Saturday, November 29, 2008

Neurotic Mothers

My early family life was a cornucopia of antagonism, guilt and soul-deadening criticism. My mother, in particular, was an eternal source of pain in childhood.

A critical issue for me as a child was the extent to which I was drawn into the service of my mother's neurotic needs. Neurotic mothers commonly present themselves as the self-sacrificial victims who bear the loving burden of having and raising the children. The willingness to suffer and sacrifice and suffer pain and sorrow thus becomes the hallmark of her mother's love. However this puts a terrible burden of guilt on the child who is the object of such loving sacrifice.

Neurotic mothers are notorious for their martyred agonies, their self-pitying dramatic displays, their exploitation of the theme of sacrifice. In actuality, however, martyred mothers make no sacrifice. If anything, they do precisely the opposite. They exploit their children. They exact an emotional sacrifice. They press upon the children with their imagined wounds, with constant reminders of all they have done for them. Neurotic children take this maternal display seriously; they are mowed down by guilt and seek penance in propitiatory behavior. They attempt in a futile way to make up to their mothers for the presumed sacrifice. Such patterns of neurotic interaction bind the child to mother, deform the quality of togetherness, and sharply restrict the range of development toward a mature autonomy.


Anonymous said...

Why is she so neurotic? If she is Jewish or from a ME ancestary, it's should be obvious for you why she is so neurotic.

Jurian said...

Very interesting post.
Maybe you should read also :

The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman

Unholy Hungers: Encountering the Psychic Vampire in Ourselves & Others by Barbara E. Hort

Trapped in the Mirror by Elan Golomb

In Sheep's Clothing by George K. Simon Jr

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

Jurian said...

I forgot :

The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness by Martha Stout

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self by Alice Miller

Anonymous said...

Somebody enjoys Woody Allen films. "Harvey Stern married too young to escape his parent's apartment, which was a rent-controlled cornucopia of guilt, antagonism, and soul-deadening criticism." -Deconstructing Harry

Anonymous said...

dead on target, short version of a very over "book" cover subject. Well done, cliff notes on neurotic mothers.

Anonymous said...

With a combination of Neurotic and Narcissist behaviors, it is very difficult when others meddle or is commonly known as a "triangle". When Mother is elderly there has to be someone there for her needs. On the other hand, when the person being depended on is captured by Mothers' rapture and the meddling starts, then one becomes labeled the uncaring child. From my experience, I would suggest films such as "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf" or the film about Francis Farmer and the relationship she had with her Mother.