The Importance of the ‘Mother’

I feel the urge to address a word here to my own mother, who passed away a few years ago. I had to come to terms with her and our relationship while being involved in seeking to understand all aspects of this (Lack of Sense of Self-) condition that I started to suspect twenty-five years ago. I have gone through all kind of stages to find for myself and at the same time hide from myself and from her the truth about my experiences and my investigations: rebellion against her norms, adaptation to her norms, silently sneaking away from them again to find my own take on things.

Recently I came to the ultimate conclusion: it wasn’t her fault. If anybody or anything is to blame for the injustices of the world and for what my childhood lacked, it is simply the human condition itself. She had her own demons to fight with and non-favorable circumstances of all sorts.

I have noticed that each generation seems to go a step higher on the ladder of understanding the human condition, which then contributes to changing it somewhat. Everybody is subject to so many factors and influences from their time era and their environment. I now know that (almost) everybody does their ultimate best to get things right. My mother certainly as well!

Why my theory has come my way I do not know. The fact is that now it has brought us a body of information that might help humanity to a better understanding of how ‘people work’, and that will, I hope, contribute to a better world. Please excuse me when, in this website’s writings, sometimes I seem to blame ‘the mother’; it isn’t meant as a personal accusation towards my mother nor any mothers. There were lots of good times when my mother and I were together that I have come to even remember better now that, what used to be my secret, is out in the open.

Back to the theory:

By ‘mother’ I include whoever does most of the care of the baby from birth on, whether that is a relative or not. In family settings it can include the father. My idea of ‘mother’ may even extend to teachers, nannies, sports- and religious- leaders and other authority figures who function as an educator in a child’s life.

Also I am well aware that this essay presents a rather utopian vision of possibilities in childcare, but it is meant to point us in the right direction. If each caretaker could live as even 5-15% of this ideal image, there would be a considerable change for the better in this world.

The Mother is ultimately responsible for world peace

I believe the mother is ultimately responsible for quality of existence of humankind. Therefore, in my view, only the mother is in the crucial position to effectively make any significant improvement in the human condition. She could do that by ‘being there’ for her children, mirroring them accurately and compassionately, acknowledging their ‘presence’ in existence while providing for their multitude of needs.

By (literally and metaphorically) bending lovingly over her offspring, she can make sure that the little ones grow psychologically a (metaphorically speaking) ‘straight spine,’ (composed of a healthy Sense of Self) instead of producing a child who has to bend over backward with respect to the mother, just to attempt to get its needs met.

Balanced treeThe human infant needs to be able to grow up like a healthy tree with a straight trunk that allows it to stretch its branches towards heaven and to create deep roots. Some mothers use her offspring as pawns in her own narcissistic game and raise them in an unhealthy psycho-emotional Enmeshment with herself. That results in their growing up like deformed weak trees. She needs to make sure that she is not in a needy relationship towards them.

Ideally, she can make sure that the brain/mind of her offspring develops following its potential and its natural disposition, so its twigs have a chance to branch out naturally and develop a rich fullness that is a tribute to life itself, allowing the grown-up later to express herself or himself without undermining doubts and fears.

So a mother’s contribution to society would include having the skill, patience, and psycho-emotional healthiness to treat her children in a responsible and truly loving way. To that purpose, women need to spend time working out their own problems before they engage in motherhood to make sure they can be there for their offspring, not only physically, but totally. Only those (men or women) who feel they have reached their full potential are able to make way for others and lovingly care for others.

The mother’s influence

It is to be expected that as children grow up and become more autonomous, the direct influence and impact of the mother’s behavior on the child during its early years would diminish. That might be true for children who have developed a reasonably or fully healthy Sense of Self, but in cases in which an ‘Enmeshment’ was established, the dependency is preserved through adulthood, often facilitated by modern ease of communication.

Even if an ocean lies between a mother and her grown child, in other words both live on different continents, the mother’s influence can be just as present as ever within the child’s inner life. Even a ‘child’ who is now age 50 or 60 can be unaware that she doesn’t use her own criteria and reasoning to run her life, but instead, is still using the mother’s internalized standards.

The influence goes beyond internalized standards, though. At any age, grown children whose parents are still alive can still be needy – still hoping that by facilitating their parent’s caprices, they might finally get what they, even now, so desperately (although usually only subconsciously) need and never got: love and appreciation, being acknowledged as a valuable human being, being acknowledged as a valuable and important daughter or son. When the parent dies, the grown child sometimes can subconsciously have a hope of freedom, might be hoping to finally get a grip on their own lives which have felt so ‘off’ somehow, so out of control. (See Comparison Chart.)

