When Mother and Child Don’t Love Each Other

Por em 14/12/2015

While still in-utero, our brain develops in an environment filled with comfort, peace and harmony. We are living in paradise—and birth means being expelled. From them on, we experience what are probably the worst days of our life: we are cold, hungry and thirsty and we feel vulnerable and in absolutely despair when our mothers do not come immediately to us to when we need them.

I have been saying, in my writings about the origins of love, that we all feel some nostalgia for that feeling we had, when merged with our mothers in-utero, and now, figuratively, we want to go back.

Our first romantic experiences are, clearly, with our mother, the one who feeds us, cares for us, and whose presence gives us peace. She also feels a sense of completeness during the pregnancy, very strongly. But from birth, we have a persistent feeling of emptiness. It’s as if we had left behind part of ourselves. We feel lonely, then, because something was taken from us—and this is why we search for a romantic partner: to complete us again. If we felt complete, love, as we know it, would not exist.

 Our mothers feel the same incompleteness; during the pregnancy, their connection with the baby works as a cure for the emptiness, but once we are born, the feeling, that can sometimes cause severe depression, comes back.

At first, mother and child love each other: they are bound by an unconditional attachment that does not depend on a person’s qualities. As the years go by and children start to think for themselves, the connection stops being purely physical, and begins to be the object of analysis. A child might come to see something in their mother’s personality that they perceive as very disagreeable—or, conversely, a mother realizes her child didn’t become the person she thought they’d be.

It happens often. Could we then assume that most children stop loving their mothers, and vice-versa? That’s not true at all. The relationship is very meaningful we tend to be more lenient: children are more understanding and tolerant when it comes to their mothers’ behavior, and mothers tend to minimize their children’s flaws.

In some cases, however, we are incapable of loving our mothers—or children—despite the bond.

When the differences in the ways mother and child are, think and act are too vast to bridge, it’s undeniable that the very same person who was one day so essential to us now causes resentment, anger and sometimes even revulsion. Is it wrong to feel that way? Is it a sign of weakness to be unable to love your mother—or your child? Certainly not. It just means these two people were so different that not even an allowance for the original bond was strong enough to keep the flame of love alive.

Tradução: Amanda Morris

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