do not know

The cycle is often repeated, whether it’s modelling women being heard or being emotionally neglected. Many women have not been taught to know what they want or to express how they feel, mothers cannot teach what they were never taught themselves. Some daughters become the expert on the mother and not knowing herself, not knowing how to emotionally feed herself, becoming the over caring mother and not satisfying her own needs.

Compassion is the antidote to suffering

When it comes to understanding the mother – daughter relationship, it can bring up painful emotions, which is why it might be a good idea to bring in self-compassion and self-acceptance into the space. This involves extending kindness to oneself (sometimes easier said than done), recognising the common human experience (others also experience difficulty) and holding our own thoughts and emotions through mindful awareness.


“When the sunlight of loving-kindness shines on the tears of suffering, the rainbow of compassion emerges.”


If you would like to learn more about understanding the mother – daughter relationship, check out Rosjke Hasseldine.

If you would like to find out more about compassion and acceptance and how you can bring this into your own life, check out the next 8-Week Mindfulness Course which starts on the 16th of March.

If you’re curious about 1:1 coaching and looking to find ways to get the most out of your life why not book a free 30 min discovery call with me. These calls are a great way to find out more about coaching and whether it’s for you, contact me to book a suitable time.

Jarrien x

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