Recently I had to have a discussion with a young woman I know who has filed for divorce from a man who makes no bones about how he feels about his mom. I have known this couple for 11 years and I have met his mom. Of course I have no idea what the dynamics of their relationship were from the time he was born until he left home, but suffice it to say they obviously were not great.
As we talked, I heard myself counsel this young woman on something my therapist taught me years ago. We tend to pick the same man over and over again in only they are all in different bodies. I am a first class victim of this pattern. Fasten seat belts this ride will get rough.
I married a man who detested his own mother. Good Lord Woman how could this happen? There is no doubt in my mind now that he hated her. She totally destroyed any idea of what a mother is supposed to be by making her own very bad choices in men and not protecting her children.
I did not find out how deep that hatred went until years later after this man died. My sister-in-law came to the funeral and told me a very bizarre story. It seems my husband’s mother, in order to support her children, was a prostitute. This would have been in the 1940’s – war time.
I don’t know that much about her, I know she was born a twin and one twin died. I know her own mother died and her father remarried and had many children. I can only guess that her step-mother was no mother to her at all.
I think she probably left home at a tender age, married and immediately had two sons. That husband was diagnosed with schizophrenia and I am not sure what happened to him. I believe there was a divorce. She remarried and had one more son, my future husband, and I have no information as to what happened to his father.
All I know is she was alone again with three young boys to feed and clothe.
After talking to my sister-in-law I learned that she was the talk of the neighborhood right down to the red light in the window. I can only imagine how many “uncles” her sons were subjected to, what horrible things they might have seen, what horrible things might have been done to them. I know it had to be horrific and I was the lucky woman to have a blind date that led to marriage.
Later in our lives when he committed some heinous acts himself my therapist explained to me that his actions were what he was taught when he was a child. That tells me he had a terrible childhood.
Good Lord Woman-there is no psychological test given pre-maritally, but I certainly never had a clue that I had chosen a woman-hating man who had no concept of what love truly is.
Of course I blamed myself, I did not see his illness. I did not know what he was exposed to as a child but there were signs throughout our marriage. He had sexual issues. He preferred to be masturbated than to make love. He was totally turned off by the idea of oral sex. I was too young to question these things but now I know they were signs. Love and romance were non-existent in our lives.
When I confronted him in my house after we had divorced asking why he did what he did to his children his answer was “because all women are whores”. This was the last time I ever laid eyes on him. He was a physical mess by then. He had stroked out over 9 times. He was partially paralyzed and his speech was affected. He had recently also been told that the main arteries to his brain were occluding (again) and that he was in very bad shape. He was essentially told he had very little time left. What did he choose to do with this time? He shortened it by committing suicide.
There is no doubt he hated his mother and women in general. He was a very sick person and while I had no clue throughout our marriage, I totally understand it now.
Good Lord Woman – it took a while, it took several more relationships before it became clear to me I had to break the mold.
I have not a clue as to why I picked men who do not like their mothers. There has to be something that they do that made me want to be with them but I cannot put my finger on it. There is nothing that stands out with flashing lights and alarms.
My personal second exposure was to a man whose mom I really liked. It did not take me long to see he was embarrassed by her. His dad had left her. He had walked out on his family. He was levels of intelligence above her, and he left her for a woman with Faye Dunaway looks and the smarts of a Wall Street executive. Let’s call this man Dan. Dan preferred to be with his runaway dad and his beautiful successful wife then to be with is mom and her second husband.
He blamed his mother for letting his father leave. He never understood that his mother would never have been able to prevent it, but as my attorney said to me when my children’s father died, the parent left behind gets the blame.
In the short time I was with Dan he was romantic and loving when it suited him or made him look good, but he played very nasty mind games. I totally moved away from my home town to live with him in Chicago and as soon as everyone who helped me move there left to go back to Cleveland, he said “I don’t think this relationship is going to work, do you?” Not a good place to find yourself standing in after making a major move. What that comment did to me was put me in a path of fear that at anytime he could tell me we were over.
