Warning: Mother Daughter Grievance Damages Your Health.

By Val Boyko • January 9th, 2011

Most of us will get upset or angry around our mothers when our buttons have been pushed. The more our buttons get triggered, the more likely we are to harbor resentment and grievance against our mothers….. and the world in general.

Mother Daughter conflictAccording to John Welwood, it really isn’t surprising that so many of us have a grievance towards our mother and the way we were raised. Where do these grievances come from? John Welwood writes:

“Every grievance has it’s roots in old hurt about not being fully loved and old frustration about not being able to do anything about it.” Once established this hurt and frustration become like a hidden virus that remains dormant in our nervous system, ready to flare up the moment someone looks at us the wrong way.”

The most destructive element in human relationships is the urge to make other people bad or wrong, and then judge, reject or punish them for it….. Nursing a grievance is a self destructive act. For in wanting to hurt or reject someone or something we resent, we unwittingly wind up hurting or rejecting ourselves at the same time. This is easy to see: just notice how your whole body tightens and constricts when you hold something against someone.”

So, it’s natural to make other people bad or wrong when we have been hurt or are frustrated that we can’t do anything about  a situation, but the cost to our own health and well being is high.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Are you holding on to a grievance in your life?
  • What do you yearn for instead?
  • What is the real cost to you, your well being and those around you?
  • Is it worthwhile holding onto it, or is it time to let it go?

We’ll come back to this topic again. If your heart tells you it’s time to work on it now, then please get in touch!



I agree that holding on to grudges and grief is unhealthy. I would love if I woke up in the morning and didn’t have any grudges or grief left in me. Today I erupted like a volcano because for days I’ve wanted to sit down with my mother and talk to her about stuff that’s been troubling me. I’ve brought this stuff up to her before but it never seems to get resolved. For once I just want my mother to validate my feelings. Instead, she kicks me when I’m already down. I can be in tears but she has no compassion and only makes me feel worse, which in turn, results in more tears and more bad feelings. I think the reason why I still have the grudge is because it never gets validated, it never is released, no matter how much I acknowledge it. I don’t want to spend my life botteling my hurts and grief. I want to express them and find usefull ways to resolve and fix them. The problem is I don’t know how to do that. I’m tired of hearing “forgiveness” as one way to solve the problem. As long as the people who have hurt me are in my life I most certainly cannot forget, let alone forgive. I think forgivness comes with alot of work and self-recovery. It’s not as simple as saying “Okay, I forgive you” and then the grief is released. So help me out here. What do I need to do to let go of grief and grudges?

Hi Suzanne,
Thanks for reaching out and sharing your thoughts and feelings! No matter what grudge we are holding onto, when we do hold on, everything we perceive becomes a validation of it in our mind. We need it to confirm our reality, and so it becomes so.
Moving from hurt to forgiveness is not one step. There’s always work in between to get you to that place when you can find peace.
Here are my thoughts to share right now:
Instead of telling yourself you “should” forgive – which makes it wrong to feel the way you are feeling …. The first step is to acknowledge that yes, damn right I hurt! The next step is to allow yourself to feel that hurt and where it comes from. This can be a scary place when we see ourselves as being “together” and in control!
The old hurt is usually a feeling of rejection when we were little. This hurt runs deep. When we feel rejected as children we usually believe its our fault that we are unloved. This is devastating to a little person! We carry this belief with us into adulthood. Even although its likely that our mother’s attention was somewhere else – somewhere where she felt she was more needed.
As adults we might find our self talk to be “if I tried harder, if I was more forgiving or understanding, or if I got over myself, then things would be okay.”
Well no, they won’t be okay until you accept your hurt, and really feel it for what it is – not through the eyes of a child but as a whole adult woman.

There are many mothers out there who aren’t very good at it! They could be narcassists, depressed or simply distracted! They might have had a hurtful mother experience themselves and haven’t experienced anything else. Often there is resentment, guilt and acting out involved.
The next place to venture (once you acknowledge that you are okay to feel the way you do) is to see your mother as an adult – like you! Not through the eyes of the hurt little girl. As a fallible human being……
I hope this helps open up new possibilities for you to move forward. I am always available to talk more. x


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