Mother Issues

Mother’s Day is a beautiful holiday with all its flowers and sparkly cards. Our Mothers tell us that “we shouldn’t have,” all the while radiating in the fact that we did. The next day they brag to their friends about the fancy meal we bought for them.

We know they deserve even more, more time, more extravagance; more of everything for it is they who gave us everything. We smile to ourselves as we remember the joy on Mom’s face as she opened her gifts.

Of course not all moms are June Cleavers. June Cleaver of “Leave it to Beaver” fame might in fact, be the least likely description of our mother. Perhaps Bitch is the best descriptive word of our mother.

Mother’s Day is a time of torture for us as we are forced to spend time with the woman who created all our neuroses and relationship issues and failures. We have brought our dysfunctional relationship with mom into our romantic relationship and life ain’t easy.

If Mom let you down your entire life, never showing up for your musical performances or your sports victories, whether too drunk or too busy, we may bring an expectation of disappointment into our relationship. If your mate cannot make it to your office Christmas party, you may project onto her years of discontent brought on by a negligent parent.

We all know that Moms are not perfect, yet we still hold them to this impossibly high standard, which we then in turn exert upon our mate. Perhaps your mate did not call one night when coming home late from work. You rage at him when he does arrive, so angry you spit fire. He backs up, shocked and hurt. He knows he should have called but did he really deserve a six hour tirade and a night on the lumpy couch?

Maybe your mother was an alcoholic, spending more time in a bottle than making you healthy balanced meals. Your mate has a glass of wine before dinner, you freak. Do you yell at her or do you explain that you have this fear that she will climb into a bottle and never come back out? It was your mom who drank incessantly, not your mate. Really live with this fact. Your fear will lessen and your mate will become more understanding of your worries and projections.

We often bring our fears, disappointments and expectations created at our mother’s knee into our adult relationships. We may be so rigid with our mates that we stifle them as a result of growing up with a parent who ignored our basic needs.

We may cheat on a mate so as not to be trapped by her, the result of a suffocating parent. We may have ridiculous rules and standards because our mother had no boundaries. We may have no values because our mother refused to let one speck of dust live on her coffee table. We may drive our mate crazy because we will not dust.

Think about your relationship with your mother whether you consider it healthy or imbalanced, look at each element and then transpose that particular concept onto your relationship . . . see any similarities? Have you reenacted your relationship with mom or have you absurdly chosen the exact opposite path creating an even greater imbalance?

If Mom is creating your life with your partner, it is time to reconsider your choices. Remember that we actually choose to dust every inch of our apartment, the same way as we can choose to dust twice a week. We can choose to let our mate know that you would like to be informed if he is going to be coming home late from work, and we can choose to let it go if he forgets to call us.

We create freedom by choosing our actions, thoughts and feelings, not by being driven to a particular behavior. We do not win by reaction, living in a dirty hovel because our mother made us stay in on Saturdays to scrub our room. We do not live freely as a slave to cleanliness, attempting to keep our mother’s concepts of spotlessness, in fact, all the while alienating our mate who cannot find the clothes hamper, but instead leaves dirty socks on the bathroom floor.

Do not despair if your relationship with your mate is imbalanced like the one you have with mom. All things can be balanced. Choose consciously first with your mate and then with mom. Mom might not get it, but your mate will and that is where freedom from Mom’s stuff is created.

By Maria Etta Anabel