Years after we parted he actually located me and he asked me why our relationship failed. I gave him my opinion. He had too much anger over his mother and that led him to have no respect for women.
We fight and fight for equal rights and we make monumental changes but when it comes to our personal lives we overlook these quirks our loving husbands and boyfriends have and we accept them.
It only got worse after that – frying pan to the fire stuff that many are probably thinking has to be fiction.
I met a man who was very charming. He was set financially, a practicing attorney with a lovely home, very nice friends, and he thought I was beautiful. He was the epitome of a Southern gentleman, right down to practically putting his coat in a puddle.
He was a prince at first. As time went by my apartment got broken into so he insisted we live together and start building a real relationship. I will call him Baxter. Once I had moved in with him I began to lose myself. On several instances he actually yelled at me in front of people. What I never understood is why these people put up with it.
What saved my sanity for a while but also prolonged the agony was I had a travelling job. I was gone Monday-Friday, and that was a blessing. Once again though I found myself in that situation of being concerned that he could tell me to pack up and leave at the drop of a hat. That is a horrible place to be in your life-living in fear and not feeling secure.
Good Lord Woman, this is the third one in a row with mother problems – but I did not know that yet.
In 1993 breast cancer walked into my life. I was totally blown away by this and now even more scared. This was not a good time to be worried about not having a place to live. I had to tow the line and it was hard. I was the one with surgeries, radiation, and more and no true support system. He was the one who resented me having cancer, it drew attention to me and away from him. A classic symptom I have learned since about men who hate their mothers is they crave attention. That makes perfect sense, they did not have it in childhood, or if they did have it, the attention they received was the wrong attention. As soon as attention was pointed at me, Baxter became practically despondent. And angry – very angry.
This too shall pass I kept telling myself and eventually I was on the road again and we decided to move to Florida.
Baxter was in a love/hate relationship with his mother. He had photos of her in every room of his house. Several were what I would consider to be slightly provocative. She was lovely and she did some modeling. She married the right man, an engineer from South Carolina, and she gave him two sons. She also passed on to both her sons the disease of alcoholism.
Baxter talked about that a lot. I just did not pick up on the fact that he was possibly pissed about that, after all as he said many times, giving up the bottle is akin to giving up your best friend.
One day I was preparing to move to Florida and packing up a linen closet in our house when I came across a bag – I opened it and found old nightgowns and realized these belonged to his mother. Needless to say they went to the trash and he never missed them. Scary to think he might have slept with them at one time.
I was beginning to sense that there was conflict in how he felt about her, but I had no one I could really talk to until we spent the weekend with one of his old high school girlfriends. Over girl talk she told me how Baxter had tried to join a boy’s club in high school. This was not a school sanctioned club, it was one of those clubs that the rich and popular belong to, and his mother would not allow him to be a part of it. Alice told me he was furious with his mother and that is when he started drinking.
Good Lord Woman – you went up to bat three times and struck out three times. However it was in my marriage to Baxter that I met Martha, the most marvelous therapist – and even though it took me 5 more years to actually remember her advice as well as take it, this is how my life was supposed to play out.
Whatever the reason is that I chose men who hate their mothers I may never know. I will share her advice in part 2 of this posting. I have also asked several other women I know who have been involved with men who hate their mothers to speak up on their experiences.
It will be interesting to compare these men because they are really so similar.
And I will leave you with this right now-the best question you can ask any new man you meet is “How did you celebrate your mother this year on Mother’s Day”? OK so he tells you his mom passed away, you say you are so sorry and then reword it by saying “Well what is your favorite Mother’s Day memory?” If you get no response I would be very careful. Asking his friends is not the way to get answers either. Men don’t confide in their friends the way we do as women.
For those of you who enjoy Bernie B opinions she will be here with me next time.