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Generational curse?

I will be 36 years old in July. You’d think that my mother and I could get along after almost 36 years in this relationship. The problem is not all her or all me. Like in most relationships, it is past disagreements and conflicts that come bubbling up to scald us at the most unexpected of times.

I won’t go into details as to the problems my mother and I have. The details aren’t really important. It is the constant friction between us that is important enough to talk about. I just don’t understand why it seems that mothers and daughters have this friction between them. I have seen it over and over again. Or, am I imagining this and is my family special?

Everyone always said my grandmother prefered boys to girls. I must admit it did seem that way. She had a sharp tongue that could slice all your confidence away in a matter of seconds. Is this mother-daughter problem a generational curse? My definition of a generational curse: This is where you are taught bad relationship skills from your family and then you knownly or unknownly teach these bad skills to your children.

For instance, I am not very trusting. My father always told us not to trust anyone because you never really know anyone. A lesson that stuck with me. It is a problem because I never trust anyone. I hide my feelings inside and tuck them far out of reach so that no one can hurt them. I smile and laugh on the surface while inside my feelings are guarded like Fort Knox. While I am enjoying the company of a friend, inside I am thinking, “Boy, you are nice. I don’t think you’d hurt me. But, I bet if I let down the guarded walls you’ll wait till my back was turned and then stab me deep. When I turned around to ask you what your problem was, you’d do it again. This time right in the heart.” It is easy to see that this problem I have with trust is a HUGE one.

I will catch myself saying or doing things with my children that my parents said or did to me. Things I swore I would never ever in a million years say or do to my children because I know how it hurts and feels. Generational curses suck.

I have great parents and they taught me to be a good person. I don’t want to paint them as bad parents. They weren’t. They made mistakes. We all make mistakes. The thing is we seem to keep making the same mistakes as our parents and then our children may make the same mistakes with their kids.

Going back to the mother-daughter generational curse of my family, maybe many families all over the world. How do I stop it? This is scary for me considering I have three daughters. Not looking forward to a future of friction with three out of my four children. I want to stop this ridiculous cycle of constant friction and misunderstanding between mother and daugher, now!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Pauline March 3, 2006, 11:35 am

    I have a great mother-daughter relationship. She annoys me and I annoy her but it doesn’t go any deeper than that, there is no real friction. So no I don’t think it’s inevitable that all “mother-daughter relationship” are going to be conflictuel (does that world even exists) It’s just happens in some relationships that’s all, but yes we all tend to repeat what happened to us the good and the bad.

    You seem to be saying that you see the things that you Mum did being repeated by you, and you want this cycle to end. I think the mere fact that you are aware of this is a really HUGE step to stop the vicious circle.

    A good idea is to write down all the things that worry you in this respect. Let’s say: The things were (I’m making these up, but you’ll get the idea):

    Don’t criticize so much
    Don’t shout so much
    Be more patient
    Etc … etc …

    Write them somewhere where you can see them everyday to remind yourself and for your eyes only (because it sounds silly but it’s so easy to forget and just carry on in the same direction) in your makeup bag, in your money -holder. This may sound a bit silly but I think it could help.

    However like I said admitting that there is a problem is the first and most important step to take in order to improve any situation.

  • Pumpkin Pie March 3, 2006, 12:04 pm

    I am going to write down the things I say that I don’t like. That is a great idea. And, I am happy to know that you have a good relationship with your daughter. I do have a good relationship with my children but worry (I hate that word) that sometimes yes I am too critical and demanding and way to overprotective. I want to stop it before they resent me for it as I sometimes do my mother.

  • Pauline March 3, 2006, 12:09 pm

    What I meant is that I have a good mother-daughter relationship with my mother !! I don’t have any daughters, sorry if I mislead you !

    It’s our role to be protective of our children, but it’s true that it’s difficlt to know when we are being TOO protective.

    I think it’s like a dog on a leash you let them go so far and explore life, but you have the leash to pull them in when need be. As they get older the lead gets longer and longer and then one day you need to let go and let them lead their own lives…

  • Pumpkin Pie March 3, 2006, 1:43 pm

    Pauline,
    I was thinking….hmmm…I didn’t rememeber reading about a daughter, but maybe she does have one. I am glad you cleared that up! :)
    It is true about the leash thing. I think my biggest lesson in this respect and probably an exaggered lesson was leaving Angel Girl in America with her father while I moved here to France. I have learned to let go and still be there for her. BTW, I am still loving Skype!

  • D March 3, 2006, 3:18 pm

    I can relate somewhat to what you are going through. Although I have not seen my biological mother in over 15 years (my parents divorced when I was 5, and she had a lot of problems), when we did talk by phone, it always ended up in an argument. My father and step mother did the best they could too, although they had their own problems as well.

    I completely understand you wanting to “break the generational cycle”. I was hit, yelled at, and constantly critcised when I was growing up. My father and I had a on again, off again relationship. My step mother and I didn’t really connect until I was in my late teens, early twenties.

