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Finding Resilience in the Mother-Daughter Dynamic: Overcoming the Temptation to Shut Down

by Ann Dillard, LMFT



The mother-daughter bond is a complex, intricate relationship filled with moments of joy, challenges, and occasional misunderstandings. While this bond is treasured, there are times when misunderstandings weigh so heavily that shutting down feels like the only option. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Ann Dillard offers insights into navigating these challenging waters.


The Shutdown: A Natural Reflex?


Shutting down can often be a protective mechanism. It serves as a shield against potential hurt. Although it might provide temporary relief, this method of coping doesn't address the root of the issues.


Reasons Behind the Withdrawal


1. Self-Preservation: Naturally, humans gravitate towards behaviors that shield them from pain.

2. Avoidance: Facing confrontation can be intimidating, making retreat an appealing choice.

3. Fear of Misunderstanding: The potential for invalidating feelings can heighten the urge to shut down.


Navigating Through the Shutdown Impulse


1. Embrace Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding your feelings can be the first step toward healing. Journaling is one way to process emotions constructively.

2. Assertive Communication: Use "I feel" statements to express emotions. This approach focuses on sharing feelings rather than placing blame.

3. Establish Healthy Boundaries: Setting limits ensures interactions remain respectful and nurturing.

4. Seek Support: Whether through therapy or counseling, external perspectives can be beneficial.

5. Engage in Self-Care: Participate in activities that restore and energize you. Replenishing your emotional reserves can foster healthier interactions.

6. Commitment to Growth: While the journey of understanding and healing can be long, every step forward is progress.


Treading the delicate terrain of mother-daughter relationships can be tough, especially when the temptation to shut down looms large. Yet, with resilience, patience, and the right strategies, bridging gaps and reinforcing this cherished bond is possible.


Stay connected with Daughters HEAL for deeper insights and resources that shed light on the multifaceted journey of mother-daughter relationships

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