Natalia Lusinski
May 14, 2017 4:42 pm
HBO

While some people are best friends with their moms, others have more challenging relationships with them. If you’re not careful, your actions and habits, over time, could ruin your relationship with your mom. More than likely, no one plans on having a less-than-stellar relationship with their mother. However, it happens sometimes, so don’t feel bad, because you’re certainly not alone.

HelloGiggles spoke with Tina B. Tessina, PhD, (aka “Dr. Romance”), psychotherapist and author of It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction, who offers input regarding factors that will destroy mother-daughter relationships.

Regardless of what your mom’s health status is, though, these are seven things that will definitely destroy your relationship with your mom.

1Not talking to her enough

Yes, we all get busy — whether it’s with our jobs, friends, significant others, you name it. But being “too busy” to call our moms is a great way to decrease our connection to them.

“If you don’t live at home, call your mom once in a while just to check in,” Dr. Tessina says. “While she will probably forgive you for not keeping in touch, she’ll be hurt if you don’t show you care.”

2Keeping too many secrets

Isn’t it the worst when we find out something that someone was trying to hide from us? Well, our moms don’t like when that happens either. After all, how can we continue to trust each other and strengthen our mother-daughter relationships if we keep secrets?

“If you never tell your mom anything about your life, she may start prying to find out, stalking your social media pages, and asking your friends,” Dr. Tessina says. What likely comes next is resenting her for poking around in your life. While you don’t have to tell her everything, Dr. Tessina recommends keeping her up to date with all the important stuff.

3Not taking an interest in her life

We all like it when people ask us questions about how we’re doing in our life, right? Well, guess what?! Moms do, too! So, to keep the relationship between you two alive, take an interest in your mom’s life

“Find something you can appreciate about your mom — something she does well, the way she dresses, her good friends, her hobbies. Make that the focus of your time together,” Dr. Tessina recommends.

4Not being mindful of the way you react to her

Raise your hand if you’ve been in a bad mood and it affects everyone around you. Sure, you don’t mean it, but it happens. Well, if you don’t want to destroy your relationship with your mother, sometimes you need to see where you stand in the mother-daughter equation.

“It’s about self-understanding,” Dr. Tessina says. “If someone, like your mom, or something upsets you, don’t exacerbate the problem by getting on your own case for reacting. Reactions are normal—it’s what we do with them that counts.” Choose to be patient with her rather than rash, and you’ll slowly start to build a healthier bond between the two of you.

5Being too dependent on her

“If you’re an adult, still living at home, or getting financial help from your mom, get your act together,” Dr. Tessina says. “You may not realize it, but you can drain your mother dry.”

It’s one thing to rely on someone from time to time, but being dependent on them for everything can easily get to be too much. After all, a big part of growing up and living on our own is becoming self-sufficient and independent.

6Not letting her help you when necessary

At some point or another, we all suffer from something we can use our mother’s assistance with, whether it’s coming to terms with an eating disorder or the fact that we need to seek help for depression.

“If you’re in the throes of mental illness, addiction, or PTSD, your mom will probably do everything she can to help you — that is, if you let her,” Dr. Tessina says. “But, if you don’t care enough about yourself to get help and get back on an even keel, how can she care about you?”

7Not giving her the benefit of the doubt

“Give your mother the benefit of the doubt,” Dr. Tessina advises. “If she hurts your feelings, acknowledge that your feelings are hurt, then consider that she is probably more clumsy than intentionally hurtful.”

You might create more problems for yourself if you continually think your mom is being purposefully harmful to you. Just like you would be gracious with a friend or coworker, cut your mom some slack as well. She loves you and only wants the best, even though she doesn’t hit the mark every time.

A final thought on the mother-daughter dynamic

“It’s worth the work,” Dr. Tessina says. “Your differences will stretch you a bit, and enrich your life and understanding in ways that more similar people don’t. Challenging relationships can be the most rewarding, when you understand they have a purpose.”

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