Sunday, 17 June 2007

Sins of the Mother.....

Do we girls get more like our mothers as we get older? Not that I mind very much, my mum was a fabulous lady and I would be proud to be anything like her - really! But I often wonder how many of our mother's 'not-so-nice' traits we take on board without even realising it? How many times do we hear our mother's voice as the very same words she used to us as children come tripping out? And what about those of us who didn't have a very good relationship with our mothers and vowed to NEVER be like them? Do those traits come out anyway and do we treat our children in the same way that we found horrible when we were growing up, without realising it?

Now my mum and I had a wonderful relationship which persisted into my adult life unchanged. I like to THINK my daughter and I have the same bond. She was a wonderful woman who protected her offspring with a fierceness that daunted even the most determined teacher at school. She could always be relied upon to rush to my rescue, leaving all in her path vanquished! I thought she was amazing. As my children have grown I have found myself doing exactly the same thing with the same results.

On the other hand I have a friend who never got on with her mother. They fought all the time, often resulting in her running away from home and arriving on our doorstep, a trait that persists to this day even though she has been married for 21 years and has four children of her own. Her mother used to do the same thing to them when conflict in the home became overwhelming. She was a very controlling woman with her children, so is my friend. Often she was extremely irrational, she had a phenomenal memory for 'slights' and never forgave the perpetrator! I see the same trait in my friend which is very sad as she fights hard to NOT be the same as her own mother! I see her husband and children pulling away from her in the same way that she pulled away from her mother.

My question - can you tell someone that you can see them walking the same unhappy path that their mother walked before them? Can you tell them to pull themselves together and to see the damage they are doing to themselves and their family? How do you say these things when they don't want to believe it and they will most likely never speak to you again? I care deeply about my friend, I don't want to hurt her feelings but I can't bear to watch her rip her family apart in the same way her mother did to her.

How brave should I be?


Deirdre said...

Jayne, You can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink.Which is sad. Perhaps a heart to heart chat would be of great benefit, before she loses everything she cares about. Deirdre.

Jayne :) said...

Problem is she is so pig headed and convinced that she is right (just like her mother was! lol) that it's hard to know where to start. I'm beginning to think she is a little 'unbalanced'?

Rebicmel said...

Sometimes we can see things happening and others are blind to it. When something is said we end up looking like a bad person, but could we live with ourself if we didn't. Gives us much to think about in the way of friendships and relationships.

~Ambre~ said...

We are most definitely products of our environment. There is an old adage, "Children are what they learn."

Unfortunately I found myself repeating the very things I despised about my mother with my own son. Although I vowed that this would never happen, the strength of the past had quite a powerful grip.

Thankfully, I was able to reverse things, but it was rather late in the game. I bought my mom a printer for Mother's Day and went over to hook it up. For reasons I won't go into I began sobbing like a baby, and for the first time (that I can remember) my mother took me in her arms and just held me.

I so wished those arms were there when I was growing up.

Jayne, I would talk to your friend, if she truly values your friendship, she will take heed! Yes, anger may very well be her first reaction (we are what we learn after all), but when she's alone, the truth will sink in.

The problem may not be that she does not want to change or that she does not see the problem already, but that she lacks the power WITHIN to change. That's where a true friend will come in handy...

~say something~

Magdalen Islands said...

It is your call Jayne. If it were me I'd mind my own business, but it is different strokes for different folks.

I too swore that I would never raise my son like I was raised and I didn't. Our relationship if far closer than mine to either my mother or my father. That is not saying that my relationship to my parents was bad, it is just that my son and I have the same values and interests, that I never shared with my parents and that is all right too.

What I'm trying to say is that your friend became your friend in spite of her home life. Her children will also learn to gather that which they see as happiness from their lives. Your interference may or may not help, but unless you can use it as a teaching lesson, it will be wasted and a friend may be lost.