I was watching the movie ‘Holiday Heart‘ and it inspired me to write this piece. In the movie, Alfre Woodard plays a drug addict who at one point even went as far as prostituting her young daughter for drugs.
It was hurtful to even watch. I couldn’t imagine any child having to go through that in real life, but they do. Even after everything her mom put her through, she still loved her mom dearly.
I’ve never had to deal with a drug addicted parent, but I too know the hurt of betrayal, deceit, and lies.
When I was 8yrs old I vividly remember my mom and dad having the biggest argument I had ever witnessed them having.
In the heat of the moment, my mom told my dad that he would never see me again. And he didn’t until I was 20. Those twelve years were like having a knife jabbed in my heart and not being able to take it out.
For years, I harbored resentment in my heart for my mom because of this. I think it would have been easier to deal with if my father didn’t want a relationship with me, but according to my dad, he did. He tried reaching out to her a few times, but she refused to allow him to talk to me or visit me.
It wasn’t until I became a mom and a wife myself that I realized that even though I will never be able to change the past or the hurt my mom caused me, I had a responsibility to make sure my hurt and pain was not carried over to my child.
Sure, she had questions, lots of them. “Mommy, do you have a daddy?” “Mommy, what’s your daddy’s name?“… It was hard, but I tried to never allow her to hear the pain in my voice or allow her to experience the same hurt I felt.
Whether you’re on the giving end or the receiving end of the hurt, these steps can help in the healing process…
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Mandy was at the end of her rope with her mom when she called me for coaching. Every conversation ended with frustration. Why couldn’t the two of them get along better? Why did her mom constantly criticize her and tell her what to do? But Mandy’s biggest concern was how could she handle her mom in a way that preserved the relationship without always giving in and getting mad?
Coaching focuses on helping the adult daughter develop a better sense of herself, become more empathetic, listen better, consider her mother’s worth as a person, and be concrete in communicating rather than talking about feelings or vague issues. Coaching helps to widen the lens of who your mother is or was. Coaching can also help adult daughters develop realistic expectations for their mothers.
These tips will help improve communication and healthy interaction. Once you have a good grasp regarding changes that need to be made, try a nonthreatening issue first. If you can stand your ground without getting angry or defensive, you are ready to try a higher conflict issue.
Editor’s Note: While this article provides useful help in repairing broken relationships, we want to be clear that there is no shame in cutting toxicity out of your life. If you feel that your relationship with your mother is too damaging to attempt these steps, that’s okay.
Source: Getty Images
A recent article has surfaced that discusses the mother-daughter relationship between Alice Walker and her daughter, Rebecca Walker.
Rumors of their poor relationship have been around for quite some time now, but it appears that daughter Walker is once and for all addressing the problem publicly. In the confession, younger Walker even blames feminism for her mother’s poor parenting decisions.
Although I think it is far-reaching to blame feminism (as a theory and activist practice) for one’s parenting choices, I think that the article brings up an important discussion about the significance of mother-daughter relationships.
In the Rebecca Walker’s writing, one can almost feel her pain in the words.
There is something sacred about mother-daughter relationships that leave many women feeling empty and less whole when a mother is absent from their life.
Broken mother-daughter relationships are more common than most are aware.
Studies suggest that nearly 30% of women have been estranged from their mothers at some point in their life (see The Unhappy Mother’s Day).
Frequently, I come in contact with women who have struggled with low self-esteem, dating and relationship problems, and feelings of worthlessness and depression related to emotionally abusive or absent mothers.
In U.S. culture, the importance of the “father-child” bond is a common narrative throughout mass media, pop psychology, and the mental health field.
There is even a word for it in popular culture – daddy issues – the term used to refer to a woman who is having a difficult time functioning in dating relationships, due to the residual effects of a bad relationship with her father.
An issue that is rarely discussed openly in mainstream culture, which makes those affected feel even more abnormal, is the issue of poor mother-daughter relationships.
Maybe poor mother-daughter relationships are less discussed and appears or feels to be more “dysfunctional,” because it is believed that women are more nurturing, empathetic, and social than boys and men, which should prevent any serious conflict between mothers and their female children.
