I recently attended a reading by an author of a best selling memoir about a mother daughter relationship. I went because I'm interested in writing a memoir. As the author talked about her book, which I had not read, it occurred to me that the author's daughter was standing in as a proxy for the emotions the author didn't allow herself to have about her own mother.
After the reading, I had a quick quiet moment with the author. So I decided to pose the question:
"I hope this isn't too personal, but do you think your daughter has served as a proxy for the emotions you didn't allow yourself to have about your mother?" I said.
She touched my arm. "You haven't read the book, but yes. You're so perceptive," she said.
She was then called away to sign some books.
I didn't get a chance to complete my thought. Which was I hope she takes her daughter off the hook. I hope she gives her daughter permission to have her own relationship with her (the author's) mother. While the process may be painful to the author (she doesn't have a good relationship with her mother), I think the result would be beneficial to everyone - grandmother, mother, daughter, alike.
I understand having a difficult relationship with a family member, but letting a bad relationship affect a third party, is detrimental and in the end, only exacerbates the dysfunction.