…on Losing My Relationship with My Daughter

NOTE.  This is one of a series of requested letters that will be posted under “Form Letters” for those of you who would like an idea or a template for a letter of your own.)

Dear Daughter.

Please tell me what I have done.  You say there is nothing and I know it isn’t true.

It’s complex, isn’t it?  We’ve been so close.  You’ve been my best friend.  Suddenly you’re gone and I’m grieving.

Part of this is my mistake.  When I moved back I fell easily into the family circle.  We were so happy to spend time together that I didn’t branch out and create my own group of friends.  You included me in everything and my children and grandchildren were all that I needed.  I acknowledge that this cannot go on.

Life has a different plan between parent and child.  I get this.  I want you to live fully and completely in your own sphere.  I want you to grow beyond a need for your mother.  I want you to make your own decisions based on your own aspirations.

I do hope, though, that when you don’t need to be with me, don’t need my opinion, and don’t need my comfort and wisdom; that sometimes you will still want those things.

I understand that you have felt isolated with your pain you in the last years.  Although I, too, have lived through the end of a marriage, I have tried to listen and be supportive without making this about me.  After all, your pain is yours, my past pain does not alleviate your agony in the present.  It just helps me know what you are going through and makes me want to be there for you.  And I have been.  We have gone through much of this together.

What has gone wrong?

Maybe, without realizing, I’ve been a “helicopter” Mom when we are way too old for that.  I don’t think of myself that way.  Actually, I always think of us as two women who are friends rather than as mother and daughter.

Yet, maybe I have said something.

I can see that your feelings are hurt.  I just don’t know what I did or how to fix it.

Dearest daughter, if you are happy and confident and going about your life, I love it.  You can say to me, “Mom, I need to branch out in my life.  I want us both to have more separate activities and not do everything together. ” I understand.

It’s your emotional distance that is crushing.  It’s your polite cheeriness that is impermeable.  It is your pointed exclusion of me that is crippling. It’s the sudden turn-around and solid stone wall that is breaking me.

I can’t articulate this in writing.  And you won’t let me say it face-to-face.  You shine me on and put me off.

I don’t need to be your best and only friend.  I don’t need to be your confidante.  I don’t need to be included in all of your social events.  And I absolutely do not want you to feel guilt or responsibility for me or my life.

What I need is your consideration of me as a person.  I need the truth.  I need to know  that we care about each other even when we don’t see each other.

You say there is nothing.  And I can do nothing.  For now, I can only love you and wait.



  1. Oh wow, what it lovely letter! This truly touched my heart! I could never say with words what you can say and bring across. So, so good!

    I’m happy that I can say I have a very good relationship with mom. She’s one of my best friends. I can imagine she’d write me a letter like this if it wasn’t like that.


  2. Wow. This is painful. I too have not made friends. I don’t do everything with my son (16) but I am used to him “taking up space” in our 2br flat, talking to his mates, gaming in the lounge. I know he’s going to go, I know, but I have sort of lost joi de vivre – don’t know what to engage myself with again, like I used to live and be part of life (pre my son). I don’t know…

    Are you really sure you’ve lost the relationship – & it isn’t just that she has moved on but still loves you??


    • Thank you for your concern. Obviously I have had times like this in my life or I wouldn’t be able to write about it. Most of mine have been short-lived. This was written for the benefit of woman who was in much pain. She has taken pieces of this letter and filled in for herself.

      That’s what I always hope to do. Touch people and help those who need it by providing them with a start toward healing.

      If your son is still a teenager you are in a difficult time for really moving on. He still needs you. I found those transition times very difficult…when I didn’t see my own value in the situation but couldn’t yet move beyond it. Blessings on you in that.


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