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Breaking the overly bonded mother wound

Jon-Boy's picture

This is a letter I wrote to my mom, She got the full blown version yesterday in person from me. In front of my sister. She was saposed to get this after Christmas. I didn't want to spoil the holidays. But she was pushing me beond my limits. After
It is very personal and I wouldn't usualy post something like this.
But after reading about so many distraught spouces dealing with a mother or mother in law, that presses her life into your lives tearing apart your maraige I thought I would post this up as an example of how to break the overly bonded mother wound.
Maybe deep down you know something inside needs to be said but you don't know how.

Dear Mom,

I need to write you this letter, this letter is coming from many levels of emotions that I must deal with in my adult life… today.

As a grown man, I have many responsibilities that you may or may not be aware of. I have changed my life in many ways you may not be aware of. I have grown into a man with values that I had to figure out for myself, Values that have changed over the years.
Values that I stumbled over, messed up, or even mistaken for good values when they were a waist of my time in reality.

This letter is to represent many things that are important to me right now, and many things that should have been important in my life A long time ago. Some things I hold you responsible for and some things I just feel like were missed opportunities that as a mother you could have made difference.
I will try and keep everything in chronological order as much as I can, but I may jump around a bit.

I will start with some childhood topics that you may not know how they affected me.
1st of all, I am glad I was born, I am thankful that you chose to keep me; you did not choose to have an abortion. And for that I thank you. I love my life.

I know that I was a very independent boy growing up. the question I sometimes ponder is. Was that taught? Or was it out of necessity? See as an adult and having kids of my own, I needed to nurture and teach and raise my kids. So as my only guide as to “how” to do this, I would need to recall my childhood and think, what did my mother do?
And the thing that I realized was, I didn’t have that mother bond and nurturing memories that other people had.
I could tell stories about the 2 very powerful women in my life.
My mom and my grandmother.
My mom took her carrier all the way to Post Master for the U.S. Post Office. My grandmother Built her home, and a set of apartments all by herself. But I could not recall very much attention being paid to me as a growing child.
Alcohol was your choice as I was growing up.
I suffer from abandonment issues today from all the years you were not in a state of mind to be a mom to me. This is a shame to me.
This is something I believe you should have chosen a different roll to be for me. As I so desperately needed real guidance and solid answers to my questions in life and my schooling.

As I recall my grades through the 2nd grade were exceptional.
After that, you and my father got a divorce.
From 3rd grade on I could barely cope with school. You remarried to a man that did not like kids. He was abusive; he was an alcoholic like you. You did not protect me, you made yourself the mediator. Which has taught me wrong values for myself.
I never knew when to stick up for myself.
I never knew how to argue for my rights. You made me passive in many turning points in my life. And these turning points could have come out different for me in my life if I had known how to deal with confrontation. Is it the end of the world? No. I do love you but as a man I am standing up for my rights today.

I have gone down many roads, some bad, some good; the one thing that makes it difficult is, whether it was bad or good? There was no recognition, no direction, and no motivation for me to be guided by.
I could not recognize the right path, if it was right there in front of me.
I did get to be guided for a while.
My father took me in as an out of control teenage boy, and showed me I was smart. I was skilled; he showed me and encouraged me! He believed in me.
But that was from the age of 14 to 18 then he died.
So I got 4 maybe 4-1/2 years of good solid answers that a growing boy needs. I am so thankful for that. That little bit of guidance that I had, gave me enough of an edge to be who I am becoming today.

I can remember the talks Grandma Good would tell my sister’s and my cousins. “Don’t ever let a man control you!” There are no good men out there! You don’t need a man in your life! And I would stand there as a boy wondering what was wrong with me. My head would cower down, feeling ashamed for being a boy. And she would see me feeling ashamed. And tell me to stand up strait! Jon if you want to be a real man? BE LIKE YOUR FATHER! He is a good man.
Now I was very young when she said this. You and dad were divorced at the time, and I would often wonder, was I going to be like my dad? Or like all these bad men in the world she was talking about?

