After the recent unproductive argument with my daughter in the Comments of the Listening post on LiveJournal argument I wrote a very long piece that I saved to think about whether to post or not. The post was so long that I would have put it online in five parts. After thinking about this post for several days, I decided that posting it wouldn't accomplish anything. The person that I most would have wanted to read it can't read anything I write without interpreting it in some harshly negative way. I am saving the bulk of it for another time and another place. The short of it is this post.
That exchange with my daughter brought up old unpleasant memories of my marriage to her father. This was the kind of argument that her father and I would have. Nothing would be resolved. The situation that gave rise to the argument would not change. Six months later we'd have the same argument again. And so it went ... on and on till I left and then till he stopped talking to me a year later. Other than the impossibility of being able to be a team as parents from that point on and its impact on all of our lives due to that, the consequences of his decision were good.
I know the difference now between that kind of arguing and a healthy argument. In my second marriage we do have arguments but we resolve things! I noticed this early on in my relationship with my current husband. It is such a relief to have an argument that can be resolved, where you feel satisfied that something has been figured out, where no one leaves the argument feeling frustrated that efforts to communicate have been in vain. No one has to feel as though they are bloodied and crushed into the mud.
The recent dialogue between my daughter and myself brought back memories of those frustrating unproductive repetitive arguments between myself and her father. Nothing ever gets accomplished that way, especially when one person's agenda seems to be to get their foot placed firmly onto the top of my head so that they can squash it into the dirt. That is how it feels to me. That it seems important to her that she control me and make me realize how worthless I am. I just can't participate in that kind of argument. I've had enough of arguing with people where the arguments can't go in a positive direction. What is the point? There is no point. Nothing can be accomplished. It reminds me of arguing with my ex in the sense that nothing can progress to some more positive point.
Switching thoughts here to my mother. The relationship with my mother had a lot of similarity to the relationship with my ex but she is truly mentally ill and has the kind of illness which makes her behave manipulatively and abusively, especially to those who are close to her. You either have to put up with being abused or walk away.
While I have identified with being the daughter of an impossible mother for much of my life, I have come to recognize that many adult daughters have unreasonable expectations of their own pretty much normal mother's. They are quick to criticize, quick to take offense, and convinced at every turn of their mother's inability to be a decent human being. The same kind of consideration that they would give to their friends in not making judgments about their lives and minding their own business, they are unable to do for their mothers. The leeway that they give their friends they can't give to their mothers. The leeway that they expect and demand for THEMSELVES, they can't give their mother.
In essence, these daughters act as though they are the bad mothers or bad husbands of their own mothers and as though they are ENTITLED to behave that way. SOME daughters do this. Far too many daughters do this. Failing to recognize the rights that their mothers have as women and as human beings. These are daughters who fail to appreciate their mother's accomplishments, their possible wisdom, their triumphs, their love, and their pain. For both the daughters and the mothers the result is the tragic loss of what might have been ---- a good relationship.