Mothers and Daughters: Are You Overstepping Your Boundaries?

By Val Boyko • June 30th, 2011
Here is a great article I came across from written by author Amy Bloom.

mother and daughter in garden

She asks “How do you walk that fine line between love and autonomy, privacy and intimacy?”…..

“Boundaries are the lines we draw that mark off our autonomy and that of other people, that protect our privacy and that of others.

Boundaries allow for intimate connection without dissolving or losing one’s sense of self….

The boundaries between mother and grown daughter are more complicated, more heartbreaking, more absurd, and far more slippery than even the most wiggly, unexpected border markings around our most rapidly shifting, emerging, and disappearing country-states”.

To read the full article – and get a fresh perspective on something that both mothers and daughters struggle with(!)  click here.

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I have one child, a 21 year old daughter. She has been an absolute joy to raise. We had a very good relationship..until the day that she told me she wanted to date a 51 year old man she recently met. She knew of him for 3 years because she became friendly with his ex wife (one of them) at work. He left his ex and the one before because of affairs with much younger women! My daughter told me all about him. I was in shock at her lack of sense, sensitivity, and memory. I refused to allow him in our home and told her that if she chose to see him behind my back, she would lose all financial support from her dad and me. My husband agreed and told her so. However, it has been 6 months since thus occurred and her relationship with her dad is good but she seems to dislike me. I can’t remember the last time she called me “mom”. I like to talk things out and share my feelings. She listens but doesn’t respond. My husband tells me to let it go and time will heal it. I’m so hurt that I can’t stop thinking about this so letting go doesn’t seem to be an option. I miss my daughter and I want to fix this. Any suggestions?

Hi Pat, I’m sorry to hear of the distance between you and your daughter. It sounds like both of you are hurting so much. I would encourage you to journal and get out some of your thoughts and feelings about the situation. Notice judgments and blame. Notice anger and resentment. Now step back and imagine yourself in your daughters position. See yourself in her eyes and imagine how she might have felt with what you had said. (Check out my post on the three realities at When we can step back we see more clearly with less emotion.
Can you empathize with this young woman who fell for someone inappropriate? Can you perhaps see yourself at that age making a similar misjudgment? Can you empathize with the mother who only wanted to protect her daughter from harm, but may have come over as being controlling and mean?
There is no right or wrong here. If you want to mend the relationship its up to you to reach out and speak from your heart. Don’t justify your position or talk about the man. Tell her how much you love her and miss her. How much you want the relationship to heal. Ask her what she needs. Ask her what she wants from you. Then you can tell her you only want the best for her. You want her to be happy and safe.
Your relationship is moving into a different stage as your daughter is now a woman. Its up to you to see her as a young woman who may have made a mistake. Remember you will always be her mother. If and when the relationship with this man ends, let her feel okay to come to you for comfort without any “I told you so’s”
If it isn’t possible to have this conversation with her. Write a letter from you heart and ask if you can meet to heal the relationship.

You’re a very wise woman! Thanks so much for your good advice and kind words. I’ll do anything I can to restore my relationship with my daughter. I miss her more than words could ever say.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Good luck Pat! If you have difficulty please reach back to me. Val x


Would it be possible for me to talk with you by phone? I would appreciate and respect your time.


Val, is there any chance I could speak to you by phone?

Hi Pat, I just came across your comment today. So sorry that you were left hanging. the site didn’t alert me.
Please complete the contact me form or send an email directly to me –


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