Hence the popularity of stepmother and mother-in-law conflict in storylines.
This article here even suggests that stepmothering is more difficult than parenting as a stepfather.
Rarely do we come across news articles of biological mother-child conflict.
And because a strained relationship between a mother and daughter appears to be outside of the norm, when there is animus or emotional disconnect between a mother and an adult female child, it may actually cause more emotional distress (i.e., anger, frustration, shame, and hurt) than traditional parent-child conflict.
Individuals affected by a strained or emotionally absent mother-daughter relationship may try to hide their feelings from others, which only leads to more feelings of shame and loneliness.
So, where do daughters begin to repair poor relationships with their mothers? Why is it important to foster positive relationships between daughters and mothers?
Below, I provide tips on how to repair a broken or strained relationship between adult daughters and their mothers, which serves to preserve or improve the emotional health of the individual, the entire family, and female bonds.
Although here I focus on encouraging daughters to initiate healing conversations with their mothers, mothers and other caregivers will find the suggested steps useful as well.
Table of contents
Step 1: Set Up the Meeting
Schedule in advance a time and date to meet. Inform your mother in advance what the meeting will be about. Decide if it will take place in a private place, like your living room, or in a public place, such as a coffee shop. Weigh the pros and cons of a public versus private meet-up.
Also, you should know in advance what it is you want to say to your mother and the message you would like to convey.
Only involve the two individuals involved and primarily responsible for any past disagreements and repairing the relationship. The point is to avoid family members from siding with or teaming up against mother or daughter.
Of course, after the initial reconciliation talk, other family members can come together and discuss the renewal of the relationship or how to help support the relationship.
Step 2: Have the Conversation
Begin the conversation by thanking your mother for agreeing to join you in the conversation. Inform her that the meeting is very important to you.
Then, begin the conversation with identifying the positive aspects of the relationship. If there is no relationship at all at this point, you can simply begin by pointing out positive characteristics of your mother or positive events or behaviors in her past.
Most importantly, instead of beginning the conversation with who or what caused the problem, begin with pointing strengths about the person or the relationship. Be specific about the behavior or characteristic that you feel attracts you (or others) to your mother, makes you appreciate and value her as a human being, and makes you want to be near her more often.
Mother and daughter both should be given the opportunity to identify strengths about the individual or relationship before moving on to discuss the undesirable aspects of the relationship.
Sometimes it is difficult to identify strengths, especially when someone has been in pain for a long time. However, it is very important to let your mother know that she is not a bad person in your eyes.
In fact, there are things about her that actually draw you to her and those characteristics must be your focus, for no one wants to be criticized by someone they love.
Step 2a: “OPEN” Up My Heart, My Mouth, and My Ears
To make this step easier, I have derived the acronym: OPEN. Think of this step in the healing talk as “OPEN” up my heart, my mouth, and my ears.
It is important during the initial dialogue that you own up to your part of the discord.
Explain to your mother what mistakes you have made in the past and how you may have contributed to the negative dynamics of the relationship.
In this stage of the discussion, pinpoint specifically the action or event that caused you to withdraw from the relationship or lose trust in your parent.
In other words, be specific in naming exactly what behavior or set of behaviors hurt you.
Sometimes individuals in families are vague in stating the true problem; therefore, it is difficult to avoid correcting the problem. Consequently, the unwanted behavior is never changed.
For me, this is the most important step in any meaningful discussion.
Simply stated, suspend your ego.
Now is not the time to be concerned with winning an argument.
Even more important, do not worry about being embarrassed or appearing emotionally weak. The goal is not to win an argument or to save face, but to amend a very important relationship.
Where do you want to go from here?
Before closing this part of the discussion, explicitly state where you want the relationship to go next.
In other words, what do you hope to accomplish from the discussion or what do you expect now from you, your mother, and the mother-daughter relationship?
Step 3: Move Forward
Move forward from the conflict and toward healing.
I suggest that mother and daughter plan time to spend together alone.
