Do we girls get more like our mothers as we get older? Not that I mind very much, my mum was a fabulous lady and I would be proud to be anything like her - really! But I often wonder how many of our mother's 'not-so-nice' traits we take on board without even realising it? How many times do we hear our mother's voice as the very same words she used to us as children come tripping out? And what about those of us who didn't have a very good relationship with our mothers and vowed to NEVER be like them? Do those traits come out anyway and do we treat our children in the same way that we found horrible when we were growing up, without realising it?
Now my mum and I had a wonderful relationship which persisted into my adult life unchanged. I like to THINK my daughter and I have the same bond. She was a wonderful woman who protected her offspring with a fierceness that daunted even the most determined teacher at school. She could always be relied upon to rush to my rescue, leaving all in her path vanquished! I thought she was amazing. As my children have grown I have found myself doing exactly the same thing with the same results.
On the other hand I have a friend who never got on with her mother. They fought all the time, often resulting in her running away from home and arriving on our doorstep, a trait that persists to this day even though she has been married for 21 years and has four children of her own. Her mother used to do the same thing to them when conflict in the home became overwhelming. She was a very controlling woman with her children, so is my friend. Often she was extremely irrational, she had a phenomenal memory for 'slights' and never forgave the perpetrator! I see the same trait in my friend which is very sad as she fights hard to NOT be the same as her own mother! I see her husband and children pulling away from her in the same way that she pulled away from her mother.
My question - can you tell someone that you can see them walking the same unhappy path that their mother walked before them? Can you tell them to pull themselves together and to see the damage they are doing to themselves and their family? How do you say these things when they don't want to believe it and they will most likely never speak to you again? I care deeply about my friend, I don't want to hurt her feelings but I can't bear to watch her rip her family apart in the same way her mother did to her.
How brave should I be?