Saturday, January 7, 2012

Complexities Of Mother Daughter Love Hate Relationships


Everything mother said might have been true. I should not have freaked every time my boyfriend had looked, spoken, breathed toward another girl. Yes I definitely looked better with black eyeliner. And true, journalism and writing was my forte. But it was how she said it that probably made me buck and want to do the exact opposite. 


A little anecdote- I remember giving my mother a Nancy Friday book on mother daughter relationships at the young age of 10 hoping she'd pick up some tips on mothering!!! (So much for presumptiousness!!!!!!)


From the other side of the fence today, I see my friends struggling with their daughters, challenge and spat-ing with their mums and unable to deal with the barrage of ‘feedback’ meted out to them.


Oscar film ‘Black Swan’ it was that set me thinking about obsessive mothers commonly known as the helicopter mothers that mastermind their children's every move, living their frustrated and thwarted dreams through their children, imposing and obsessing over their every move and achievement that the mother had failed to achieve. 
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Nina's mother wants her to be a famed successful ballerina at the cost of friendships, relationships and life experiences. Because her mother failed to make the cut in her own life as a successful ballerina.


The suffocation of a 'know it all' style, obsessive,  dominating parent causes protagonist Nina to react suffused with rage, desire and yearning for a freer life.  Like many young women emerging from a "parent-pleasing" girlhood, she is overwhelmed by and terrified of her real emotions, which emerge in chaotic and unregulated behavior. All this basis the precarious mother-daughter bond that then begins to crumble when Nina wants to access her inner self, faced with her own sexual urges to break away from the ‘bondage’. Her subsequent guilt and pain later reach a crescendo of hallucination and pain.

The Helicopter mother is a pushy parent who hovers over every aspect of their adult child's life and does not know when to let go with a suggestion. When parents offer advice or suggestion for improvement too forcefully it becomes more like judgemental criticism. The mother however feels there is injustice when the child may rebel as she sees it as her way of caring deeply. If a mother cannot hold her tongue and sometimes becomes insulting with her criticism to drive home a point,  then a daughter must learn to take it with a pinch of salt and a sense of humor. There is a dangerous point where the child grows up with a sense of poor self worth and hammered self esteem.

The seesaw feelings between mothers and daughters cause daughters to feel guilt when they rebel against a dominating mother and this then leads to a traumatic maladjusted adulthood for the girl child. The complex emotions of anger, resentment, and love find echoes in other relationships of both the mother and daughter. The confused bank of emotions that the child is unable to grapple with comes up later in other relationships , creating dys synch and ill proportioned reactions to minor suggestions by say a lover or a well wisher. 

Written By Nisha JamVwal
For Asian Age & Deccan Chronicle
Relationship Column
Published Every Wednesday 

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Nisha JamVwal Roller Coaster Called Life