Blog 41. Freud 4: Are You Aware Of:
1) The Jealousy Triangle?
2) The ‘Pregnancy Taboo’?
3) How Mothers and Fathers Are Affected By The Birth of A Child?
These Possible Issues Within A Relationship With Children?
In this section and in previous blogs I have written that during a child’s emotional development, if a stage has not sufficiently been worked through, unresolved feelings or emotions can get carried through to the next stage and even into adulthood.
As adults we often forget this.
We forget that we, and our fellow adults, may have unaddressed issues that for whatever reason have either been buried or forgotten.
Even if problems were experienced way back in childhood, if they remain unresolved, they can hover and they get in the way of our achieving relationship and career goals later on in life.
Issues and emotions don’t just disappear. If they are buried they will re-surface – often when we are not looking or expecting them to.
Unfortunately, all sorts of life events can trigger these buried emotions.
One area I wish to focus on in this blog is pregnancy and/or the birth of a child.
When couples decide to have children they often don’t take into account that pregnancy and the birth of a child can press many emotional buttons – many of which can be unconscious.
When two people are in love they come together as lovers, as friends and eventually maybe even as marital partners.
They may even begin to discuss having a child and this may lead to much excitement about having a baby. However, even if a baby is planned, emotional buttons can be pressed that in some cases, might seem shocking for the parents.
What can happen is that a partner may begin to feel that they are in some way losing their ‘other half’. They can begin to feel a kind of ‘wedge’ appearing as it were, separating the closeness the couple once had.
When the woman starts showing, and her baby begins to grow, it becomes more obvious and visible that something is ‘growing’ in between the couple. For example, if you hug a pregnant woman you will probably be very aware of her ‘baby bump’.
As the baby grows and as the baby gets more and more attention from family and friends remarking on the pregnancy and so on, this could begin to threaten a partner, especially if they have jealousy, rejection and abandonment issues.
As the baby grows, the father is expected to play not only an emotional but also a financial role and this could trigger a whole range of feelings that may not have previously been expressed.
He may find himself feeling vulnerable, insecure and worried that he may not be able to fulfil what is expected of him.
And also, he may begin to feel emotionally rejected and this can lead to deep-seated unresolved emotions.
Depending on what the father may have experienced as a baby or as a child towards his mother and/or siblings and so on, he may feel strong emotions and jealousy towards the baby for taking away their partner, friend and lover.
This may cause him to even explode emotionally and the results are not always pleasant.
In 1997 there was a movie called ‘Nil By Mouth’. It was directed by Gary Oldman and it contains horrendous scenes of a husband beating his pregnant wife so as to get rid of the perceived competition.
This of course can cause the mother to loose her child.
This is an extreme example but it certainly should draw attention to the reality that the arrival of a baby can stir many feelings within parents.
The arrival of a baby can cause huge disruption and an emotional change, that parents are not always prepared for.
Most importantly however, is that many of my male clients have admitted to feeling a range of all the emotions that I have referred to, although not all of them have acted them out. Others just feel the emotions and deal with them accordingly.
Many men find it difficult to admit to these emotions in front of their wives or partners, as they don’t want their feelings known. They don’t want to seem incompetent or vulnerable.
This is why for many this blog will be important. It is important because it raises issues that are either never spoken about or realised.
Furthermore, after the birth of a baby, a mother is usually entirely focused on nurturing her baby. As a result, for days, for weeks, for months she could remain exhausted from the demands of her baby.
Her husband, her partner could feel excluded from this bond and even if he helps with the chores, even if he does his share in the house, the bond between a mother and child still remains strong and he could still feel emotionally shut out.
Being used to getting all the attention, he suddenly has to learn to stand back. Adapting to this might be difficult for anyone male or female.
Also, when a woman gets pregnant and has a baby, her life changes. Here identity changes. Even though she might have the full support of her husband she will always feel solely responsible for her child.
The baby came out of her womb. It is only natural that she would feel totally focused and protective of her baby.
Feeling secluded possibly even rejected, many men begin to stay at work a little longer. The reason they usually give is that – they need to bring in more money to support the family. Although this may be true to some extent – often it’s also because they feel left out of the mother-child bond.
It’s a classic reaction to feelings of rejection – ‘if you abandon me I’ll abandon you’.
Plus, there is the issue of sex. Sex may get put off for quite a while and this could create a strain on the relationship.
Although this is usual for most relationships, unfortunately the implications of ‘no sex’, is usually not discussed or even understood. It therefore can come as a surprise, especially if a mother remains tired for months and months on end, after the birth of her child.
Also, if she experiences any problems like pre or post natal depression, normal life may not resume for quite some time, possibly even years.
This could be very hard for a couple to deal with.
Coming together again and being intimate can then become a struggle especially if destructive, negative emotions of jealousy, rejection and anger have been experienced.
And if a husband feels abandoned by his wife he could even start an affair.
Having a child can be quite a difficult adventure. Some couples survive. Others struggle and some get divorced.
I write about this in order for couples to become more aware of the difficulties a child can bring if ancient deep-seated feeling are not addressed.
Furthermore, as the baby grows, a mother could become jealous of the attention her husband gives her child especially if it’s a girl. These primitive jealous feelings can get triggered quite naturally and this could effect how the child behaves, especially if a child senses that they could play one parent off against the other.
This is what I call the Jealousy Triangle. It starts with the baby in the womb and it can continue right through the parents and child’s life.
Primitive jealousies are not necessarily constrained to the child and both parents may join in the game, both in terms of competing with each other for the child’s affections and also competing with the child for the affection of the other parent.
These issues also fall under Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus Complex (which I have already written about) which is why I have included this blog under this section on Freud. You can refer back to my previous blogs for more information on this subject
It is imperative for us all to deal with emotions that trigger feelings that can cause pain and suffering preferably before we have relationships.
Healing our past and getting to know who we are, how and why we behave as we do, can save us from a lot of emotional strife.
But also, and I have repeated this in my work so often, ‘When you meet someone watch, look and listen. People tell you everything about themselves. You just have to learn how to listen. Listen to the silences too. Get to know your partner’s friends, their family and ask questions’.
If your relationship starts getting serious introduce your partner to your parents and older friends. Get their opinion. Getting married and having children is serious business and you could make terrible mistakes – with traumatic consequences for all involved. So ask for help.
It is often better to be cautious than to land up an emotional wreck.
And know this too. Having a child can press all sorts of emotional buttons. Be prepared. Be prepared for the impact a child can have on a relationship. CMost importantly, communicate this with your partner.
Relationships are difficult at the best of times. Why make it any harder on yourself!
© 2016 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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