I was looking over a blog opining on psychology, and was trying to figure out if I operate primarily in an “Object Relations” sort of way. Although it said that the primary ‘other’ would be your mother.
That started me thinking about how I am convinced that mothers are vitally important , but that fathers are the sleeper in the equation. I realize this post is fraught with potential puns and possible innuendo, but you’ll have to deal with it. Anyway, I got to thinking about my own , admittedly weird and topsy turvy personality self, feeling that my father had far more to do with how I turned out. As a mother, that is. It seems that fathers have an awful lot to do with how girls shape their identities of themselves as women. Some of that is dependent merely upon whether the father is absent or present, but all the points in between are possible variables in the equation.
That is not to diminish the importance of mothers, but it does make it look a little more balanced. Like possibly both sexes count in the raising of children.
Now that I’ve said that, it looks like I had an agenda with this, doesn’t it? I didn’t, but it could go that way.
but do we shape our sexual identity primarily upon mirroring, as in following the footsteps of the parent whose role you will take? Or is it more a reactive sort of thing, reacting off the opposite parent and seeing yourself from that perspective?
Likely, as in all these things, it is both. It is always both, it seems, but is it far more, than we have suspected, in the role of the father?
I have often noticed the correlation between good relationships with men/good relationship with father, and vice versa. How far does that reach? Then the way a father treats a mother has effects on the children, too; it has effects on how effective a mother that woman will be oftentimes. We just chalk that up to getting the support we need -but maybe it is more. What if it colors the whole of the family?
I think this would change the emphasis of family information in our culture. It would affect the view men have of themselves, I would imagine, but I don’t know in what way. Just an intuition sort of thing.
A fragment to pick up another time….
3 thoughts on “Which Came First: the mother or the father?”
You ask some very good questions. As someone who lost their father at a young age and didn’t have a great relationship with their step-father (or mother, for that matter), I can say that a father plays a huge role in shaping a daughter.
One of the biggest influences a father can have, at least in what I’ve deduced from my own experience, is in providing a sense of security. Something about that male protector/supporter thing. I always wanted to be “Daddy’s little girl” but never really experienced that except when I was very young. Those memories sustain me even now.
Another influence is in providing a sense of desirability. Not in a sexual sense, but an overall sense. Again, that “Daddy’s little girl” thing.
I’ve built up a lot of inner defenses over the course of my life in order to deal with feelings of helplessness and vulnerability; I’m sure this is a result, at least in part, of lacking a true father figure. I’ve had to more or less do for myself what no one else did during my formative years. I’ve become too independent — outwardly, anyway.
Well, I’ve rambled enough. Thanks for this post.
Oh, by the way, it’s nice to “meet” another INTP 🙂
Well, dear, you’re just managing to push all the right buttons this week. My parents very recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. But let’s not confuse longevity with health. For 40 of those years my father was a functioning alcoholic, and he passed on to his children his weakness for addictive behavior patterns. For my brother, it was drugs and alcohol, for my sister it was food, and for me it was sex. For all three of us, our addictions were ways of finding what we never could receive from him — those things I mentioned in responding to another post. And for me, that my addiction was for men was really nothing more or less than a self-fulfilling prophecy.
wow. Not said lightly, I am awed at the depth of reponses.
Bonnie, I feel you have discovered much that I am only beginning to look at.
When you said:”Another influence is in providing a sense of desirability. Not in a sexual sense, but an overall sense. Again, that “Daddy’s little girl” thing. ” it reminded me of my recent realization that what I most needed from my dad was that blessing of worthiness- that I was valued.
Lots of fathers want to give that but don’t seem to know how, I think my dad was in that category and maybe because he received certain messages from his dad.
Greg, thanks again for your openess. The hope we have is that it stops with us. We receive healing and pass on a new message to the next generation.
There is someone who values us very much.
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