My 86-year-old mother with whom I love denies ever doing anything to damage me. She won't acknowledge my feelings. It makes me feel like I'm truly crazy and don't remember my life correctly. On top of that, what kind of daughter could be angry at an 86 year old woman?


This is an unhealthy living situation that you've created and I'm concerned for both of you. In circumstances where an adult daughter is still struggling with her childhood like you are, I suggest minimizing contact with the parent and talking with a therapist. However, you've chosen to live with the person who's causing you so much emotional turmoil.

While I appreciate there may be financial constraints that led to this living arrangement and that you may be acting as your mother's caregiver, it's hard to imagine that there weren't other options. This situation is guaranteed to bring you a lot of heartache. When an adult takes such a drastic step as this, they're often unconsciously trying to reach back in time to fix their childhood. However, even if your mom admitted that she damaged you and apologized (which is extremely unlikely), it would seem empty to you. It wouldn't provide a miraculous cure that would make you feel better.

At this point in your life, you should be practicing acceptance in regards to your mom. Instead, though, you're still expecting an emotionally absent mother to acknowledge your feelings. This is just irrational thinking and is creating undue stress. The spiritual writer, Bryon Katie, sums it up perfectly: “If you argue against reality, you will suffer.”

If you have no alternatives to this living arrangement, please make it as peaceful as possible for both you and your mom. Even if you and her had a fabulous history together, it would still be extremely difficult to live with one's elderly parent. It requires so much patience and understanding. Therefore, make sure you take good care of yourself by getting out of the house, engaging with people your own age, spending time in nature, and finding outlets to decompress (exercise, meditation, and yoga are all terrific).

As we live longer, there are many folks like you who are caring for aging parents. These caregivers are under enormous stress and often feel isolated. As a result, many support groups have sprung up to help—both online and in-person. The Eldercare Locator, maintained by the US Administration on Aging, is a good resource to get help in your area.

Please reach out for support. You're in a difficult situation and shouldn't be trying to handle it all alone. I wish you and your mother well.

Updated on February 25, 2020

Original Article:

5 Ways for Daughters to Heal From an Emotionally Absent Mother
By McKenna Meyers

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