How I Let Go Of My Resentment Toward My Mom


healing a mother-daughter relationship
I knew that if I ever wanted to have a relationship with her, I had to put it all out on the table.

I became a relationship coach to help understand and accept my own relationship hang-ups, most of which can be traced back to my relationship with my mother. Infants need lots of touch and holding in order to develop what psychologists call "secure attachment." I was one of those children who was deprived of that. While it is true that Mom (now deceased) was one of the sweetest, most supportive mothers I know, she was also shy about her body and uncomfortable with physical touch.

Since I didn't get that nurturing touch from Mom, I grew up feeling like I always wanted "more" in my relationships with men. I think a lot of us feel something like this—a deep inner sense that something is missing, that either you're somehow lacking or your partner is.


By the time I was 35, I had pretty much come to terms with my insecure attachment—except for one thing. I realized that something was still missing in my adult relationship with my mother. There was a vague sort of awkwardness and distance between us—like there were things left unsaid.

Many personal development paths—such as Landmark, Gestalt, Getting Real and Radical Honesty—recommend that in order to become free of your past unfinished emotional business, you must "complete" your relationship with your parents. When I first learned that many people feel more empowered and confident after doing a "completion process" with a parent, I knew I had to try this—first with Mom and maybe later with Dad.

So I called Mom, who was already quite elderly and frail, saying I wanted to come for a visit (a five-hour airplane ride) to discuss some feelings and insights I wanted to share about our relationship.

"I think if we can talk together about the things in our early relationship that were painful or frustrating, we will probably wind up feeling closer," I said.

She agreed that this would be a good thing. Then, she added with a touch of humor, "Are you going to tell me off?" I reassured her that it wasn't my intention, but that I expected we'd both feel some discomfort, because we were used to always being nice.

When the day came for our meeting, I started by re-stating that I wanted to clear the air so we could feel more relaxed and close, to share some feelings I was carrying so I could get over them. She seemed to be listening, but she looked skeptical ... maybe even afraid. I couldn't tell which. I reassured her, saying that I appreciated her for being so open. "I'd like to just talk uninterrupted for a little bit," I said. "And then when I'm done, I'd like to hear anything you want to say." Keep reading ...

More family advice from YourTango:

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Susan Campbell

Relationship Coach

Susan Campbell, Ph.D.

Relationship Coach


Location: Sebastopol, CA
Credentials: MA, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Susan Campbell:

Are You Having Great Sex Or Maintenance Sex?


For some people, just being able to have any sex at all is considered "great." For others, great sex must transport the partners to a state of blissful oneness of body, mind, and spirit. For most people, great sex is any sex that brings a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment to both partners. What does great sex mean to you? Why Can't ... Read more

It's Time To Face Your Fears


We hear a lot these days about letting go of fears or other unfortunate conditioned patterns. In the Getting Real work that I do, I help people see fears and unconscious patterns as a portal to deeper self-compassion, self-awareness, healing, and intimacy. In January, my new book, 5 Minute Relationship Repair (co-authored with John Grey), will be published ... Read more

What Can You Realistically Expect In An Intimate Relationship?


Have you ever found yourself in the predicament of loving almost everything about a person, but finding that there is one important thing missing, one fly in the ointment? Mary has been dating Ted for almost a year. In many ways he is her ideal man, but he is not as interested in lovemaking and cuddling as she is. She resents the amount of time Ted spends ... Read more

See More

My Videos
Most Popular