Mother/Daughter Relationship Exercises
These brief exercises are designed to be self-explorations. Always feel free to alter them to your own unique circumstances. Try to give yourself some time alone to do the exercises and maybe find a friend who might also do them so you could talk about your experience. Above all, trust yourself!
The Same and Different
Make a list of all the qualities you have known in your mother, both in the past and the present. This means, of course, that there will be some polarities. She may be both nice and mean, strong and weak. In a stream-of-consciousness way just jot down qualities, attributes, behaviors, her likes and dislikes. My mother is... My mother was...My mother wanted.... My mother.....
After a while, go back and check to make sure you saw qualities on both the positive and negative side of the equation. We are all both! If you need to balance the list or add anything else, do so now.
Now go back and read each quality that you have written and ask the question, Am I ______(mean, nice, strong, weak)? Note the traits of your mother that you do carry and those you don't.
Now, do the first part of the exercise again, this tie for yourself. I am...... You'll repeat some of the qualities that you carry from your mother, but you'll also begin to see the ways you are unique.
At the end of this exercise, take some time to realize that you have choice. You can change the ways you are conditioned, you can strengthen your uniqueness, you can learn to be the who that you want to be.
Acceptance and Forgiveness
Write down some of the things you respect and appreciate your mother for, in the past and in the present.
Also write down some of the things that have hurt you, ways she is/was that don't work for you.
Now, close your eyes and imagine that you see your mother as both a mother personality, in all the ways she plays that role. Imagine her in a moment in time that most represent her as MOTHER. .....
And then allow yourself to see beyond that role and imagine that you see her as an ADULT, unrelated to her mothering role..... and as a CHILD, still carrying the littleness of her childhood.... and as a WOMAN, being female in her unique way. You can add to the list. You might see her as a DAUGHTER, FRIEND, LOVER, SISTER, WORKER, etc.
And finally, imagine that you see her as a SOUL or in her essence, her best self, free of the limitations of personality, culture, her own woundedness. Take a moment to get to know her in this best light. Talk to her, if you wish, hear her say the things that she should have said, would have said if she had been able.
See if you can move a step closer to acceptance of her and perhaps forgiveness, by seeing her in this fuller way.
For a deeper experience, do this same exercise with yourself, seeing yourself first as CHILD, in relation to your mother and then in all your many other roles and aspects, including, finally, as SOUL. A nice ending might be to let the mother soul and daughter soul have some time together for acceptance and forgiveness of both.