May 14, 2012 - Posted by DrMyrtleMeans

As Mother’s Day approached I had several client’s reminiscing on their youth. Some looked back with fond memories of a loving, warm, attentive mother. Others, those who were not so fortunate, felt grief and disappointment. They were neglected or abused. One client in particular inspired me to write this blog. He stated that he did not know love, how it felt, or what it is. If he had a mother (a woman who has raised a child), how could this be? This is her primary job-to give love.

A mother provides the scaffolding for adult-love relationships. She should be our first love.  If she is remise in her duty than the fall out is catastrophic. A child does not grow into an adult who is self-assured, capable of giving love, and knowing that they are deserving of it. This is why so many go astray when it comes to choosing a person to love and be loved by. I don’t want to minimize the role of a father in the caregiving of a child. However, his role is different.  In my book, The Recipe for Ecstasy, I liken the difference between the mother and father to the difference  between a chef and a sous chef.

The Chef and The Sous Chef

Our preparation for lifelong loving takes place from birth. Our love capacity starts with the love that we received from our primary caregivers. “It means that something goes on between an ordinary baby and ordinary mothers and fathers that creates and ensures the capacity for love in infancy and in later life. It tells us that love and pleasure in the body begins in infancy and progress through childhood and adolescence to a culminating experience, ‘Falling in love,’ the finding of the pertinent partner, the achievement of sexual fulfillment” (Fraiberg, 1971). For many of us, our first love is the center of the universe known as “Mother.” Although Father is an important piece of this pie who we should not discount, his role is usually secondary to the role of Mother.

Poor  Nutrition

To “make love” you need to be able to create an experience of strong affection, warm attachment, and attraction based on sexual desire. A mother provides these key ingredients by way of nurturance. Once we are born we need to be nurtured. If this need is not met it is like being starved to death. Death is the extreme consequence of emotional deprivation, neglect, and abuse. We often think of death as a physical ending of life. However, the death I am referring to is emotional.

So, now that I have your attention, let us talk about the more common consequence of neglect: failure to thrive. This is a condition that is characterized by delayed physical and emotional development. It has many determinants, is often the result of medical problems, malnutrition, neglect, poverty, or abuse. For our purposes I will focus on the emotional stunting that occurs and manifests as a result of neglect and abuse (poor nutrition). Poor nutrition can lead to poor self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, poor body image, and immature sexuality. The individual fails to develop a sense that they are worthy of love and the feeling that they are able to give love. When a child is malnourished he/she will be insecure, feel inadequate, and have low self-esteem. Thus, he/she grows into a person who acts out of desperation or ignorance. He/She is unsure of oneself and this uncertainty leads to poor mate choices and unstable relationships.

3 Responses to “Prep Time – A Mother’s Love”

  1. KelGreen says:

    My mom & I had a close relationship. Maybe too close I say. Let’s just put it this way, she wasn’t too far from the current cover of Time magazine that is causing such a stir. I don’t know her reasons behind why she did what she did. Maybe because I was the last child. Maybe it was because my father was physically and emotionally looking elsewhere. But I provided the unconditional love that she was probably lacking. She died a few years ago and the loss has taken its toll on me. I’ve gone from one failed encounter to the next. Each time, I had felt hopeful that I might get the unconditional love that I so craved and missed from my mother. Lately, however, as the time has passed since her death, I’ve begun to take a serious look at my life and have begun to purge myself of people, men especially, who have zero if anything to offer me emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially. Its a day by day thing but I know I have to get over this hump, so to speak. I know that there is light at the end of this darkened tunnel. I just have to keep pushing till I get there.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts for Father’s Day, Dr. M!

  2. DrMyrtleMeans says:

    Our parents provide the foundation for adult-love relationships. Both parents play significant roles by what they show us as well as how they treat us. The best place to purge is in therapy. Get some help grieving your loss and disappointments so you can make room for the world of possibilities.

  3. Good blog you have here.. It’s hard to find high-quality writing like
    yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!


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