NAYA | Mothers and Daughters: An evolutionary relationship

The relationship only gets better once daughters start relating to their mothers' experiences.
by Chrystine Mhanna

7 June 2019 | 14:01

Source: by Annahar

  • by Chrystine Mhanna
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 7 June 2019 | 14:01

(AP photo)

BEIRUT: The evolution of the relationship between mothers and daughters has been a significant topic for years. Before considering their mothers as role models, daughters might possess rebellious acts while communicating with their mothers.

Nonetheless, the development of such a connection is always subject to variant phases of change, according to psychotherapist Maya Haddad.

Analyzing the relationship between mothers and daughters

In a historical context, diverse psychological theories examined the relationship between mothers and daughters.

According to Freudian theory, the most common theory, the rise of disagreement between mothers and daughters is completely normal.

Freud related this relationship to the Oedipus complex in which the daughter is attached to her father in her early age, while the son is mostly connected to his mother.

Other theories focused more on the different experiences of each relationship.

Adolescence: Blaming the mother

Haddad explained that the relationship between mothers and daughters is in most cases problematic and stressful during the transition phase from childhood to adulthood.

In many instances, daughters blame their mothers for any conflict that comes their way. They start demanding their independence and calling for their personal space.

Dr. Beverly Valtierra, a clinical social worker, shared in her article a number of common phrases that teenagers tend to use to describe their relationship with their mothers: “mother was not there for me” or “nothing I do is enough for her.”

“As psycho-analytics, we refer any conflict between a mother and a daughter to the mother’s desires and connection to her child,” Haddad told Annahar.

Haddad also stressed on the role of the father in controlling the relationship. He is supposed to interfere at an early age between the mother and the daughter in order to assure his presence as a third party in the family.

Accordingly, separating the duality of the mother and the daughter is healthy in this case, while the opposite might lead to instability later on between the two.

Adulthood: The transition from blame to affection

The relationship between mothers and daughters develops as daughters grow older.

“I used to blame my mother for everything in my high-school years, then we became best friends and I understood the value of everything she had sacrificed before,” Mariam Diab, a university student, said.

According to a research conducted by Karen Fingerman, The relationship only gets better once daughters start relating to their mothers' experiences and acknowledging their similarities. 

In order to highlight these similarities, Valtierra suggested a method that daughters should follow: they should ask themselves questions that relate to their concerns. They should then imagine how their mothers would answer. They would thus, find out that their own answer might be very similar to their mother’s.

Reciprocal roles of understanding

Regardless of the theoretical interpretation, a relationship between a mother and a daughter is always relevant to each and every condition, according to Haddad.

This reinforces the idea that mothers and daughters are equally responsible for strengthening this bond.

Andre Ghossein, a mother of two, told Annahar that she had to give her daughters her full trust in order to gain back their honesty.

Simultaneously, daughters should be able to enhancing the relationship through responsive communication, as Valtierra suggested.


Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations. Naya Editor, Sally Farhat:

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