I have to comment on this letter because it is doing the rounds on FuckBase and it is a piece of disturbing insanity. It is sentimental and sounds really nice. That is obvious, if it didn't appeal it wouldn't be doing the rounds, but there are one or two serious problems. Here is the letter for your delectation.
LETTER FROM A MOTHER TO A DAUGHTER:
"My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.
If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”... Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.
When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way... remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day... the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.
If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.
And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.
When those days come, don’t feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love.
I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you... my darling daughter."
If you think there is anything reasonable about this letter perhaps you will discover something about psychology by reading the following observations and criticism. If you think this letter is appalling but can't explain why then the following might help. If you think it's appalling and know why, the following may be interesting and may offer support to your relatively rare perception.
Why is a mother asking, almost begging, a daughter to be patient and understand her getting old? Why is the mother asking for understanding from a daughter who she clearly doesn't understand except in prejudicial anticipation of her being impatient and non-understanding? Why would you ask someone to be patient except that you were expecting them not to be?
One thing we know about children is that they learn from example. It is well understood in psychology that telling children what to do teaches them how to tell people what to do. Bullying begets bullying. Love begets love. The mother quite clearly has been impatient and non-understanding and feels anxious and a need to ask her daughter not to be like that.
If there were any doubt about that perception of the meaning of these words the letter goes on to confirm it. The second paragraph makes an obvious and glaring mistake, or rather reveals the hidden truth. To paraphrase it says "If I repeat myself don't criticise..." and one expects it to say "remember when you were young I didn't criticise you when you repeated yourself" but in fact it doesn't say that it says "remember when I kept repeating things when you were young." It is laughably a little worse "... until you were so bored you fell asleep!" This is a tragic letter and already the mother is pleading with the daughter "Please don't treat me like I treated you."
"When I don't want to take a bath, don't be mad and don't embarrass me." This is really getting bad! Why would anyone get angry and embarrass someone for not having a bath? Of course if you could answer that then you probably know - it's because that is their own attitude to themselves and there is only one place that came from and that is their childhood. It is clearly the expectation and suggests almost conclusively that it has always been the attitude of the writer and therefore the way she treated her daughter. But like the second paragraph this one makes explicit that the mother didn't treat the daughter the way she now wants to be treated. The allusion is to the equation "Don't hassle me I didn't hassle you." and in the most subtle way the wording is altered to confuse the brain into assuming that is what is being said. But revisit the actual words and what it says (paraphrased for illustration) is "Don't hassle me like I hassled you." What it says (verbatim) is "don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower". Like a lot of abuse the abuser thinks it is fun and when they retell the story it sounds like fun. There is complex trickery going on here. The ambivalence is allowing for the interpretation that the 'chasing' (running after) and 'deception' (excuses)' was fun. It is ambivalent because these things can be fun. But clearly the writer is concerned that the child will not be 'fun' and tries to persuade them that they had 'fun' when she was little. Why? Why would you need to 'remind' your daughter that you had fun? Do you think she forgot?
The next chunk is a total disaster. A lot could be said but the phrase "don't look at me that way" indicates a lot. First of all the letter was talking to the daughter about a possible future circumstance and now refers to a current event. Of course that 'current event' is in the mind of the writer but it is clearly being experienced in the mind of the writer as they write. So the writer 'knows' how her daughter will look at her and there are only two ways to 'know' that; one is prejudicially and the other is from experience. Given that, if the mother has the relationship with her daughter to which she alludes, she should have a good idea of what her daughters reaction will be then either she is unfairly ascribing negativity to her daughter or fairly ascribing negativity. Either way it doesn't reflect well on the mother. She is either being unfair now or was unfair in the past. Of course, people being what they are, it is likely to be both. So the mother is pleading "Please don't be intolerant..." and goes on to explain how she taught her daughter how to eat "appropriately", how to get dressed, how to comb her hair and how to deal with life's issues. This is possibly a case where one has to combine what one has learnt from the letter so far to make sense of what is being said at this point. The suggestion that the mother "patiently taught" all these things is in the light of the mother pleading with the daughter not to be intolerant. It seems strange to refer to bringing up a child as "teaching" them how to eat and dress but be that as it may the constant need to justify why the child should treat the mother reasonably is reeking of fear. It does bring to mind the phrase "The lady doth protest too much, methinks".
The prejudice is rife in this letter and now the writer says "don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant". Then a really weird thing happens; the mother says something which may, in some profound sense, be true. The mother says "Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you." It begs the question why is the mother having to tell the daughter that?
The bit about a helping hand sounds almost reasonable but I am left wondering why it has to be presented as a deal. Why wouldn't the daughter want to help? Why does she have to be persuaded by the equation 'do it for me because I did it for you'?
The next bit is the only bit in the entire letter that sounded reasonable. Given that this is supposed to be a letter about a loving relationship the mother says "don't be sad". It is the first indication of the mother seeming to care how the daughter feels. The tragic irony is that the mother doesn't go on to say anything about how it has all been worthwhile but rather asks for more 'understanding' from the daughter.
And the last paragraph, if it stood alone, is really nice.
But overall this letter is the most sickly sweet sentimental gluey manipulation I have read in a long time. The serious problem with this letter is that it illustrates that some people cannot tell the difference between loving someone else for who they are and 'needing to be loved'.