Looking for a Father (2)
The infant is saved from Winnicott’s dreadful terrors of disintegration and total annihilation of his tiny being by the equally all-encompassing and total love of “the good enough mother”. But there is a price to be paid. How, when he gets to the stage of desiring independence, can he escape from this encircling totality of maternal love? The dilemma is often worse. Another of my favourite authors is the French psycho-analyst Christiane Olivier. Her theme is that women desire to be loved by men but all too often their proffered love is not returned. In such a case, it can often happen that the rebuffed woman will project her need for love onto her infant son. But the little boy cannot cope with this engulfing, importunate demand for love and learns to fear female desire. He grows up terrified of intimate relations with a woman and, her advances rebuffed, she in her turn is once again driven to project her need for love onto her son. And so the cycle goes on and on repeating itself. There was a good example in the recent Channel 4 series about people who got married to a complete stranger. In one case, the girl fell in love with the gorgeously common Essex boy, and you could see why. But he found it exceedingly difficult to return the love of this beautiful and lovely girl who was willing to give all her devotion to him. Who wouldn’t want to be loved by such a woman? Well in his case yes and no. He struggled manfully to overcome his reluctance, though, a true hero of romantic love. Why are men so often frightened of love and only want sex when no love is involved? Clearly they do for you see it happening all around us. It keeps the prostitutes well in pocket. I think Olivier may be right.