In a healthy situation, the influence of a parent does decrease over time. In less fortunate situations, (which in my opinion are far too common,) the mother’s influence doesn’t actually diminish or stop. It only becomes less visible, less obvious, and therefore less traceable. More often than not, for example, daughters are terribly stressed when they are visiting their mothers, because they know they are not the person their mothers want them to be, and they feel the need of that approval and validation.

It’s similarly stressing when parents come to visit a grown daughter, who now has her own family. The young parent, usually the mother, starts to clean and to organize like mad as the house seems to never be ‘good enough’ to be looked upon with benevolence by her own mother. Instead of being a loving and caring family member from whom one can expect support, she behaves like a critical bitch, withholding any appreciation. One might wonder if she is even interested in what the child has to show or to tell. She’s too busy, too often, reveling in her own stories and wanting to be the center of attention. (Can you tell the voice of experience is speaking?)

I do not believe the mother behaves that way because she is an innately bad person. She’s that way only because her own needs as a child were never met! This is how the eternal cycle of abuse keeps going on.

Isn’t it time to stop that eternal cycle? How?

In my ideal world, everybody would be taught (in Elementary School!) that there is an option to monitor your own behavior and to question your own reasons for behaving in non-constructive ways. If ‘looking within’ becomes a normal procedure instead of an exception that is considered ‘weird,’ a lot of family-issues would get a more positive outcome. Let’s learn to ask ourselves why we so often hurt people we love or are supposed to love (our children!). Through self-monitoring, and motivation-check, we will get to know who we really are, what we are trying to achieve instead of healthfully living with and educating our children.

Some of us might then be able to step out of (re-)living ‘in a trance’ that keeps us tied to the past. We might then become free to leave behind the motives that are generated by our subconsciously-driven minds.  Instead we could make conscious and informed decisions about major and minor things in life.  Parents would be wiser and their ‘children,’ of whatever age, would love to spend time listening to them and learning from them, (instead of fearing them and currying favor with them) so these ‘children’ in turn could function as wise elders someday.

So I believe mothers especially are powerful creatures because they are in the most crucial position of being able to ‘make or break’ a child and, as such, a future grown human being. If anybody could make a change in what people become later on in life, it is the mother! The behavior of the mother (the primary caregiver) towards the child largely determines whether the child grows up to be helpful, of service to others, tolerant, and forgiving or to be frustrated, violent, and full of suppressed rage. Sense of your Self, its healthiness or unhealthiness, is, according to this theory, the crucial determinant of that difference. And Sense of Self is completely dependent on the mother’s early behavior toward the child!

Just about anyone can be a mother in name only, but if we truly want to change society, the world at large, let the true mothers assume responsibility and gain insight into themselves. Let them be taught to ‘introspect,’ to look inside and learn who they actually are, so they can see that they have to deal with their issues before they can be ready to lovingly bring up a next generation.

In a nutshell, that is the purpose and goal, the hope and vision, of this Theory/website.

Boys too!

Utilizing this theory, schools could produce educational mechanisms which teach boys and girls to address their suppressed anger, the residue of being stifled and humiliated by their parents. Only after that, for example, as soldiers in times of war, would they (men especially) be able to use their head and act responsibly rather than – as all-too-often happens – using their soldiering actions as an outlet for their suppressed emotions when the safety valve that is kept in place by society snaps under the stresses of war. Men would be more reliable fathers and husband if they had worked out their own issues and their frustration and anger would not be so easily triggered by the often times challenging situations in family/couple life.

No, (biologically speaking) becoming a mother is not hard – but being a mother, (especially in today’s society where women also need to ‘become their own person’ and develop skills and bring in money,) is inhumanly difficult. I guess we have to accept that a mother is never ever going to be ‘perfect,’ as we, human-beings are imperfect by nature.

There is one thing though that every mother needs to do and with help in becoming mentally healthier, in developing a stronger, healthier Sense of Self, can do: consider your children as independent, autonomous human beings, not as extensions of yourself. If you feel you have trouble with that, then please find the courage to work your own way to a healthy Restored Sense of Self. [Also link to Recovery Section.] That will enable you to create a better future for yourself, for your child, and for the world!

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