DO I HAVE TO PLAY DAUGHTER?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I am 28 and I love my mother and we are more like friendly strangers than mother and daughter. I always wanted more of a warm and fuzzy mom but I know that is never going to happen. Do I have to go through the rigmarole of playing daughter with someone that probably feels obligated to play mom to me?

—Wanting Something More Than This (United States)

DEAR W.S.M.T.T.:

It could be that your mother simply feels obliged to be in a mother role to you. It also could be possible that she has love for you in her heart that she can’t express well. Oftentimes, people may be relating in a way they’ve been related to, or perhaps she has been through something that has made her disconnect from her heart.

In any case, I wonder what would happen if you simply validate what is and validate her as someone who shows up (in whatever ways she shows up for you).

Perhaps you could also tell her you’d really like to get to know her better and see how she steps up. If she can’t step up as a more loving and maternal and nurturing presence in your life, validate her stepping up in the ways she does, and take this opportunity to learn how to be your own mother—to nurture yourself, to love yourself unconditionally, and to pay attention to what you need. That way, anything else is icing on the cake and you’ve learned a very important lesson—to be there unconditionally for yourself and to love yourself.

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