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Monday, January 18, 2010

God's Answer for an Interfering Mother

Most mothers are great. They seem to have a natural desire to take care of their children. Their sense of nurture very often exceeds that of the fathers. I don't know if it is because the child is carried by her for nine months that makes a mother love her child so much. I just know that mothers want to take care of their children.

This caring can become an addiction for some mothers. They want to protect their children from any hardships. They influence the environments around their children to make sure they are placed first in every line. They manipulate their children to become more. They also manipulate them to be totally dependent upon their mothers.

This is especially true of mothers with their sons. I don't know why but mothers watch their sons even more closely. Many do all they can to control their sons. Many sons appreciate all the work their mothers did. If they don't, some of these mothers will remind them of all they did for their sons.

These moms will be especially threatened when their sons begin looking for wives. These potential wives become competition for the mother. These girls are doomed if the obsessed mother can't control them. The addicted mom will begin her work of manipulation, brow beating and sabotage to get her son to reject the girl she can't manipulate.

This mom will continue to control the life of her son after he marries. He will have to call or come by each day. She will always have some favorite meal or even a chore that will obligate him to continue communicating. This mom will do what it takes to keep her son close by her side.

Meanwhile the wife feels like she is being cheated on. She resents having to go to her mother-in-laws for every holiday. She resents the time her husband must spend with his mom. She doesn't know exactly what to do but she wants a husband that binds himself with her. She wants him to love his mother but she hates the control her mother-in-law has over her husband and her family.

God had an answer from the very beginning: A man must separate himself from his mother and father and be bound to his wife. This means he consciously removes himself from the former connection he has had to bond in a new way with his wife. He draws new parameters so that his wife- not his mother- is the most important woman in his life. He makes this so clear that his wife feels special. 

Sure, this may hurt mom. She will get over it if she wants to have any relationship with her son. The son must keep those boundaries clear. The son must be consistent. Mom will return to her old ways if she is allowed. She may (she most likely will) act with bitterness and further hurt feelings to continue her pattern of manipulation. She will pull out every stop to regain her control over her son but he must keep the boundaries in tact.

Mom will come around if the son will continue to keep loving, reasonable boundaries. She can have a stronger relationship than ever if she wants. However, it is not the sons responsibility to make his mother see the light. She must come around because his door is open to her within certain boundaries.

Is this hard? Yes, it may be the hardest thing a son must do. 

Genesis 2:24 (ESV)

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.


Anonymous said...

This is all good and well if you're a guy, but what about if you're the daughter of a controlling mother? How do I tell her that my decisions are between me and God and that she's destroying my self-esteem by constantly being afraid that I'm gonna fail?

Prentis said...

Yes, it is different in one way for a daughter but not in another. Boundaries are either established or advantage is taken where there are none. Every teacher who walks into a classroom with children will establish boundaries or he (or she) will soon be overrun by the children. Children understand where boundaries are set. Your mother needs to know that there are boundaries too.
Good fences make good neighbors. They also necessary for all our relationships. This includes children, parents, spouse, other relatives, work relations, etc.

Anonymous said...

I am friends with a guy and we hang out. I met him back in October and he's a really good guy. We went out on a few dates just as friends, ok? He's funny, smart, and caring. He decides to go back to his ex because he said he still had feelings for her. And I admit, I was disappointed because I saw him as a potential boyfriend, but even when he got back together with his ex, we still talked, had good conversations, and all that. But that time when he did say he was going back to his ex, I did get a little angry at him and I told my mother about it. He became a bad guy in her eyes. But eventually, he broke it off with his ex because he said the feelings that he thought were there, weren't anymore.

Now, here's what my mom thinks: she thinks that it was his ex that broke it off with him when she found out he was with me. My mom tends to think she knows EVERYTHING about men and women. For example, his family has a history of medical problems, like his brother has cancer and skin graft vs. host disease. My friend himself has problems with his thyroid and he had to get a benign tumor from his back... now he has a gall bladder infection due to bad dieting and stress.(I looked it up and those two are symptoms of a gallbladder infection). He's stressed out because he's going to college and he's working very hard to be where he needs to be in life.

Ok, but here's the thing: My mom thought that the brief time his ex and him got together that she gave him an STD, but the thing is, they never had sex! He said that he rushed into the relationship that time and that he wanted to take it slow to see where it went, but as I told before, when he got back together with his ex, he found out that the feelings he thought were there, weren't, so they broke it off. My mom thinks he is trying to get with me now, you know trying to use me? The thing is, he's not. We were doing what we were doing before and even during the time he got back together with his ex: we were talking and having fun with each other, that's it! We talk about politics and everyday life. I like talking to him.

My mother doesn't even think we should be friends anymore because of the thing about him going back to his ex and stuff. She's calling him a scumbag, a user, and a liar and that he's only out to hurt me can you hurt someone and you're not even that serious with them? She's never talked to the man( minus him asking her if she wanted something to eat because he was going to buy me something to eat when we met.) She doesn't know ANYTHING about him and I mean NADA. She claims that just because she's mom that she knows these things. He's not trying anything with me because he's too busy working and studying but when we talk or hang out, it's as friends.

Now she's all mad at me because we are going to hang out this Friday and that I won't heed her "warning". This man is always hanging out with his friends( women and men alike) so why should I be any different? But even if we do become something more, it's between God, me and my friend, not my mother. I understand that she loves me and wants to protect me, but I wish she would understand this is my life, I have to make decisions on my own choices. Btw, she also thinks I should end the friendship because he has health problems...What the heck? Isn't that wrong?
In your adult life have you ever had a parent that was wrong about your friendships and relationships? Have they ever said that the person in your life is a scumbag and that you should not see them anymore? Have you ever proved them wrong showing them that the people in your life are actually good people and because of that your relationships lasted for years? I would much appreciate your responses. What do you think I should do?

Prentis said...

First, I think you pegged it: your mother wants to protect you. She is looking for a perfect relationship. She should know that this is a fantasy. We are all fallen human beings. We all have flaws.
Second, relationships are emotional and emotions can help or get in the way. It sounds like your mom's emotions are getting in the way of her ability to think. She is afraid for you. She doesn't want you getting into something that will hurt you deeply. She is still feeling the anger of his hurting you when he went back to his ex. She hasn't gotten over that. While you have moved beyond what happened. She hasn't.
Third, your mom really loves you or she wouldn't put so much effort into this. Don't be too hard on her.
Ultimately, pray about the relationship. Pray with him too. Then let God lead you. This must be done not to spite your mother but to follow where the Lord lead.