Dear Seagoat #7: Problem Dads, Fix-It Moms


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Dear Seagoat,

My 10 1/2 year old daughter is just about to start middle school. I have been a single mother for most of her life and her relationship with her father seems to be getting more strained every year.  She spends every other week with him and as she becomes more independent, he gets more disgruntled and isolates himself and her from friends.  He tends to dump all of his problems on her. I am concerned about her future relationships with men (boyfriend, boss, friends etc.) She seems so flexible right now, maybe too flexible. Will she grow that backbone I am hoping for?  How much helping can her Virgo mama do?
— Virgo Mama with Pre-Teen Stress Drama

Dear PTSD,

Mama-dedication and -love threads its way through your question. It’s a tough one, though, for anyone. How much influence does a parent have in the fate of an almost teenager? You, PTSD, are what I like to call a super Virgo*. The Virgo drive to help, to problem-solve and to control outcomes makes it easy to assume too much responsibility for your daughter’s developing psyche.

Astrology is a useful tool in this respect because it shows that your daughter’s life lessons came with her into the world. I like to think our souls “signed up” for their life work.** Much of your daughter’s work*** centers around learning to trust her own strength and listen to her inner knowing. The patterns in her relationship with Dad may indeed play out in adolescence and adulthood with her romantic partners. For better or worse, she will have to walk through these lessons alone. The good news is that walking through challenges will teach self-trust. Self-trust, in turn, will allow her to build the positive, healthy relationships you so wish for her.

You cannot save your daughter from her own life, PTSD. Nor can you upload a boundaries and self-love app into her brain. (Too bad though!) Still—and I bet this will make you happy—you can help her grow strong. Some ideas:

1) Worry less. Your daughter does have a backbone, and a good one—she just has to recognize it. She possesses deep resources of independence**** and her 9th house North Node lends killer intuition (when she resists the urge to overthink). Anxiety is contagious, especially to such a psychically sensitive kid. When you worry, she internalizes the worries as self-doubt. Therefore…

2) Have faith. With your North Node in Virgo and the 12th house, your faith and love profoundly influence those around you. Keeping a positive outlook strengthens your daughter’s optimism and resilience.

There’s plenty to have faith in. Your daughter absolutely possesses the ability to set boundaries in relationship, to love herself and to be happy in partnership.

Notice and affirm when she’s practicing these skills. When she sets a boundary (e.g. “Mom, let me handle this”), respect it—and praise her for setting it. When you see her accomplish a goal, acknowledge her tenacity, vision and commitment. When you’re concerned something negative is going on with dad, ask open-ended questions (“Hm. What’s your gut sense on that?”). These techniques model a healthy inner voice that she will absorb and practice even when you’re not physically present.

3) Model positive behavior. The question of boundaries shows up in your chart too. The more you practice honoring your own boundaries, the more resources your daughter will have to protect hers. As a super Virgo, this means not over-helping, over-giving or trying to save your partners—or your child. Watch for codependence in your life and practice stepping back when a relationship, job or behavior drains your energy. Seeing you treat yourself well will teach her women can be strong, secure, healthy and self-loving with or without romantic partners.

Parenting a preteen may not be easy, but your love and investment is a powerful inoculation against her dad’s selfishness. Keep loving and having faith. She’s got what it takes—and so do you.

*Sun, Mercury, Saturn, Ascendant and North Node in Virgo.

**I picture this as a an activity board at a summer camp for spirits—instead of horseback riding or whatever, souls write their names down under “Relationship Work” or “Tortured Artist” or “Chronic Pain” etc. Disembodied spirits probably think this sounds like fun. They probably say to each other, “Hey, are you in my emotional macramé class?” “Nah. I’m taking anger management lessons from the soul playing my father.” Little do they guess.

(Also, what is macramé? Enquiring minds are too lazy to Google.)

***North Node in Taurus/9th house; Neptune in 5th.

****Moon in Aquarius conjunct Uranus, Mars opposition ascendant.

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