Authoritative Mother

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The deficit of maternal love is also manifested in the mother’s authority in dealing with the child. An authoritative mother does not know how to be emotionally warm with a child. She does not know how to approach it emotionally, does not try to adapt to it, nor does she consider it necessary to understand its aspirations. Such a mother is mostly strict with the child, she is intrusive in her demands; she demands absolute obedience from the child, does not allow it to freely develop its individuality, hinders it from gaining independence. In addition, she is prone to harsh punishment and severe reprisals, she reacts to every attempt of the child to resist her authority.

The mother’s authority always damages the child’s psyche to a greater or lesser extent. The constant command of the mother and her persistent imposition of her will inhibits the independence of the child and makes it too dependent on the mother. But the mother’s hypersensitivity to her authority, her rigidity, inflexibility, and despotism drive the child into defiance. This brings the young person into a state of emotional ambivalence. Such a child is related to its mother; it needs her, it can’t do without her, it is obedient to her, but at the same time it is afraid of her, it resents her in itself, and it would rather rebel against her.

In such a situation, the child with a more active temperament starts to show a hidden or open resistance against the mother. In the first case, the conflict with the mother manifests itself in various neuroses, because it takes place on an unconscious level. Externally, the child seemingly obeys its mother’s will, but it stutters, wets the bed, suffers from night terrors, tics, and other child neuroses. This causes the mother a number of troubles, hurts her vanity, gives her unpleasant tasks (eg rinsing wet clothes). It is a way for a child to actually take revenge on an authoritative mother, paying her back for her efforts to break the child’s individuality and to dominate its personality.

The open resistance of the child against the authoritative mother is manifested in various behavioral disorders. Then the child is defiant, disobedient, systematically opposes its every mother’s desire, refuses her demands, does exactly what his mother forbids it to do. Sometimes such a child just hates its mother, secretly wishes evil on her, even death. But ambivalence in the attitude towards the mother, simultaneous resistance against her and fear of her, causes a feeling of guilt in the child. It is the cause of emotional tension, which can again be manifested in various neurotic reactions.

A typical example of such ambivalence is the case of a 10-year-old girl. Her upbringing typically consists of an authoritative mother who in absolute power over the child seeks satisfaction for her sense of neglect, which has plagued her since early childhood, and for her disappointment from a marriage that has left her sexually and emotionally completely dissatisfied. The girl is obedient towards her mother, but she is always angry with herself when she has to obey her in something. She is attached to her mother, she is reluctant to separate from her, she loves when her mother praises her, she want to accept some of her wishes, to approve of her every act. But at the same time, she is dissatisfied with the fact that she has to ask for permission for every little thing, that she does not dare to do anything at her own risk. The girl shows loyalty in her behavior, and the mother even believes that her daughter loves her. But in fact there is a deep emotional gap between the mother and daughter. The girl only formally expresses her love for her mother; in fact, she doesn’t love her, and deep in the unconscious part of her personality she occasionally even hates her. When the mother is particularly intrusive, the girl tries to resist. The mother reacts to this with sharp reprimands, threats, and often beatings. Then the child withdraws, obediently fulfills the mother’s wish, but at the same time, with the force of coercion, as if she is obsessed with it, the desire to “take the mother away” is imposed on her. At that moment, her lips whisper:

“Go to hell, go to hell, go to hell…”

But at the same time, there is a sense of guilt towards the mother, that inviolable authority. Frightened by her “sin”, the girl tries to be punished for it as soon as possible in order to get rid of it. So she goes to her mother by herself, carries a whip, and begs her to beat her. And the mother really does, amplifying her daughter’s emotional ambivalence.

Such an emotional relationship between mother and child leaves permanent traces in a young person: principled defiance of everything and everyone, hypersensitivity to any authority, obedience to any authority, lack of independence, lack of initiative, passive resistance to every request. More passive temperaments react to the mother’s authority by withdrawal, apathy, lack of encouragement for any activity or passive surrender to the mother’s authority. Such traits are then transmitted to adulthood unless, during the child’s development, the child does not go to another environment that will correct its mental development.

An authoritative mother is sometimes the object of her daughter’s identification. Then it is likely that the daughter in her own life, in relation to people in general, and to her spouse and children in particular, will be as authoritative, greedy and aggressive as her mother was with her. A particular danger threatens a male child who develops alongside an authoritative mother. He is damaged not only by the despotic action of the mother, but also by the generalization of negative experiences about the mother as a representative of the female sex. If a boy grows up with a strict and emotionally difficult-to-access mother, he is likely to develop distrust and aversion to her, which can extend to the entire female gender. The mother’s aggression will instill in the boy a fear that will not be easily released if it is instilled more deeply into the child.

Then, in later life, it will be difficult for the boy to cope with women. One time he will be restrained, timid and overly restrained towards them, the other time he will be aggressive, rude and reckless, supporting only superficial relationships with women in which he will be wary of any closer emotional empathy with them. Both forms of such behavior are essentially the same, only they carry opposite signs. In the first case, the man openly shows a repulsive attitude towards women, in the second he conceals it with a supposedly great interest in them. But it all comes down solely to satisfying instincts, ignoring a woman’s personality and her emotional needs. By being aggressive, such a man defends himself in advance from the authoritative actions towards himself that he has experienced many times in relation to his mother, so he now expects them from every woman.

Due to the mother’s authority, the son may develop homosexual tendencies. German psychoanalyst Stekel W.: Onanie und homosexualität found in 60% of his homosexual patients the so-called maternal complex. It consists of the ambivalence towards the mother already described, of attachment to her with simultaneous aversion towards her, of fear and unconscious hatred. Such an emotional constellation in a man inhibits the natural directing of his sexual urge toward women. When sexual desires cannot be satisfied in contact with the opposite sex, they usually remain closed, indulge in masturbation and sexual fantasies, or begin to turn their focus on the same sex. That is why many homosexual men can get rid of their same-sex tendencies only when they manage to remove from themselves the generalization of unpleasant experiences about the mother.