Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Zondervan Publishing

            Drs. Cloud and Townsend are Christian psychologists who are very well known in the Christian community.  They are popular speakers and co-hosts of the nationally broadcast New Life radio program.  They are best-selling authors of a number of books, including the very popular “Boundaries” series.

            The authors explain how the mother you had (and have!) influences the adult you are today.  They help you to transform the effects of the past and re-build your adulthood, which may or may not include your mother.  Feelings of resentment, sadness, anger and grief are not resolved by denying them, they must be processed and worked through.  We must watch out for our tendencies to resist adulthood, freedom, and equality and to return to the child position with our mother figures.

            Different types of mothers and their emotional problems and effects on us are discussed in detail, as well as how to deal with them.  These include the China Doll Mom, the Controlling Mom, the Trophy Mom , the American Express Mom, and the Still-The-Boss Mom.

            Inappropriate reactions of other relatives are included.  For instance, in the China Doll Mom chapter, we are taught that any attempt to communicate directly with Mom about your relationship is fraught with danger because she will often be in tears, upset, or out of the room before you have completed your first sentence.  “The adult child feels guilty for ‘hurting mom,’ especially if other siblings fuse with mom’s self-victimization.  The rest of the clan is often unable to understand the control and manipulation behind mom’s demeanor.  The siblings will then unite against the “black sheep” who is so mean to mother.  In this way, they are able to displace their own frustration with mom onto a safe target: the child who tries to reconcile honestly.”

            There are a number of Scriptural references to teach us how to respond, for instance, challenging or rebelling against improper authority, taking stewardship over our own lives, and understanding that we do have choices which, although they may disappoint or anger others, are the best options for our own welfare.   Although we often inwardly disagree with our mothers’ behavior, “It is important to outwardly disagree, confront, refuse evil, and stand against wrongdoing.  You can learn to change your silent no to an audible one.”

            There are many suggestions for improving our adult relationship with our mothers, setting boundaries, learning to say “No”, and protecting ourselves.  We will understand that these actions are Biblically based and NOT un-Christian-like.  The child needs to discover God’s path for herself, not her parent’s preordained plan for her life.  Some mothers overestimate their role of authority- God created an authority structure from HIMSELF on down.  A grown child no longer submits to her mother’s authority.  GOD WILL ULTIMATELY BE THE CHILD’S ONLY PARENT.

            If Mom is not interested in seeing you as an equal, you will be taught to set limits, including limits on how much exposure to Mom you will endure, what subjects you will or will not discuss, etc.  The Mom Factor gives us permission to accept and be at peace with our mother’s anger at our growing independence. She will be frustrated because she can no longer control you, and you will learn to “Let her be who she is: someone who wants something she cannot have.”