Flor had come to live with her mom and her new family after being raised by her maternal grandmother.  A very bright and spirited young lady, 17 years of age, she was very successful as a student, but very rebellious at home. She had run away from home and had sought shelter at the apartment of a young couple.  She was demanding to be sent back to her grandma under the threat that her mom would never see her again if she did not.
    As the tearful mother shared her story, it turned out that this was the third time she had tried to bring Flor to live with her and her family in the U.S. It had never worked out before, and this time it had failed again, this time with Flor initiating the idea of her return.  As the mother felt more comfortable, she revealed  that the same conflict had occurred between her own mother and herself.  She too had been raised by her grandmother and she could never let go of her resentment at her mother for abandoning her until well into her adult years.  She understood her daughter’s anger towards her.  After all, “she had done the same thing to her daughter that her own mother had done to her: she had left her.” Taking a big risk I offered new information on this fact: which was that by doing this, she had also placed her daughter in a situation of receiving all the nurturing that she herself longed so much from her own mother, where the relationship was plagued by conflict and issues regarding abandonment. This tangle of feelings did not exist between grandmother and granddaughter and things were very different between them: their relationship was close and caring.  So perhaps now, she might possibly feel, at some deep level, a very painful and unwanted jealousy and resentment towards her daughter.  She was surprised to hear this, but accepted it. She then begun to look at those feelings and own them for the first time, with the great relief of not being judged for having them.  Sadly, these feelings, as well as the guilt associated with them, seriously hampered the reunion of Flor and her mother.  Somehow this mother and daughter kept failing when trying to reach out to each other, as though a mysterious force kept them repeating the cycle. 

Flor went back to her grandmother, in spite of the mother’s efforts to stop her so that they could finally stop the cycle of failed reunions through family therapy.  Yet, this time the mother fell too frightened that Flor could run away forever as she was threatening to do.  Of course, she would rather see her daughter safe back with the grandmother than in a perilous unknown destination. The final recommendation was for the mother to at least try and discuss her feelings of despair and longing for the relationship to work out through letters to the daughter, as well as to procure counseling for herself, to help with her own issues of abandonment.