A mother's letter to her adult daughter by Glenda Gibbs
Briefing - I had made an earlier request for help, to which my daughter didn't want to have anything to do with it. After sharing a few thoughts, I scripted the following and sent it. Note: With my daughter's permission and her name removed we agreed this letter might benefit other mothers and their adult daughters.
Dear Adult Daughter,
We have for the most part – one way relationship. It doesn’t seem reciprocating. Reciprocating means sharing /exchanging. Our relationship exchange seems conditional – when it’s good for you, you’re available, when not …
Yesterday on the phone I heard the word “guilt” – that you didn’t want me to “guilt you into doing things for me” – I can’t make you feel guilty unless you choose to feel guilty. If you’re feeling guilty perhaps you aren’t living up to your potential. Just maybe guilt is the key to motivate you, I don’t know.
I feel like your demand is ongoing, very rarely are you satisfied for long, there’s another drama, another fire to put out, more money needed – perhaps being rescued is your way of assuring yourself that you’re loved – and a payback for not being protected as a child.
I further suggest your unwillingness to volunteer to help me or come to my house is because you hold energy/thoughts/feelings all associated with how you were denied/wronged as a child. These behaviors along with your unwillingness to get professional help or delve into your own personal development are met with stubbornness, know it all attitude, anger, and reasons/excuses of why I (along with others/events) are always to blame – consider this: you’re stuck.
Speaking for myself in this moment, generally when there is change or I need something, I’m met with a wall of resistance.
Your usage of marijuana, smoking and weight gain are all self medicating methods to reduce anxiety.
Yes, you’re very smart, never a question. You’ve learned the typical therapeutic knowledge and processes … no different than what I’ve experienced – and life wasn’t working for me either … sort of like memorizing the manual to ride a bicycle and getting on it and putting that intellectual collection of information to use – not – the application / experience is entirely different. You haven’t been willing to do the work – doesn’t make you bad or wrong – it means that your survival mechanisms are doing their job.
At some point I wish for you that you’ll “pony up” … quit playing a “lose-lose” game with your life … that will be a different message to teach your children and your husband. The benefits you’ll experience will be profound.
I can’t change what happened to you – and as I’ve shared, I apologize. I did the best I knew to do.
For you, there is that little girl who resides within you and continues to be upset and crying out for attention, needs proof she’s loved … I can’t do the work for you … only you can … she needs to know you’re there for her
Your response to my needing help with my moving – accepting your offer now - let’s don’t. I’ll take care of this move for myself. There are other ways to get my needs met without dealing with the resistances, drama and adding additional stress.
I don’t love you less – I love you very much, more than you believe.
© Copyrighted 2009 by Glenda Gibbs. Feel free to share... The content may be forwarded in full, with copyright/contact/creation information intact.
Glenda is passionate about leaving the world a better place, people feeling better about themselves and the power of positive thinking. She loves to share her wisdom and experiences as an integrative coach/counselor, facilitator and writer.