Mother daughter relationship

It takes effort on the part of both the mother and the daughter to strengthen the bond they share


Most often a daughter instinctively becomes a ‘daddy’s little girl’ whereas a son is arbitrarily a ‘mummy’s boy.’ This bias, universally perceived as instincts, has been ingrained so deeply within us that it frequently boomerangs. Mothers constantly wail that unlike their sons, their daughters are disobedient, defy them and make wrong choices and never spend time with them. Daughters, on the other hand, retaliate with accusations that their mothers are over-critical and over-demanding.

Search for unconditional love and acceptance

I sense so much angst in my counselling cabin in women who carry deep seated feelings of inadequacy; and when these feelings are explored they almost always find their origin in a wounded relationship they have shared with their own mother.

These feelings of inadequacy stem from feeling unloved and unaccepted by their primary source of love and acceptance – their mother; and these get played out throughout their lives in all their significant relationships where they seek to fill this void in the shape of their mother. They constantly and obsessively seek external validation. Though they might become overachievers and perfectionists, they are prone to get hurt, anxious, depressed, angry and even feel guilty if they suspect they are being disapproved of, and therefore find themselves in mediocre and even abusive relationships. Because of this dire need of acceptance, as they are unable to unconditionally love and accept themselves.

The script of their lives is therefore set by this wounded relationship and their lives are pulled by the strings of the mother-child relationship till they consciously cut the umbilical chord symbolically and strike a new equation in their minds where they view their mother as just another ‘person’ who is a fallible human being with strengths and limitations; a person who did what she did based on her inner and outer resources, her culture, background, upbringing, experiences and circumstances; that she could not have done any differently without a higher source of wisdom; but most importantly the daughter has to learn that her worthiness or adequacy is not defined by her mother’s view of her, attitude towards and behaviour with her, and therefore she needs to unconditionally love and accept herself. This process of moving from seeking external love to self-love is done in specialised therapy designed to help clients experience self-acceptance. Here’s how to recognise the primary source of this debacle and curtail conflicts:


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Minnu Bhonsle
Dr Minnu R Bhonsle, PhD, is a Mumbai-based consulting psychotherapist and counsellor. She conducts training programmes in Personal Counselling [Client-centred Therapy] and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and also workshops in Stress Management, Art of Listening, Couple Therapy, and Communication Skills. Minnu has co-authored the book, The Ultimate Sex Education Guide along with Dr Rajan Bhonsle.


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