It is best to start out with a short time period together, like at lunch, dinner, theater performance, or a movie. This time should be spent without siblings, partners, or children.
I have found that when two people spend quality time together without responsibility to each other, they are actually more likely to enjoy each other’s company.
After a few short periods of time together, then mother and daughter can work on spending longer time together, like at overnight events or family vacations.
In my opinion, mother-daughter relationships are sacred and worth preserving.
We live in a patriarchal society, where often the child-father relationship is given more attention and revered.
Consequently, when a mother-child relationship is damaged, adult children tend to cover-up and internalize the lost and take it more personally. They begin to view themselves as damaged, un-nurturing, or unworthy of love and attention.
Yet, mothers and daughters are human beings too; thus, we are necessarily flawed.
Dr. Venus E. Evans-Winters is an Associate Professor of Education and Faculty Affiliate of Women and Gender Studies. Her interests are school resilience, urban education reform and policy, critical race theory, and feminism(s). She is the author of Teaching Black Girls: Resiliency in Urban Classrooms as well as several scholarly articles and book chapters. Follow her on Twitter @ileducprof and #BlackEdu.
Have you experienced having broken or wounded relationships? Do you want God to heal those relationships?
Every person is unique and created differently by God. Each of us has a distinguishing mark, quality or characteristic in our body, temperament or personality make-up, mindset, habits, inclinations, and choices. No two persons are created exactly the same even identical twins. As such, we carry ourselves differently and approach things and life accordingly.
Inside the basic unit of the society which is the family, the married couple relate to each other as husband and wife. Out of this covenantal union before God, they produce offspring. Parents relate in a certain way to children and vice versa. Depending on the spiritual maturity and character of parents, they rear, nurture, and nourish their sons and daughters in the ways they were raised up by their own parents. They have a set of beliefs, guidelines, and standards in enacting discipline and instilling good moral and spiritual values to their kids.
However, as their children reach a transition called adolescence, more often than not, they act out and rebel against their parents and family for one reason or another. Relationship between parents to children is affected. If left unresolved, the son or daughter will reach adulthood and build his own family having a wounded relationship with father or mother or both and worse yet, with other siblings.
Either the husband or wife within the marriage life will encounter problems perhaps with the health, career, finances, or personal struggles within. Relationships will be challenged as each spouse struggle to remain or leave the marriage. Divorce, legal separation or annulment is the result of marital conflicts. Each in turn re-marries repeating cycles of pattern that last a lifetime.
Relationships with relatives, in-laws, and extended families are also severed as hurting people hurt people. Causes of relational problems include the areas of money or inheritance, legal conflicts, jealousy, envy, greed, miscommunication and misunderstanding, breached confidences, gossip, slander, conspiracy, division, abuse (verbal, physical, sexual included), sickness, shame, dignity, honor, and generational /family issues.
Every individual attended school, contracted work or built up a business. Relationships developed within these spheres can also be wounded with another set of causes or reasons. It can be competition, favoritism, performance-orientation, success drive, crab mentality, violations inside contracts or mere misunderstandings among students, classmates, teachers, employers, employees, clients, and contractors.
When we step inside the church or ministry, relationships among believers, ministers and church leaders, co-workers and attendees are not also perfect. Usually inside the Christian circles, the conflicts are because of sins, judgments, accusation, condemnation, self-righteousness, spiritual arrogance, questioned integrity, controversial doctrines and disciplines and immorality, among others.
Friendships created since childhood until later age are not exempted from wounding. In fact, the most painful of all relationships is the one where lies, betrayal, loss, abuse, and desertion between friends took place. Even Jesus Himself was betrayed and left by His supposed to be loyal disciples and friends.
If you have experienced wounded relationships, there is still hope for you. God is still in the business of redeeming and restoring relationships.
The first step towards healing broken relationships is to reconcile with God by accepting His Son Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior. When He has entered your heart, He can help you heal the first relationship you need to start with—with Father God.
