Is one obliged to love its mother ?

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A social obligation

“I don’t like my mother. “Very few of us can say it. The words are too violent, the taboo is still too strong. “We have it and me a report of politeness, an appearance of a normal relationship,” says Virginia, 35, documentary filmmaker. Let’s say that I get along with it, without a qualifier. “Just as modest, Ricardo, 37 years old, an architect, considers that it maintains a relationship of “cordial” with his, ” but not complicity no “.

“Mother, it’s still socially sacred, ensures the sociologist Christine Castelain-Meunier. Between the breakdown of family structures, sexual identities, and parenting that are blurred, we live in a pivotal period. In full loss of points of reference, one winces on the known, fixed things that have proven successful : the image of the mother traditional became more untouchable than ever. “The idea is unbearable :” To say that it was a bad mother, it can destroy, ” says the psychoanalyst Alain Braconnier. As you can imagine, she has given you life, she would have the power to give you death… It is the myth of Medea, infanticide. “

The therapist observes in passing that, in most fairy tales, the evil, it is always the mother-in-law : “We have operated in the displacement required for the expression of feeling. This shows how difficult it is to manifest negative feelings against his mother, but also to what extent they exist. It remains in the ambivalence permanent. “

A fused relationship

“When the child is small, his mom is a perfect, able to meet all his needs, reminds the psychologist Danielle Rapoport, author of The Well-treatment towards the child (read more below). When he realizes that she is imperfect, the shock is brutal. The more the relationship is bad, the more the impact is violent, and sometimes leads to a deep resentment that borders on hatred. “

We’ve all had those moments of violent anger against her, because she has not satisfied a desire, because she has disappointed us or were injured. We are all told, clenched his fists very hard : “I hate it. “It is even a passage :” These moments of hostility are part of the development of the child, ” says Alain Poacher. All is well if they are punctual. On the other hand, if they settle in the long term, it is more problematic. It is often the case with children of mothers with narcissistic, depressive, too demanding or abandonniques. “

In this relationship, symbiotic in nature, the violence of feelings is also proportional to the intensity of the merger. Children unique or raised by a single woman have more difficulties than others to admit that they do not like their mother. This is the case of Romain, 30 years old, a journalist, who lived alone with his mother in a fully interdependent : “I was his reason for living. It was a privileged place, of course, but it was too heavy to bear. I’ve had a hard to meet someone. In this case, a boy, this was the only solution. With a girl, the competition would be too rough ! “Today, the ties are still very strong :” I can’t stand to be away from it, I live just next door… At the same time, I know very well that this relationship denies access to a true freedom. “

They are very little cutting actually the bridges with their parent. They refuse to blame him, try to understand it, find excuses : a difficult childhood, an environment that is weighing, a husband absent. All are ” as if “. As if everything was going well, and most importantly, do not talk about it, ” to avoid the conflict that would lead me to a point of no return “, note Roman. They maintain the link, whatever it costs. “I see duty, regret, Anna, age 26, landscape architect. I know she loves me, and I don’t want to hurt him. “

The ” original debt “


Key ideas

– A taboo. The idea of a mother “unlovable” and “not beloved” is unsustainable in itself.
– A sense complex. And yet, some mothers are ” evil-loving “, or even ” evil “.
– To find balance. If it is too difficult to reject them, he must try to protect ourselves by taking distance.

Sociologists and psychologists speak of an ” original debt “, and its corollary, the guilt, which lasts throughout life and is tying us to that which we gave it. And then the hope, buried, but tough, that things will eventually change : “The reasonable portion of my being knows that it will not move ever, admits to Virginia, and, at the same time, there was always this desire inside of me that everything is sorted out one day. “

Mary, 60 years old, has lost a child at birth : “I thought that this time, I was finally going to have the right to speak. But no, to my mother, the disappearance of this baby was not that bad, since I had not even seen it ! From there, I did not sleep terrible. For years and years. Until the day when my psych has given me to understand that I didn’t like my mother and that I had the right to. Since then, I sleep. “

We have the right, but we dare not use it… ” We all have in us the longing for the good parent, advance Alain Braconnier, never think have been loved exactly as we wanted. When the story is painful, it is even more complicated. It fails to leave his mother when she too loved, as when she has not loved enough. “

Only the mother as ” good enough “, in the words of the psychoanalyst and paediatrician English Donald Winnicott (The Mother’s good-enough – Payot, “Small Library”), allows us to acquire serenely autonomy of the adult : the one who, by satisfying our desires, teaches us that life is worth living ; the same who, in frustrating to some, we are also told that he will have to conquer it alone this autonomy.

The fear to be as it

Become mothers in their turn, Virginia and Mary have kept the link to their children, with the hope that their ” bad “mother to become at least a “good” grandmother. Has the birth of his first child, Virginia was viewed videos shot by her father when she was little. She saw a woman who laughed, and a little pampered girl. “It has done me good,” she recalls. In fact, it was reality when I was a teenager, but before, she seemed happy to have me. This is no doubt due to those early years that I have been able to be a good mother. But when I see it has upset my children, I am upset, because I take consciousness of what it has become. “

Like Virginia, Marie has taken his mother as antimod√®le to build the link with her children. And it worked : “at the end of a long phone conversation, my daughter said to me : “It’s good to speak with you.” I hung up, and I burst into tears. I was proud to have corrected the shot, you have managed to build a beautiful relationship with my children, and, at the same time, I realized that I had never had. “

The failure of original maternal love was offset in part by someone who has provided these women with the desire to have a child, and has delivered the keys to raise, love and be loved : by these ” tutors of resilience “, according to the expression of the neuropsychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, or these ” artisans of the well-treatment “, to Danielle Rapoport, these childhoods dented can give mothers repaired.

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