The Importance of a Loving Mother
By: Beth McHugh 2009
When I was a young undergraduate I didn’t give much thought to good parents versus bad. I had observed my own parents’ numerous shortcomings as a teenager but also had a sense that there were a lot of my friends’ parents that I wouldn’t have been keen on swapping my own parents for.
Hence we slowly build up an idea of the quality of the parent/child relationship from our own experiences from our own interactions with parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and the parents of our friends.
But during my studies I came across a professor who had such a profound hatred of women that was well beyond the norm. While on the surface he was a classic gentleman, opening doors for and saluting women, it was clear he hated them. He belittled their efforts in lectures and made derogatory comments about the brain power of the female mind ad even quipped that a first-class honors degree obtained by a female student was “very professionally typed”.
He treated his wife and daughter badly while praising his son, all this to students who he should have kept his private life from. This situation continued for years until he revealed in a moment of candor that his mother had sent him away to boarding school at the tender age of four. Worse, this tiny boy was never collected at holiday time when his peers went home. He had to stay under the care of the teachers at the boarding school. This constituted his life from the ages of 4 to 18 when he completed his schooling.
The effect of this treatment was that he hated his mother. But young children cannot afford to hate their mothers – it’s too painful – so they internalize it onto themselves initially and believe they are unlovable. Later, logic may dictate that this is not so and therefore they project the hatred of the mother onto all women, which is psychologically much safer. All women then bear the brunt of the young boy’s dislike of his mother.
Unfortunately this professor went to his grave still vilifying women and believing he was essentially unlovable and so he must hate and belittle the source of his unrequited love. He damaged not only his own family, and all women he had contact with, but most importantly, he lived his entire life without the enjoyment and love that comes only from the female gender. As such, despite the damage he caused, he was also a man to be pitied.