Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Secrets Unraveled! Complexites of the Mother Daughter Love-Hate Bond!!!

Mum's the Word

Through this article I'll share some tiny secrets. About what I believe complicates relationships of girls sometimes with their mum's. About what I think is ideal in a mother child relationship & about my fantasy Mum!

It is not an unknown fact that mother and daughter relationships are infused with some ups and downs and difference in opinion. But to take it to the level that Indrani Mukherjea has done, is definitely a shock to all people that knew the family, however distantly. Does that throw the relationship of a mother and child into question where one looks askance at the purest relationship that a mother has with her child? I think not. This would have to be a rare exception, with a mentally imbalanced person who could kill her daughter in cold blood. And yet the relationship of a mother and daughter is indeed layered and composite. The Indrani incident however has thrown a lot of questions up about relationships in our times. That Indrani’s husband, claimed to be one of the more intelligent people in the world of media, did not suspect anything when her ‘sister’ disappeared without a trace for three years? That a wife could lie so blatantly about her daughter being her sister, and then bump off that daughter because the daughter is an ‘inconvenience’ in her presently ‘perfect’ media baron life? That communication could be so poor between a child and a mother, or a husband and a wife that he is blissfully aware of her earlier marriage and kids, her homicidal tendencies, her cutthroat ambition, in this case literally.

Author Nancy Friday it was who had explored the relationship of a mother and daughter way before any other work looked deeply into this unique complex relationship. It was she who in candid self-revelations and numerous interviews with mothers and daughter accompanied by research delved and wrote about the conflicting love hate relationship of a mother and daughter and how there are compound layers of anger, competitiveness, desire for approval, dependency, fear of loss, blame and guilt in this relationship. I also feel that to idealise mothers as they do in our society is not correct to the degree of godhood, as they are human after all. When a child sees the mother as human her anger and inability to cope with the human aspects of her mother is monumental which also gives rise to conflict.

Another reason for tumult in this very interesting relationship could be the desire of a mother to plant her dreams and aspirations upon her daughter. In Oscar winning role for ‘Black Swan’ Natlie Portman is the daughter of a mother who is trying to live out her dreams through her child, suffocating her and pushing her beyond breaking point. I see this in parents of talented children where the child is the entire focus of the mother and the mother ‘rules’ with an iron fist creating a dysfunctional daughter.  

From personal experience I’d like to say that parents sometimes are careless about their P’s and Q’s with their children. I feel you are so polite and correct with people at work and socially, that mothers must appreciate their daughters without taking them for granted leading to self-doubt, longing for validation and resenting the dismissive behavior. The explanation for this by a mother is often ‘but you know how much I love you, all this is irrelevant.” To that I’d say, you see it isn’t irrelevant. 

It is important to not allow the feeling of rejection to creep into a relationship on either side and to say the kind loving things you feel are important especially for parents. This is especially because the child is biologically coded to need a mother’s attention, approval and proximity and a sense of rejection is painful. Give me a caring kindly momma than an ultra cool mother who thinks shes the cats whiskers! It is never easy to adjust to a mother who is casually offhand and not overtly caring. The joys of a mum who cares caringly are nurturing and make for a successful girl without inner angst.

That brings me to love and care, which is great, but to control your daughter is asking for trouble. The helicopter mother is a common enough problem, with mothers feeling they know best for their daughters and then taking it to the level where they do not allow the daughter to flower naturally and express themselves. This is a disaster waiting to happen in the relationship.

Yes these behavioral patterns of a mother challenge the conventional image painted of an idealistic mother who is painted more like a goddess, especially in India. We need to explore this relationship more realistically so as not to have the disillusioning fall, and a mother needs to introspect especially because her aggression or controlling nature can indeed give rise to a dysfunctional child who will carry her insecurities and problems into her other relationships in life unless she finds succor in a kind caring healing partner.

Both need to have more realistic expectations from each other and both need to move away and give space so that they are not prickly about each other and not the be all and end ofeach other’s existence.

More on this next time, watch this space.

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Nisha is a columnist , designer & brand consultant

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