Easy, stop doing the things that you do that create the distance between you and your daughter then the cycle ends with you! Of course, that’s easy for me to say, because I’m not you. I’m not in a quandary about how to get closer to my daughter, knowing that I’ve helped to create the distance. I’m not the one who has to watch her struggle to communicate with you, feeling helpless and useless, and worse an inept, ineffective, and pitiful excuse for a mother. Does this sound at all like the thoughts going through you? If so, it’s understandable. As mothers, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect--good luck with that.
Now, for the nice coach response. Much like my evil twin let me suggest that you envision yourself as a young adult in a relationship with your mother. What were your thoughts and feelings about her? Write them down. Now, examine your reasons for feeling the way you did. Got it? Good. Now, go through each reason and justify your thoughts and feelings, meaning give yourself good reasons for thinking and feeling the way you did back then.
Good Job. Now, try to envision your mother’s response to you in general. Yes. Now, try to see yourself being distant, disconnected, unfriendly, unconcerned, and/or inconsiderate. Can you see it? Okay, now looking back on your behavior, can you get a picture for how your mother was feeling about your responses to her? Do you think she cared about not being close to you? Do you think she knew that she created your relationship dynamic and (now that you are a young adult) you’ve become accustomed to the distance? Do you think that she could have said something to you that would have changed your responses to her, or that she decided that there was nothing she could do after over 20-plus years of distance? Answer these questions before reading further.
Finally, do you think that what you are feeling now is similar to what your mother felt? If so, then maybe you can try to break the “spell” of distance by doing all of the things that your mother didn’t do to pull you closer. Can you think of anything that you were wishing she would have done (or stop doing) at the time that would have helped? I’ll make some suggestions, but only you know what will work. Yes you know. Just take your time and give it some thought.
Your daughter loves you dearly, and she most likely has a great deal of respect for you. But, she may not know how much you respect her. So begin doing things that affirm your respect for her; because respect from parent toward an adult child most likely needs work. So, begin to notice and perhaps create opportunities to show your daughter how much you respect her as an adult. Authentically, compliment anything that you think will matter to her. Try to avoid giving unsolicited advice—this reeks of know-it-all-parent behavior. If you have not shared with her what you are feeling then do so when you think the time is right. But, listen to your gut and do what feels right. Believe me, if she is your child, she knows what is going on between you, and she is trying to figure it out too. So, just take your time and be available when she needs you. As a mom, you’re probably good at that. And yes, she will need you; so be prepared to be the loving mom you are.