The Effects of a Dysfunctional Mother/Daughter Relationship

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Dysfunctional mother/daughter relationships can have a wide variety of effects on the rest of the family. Learn about the effects of a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship with help from a licensed marriage and family therapist in this free video clip.

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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Roberta Marowitz, Florida Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and CEO of, mental health computer games for children and their families. Today, we're going to be discussing the effect of dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship. I am smiling a little bit because there are some people who have the sense that every mother-daughter relationship is a little bit dysfunctional. And you know, to some degree, mothers and daughters have their own little dance that they do with each other. There's a wonderful woman Deborah Tannen who is a sociologist who has written a lot about mother-daughter relationships and the name of one of her books is, "You're wearing that", and if you're a mother or a daughter, you recognize what this is. It is that sense that you were hearing from your mother when your hair is potentially up in a bun on your head, they say, "You know, I really like your hair up that way." And you say back to them, "Oh, you don't like it when it's down?" It's that no-win, push-pull that sometimes mothers and daughters have and I would say 99 percent of the time, there is some of that in every mother-daughter relationship. Okay. It doesn't mean it's dysfunctional. Some of these just is about relationships. But, if you find the relationship is so dysfunctional, that there are really effects that are very difficult, hard to be in the same room with them, hard to have a conversation with them, you start to feel bad about yourself, other people start to get involve, real dysfunction. There are times when you may feel like there were some things that you're able to do for yourself, some self-care kinds of things that make it palatable for you. There might be times when you start to get depress or you start to get a lot of anxiety, you're starting to not to want to be around them and potentially going to see a mental health professional, potentially a marriage and family therapist who is use to dealing with mother-daughter relationships could be really useful to you, so that you don't have what would be considered long term effects of a relationships that's really not working very well. So, it's helpful to learn what the dynamics of a relationship are, particularly mother-daughter relationships. You can take a look at books, you can take a look at the TV shows or different kinds of movies that, that talk about what those relationships are like or you get to view what those are like. Sometimes in third person, when you view something on a screen about mother-daughter relationship that isn't working, it makes sense to you about your own in a way that's different than being smack dab in the middle of it when you really are having to talk things through. So, that third person view as the outsider looking in can be very useful. The other is, if you feel comfortable and there is a way to do that, it's great to be able to sit down and have your mother or your daughter sit down with you and have conversation about resolving what some of your issues are. Sometimes it's about people you're dating. Sometimes it's about what you do with your social time. Sometimes it's about all different kinds of things, you really don't want to talk to your parents about and you certainly don't want to share with your mother 'cause you might be afraid that it's going to come back at you. In that case, it might not be so easier for you to have those conversations with your mother and you might find that you're not really able to do that. You do what you can and you get help from the outside when you need to. Good luck!


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