When I was on my own, as a young man and living in apartments, or townhouses, I felt hurt that you never came to visit me. There were times I lived but a few miles away. NEVER a visit. Years would go by. Then I got married.
I started a married life, I had spent 7 years with a step son that I loved as my own, and you never bonded with him. This hurt me deep! I was reminded of the favoritism you played against us siblings when we were young. I didn’t like it then, and I was told I was your favorite. To me that is wrong! I never understood it and I probably never will. I absolutely feel this has put a huge hardship between my sister and I, even to this day. She still compares her life to mine instead of just living her own God given life. This is something I am trying to learn to help her through. But I get things thrown in my face, how I always get these advantages in life. It is a hard thing for me to go through. Lots of confusion, lots of lost moments she and I must be missing.

You were there to see my 1st biological son born. You were in the room with all of us. Something in that changed you forever. You have a UN Natural bond with Jayce.
You have an overly bonded mother bond with him.
This is something you need to understand.
You are not his mother.
You are his grandmother.
Sometimes I feel you are trying to make up for what you did wrong with us kids. I don’t like how his pictures are plastered all over your house. He dominates your life.
I love that you love him. I don’t like that you favor him.

He is starting to show the same signs that he is becoming passive instead of intent full.
I have been in a more protective roll with him when it comes to you.
I know you have noticed this. And you have asked many questions on when you can have him.
I have let too many things go for too long.
These are my rules as his father I must place on you on how you can be in his life.

You will not dominate all available time with him anymore.
You will not throw guilt towards me, my wife or Jayce anymore.
You will not drink alcohol on the days he is with you.
There will be a few special days you will have with him per year, just like all other grandparents, other than that? You may not play favorites and only ask for Jayce anymore.
Jayce is a part of this family. You may invite “us all” over because you would like to see us all. And I would like more visits from you in my home to visit my family.

I know your health is not the greatest right now.
I know you have heart wounds of your own, that you must deal with.
These heart wounds have become a 2 time generational wound for you.
These traits you have adapted and pushed on my life are stopping with my son’s life. I will not allow this to be a wound for my son.

You made the choice to stop smoking when Jayce was born.
That was a miracle.
But the alcohol you drink still today with all the medications you are on is taking its toll on you.

I have just realized that these last few months, that I can re bond with my step father. You may not understand this. But I have forgiven him for his mistakes. He forgave me for mine.
We are starting with a new slate. A new beginning.
We have grown; we have learned a maturity that should have happened a long time ago.
This makes us both very proud. I hope you will encourage us as we tap into uncharted waters and learn about the two manhood’s that never bonded in over 30 years.

I also hope you respect where I am at right now with you.
I know this may not go over well with you. And I may have hurt you. None was meant to be spiteful; all of it was from my heart, I want to see you healthier, I want to see you in a new mature relationship with my whole family.
You are loved dearly.

I forgive you for your mistakes, I know you did the best you could with what you had to work with. I know I called you out on some of your choices you made as a parent with my life. This is not to put guilt on your heart.
This is to stand up and turn a new page for us all.

Will you be in those pages with me? With my family?
Sober and healthier…?

Love your Son,


Jon-Boy's picture

She is still in shock over it all.
In the beginning of the conversation she kept trying to butt in and argue with me and tried to put me in my place by telling me, "LISTEN HERE YOUNG MAN!" Things like that. I told her I am not done! You think this is some little complaint, but what I have to say will take a good 15 minutes. And you will shut up and hear me out. After that you can tell me to leave, or embrace what I have to say, it's your choice.

She is a very strong willed person and it took a good 15 minutes of getting her to stop butting in.
But after I kept going she just sat there with nothing to say.

She turned to her Google calendar and pointed out the school days my son has off in December and asked me again when she can have him.

I just told her my wife has the whole time scheduled off with the boys.
I need to talk with her, what her plans are with the boys.
I gave her a hug good bye and she just whispered under her breath, "Sure! Right!."

This is something I know doesn't get fixed with one letter. Or one discussion.
My mom does not know she is an alcoholic. She thinks I am making it all up.

My 41 year old sister who is basicly her care taker who lives with her, walked me out to my truck.
She just said WOW! She had tears in her eyes, and said, "How did you learn to speak like that?"

