Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother dear

It often seems relationships are movie screens on which we play out our childhood experiences. A happy childhood will generally produce happy relationship and vice versa. While this is a broad and general evaluation, which will open an arena for those who disagree, it is psychologically a fact that we are a product of our childhood. Studies show the relationship of a child with the parent of the opposite sex is a key component to healthy or unhealthy evaluation of self.

We will discuss the father/daughter relationship in the next blog, as it provides its own intricate maze and needs to be explored individually. Never the less, the mother/son relationship is also a vast territory to explore, and one providing some unknown and scary places. 

The primary relationship between the male and his mother is simply that of “Mom”. Each "Mom" relationship is unique to the individual and reflects the culture and social norms of the family. Mom is the embodiment of the feminine characteristics and usually the source of nurturing for the male. If mom is nurturing, the male will have a better sense of self and not depend on others opinions for self esteem. If mom is detached, then the boy will learn to perform for approval and carry this trait into adulthood. Again, these are general statements and there will be exceptions.

The second relationship a boy has with his mother is the “mother complex”. This aspect of mother resides in every male and is generally an unconscious relationship. The “mother complex” is the regressive capacity which drives a male to be dependent on his mother and be a child again. It is the core of man’s unconscious desire to fail, be defeated, desire to die, and generally a demand to be taken care of rather than self sufficiency. In the male psychology, this unconscious complex is pure poison.

Two major problems arise out of this unconscious mother complex:

1. Blame mom for his failure. Because of the highly dependent nature of this perspective, a male who allows his mother complex to contaminate his relationship with his actual mother will often see her as a witch who is trying to defeat him. This male will go to victim and his desire to find comfort and care will be couched in a underlying anger coming from the mother complex.

In order to cope, he may either rebel against his real mother because of this complex or develop an overly dependent relationship with mom, which is totally crippling in his journey. He will, in this latter stage, blame her for his failure, but addictively cling to her (or her memory). In his addictive drive to be taken care of and be dependent, he may believe the world owes him a living – preferably without effort on his part.

2. Project his complex on his wife or partner. The wife or partner is the flesh and blood person who shares his life journey and is his companion. In this place, the male caught in the mother complex will demand his wife or partner "mother" him instead of being a companion or partner. He will demand she fulfill his mother-expectation for him, and will go to victim if he believes she is failing him, which, because of the mother complex, she always will. He may become very demanding and abusive as his addictive nature becomes stronger, or he may collapse at the feet of his mother complex and become completely broken and dependent.

The key to healthy adulthood is obviously a healthy childhood. Unfortunately, the vast majority of families fall into a category of dysfunctional to some degree, producing children more insecure in modern society than in any previous time. 

Therefore, the only hope for the adult is to consciously explore his childhood, recognize the good, the bad, and the ugly, then actively live his adulthood as a non victim, “responsible-for-myself” type person. In a relationship, it is important for each partner to understand the history of their significant other and provide a safe but secure place for healing of wounds. A partner cannot heal the other person, they can only provide a safe place for rebuilding. 

Knowing each other is why we have this process called “dating”. It is a place to understand the other person, not a quick launching pad for marriage. Exploring our potential partners parental relationships is generally a good reflection of how they will handle adult relationships. In dating we walk slowly and observe carefully, but that is another topic all together.

What are your thoughts? Email us at or comment below. If you want to be a follower of the blog, click on the box in the upper right corner of the blog.. The blog is also on Twitter at

A good study of long term relationships is my book Forever Yours. (click here) for more details.


  1. Interesting and helpful. What if child is raised by one parent or by same sex parents? Any studies or information on this?

    1. While we are talking about the Mother and Father as male and female, the real impact is the sense of masculine and feminine from the parents. Next week we will have a blog on the Father/Daughter which will go into this in more detail. Thanks for your thoughts. Dr. T

  2. I Enjoy very much, so interesting. Funny my son just did a study on Dennis Rodman from his psych class. interesting

  3. would love to know his thoughts on Rodman. Interesting person so I'm sure an interesting background. Thanks for your thoughts. Dr. T