My mum and I are not best friends. Not even close.
Since I started travelling a lot and living and working remotely, we’ve come to only see each other a few times each year; and we exchange a surface-level text about once a week.
And the truth is, I’m not looking for more than that from our relationship anymore.
There was a time when I wished we were closer. One of my best friends has an incredible relationship with her mum; they literally talk about everything, including both of their sex lives. Hearing her speak about her mum, and watching them together, often made me look at my own mother-daughter relationship with frustration and longing.
For most of my early life, I wanted a closer relationship with my mum. I was desperate for her to listen to me, to understand me, and to nurture my growth as a woman. For years, I clung on to the belief that there was hope, and that my mother wound could be healed. But every time I reached out, I got stung; so eventually, I learned to stop trying.
And I’ve come to a place of acceptance. I accept that my mother and I will never be best friends; in fact, we will never be friends. And I’m okay with that. Because, for whatever reason, she is not able to be the woman I need her to be.
There’s no dramatic story to share. She has never suffered from an addiction, or a mental or physical illness. She looked after us well, she showed us love and care, and I believe she did the best she could.
But she just wasn’t able to show up for me in the ways I needed her.
I never felt like I was being heard. I could shout or scream until my throat was roar, and she still didn’t get it. While my moods and emotions were always blamed on my hormones, or the time of the month.
My brothers were celebrated, and always favoured over me; and there were many double standards in what they were supposed to do, and what I was supposed to do. For example, setting the table, making lunch, and washing clothes were things I was told to do, while they continued studying or sitting on the sofa watching TV.
My freedom and growth were stunted by her need to control, and her refusal to allow me to grow from a girl into a woman. The way I dressed was always commented on, and made me feel shame around my body and sexuality. She seemed to relish sharing stories of women who had been assaulted or murdered with me; in an attempt to stop me from doing anything, or going anywhere.
In my early twenties, she placed pressure on me to find a man, get married, and have kids; the same way her mother did to her. And not just any man, of course, a “professional.”
Time’s running out.
You’ll be left on the shelf.
Every opportunity to keep me from my power as an independent woman, was taken.
Over time, she learned exactly what to say, and which buttons of mine to press to wind me up; to irritate or infuriate me. She still does it today, on the few occasions when we meet.
You’re too thin. You need to eat more.
Why aren’t you selling more books?
Any praise or compliment, will almost always be followed up by a slap in the face. Now, I’m ready for it.
It’s a dysfunctional, toxic relationship. But only I am able to see that, after many years of trying, growing, and healing on my own. So I made the decision to put myself first, and take a step back from it.
I will never be friends with my mum, and I’m at peace with that.
For some women, cutting that cord completely is necessary for healing. And with that comes guilt. Because she is your mother, she is the woman who gave you life, and she is the first connection you ever had with the Goddess.
But your mother is only human. She is dealing with her own mother wound, her own inner patriarch, and a series of stories and values that she has come to view as her identity. To let go of those stories would mean the death of who she believes she is, and like so many of us, she isn’t ready to let go.
For you to truly be free and empowered as a woman, you may need to walk away from your mother, your family, or people you’ve known for decades.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to walk away from something that isn’t serving you, even if it’s your own family.
We need to stop spreading the myth that mothers and daughters should, and must, be best friends.
Because for many women this is what keeps us small, living in the shadows, disconnected from our power. We shrink ourselves down out of guilt of over-shadowing her, or in exchange for her acceptance or validation.
This is toxic, and we need to make a shift in our lifetime, for the sake of our future daughters.
Cutting the cord may be a lonely prospect, but the alternative is just as lonely.
Healing inter-generational wounds can be a lonely path. But with the space created, soulful connections will come into your life. Our attachment needs are the most powerful need we have as humans. To face this level of estrangement is to confront the depth of your pain, of your humanity, and to claim the full the value of your own life. Our greatest fear is that we will be alone. But the aloneness that we fear already happened in the trauma of our families.
You will grieve what’s familiar; and in time you will heal, and you will grow.
Letting go of what doesn’t serve you is the only way to create space for what does.
In time, you will find your way to your soul family. You will find your way to loving, authentic, inspiring women who feel like home; a home you’ve forever been searching for.
You will open yourself to more joy, love, intimacy, and beauty. You will feel free to live your life for you, on your own terms, with a deep authenticity.
And through your own healing and transformation, you will help the collective feminine rise; creating a new world of liberated and empowered mothers and daughters.
This is how we all rise.