Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dearest Mommy

Journey: Manhood - This morning's Men's Fraternity: The Quest for Authentic Manhood session made us unpack our "Mom" issues.

These issues are more complex and trickier to deal with than the "Dad" issues. Dr. Lewis described Mom Wounds to paper-cuts. Sometimes you hardly notice them on the surface but they hurt like hell and sometimes don't heal very quickly. They are much more subtle.

I have more to deal with here than the Father wounds. Mainly because Mom is right here and I deal with her on an almost daily basis. But realistically, I have 48 years of history with Mom and she fits several of the categories in the lessons.

One of the important points is that most moms, mine included, did not intend to cause these wounds. Initially Mom fell into the "Needy/Hurting" type when I was small. Mom had one child, a daughter, Wanda, from her first marriage. They were very close, just like best friends. When I was small, Wanda was killed in an automobile accident with a drunk driver. When that happened, she took all of her love and grief for Wanda and piled them onto me. I remember Dad telling me years ago, "Kenny, if it wasn't for you, I would have lost your mother when Wanda died." Mom almost went over the deep end. Mom has always made me her very first priority ever since. This was very wrong and non-scriptural.

As the years passed and I reached adulthood, that didn't change. At that point she fell into the "Unwilling to Release" type. She still sees me as her little boy. She has told me on several occasions, as recently as six weeks ago, that "it's just you and me against the world."

So now as dementia and Alzheimer's settles in and progresses, it gets progressively worse. Only now there is not reasoning with her. Her memory and comprehension is terrible. And this will only get worse as time passes. She is totally miserable and hermit-ive. She refuses to make new friends at her retirement home and will not participate in the activities. She is just waiting to die. But like I say, that isn't going to change.

Anyway, how as all of this effected me? There are two main ways in which boys/men respond to these patterns. And the one I "chose" was to resist and pull away. I see that pattern throughout my life. I have always wanted but failed to get respect from her. To get acceptance as an adult. I have tried to communicate all of that with her but she just doesn't (or doesn't want to) get it.

Mom and I have never had much in common. I have always been more like my father. Mom and I rarely saw eye-to-eye on anything. We were never really close that way.

So now, as she gets more needy I respond even more so. Can you say "vicious cycle?" I think this is just the beginning of a long process. After all, she's not going to change. I'll probably be struggling with this until she dies. And maybe even a little after that.

Next Tuesday we'll see how I'm supposed to deal with all of this. I am skeptical but trying to keep an open mind about it.

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