Close Relationships: Family, Friendship, Marriage by Eleanor Bertine

In the lives of ordinary individuals, the archetype that is the first, the most familiar, the most heart warming or most repellent, and altogether the most fateful, is that of the mother.

She is closer by far than the father in the external life of the infant.

Every day its comfort, well-being and very survival depend upon her, while its connection with the father is practically invisible.

She keeps it warm and dry, she assuages its hunger and thirst, and its every need and every desire is nearer to her than her own.

And it is not only physically that she is the comforter.

She surrounds the child with tenderness and love, making an atmosphere of security in which it can trust its own efforts, try its own wings.

The maternal libido lavished on the young is a matter of the utmost psychological importance for future development.

Again and again I have seen grown people with feelings so shy as to be practically frozen, yearning for close human contact but utterly unable to make a move and even scaring off any approach by their apparently unresponsive coldness.

Yet this condition was actually the result of a childhood in which no love had been given, sometimes because the mother was too selfish or neurotic or otherwise emotionally crippled, and sometimes because she was dead.

The son or daughter who never could go to mother with a hurt, sure of sympathy and help, or jump into mother’s lap with a spontaneity in which love and joy and a lusty sense of general well-being were all mixed up, and find from her a warm if quiet response, this child has learned to keep its feelings bottled up so as not to risk the pain and even real crippling that can come from a cold or snubbing rejoinder. ~Eleanor Bertine, Close Relationship Family Friendship Marriage, ¬†Page 20-21