She has put her life on the line for you, fed you, clothed you and protected you from any harm. She is your confidant, your best friend. And, according to Julia Coblentz, author of 3-Step Solutions for Fight with Mom, mothers have remained number one in our heart – a champion, hero and best friend all in one. But sadly, this is not always the case. From small disagreements to larger conflicts, even this first, treasured relationship can be pushed to the breaking point. What happens when you don’t get along with your mother?
“We need to understand that conflict is normal.” says Mary Marcdante, a relationship expert and author of the best-selling book, My Mother, My Friend. “I think a lot of what causes conflict (between mothers and daughters) is that we don’t express our needs directly – and as women, we’re not taught to do that. Instead, we are taught that other people’s needs come before our own.”
So how can you disagree with your Mom –and feel good about it? Communication expert Mary prescribes a system that works for resolving most mother-daughter conflicts.
Set aside your judgments until you understand more of why your mother’s perspective is the way it is. Rather than jumping into the conflict ready to blame or defend, take time too think about your mother’s experiences and why she may disagree with you on certain issues. This includes listening. People always want to be heard, and before they can hear, they want to feel heard. It’s important to let your mother know that you hear her. It can be verbally or nonverbally, through a nod of the head, through a smile to say ‘I get it’ – of course, be careful that isn’t sending a mixed message during conflict. You can also use these phrases.
I hear what you’re saying….
It seems like….
It looks like …
It sounds like…
I’m guessing that you’re feeling pretty upset about this.
Recognize that her stance is one you may not agree with but is important to her. What you can say, “I can see that this is really important to you.”
“Then the assertive part comes in where you take your position. “Mary tells daughter to start these statements with the word And. “If you use the word ‘but’ it disqualifies what your mother is saying. For example: “And, Mom, I have a different perspective on..”
Express your feelings
Tell her, “I would appreciate it if you would (and then you put your wish in there).”
Look for the proper timing to discuss the issue
Timing is very important. A lot of times, we’re so upset that we feel we have to deal with it then and there. And with most issues, you can take some time to process them.
Visualize the positive outcome
What we tend to do is imagine that she’ll blow up, or we’ll have an argument. And we create this self-fulfilling prophesy of negativity, so visualizing positive outcomes gives your brain direction. Strive to be positive.
Be willing to disagree
Most of the time, you may not be in the same vibrations with your mother. On these times, be willing to disagree. It’s as simple as saying, “Mom, we just may not agree on this, and that’s okay.”
Take a break
Shelf the issue into the back of your mind for a moment. Take a break. Don’t push so hard that you get into an escalated situation.
Watch out for your tone
Tone is important because we often think we have the right words but don’t have the right tone. Come from curious tone of voice rather than a blaming or defensive one.
Remember that changing the way you communicate takes time. Set differences aside and focus on living in the moment with forgiveness. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you forget about the sticky issue. Rather, let some time to pass by to cool off and deal with the issue at the proper opportunity. You can disagree with your friends, colleagues and with your significant other without being disagreeable. Try the same approach with your mother. For after all she has done for you, the least you can do is give her the kind of respect due to someone who has given you all that she has – for you.