I have never seen anyone talk to her that way before. I said, "It was long over due."
I will spend the next few months still re afirming the boundaries, she will try and push the limits.
But I will not allow this anymore.

Storm76's picture

I'm glad your sister is singing off the same hymn sheet as you. The problem with alcoholics is they can't be told they have a problem, they've got to realise themselves.

It sounds like you might need to give your mom a written copy of the letter too, as it doesn't sound like it's all gone in though.

Jon-Boy's picture

I did send her the letter this morning.
Your right.
She got blasted with a bunch of stuff.

Purpleflower09's picture

I would love to give you s tanding ovation. That was wonderful. What I found truly empowering is how you took a stand as a man, to protect your family to draw the lines and set the record straight. You laid it out on the line and that was very courageous of you. I think that is a very powerful, heartfelt letter and it took everything you had to write it.

" Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it's still dark"-R.Tagore

Sia's picture

WOW This was a very well written and powerful letter. My DH could have written that letter, up to the point of being the "favored" child. He wasn't and neither are our children.

Just this morning we were having a conversation about him possibly writing a letter to her to try to "jump start" a dialogue with her. I don't think it will work, but did encourage him to do so.

Would you mind if I printed it and let him read it?

I hope it helps and I hope that things get better for you!

Jon-Boy's picture

It's exactly why I posted it.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.

Totalybogus's picture

Jon, I understand why you are seeking closure with your mother on your own account, but I'm not sure I understand why you are trying to keep your son from her.

I had to have a conversation with both my parents regarding childhood incidents and lack of respect for me as an adult. However, I never brought my kids into it or prevented them from seeing them. I don't think it is synonomous.

Jon-Boy's picture

I am not trying to keep my son from her.

Her whole life revolves around this guy.
She spoils him rotten.
Her home, her husband, her children, her finances come second to this child.

She demands all available time with him.
I love my mom. I love that she is in my son's life.
It is just too much.

Most grandparents...
(who are not depended on for babysitting)
Are not this involved with there grandchildren.
Let alone playing favoritism.
they see them on the hollidays. maybe a fishing trip or camping.
A few times a year. And they do it evenly with all the grand kids.

Totalybogus's picture

I can see your point if she is monopolizing all of your son's free time. Does she live close by to you?

I ask because my mother is very close to my oldest daugther. Now that my daughter is married with a child of her own, my mother has a grandson that she dotes on. My mother has 7 grandchildren. They do things with each, but she definitely has her favorites. Neither of my siblings nor myself have any problem with this. It is the children that have latched on to my parents. If a kid is around you a lot, you form a tighter bond with that kid. So, I probably wouldn't use the word "favorite", but perhaps a tighter bond.

I was the same with my own grandmother. She lived with us, so she spent more time with us. She had 15 grandchildren. All came to visit on occasion, but it was me that she spent most of her time with. I cherish those days and regret that she is no longer with us.

I myself have 1 grandchild and another on the way. My grandchild and my daughter lived with me for six months of his life and I am very bonded with him. I try to get him for at a weekend a month and sometimes an extra one with my daughter so that I can bring them to see my parents who live over 3 hours away. My husband and I also take him on summer vacations. I think because I spend a lot of time with him, he and I will always have a tighter bond. Of course, I will do the same with any other grandchildren I have, but he will always have a special place. I don't really think there is anything wrong with that as long as it is not blatant to any other children.

something that I have been learning as I become more that situations and instances in our childhood are a matter of perception. I'm sure with your own children you recognize that they perceive things much different than an adult does. I used to curse my mother. Now, after having raised two children to adulthood, I can actually see some of those things from her perspective now. I can understand WHY she did some of the things she did even if I don't agree with HOW she did them.

The same goes when you have grandchildren of your own. You are in the child position in that arena now just as your children are to you. Once you've crossed over to the Grandfather side, you'll understand a bit more. Women feel this much deeper than men do, especially if the grandchild is their daughter's child.

