This piece may hopefully stimulate some discussion. It concerns an issue that has been on going for many years
This article will commence with an actual letter (as remembered by the individual) from an elderly mother to her middle age daughter. The mother had not seen her daughter, who lived nearby, for 5 days;
If I’ve still got one? I’d like to know if you have left the country? If you have perhaps you’d let me know where you are so we can correspond. After all I have done for you, I deserve something from you.”
Whilst Freud discussed the oedipis and electra complex, referring to relationships from child to parent, it is proposed that similar situations occur in reverse. Mothers may thus be dependent or over-reliant upon their daughter or son. We shall term this the “elecutorix” complex. Fathers may be so dependent termed the “deepcutorix” complex. Yet this relationship; this dependency, need not be so. Indeed there are mothers who may be offered help from various people such as shopping but only allow their daughter to do it. Certainly in the UK, help does exist in the form of health and social or voluntary services though it may for some, involve a charge and be inaccessible. Historically parents had a great number of children in order to assist them with work such as farm work and in order to assist them when they are older. Whilst not so essential today, there are still some individuals who are determined to assist their parents or parents are determined that they will do so. Is this done by the son or daughter, according to love- or according to duty? A sense of duty may actually be enhanced by feelings of guilt, tradition or loyalty. All of which may be engineered by society. In comparison, pure love (Steinberg) may be regarded as true feelings in particular unconditional love which expects no reward. Yet surely, if the mother had such love for the now grown up offspring, she would promote fulfilment of their personal wishes and aims? There are cultural implications here. Yet even in China and India, there is an increasing number of nursing homes as people work way from their place of birth . In China there has also been the affects of the one child per family rule, with few family members able to care for their old parents. Some family members have been taken to court by their parents to ensure that they care for them even if they already care for somebody else ( nydn 2013 ). In Tokyo there is a huge waiting list of old people who need to enter the low number of nursing homes (Matsuyama 2015). Additionally some countries are sending old people to nursing homes abroad (Dimon 2014) – even if they have had no prior connection with the country.
There have been sons or daughters whose whole life have revolved around their parents. Indeed, some may never even have left home or found a partner. One middle aged lady, had the opportunity of living abroad with her family. However, her mum commented, “I have lost one daughter (who lived away). I am now going to lose you as well”. Pangs of guilt overruled and the lady never achieved her ambition and died looking after her mother. As opportunities such as working away and careers have arisen (which may well be reduced again), the whole perception of society may be altering. Now however, there is an increasing number of old people with less young people to care for them and rising health and social care costs. Religion and tradition may both manipulate individuals and promote certain ways of behaviour.
Yet the guilt complex continues with comments such as “Oh you are here, are you?”, “I suppose I will have enough bread until you come again”, “I expected you earlier”. Yet such manipulative comments can psychologically affect the younger person , causing resentment and lack of achievement. Indeed there may be further tactics, such as failure to encourage offspring especially if it entails moving away. Parents may also resort to lying about occurrences or arguments which again, may greatly affect their offspring. The relationship between offspring and parent does and must change as they both mature. Parents need to allow the son or daughter to be independent and make their own decisions. The offspring also realise there may be things about their parent that they disagree with although the love for them remains. This may create conflict in itself. Some parents may wonder what on earth has happened to their son or daughter to suddenly make them question them or even answer back. Yes there does need to be a balance.
I for one, think carefully when I tell my children I missed them but they do need to know they are loved and also need to consider others. The way is not through guilt. Such promotion of guilt by the parent, indicates a selfish desire to be served and rewarded; not love. It is said that one’s family does not refer to blood relations- but to those who understand you.
Carol Dimon (2015)
Dimon C (20140 Hasta La Vista Gran https://nursebloginternational.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/hasta-la-vista-gran/