Monday, August 4, 2014

Mother Lovers and Mother Haters

The relationship advice out there says -- RUN, don't walk. 
It's easy to see why a man who is too close to his mother will let her interfere with your relationship.  Your relationship will also never be private and you will be stuck at #2.  Thankfully I have never had to endure this kind of relationship hell.

'Mother Haters' though are not so easy to cess out, because there are many reasons why people may be estranged from their mothers.  'Disrespectful' is also different from not being close.  Think constant bad-mouthing, blaming and complaining -- the kind of behaviour that makes you cringe. The thinking is that a man who disrespects his mother will also disrespect you.  He will be incapable of showing love, emotion, empathy, probably because he didn't receive it growing up. The mother who is hated is often cold and controlling (plus a multitude of other neurotic tendencies). Other articles I've read also say that a lack of a positive relationship with the female figure will result in him feeling threatened by you.  The behaviours sound really nasty too:  trying to take away some of your confidence in public or in private, to gain control, and to bring you to a manageable level. Any kind of 'caring' on your part will be interpretted as 'mothering/controlling' and since he hates his mother, he will soon hate you.  He will also likely want to be in control of everything himself.  You will be a big disappointment, while he will always be the misunderstood perfect guy that can’t get a woman to be the way that he wants her to be, reinforcing his very skewed idea of women.  Yikes!  Of course these generalizations make me cringe a bit -- where is the psychological evidence to support this?  Sadly, my research came from the blogsphere. #googlefail.

The key though is this: has the man worked through the emotional issues that are caused by having a dysfunctional relationship with the first woman that ever loved him?  Counselling appears to be one of the only ways.  Forgiveness.  Acceptance.  Negotiation. Thankfully, it's not impossible to overcome.  Phew.  But oh man, as a mother I really have the potentional to f-up my children's future relationships. 

When I look at my own relationship with my mother, it's typically disfunctional.  But I still love and respect her. Her intensions are the best and I know that she will always have my back no matter how badly I 'disappoint'.  We are not close though and I feel badly about that.  Is it because I lack patience and tolerance?  Or have I finally decided to put my family first?  Too often we let our parents continue to parent us AND our families long after their role as parents is needed.  I remember seeking their advice, well into adulthood.  And once involved, they would become super involved -- doling out their opinions when not asked, chastising me like a child in front of my family, undermining my discipline of the kids to win points with them.  Ugly.  So now, I've drawn a pretty close circle around my family and I only let my mother in under brief and controlled circumstances.  It's working for now.  I'm quick to let her know when she's crossed the line (k, maybe a bit too quick sometimes ... should cut her more slack).  And I don't share with her information I haven't already discussed with my partner.  I also limit what I share (not easy for someone as open as me).

As for my partner, his relationship is somewhere inbetween Lover and Hater.  He prefers to bite his tongue and let his mother believe what she wants rather than address issues with his family. "Keep the peace" is his mantra.  I guess that I'm lucky that I don't have to deal with her alone, not that she is difficult (I'm pretty lucky as far as MILs go).  Policy around here is :  your mother, your problem.  Which also goes both ways!

Ahhh, family follies.  Wonder what kind of MIL I will be?  Hopefully my kids are feeling loved enough to be able to give love to their future partners, but not so smothered that they will never be secure adults.

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