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The bond between a mother and daughter is a beautiful one. But what happens when distance creeps in? Here are three tips to fix that broken bond!
While thinking about my family, I was hit by a surprising realisation that these days, I was rarely speaking to my mother. Was she avoiding me on purpose or was I just busy with my academics and friends here? I am not sure. But I definitely know that this is going to affect my family relationship terribly.
I still remember mom having a sewing machine on which she would stitch some pretty frocks and kurtas that I loved wearing as a child. And I know that she is still doing the same, but she hasn’t asked me if I need a kurta now. Is that freedom between us lost? Or does my mum not like my colourful choices now? I started thinking about this now.
There are certain situations that I have strategies for coping with. So I started planning to get my old loving and caring mother back. And I have three ways to do that.
To build a strong relationship with her, I decided to show her that I cared. Now there are several ways to share that you care. Like a lot of you, I was not particularly comfortable hugging or kissing her.
So I did the next best thing, I began with thanking her for small things. And asking her solution when I had difficulties. I also tried showing her that my life is nothing without her.
Initially, she was very defensive and unwilling to listen to me. But I didn’t give up or get upset. I decided that the next best thing was to spend time with her through phone calls.
For this, I started asking her about her dreams and ambitions and what she thought about life. When we had such conversations, she started talking to me a little more nicely. This was mostly because what she expected was just acceptance and appreciation from others.
I, too, started talking about life, family and my dreams. As a person confident about myself, I started opening up about my dreams. When she appreciated me and my dreams, I was quite happy.
While I was assertive enough to talk freely and openly, I was also aware that getting angry or getting her upset would not help. So I was careful and listened to her calmly and patiently.
In the middle of the conversation, I tried to explain to her that not everyone is the same and they don’t always have the same interests. I would often tell her, “I will treat your interests, preferences and beliefs with respect.” She found this very hard to believe but I stayed true to my word. It definitely helped me see a change in her.
Accept that you cannot control your parents’ behaviour. They may be your parents but you cannot force them to love and accept you. Though you may have an idea of what you want your relationship to be like, your parents’ behaviour is unlikely to change.
Learn to let go of what you cannot control. Instead, focus on accepting and loving your own self. Focus on making yourself better. This may not change your parents but it will help you find strength in yourself. It will help you believe in yourself.
Consider talking to a therapist about this. There is a chance you may find it difficult to open up to your family or people you know. At such times, talking to a therapist will help overcome your anger, anxiety, sadness or fears related to your parents.
Counsellors help identify what needs are not met and will help you find ways to heal. Discuss with your counsellor if family counselling is an option. Maybe involving your parents in this process might help. Family therapy could include either both or one of your parents during a session. These sessions often focus on how to communicate better and more effectively.
Having said all this, don’t force yourself to change if it doesn’t feel right. You only need to do what feels right to you. If your parents are putting pressure on you to do something you disagree with, it’s not because they want to ruin your life. Think reasonably, they might just be looking out for you or simply have their and your own best interests at heart.
Coming back to my (success) story, I recently had a conversation with my mom. And she finally asked, “I guess you are coming for vacation in April. Shall I stitch you a kurta?”
When I heard that, I couldn’t answer, I was frozen and happy.
Picture credits: Still from Marathi film Amhi Doghi.
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