Long Story Short #4 – untreated mother wounds kill

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advice column mother wound

Dear Stacey,

I have been single for nearly a year after ending a long-term relationship. I am currently talking to a guy that I met in the mall (sounds so 90’s, right?!). 

He’s handsome, well-spoken, and gainfully employed. Never been married, but he has two daughters that he adores. 

We have gone out on several dates and hung out a few times. He calls me every morning and texts me throughout the day, which makes me feel really good. He is passionate about social issues and has very strong political opinions, so our conversations are diverse. 

He’s a nice well-rounded guy, for the most part. But there is one thing that I notice that really bothers me. He has a very strained relationship with his mom. They see one another often, but their visits and communication seem to upset him terribly. Every conversation leads back to his mother, no matter the subject, and he gets pissed!

At first, I just listened and tried not to offer much of an opinion. I thought it was situational, like maybe things would simmer down. But now that’s its been a couple of months I can see that it’s a pattern. And I have noticed that he has similar, albeit less strained, feelings about his daughters’ mom as well. 

I’m really beginning to like this guy, but I feel conflicted. I feel good with him most of the time, but the shift in his energy when it comes to these two women can be jarring. Once they come up in conversation, particularly his mother, he becomes defensive and agitated. 

Is this a red flag? Do you think I should walk away while it’s still new or see how things play out?

One thing I am sure about is I want to be in a relationship that feels healthy and safe. He says he wants the same thing too, that’s a good sign, right?

– Conflicted

Dear Conflicted,

“There is nothing like a mother’s love.” How many times have you heard that? The idea of loving and being loved by mom is deeply rooted. Her’s is the first voice you ever heard and the first opinion that mattered. And the relationship that set the tone for all others. But the idea that a mother’s love is supposed to look and feel a certain way can be venomous.  

What of those whose mother’s died or left? What happens to the kids whose mom was too emotionally wounded to provide a safe haven for their little hearts? How about the mom’s who struggle with connection because of past trauma? Or the mom’s who only know how to love at arm’s length? Or the one’s who have emotionally challenging children?  

There really is nothing like a mother’s love, but not all mothers love the same. And not all children are able to receive the kind of love that their mother offers.  

Love is a general term for a convoluted experience. tweet this

I’m sure this man loves his mom and I’m sure that she loves him too. But their relationship is a complicated one.  

And then came you…  

You are involved with a man who has a preexisting condition that has gone untreated for a very long time. The source of his wound is clear, it’s his mom. His wound has been festering and has now caused dis-ease. Unfortunately, untreated mother (or father) wounds can kill over half of the relationships by those infected.  

Is this a red flag? HELL YES! But you already know that.  

How he feels about his mom is important. It impacts the way he engages with every woman in his life. Men with unhealthy relationships with their mom sometimes have very healthy romantic relationships. But sometimes they reinjure themselves by recreating the drama over and over again. And based on what you said this guy is likely in the latter. 

The relationship is still new and it’s possible that things will change, but it’s also possible that they won’t. Don’t take him on as a project to be repaired. You are special, but you are not the exception, he once cared for the mother of his children just as he cares for you.  

He needs to heal and forgive for himself. It’s not about his mother changing, it’s a matter of him decided that he wants to feel better and thrive.  

You are not his medicine. And if you’re looking for something safe and healthy, you are not likely to find it with him; at least, not until he works through this mom thing.  

Here’s to ripping off band-aids and giving wounds air to breathe and mend. 

Keep your heart open the right fit love will come along… wait for it. 






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