Blog 59. SEX AND ADDICTIONS: Do You Fully Understand The Implications Of Some Mother And Son Relationships?
Mother and son relationships have always been known to be closer than most mother and daughter relationships. And as someone once wrote, ‘There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and her son’.
This bond can however be very threatening to some fathers, and depending on their emotional background or issues around abandonment, they may feel not only threatened by the perceived loss of their partner, lover or friend, they may also be intimidated by the idea of having another virile male in the family, to compete with.
And feeling threatened or emotionally shut out of the mother child bond can result in a father becoming distant. He could withdraw from the relationship and he may even start looking for love elsewhere.
This withdrawal often forces a mother to consciously or unconsciously focus even more on her child – in order to then make up for the lack of a father’s emotional or physical presence. This can happen over time or it can start happening quite soon after a child is born.
It has however been theorised, that a mother protects a male child more than a female child in order to ensure her genes are passed on. There is much evidence of this in many societies where male children are preferred over female children.
However, a male child can also be protected as they can represent a replacement or surrogate husband or father.
As discussed previously, the Oedipus Complex is a well-known phenomenon which has now been studied over many years via careful child observation. It is based on the Greek myth in which Oedipus considers his father a rival for his mother’s love. So he kills him and marries his mother, Jocasta.
What has been observed is that the period between 18 months and three years is when a child or in this case, the male child, becomes aware of his own sexual identity. This is the stage of sexual realisation that daddy has a penis and mummy has a vagina and that he has a penis just like daddy. All children go through this exploratory stage.
However between the ages of three to five, sons develop a desire to have their mothers all to themselves. It is when a son may shout, ‘I hate you daddy’ and he may try to split his parents via controlling behaviour or temper tantrums, as he demands that mummy belongs to him and only him.
A wise mother will recognise this as a passing phase and she will gradually wean the child so that he begins to realise that mummy belongs to daddy and that he is a separate entity to the parental unit.
Unfortunately, if a father isn’t either emotionally or physically present, a child may lose out on what the Oedipal phase may teach him. Instead, the child may feel invincible and omnipotent as he always has had mummy to himself and he would therefore not learn that mummy should ‘belong to a daddy’ or for that matter, how to woo other people instead.
Consequently, the male child may find it hard to develop an identity separate from their mothers and their relationships may be fraught with boundary issues.
Also, by not allowing a child to develop emotional independence, a mother may unwittingly create an environment which may lead to a child feeling emotionally smothered.
This can lead to:
1)A stunting of emotional and mental growth.
2) An inability to sustain long-term relationships.
3) Finding it very hard to make important life decisions.
4) And he may feel totally emasculated.
Unfortunately, many men have suffered from this and consequently many run a mile from any long–term relationships in adulthood, fearing it may involve a similar emotional commitment as experienced with their mothers – which could trick, force or coerce them into a situation of entrapment.
Also, if a mother’s life revolves around her son, she will be lulled into a false sense that he will never desert her. It is also well known that mothers have either suggested or insisted that their sons remain faithful to them until their death.
This is why so many of these men often only marry after their mothers have passed away or not at all, fearing a repeated claustrophobic commitment.
These ensnared feelings can be made worse if a mother’s cuddles, hugs, and kisses had been turned into subtle sexual advances possibly even leading to physical incest.
Consequently a child may find subsequent relationships and sex with another very hard to sustain.
Inappropriate feelings for a son, is a form of child abuse – which can have long lasting emotional implications.
It is therefore imperative that a mother create the appropriate boundaries in order to help her son become a well-rounded and emotionally balanced human being, capable of having their own relationships later on in life.
But also, parenting is a joint venture and if possible, fathers should to be part of their son’s growing up – so they can impart all that is required to be a man.
A son needs a father as a role model, not only to help him develop his masculine identity but also an identity which includes self-respect and confidence, as well as helping him to understand relationships and all that it involves.
And as Jane D. Hull once wrote, ‘At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of both parents’.
However even if this is not possible, let us each remember that every child needs to develop a self-sufficiency that will enable them to grow up into fully fledged adults.
Let none of us stand in the way of this right.
© 2017 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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