Get to know Him through His Word and His presence. Establish a deeper relationship with Him. When you set your heart and relationship at right with God (vertical relationship—you and God), He will fix and heal your wounded relationships (horizontal relationship – you and others)
As you commune with God day by day, He will heal your own wounds. Once you are healed and made whole, you will be able to pray about your broken relationships. Humility, sincere forgiveness, and wholehearted love are needed to be released to those who offended you and those you have hurt.
List down the names of each person and the issue or concern related. One by one through prayer, forgive, release, and declare a special blessing for each of them. Ask God also for forgiveness for your sinful reactions for their offense or sin. Remember not to blame, complain, criticize, judge, condemn, belittle, uncover, or curse them but just speak blessings to them.
Forgiveness does not depend on feelings if we want to forgive them or not but true forgiveness is an act of the will. We may truly forgive but do not force yourself to forget what happened. Do not re-live or contemplate on the painful memories. Ask God to remove the pain, trauma, shame, grief, terror shock associated with it.
You will know that you have truly forgiven if when you are reminded of the person and your heart will not throb so hard and you will not feel any agitation, irritation or untoward feelings. You will not even rehearse their litany of offenses. And when faced with that specific person, you are able to look him in the eye and feel light or normal towards him.
At this point, you need not approach each person you had problems with in the past. Allow God to change his heart and continue on praying and blessing him.
If you reached a point that you are then ready to face each person, strengthen your spirit, soul, and body and seek God’s will, heart and intention for that person. Surrender the relationship to God and He will go ahead of you to speaking to him that it is time to make right the relationship.
Like in the story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob cheated and stole the birthright and their father’s blessing from Esau, his older brother. Jacob had relationship problems also with his father-in-law, Laban. It is only when Jacob encountered God and wrestled and prevailed against God, that he was changed from being a cheater to becoming a prince of God. Even his name was changed to Israel that became the chosen nation. (Genesis 25)
Eventually, God has worked also in the hearts of Esau and Laban to reconcile with Jacob in the end.
Set your heart towards God and He will redeem your friendships and relationships. You may use this prayer for healing a relationships as a pattern—
“Almighty Creator and Father God, I humbly come before You now asking You to forgive me from all my sins. Set aright my heart towards You. I admit all my sins, weaknesses, and shortcomings, please cleanse my heart and spirit from all impurities like what You did in the heart of David in Psalm 51 when he confessed the sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. Create in me a pure heart O God, renew a steadfast Spirit within me, cast me not away from Your presence and do not take away Your Holy Spirit from me.
I respond to Your invitation for an intimate relationship with You. Teach me so that I may know Your heart and show me Your ways everlasting.
I ask You now to heal all my wounded relationships—family, extended families, friendships, and those relationships at school, work, business, church, and ministry. I forgive them ___ (mention each name and each offense) and forgive me also for all my sinful judgments and reactions towards them ____ (mention your sinful reactions for each person).
Cleanse all of us now Lord and restore our relationships. Speak to me now and to them and I entrust to You each person that You will also heal them and they will forgive me as well. I declare blessings for them ____ (mention blessings for each person) and I thank You and glorify You for all the good things they have done for me and for my benefit _____ (mention each wonderful thing from each person).
By the blood of Jesus, we are now cleansed and healed. Continue doing Your work in our hearts until you set and appointed a time for us to meet face to face and redeem the relationships.
In humility, sincerity, and purity of heart, I bow down to You in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. I worship You, praise and adore You for Your goodness and kindness to all of us. Manifest Your presence and orchestrate events so that all wounded relationships will be healed from now on.
I pray for protection for these relationships being restored that the enemy will not enter to steal, kill, and destroy and will not retaliate and do backlash to any one of us. I plead the blood of Jesus to all of us and I declare Psalm 91 over our lives.
Thank You God for hiding us under Your wings. Come quickly to save and rescue us. I love You with everything within me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Rejoice right now as God begins to heal your being and your relationships with others. Leave us a comment below on how this prayer article ministered to you and your friends. We would love to hear from you and we will appreciate your ideas on prayers for healing you want us to include in the future in this website.
Here is a Prayer for Healing Finances
Here is a Prayer for Restoration of Marriages
Here are some bible verses on physical Healing