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She was the first person in your life (literally), and for many women, their mother has remained number one in their hearts -- a champion, hero and best friend all in one. But, that's not always the case. From small disagreements to larger conflicts, even this first, treasured relationship can be pushed to the breaking point. What happens when you don't get along with your mother?
"We need to understand that conflict is normal," says Mary Marcdante, author of My Mother, My Friend. "I think a lot of what causes conflict [between mothers and daughters] is that we don't express our needs directly -- and as women we're not taught to do that. [We're taught] that other people's needs come before our own."
How can you disagree with Mom -- and feel good about it? A communications expert, Mary prescribes a three-step system that works for resolving most mother-daughter conflicts.
1.Acknowledge: "Set aside your judgments until you understand more of why you mother's perspective is the way it is." Rather than jumping into the conflict ready to blame or defend, take time to think about your mother's experiences and why she may disagree with you on certain issues.
This includes listening. "People always want to be heard, and before they can hear you, they want to feel heard." It's important to let your mother know that you hear her. "It can be verbally or nonverbally, through a nod of the head, through a smile to say 'I get it' -- of course, be careful that this isn't sending a mixed message during conflict." You can also use these phrases:
I hear what you're saying
It seems like
It looks like
It sounds like
I'm guessing that you're feeling pretty upset about this