Watch the video above and talk about it with a group or mentor. Learn more.

Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated and can do a lot of damage if the relationship is unhealthy and toxic.

Key Points:

  • There are 6 Unhealthy Mother-Daughter Relationships that you need to guard against.
    • Bosom Buddies: The mother is more concerned about being the best friend than the parent who teaches life skills through discipline and guidance.
    • Boss-Subordinate: The mother wants to control and dominate her daughter’s life, while the daughter feels the need to perform in order to win her mother’s affection and approval. 
    • Rivals: The mother sees the daughter as a rival or threat, causing her to constantly compare herself to her daughter.
    • Role-Reversal: The daughter becomes the one who has to parent the mother, nurturing and providing emotional support while the mother only cares about her own needs.
    • The Ghost: The mother can be physically and/or emotionally unavailable to her daughter by paying attention to other siblings over her, or leaving her with someone else.
    • Good Mom/Bad Mom: This relationship is erratic with the mother often acting like the good mom in public while privately being dismissive, neglectful, and cold to her daughter.

Quote This:

The relationship between parents and children, but especially between mothers and daughters, is tremendously powerful, scarcely to be comprehended in any rational way. – Joyce Carol Oates

See Also: Parenting, Just for Women

Talk About It
  1. What is your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Briefly describe your relationship with your mother. How would you describe your relationship with your daughter(s) right now?
  3. Why do you think moms and daughters often times have complicated relationships? What are some of the difficulties you are currently experiencing in relating to your daughter(s)?
  4. Of the 6 dynamics listed above, which ones most resonate with you and why? 
  5. If you find yourself relating to your daughter(s) in these unhealthy ways, what are some practical things you can do to change those dynamics?
  6. How do you think these unhealthy mother-daughter relationships can affect other family relationships?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.