    I don’t have any kids yet, but I definitely want some. I have made a promise to myself never to raise a hand, or yell at my children. I want to raise my future kids knowing nothing but love. My husband feels the same (he was never hit or yelled at as a child – he had a really good upbringing).

    I am surprisingly well adjusted, level headed, laid back, very trusting and forgiving, despite all the terrible things I have experienced in my life. I will use my better judgement and my heart when it comes to raising my kids. Through it all, I do love my parents….but I will never raise my kids the way I was raised.

  • cj March 3, 2006, 6:54 pm

    I spent the better part of my weekend in a depressed funk because of something my mom said… or hasn’t said quite yet but I’m awaiting for it! I have a lot of friction with my mom too, and she has with her mom….. however I get along fantastic with my grandma. It could be generational… it could be just how it is. I will say it sucks. There are days I just want to get a big billboard for my mother to drive past on her way to work each day that says “She’ll never be the person you’d hoped she’d be. GIVE UP NOW while the person she IS is still around.”

  • Pumpkin Pie March 3, 2006, 7:45 pm

    CJ-That is exactly how I feel.
    D-You may slip up sometimes as a parent and that is ok (not really but we are human) it is the not fixing it that is not ok. If I lose my temper and yell at my children I talk to them about it. I am sorry that you had such a tough childhood.

    I would like to be able to talk to my mother without her or I getting angry…maybe, someday.

  • Alison March 4, 2006, 1:46 am

    I really have no words of advice to give you. My mom died when I was 22. We were just starting to get along after a few years of, uh, friction.

    All I can think about is the fact that I’ll be 36 in July, too…

  • Julie March 4, 2006, 4:24 am

    It can be really hard to get along with parents…being only 20 I probably still haven’t grown up much.

    My Mom is wonderful, patient, the one I always turn to…and blow up at! I don’t know. It seems like if you really love some one, the price you pay is also hating them as much as you love them. My Grandma was really hot tempered. But she was also the best person I know. Its weird. Her father was even more hot tempered.

    They say it takes 4 generations to burn away bad habits. My Grandma is more mellow than my Great-Grandfather, my Dad is more mellow than my Grandma, and hopefully I’m more mellow than my Dad so that my kids…if I decide to marry, will be normal. LOL

  • Pumpkin Pie March 4, 2006, 9:28 am

    Julie,
    That is what I think…it just takes time for the cycle to break. I want to make sure I do my best to break it soon. My grandmother was very nasty to us at times…she made you wonder if she even loved you. I think she did but it was her personality.
    Alison,
    You must be a Cancer like me :)

  • kim March 5, 2006, 3:34 am

    I have so much to say, but somehow cannot express the words, very strange for me:) I used to think that my mom and I were sooo tight, growing up, we got along great! Its just in the past 5-8 years that its gone to all hell (i’m over exagerating that a bit:)
    Your post really hit a chord with me, in so many ways, I’m turning 34 this year and I feel like I have so much to learn about my family. I’m pretty secure in the ways I raise my kids, even though I had a seemingly normal childhood, I was a bit too spoiled.
    I think that this generation of parents, read more and think more about child rearing, which I hope in turn will make us better:)
    The problem with it all, is, you do the best you can, but you never really know if you’ve done it right, till they tell you that you did it wrong! I try to tell my kids, I’m doing the best I can and I ‘m learning from my mistakes too!
    I really love posts like this, it really makes you think alot about things:)
    good luck on being 36 and if it makes you feel any better, my parents are horribly critical of me, I sometimes think its because they sooo do not want me to make the same mistakes as them, that they will do or say anything to me to get me to do what they want, even if it is making me feel horrible about myself!
    aah its late and I probably am not making much sense anymore, i’ll stop now!

  • Pumpkin Pie March 5, 2006, 9:22 am

    No, Kim. You made perfect sense.

    I think alot of us have had problems in our relationships with parents or those very close to us.
    My mother and I have never really gotten along and I am not sure at this point we can. She doesn’t want to be honest with herself as to why we are having problems and that makes it impossible to work the problems out.
    It just takes time. I hope.

  • kim March 5, 2006, 11:13 pm

    i like to say, you cannot choose your family, but you sure can choose your friends.
    btw, i also wanted to comment on your trust issues, i have the same issues, but i tend to be very trusting, if that makes sense, actually, rather than trusting, I guess most would call it NAIVE.
    I’m trying to work on both those issues together.
    kim

  • misschrisc March 6, 2006, 10:50 am

    I get along well with my mom, no friction except for the teenage years. I know she had problems with her own mother and she made an effort with us. It has paid off. You can change things for the better.

  • Pumpkin Pie March 6, 2006, 12:26 pm

    I don’t know miss…it seems to be getting worse and worse the longer I live in France.

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