I think too, even though you clearly are upset with your mother for your perception of your childhood, and perhaps you are dead on in some instances, but the best way to get closure on this with your mother is to actually have a two way conversation to each express your feelings about particular instances. This way you both can learn from each other. She can't be talking over you and you can't expect to shoot of letters to her and not expect to have open communication. Nothing will get resolved that way.

I've been there. I felt the same animosity to my parents that you feel towards your mother, probably for what I perceive are worse affronts. But to listen to my parents talk about the same instance, you would think we were talking about two different things. We each took away something different from every instance. They as adults, me the child. Once we were able to put the hurt aside and speak candidly, we were able to understand each other's point. They apologized to me for some things and I begged forgiveness for some

Jon-Boy's picture

Yes she does live close.

And Smile yes perception I am sure is a huge thing here. (nice point.)
I do expect her to voice back her perception. I do want that.
I know this will take time. I started that letter in reality over 5 years ago.
As I was writing it, I knew it was not right yet. There were more things for me to mature in before I could write it to this final stage. And it is not perfect by no means.
It was not handled perfect by no means.

Perfection happens in the outcome of it all.
How it all comes together in the end.

I love my mom so much.
I respect her so much.

But this letter was kind of twisted.
Here it was to be a letter to break the over bonded mother wound lots of men have.
But I didn't have it with her.
It skipped me, my siblings and was with one of my son's.

I understand having a special bond. I have special bonds myself. But like you, and other's I can keep my love for everyone displayed "even", I don't shut out the world and attach myself to only one bond.
She will never ask for any other grandchildren to come over. she does not want to see them.
She will let them come over if it mean's her precious one will be there. But that's it.

There is alot more to it.
And I love that you took the time to ask so many questions regarding her, me and my son.
You have given me the chalange to consider other things outside my own shell. The work I must still keep doing.
That is a great trait you have.
I can't express the thanks I feel for your thoughts shared with me.
I hope you know how much you are able to help people in here...
Thank you

Totalybogus's picture

Thanks JB. That truly means alot to me.

Topics like this are very touchy and unless you are on the other side, it usually is hard to respond in an eggshell manner.

I'm very in tune to this because I have experienced it and am experiencing it from the other perspective now. When my first child was a baby, my x-husband's mother wanted to be called meemaw. I would not allow my daughter to call her that as it sounded to me as though the child had a speech impediment. I was 19. I couldn't see the big picture then. It wasn't until my daughter had a child that I felt extremely sorry for taking that stance.

You see, I am a very young... I can't even say the word without melting so therefore I didn't want to be called gma, granny, nanny or any of those titles. I wanted to be called Mim. At first my daughter balked about it and it hurt me deeply that she wouldn't honor my request. It was then that I thought of my own x-mil. All of her other grandchildren call her meemaw except my children.

I don't know what changed my daugther's mind as she too was only 19 when she gave birth to my mimkid, but I am eternally grateful.

So when I see some of these threads about MIL's with the grandkids and the like, I try to explain it from the adult children grandparent's perspective. It is the same as a parent telling their children, "you'll understand when you have children of your own." So I say, you'll understand when you have grandchildren of your own.

As far as the relationship with your mother, we all go through that in one way or another. I distinctly remember getting really pissed at my own mother for talking negatively about my grandmother. See, she based her feelings on that of the child that never got to spend any time with her mother because her mother was always working. I could see it from the adult angle in that having such a great relationship with my grandmother, we talked about everything. I actually had to tell my own mother that the reason her mother was never there was because her husband died and she was a single woman back in the 50's trying to feed, clothe and keep a roof over her children's heads. It is unfortunate that my mother never got to have that conversation with her own mother and that she had to hear it from her own daughter. But she gets it now.

What you are doing is a good thing. You are hashing this all with the one person that can truly make you feel better and validate your feelings while in the same breath explaining her side of it so that you can get a glimpse of what she might have been facing.

I wish you well on your journey JB.

onehappygirl's picture

There is nothing more powerful, uplifting and/or devastating than a mother's relationship with her children. Wow!! It's amazing how two kids from the same exact family can have completely different versions of their childhood.

I know how hard this must have been for you to write, much less confront her with. I applaud you for standing up for yourself.

Love me or hate me, I'm still gonna shine!!!