">

The most effective weapon a parent has to control a child is the withdrawal of love or its threat. A young child between the ages of three and six is too dependent on parental love and approval to resist this pressure. Robert’s mother, as we saw earlier, controlled him by “cutting him out.” Margaret’s mother beat her into submission, but it was the loss of her father’s love that devastated her. Whatever the means parents use, the result is that the child is forced to give up his instinctual longing, to suppress his sexual desires for one parent and his hostility toward the other. In their place he will develop feelings of guilt about his sexuality and fear of authority figures. This surrender constitutes an acceptance of parental power and authority and a submission to the parents’ values and demands. The child becomes “good”, which means that he gives up his sexual orientation in favor of one directed toward achievement. Parental authority is introjected in the form of a superego, ensuring that the child will follow his parents’ wishes in the acculturation process. In effect, the child now identifies with the threatening parent. Freud says, “The whole process, on the one hand, preserves the genital organ wards off the danger of losing it; on the other hand, it paralyzes it, takes its function away from it.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Related Quotes

popup close button