Is Your Mama Drama Messing Up Your Love Life?
I’ve had some revealing conversations with a few fabulous women over the last week. One got married for the first time at 47; another is 41, newly single and never married; and yet another is 38, and never been married. All are beautiful, intelligent, accomplished and warm.
But like most of the women I’ve observed who are late to couple, they have one big thing in common: a crazy mother. Or for those of you who have sat in a therapist's chair — a mother whose behavior is crazy which makes the relationship with said mother, CRAZY.
Lee Sharkey, Ph.D. who directs the Women’s Studies program at the University of Maine at Farmington says that no relationship is as primal as the one between a mother and daughter. In an article for Discovery Health she was quoted as saying, "Women grow up and our energy is largely turned toward men, but the original love relationship is with a mother.”
I buy that. My mother raised me alone and growing up I felt like I was “married” to her. I was the confidante who listened to her problems about finances and men. I dealt with her violent outbursts when she drank and depression when she didn’t. I wasn't sure where she ended and where I began. Subconsciously, I decided that intimate relationships were exhausting, dangerous and stopped me from getting what I needed to, done.
Fortunately now that I’m grown up, I’m safe because I can run. I run away from situations or people when I feel trapped because as a little kid I felt like there was no escape from my mother and the orbit of all of her drama, her bad decisions.
Trouble is I’m not a little kid anymore and I’m tired of living my life in reaction to the woman my mother was (and continues to be, although I now know that’s her story, not mine) and what she believed. I don’t believe every man is the anti-christ. I don’t believe all of them cheat. I don’t think fighting is fun. I'm tired of running. In fact, I’m looking forward to being loved and supported by someone who accepts me for exactly who I am. My mother however has become the excuse I peddle when I'm afraid, so that I don’t have to risk my heart.
So I'm working on reminding myself that what I used to think, has come undone. I consciously remind myself that relationships bring joy too, like the ones I've had with friends I've known and loved, who have supported and understood me for 20 years or more now. I remind myself of the couples I know who are amazing together, who have built their lives based on shared values and goals. Most importantly, I remind myself that all of this is possible for me because even though I'm my mother's daughter, I am first and foremost, me. My choices are different. My life is my own.
So if your mama is crazy and she takes up too much of your emotional time, I invite you to do what I did and divorce her. Or at the very least, divorce her behavior and how it makes you feel.
If you’re angry with your mother for criticizing you constantly and for believing what she said, if you're living your life in reaction to the dumb things you think she did, whether that be screwing around with a married man; staying in an abusive relationship; marrying for money; being needy, desperate or terrified of being alone…
Stop it, now.
Forgive her, for you not her and then just forget.
You came through her but she doesn't have to be your ball and chain, unless you want her to be. Your life, and the way you live it, is meant for you and you alone. Get to know yourself and then let the kind of love you want to have in your life get close to you. Why? Because you deserve it.
Can you relate? Is your mother crazy? Has your mother influenced your view of relationships?
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