Re-examining the Dutiful Daughter Role

by Daughter
(MA)

I find myself still wading thigh high in dangerous reactions to my mentally ill mother: silent anger, resentment, grief, confusion, and so on. I see how this is taking a toll on my health. No good! Got to keep trying something different if the way you are going is getting you more lost, right?


How about challenging my underlying beliefs? What are the thoughts that I have constructed long ago that keep frustrating my desires in the present? What do I have to let go of to feel peace within?

I cannot change the past. I cannot change anyone else but myself.

Can I let go of the love of the role of being the dutiful daughter: a co-dependant relationship that enables me to feel powerless, victim, and has fueled my mother's delusions of power over others?

Can I view my mother as a person whom I am helping but distance myself from her as my mother. She really no longer is the mother I was close to. I am hurting myself with disappointment and grief to continue with those old habitual thoughts in relation to her.

Can I say, "Lord, I am stuck in my psychological baggage, but YOU are free. Help her through me and let me feel YOUR joy."

Lord, show me how to see her as YOU see her. Show me how to let go and forgive. I want to be free, loving, kind, and connected to YOU. Help me dissolve my old negative feelings that keep me from YOU."

Will this help any of you out there? Hope so.

daughter

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Dutiful Daughter Examining Pathways to a Peaceful Heart
by: Dutiful Daughter

I am sure there a many, many minions of dutiful daughters out there! What emotional strategies have helped you become a more loving and peaceful person? What kinds of thoughts did not help you or her? How can you use your imagination to get beyond the usual bear traps? Here are some I am experimenting with:

1. My favorite sage, guru, or saint is sitting in the back seat of the car with a supportive smile for me and is sending me His loving and blissful vibes, no matter what my mother is doing. He (or Divine Mother, if you like) is giving me advice. I can "hear" it if I am calm and quiet inside and not give reign to my old knee-jerk emotions.

2. 95% or more of what bothers me most about my mother I realize that she cannot control, doesn't want to change, or doesn't realize how she can hurt me. What if it were my job not to judge her, but to feel my feelings, release them right away, and observe her without judgement or taking it personally?

3. I am here to serve and love her but I am not responsible for everything in her life. If she chooses to not listen, not care, or however she reacts, then that is her free will and she can see where it goes. I cannot control her, nor do I wish to anymore than I want her to control me.

4. I can be respectful and firm without being defensive and over-reactive. I can control my own behavior and strengthen my own will.

5. Think of this stage as a gift, rather than a huge obstacle to your freedom. It's an OFS: opportunities For Sainthood!

6. If you fail at any or all these, not to worry. Your saintly companion, God, Gurus, or Christ all have a wonderful sense of compassion for you and a sense of humor. You are loved and forgiven. You will have more opportunities, as long as the mother lives.

7. Be stubborn about being happy and not let anyone take it from you!

8. Aren't you the lucky one to have been given this test of spiritual strength? Your siblings are focusing on other things, but this is for YOU. Yes, get needed help wherever you find it but turn resentment into gratitude.

9. Miracles happen from a calm mind.

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Dutiful Daughter
by: Anonymous

I cried when I read your letter, having been in a similar situation. I too felt lost and in unfamiliar territory, my mother was not my mother anymore, and I felt helpless, also there were periods of guilt which consumed me.

What is a dutiful daughter?, we are there to help our mothers when they become infirm, try our very best, scarify many things in life and just put them on hold.

The weeks turn into months the months years, and still you find yourself trapped, feeling more resentment as time goes by.

I look back and still feel awful, as if I let my mother down, though common sense should tell me that `I didn't, it is natural to detach yourself when the woman you once knew as mother becomes a stranger, you feel the same but `yet`there is more pity for oneself, it`s a hard task that you have to face.

This time will pass, people will say that you should find more time for yourself, but sometimes it is easier said than done.

You are a good and dutiful daughter, and `yes`it will be easier to detach yourself.

I now look back and think of my dear mother as she used to be, and that time will come for you, so remember your mother as she once was, in some ways you are already mourning the loss of her.

So try to get through this time and not let emotions get the better of you.

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