“Mum, dad, thank you!” | Part C’

“Mum, dad, thank you!” | Part C’

Eventually, the mature person has come to the point where he is his own mother and his own father. He has, as it were, a motherly and a fatherly conscience. Motherly conscience says: “There is no misdeed, no crime which could deprive you of my love, of my wish for your life and happiness.” Fatherly conscience says: “You did wrong, you cannot avoid accepting certain consequences of your wrongdoing, and most of all you must change your ways if I am to like you.” The mature person has become free from the outside mother and father figures, and has built them up inside. In contrast to Freud’s concept of the super-ego, however, he has built them inside not by incorporating mother and father, but by building a motherly conscience on his own capacity for love, and a fatherly conscience on his reason and judgment. Furthermore, the mature person loves with both the motherly and the fatherly conscience, in spite of the fact that they seem to contradict each other. If he would only retain his fatherly conscience, he would become harsh and inhuman. If he would only retain his motherly conscience, he would be apt to lose judgment and to hinder himself and others in their development.

In this development from mother-centered to fathercentered attachment, and their eventual synthesis, lies the basis for mental health and the achievement of maturity. In the failure of this development lies the basic cause for neurosis. While it is beyond the scope of this book to develop this trend of thought more fully, some brief remarks may )serve to clarify this statement.

One cause for neurotic development can lie in the fact that a boy has a loving, but overindulgent or domineering mother, and a weak and uninterested father. In this case he may remain fixed at an early mother attachment, and develop into a person who is dependent on mother, feels helpless, has the strivings characteristic of the receptive person, that is, to receive, to be protected, to be taken care of, and who has a lack of fatherly qualities—discipline, independence, an ability to master life by himself. He may try to find ” mothers” in everybody, sometimes in women and sometimes in men in a position of authority and power. If, on the other hand, the mother is cold, unresponsive and domineer-frig, he may either transfer the need for motherly protection to his father, and subsequent father figures—in which case the end result is similar to the former case—or he will develop into a onesidedly father-oriented person, completely given to the principles of law, order and authority, and lacking in the ability to expect or to receive unconditional love. This development is further intensified if the father is authoritarian and at the same time strongly attached to the son. What is characteristic of all these neurotic developments is the fact that one principle, the fatherly or the motherly, fails to develop or—and this is the case in the more severe neurotic development—that the roles of mother and father become confused both with regard to persons outside and with regard to these roles within the person. Further examination may show that certain types of neurosis, like obsessional neurosis, develop more on the basis of a one-sided father attachment, while others, like hysteria, alcoholism, inability to assert oneself and to cope with life realistically, and depressions, result from mother-centeredness.



Part A’: http://www.lecturesbureau.gr/1/mum-dad-thank-you-part-a/?lang=en
Part B’: http://www.lecturesbureau.gr/1/mum-dad-thank-you-part-b/?lang=en




The Art of loving
Erich Fromm







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