The narcissistic, the domineering, the possessive woman can succeed in being a “loving” mother as long as the child is small. Only the really loving woman, the woman who is happier in giving than in taking, who is firmly rooted in her own existence, can be a loving mother when the child is in the process of separation.
The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother’s side, and yet this very love must help the child to grow away from the mother, and to become fully independent.
Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.
In erotic love, two people who were separate become one. In motherly love, two people who were one become separate. The mother must not only tolerate, she must wish and support the child’s separation.
The good man signed the papers with the innocence of a child who does what his mother orders without question.[Le bonhomme signait avec l’innocence d’un enfant qui fait ce que sa mère lui ordonne de faire.]
Sometimes even grown women need their mother’s comfort so we can just take a break from having to be strong all the time.
Nature, that good and tender parent, has set round about the mother of a family the most reliable and the most sagacious of spies, the most truthful and at the same time the most discreet in the world. They are silent and yet they speak, they see everything and appear to see nothing.[La nature, cette bonne et tendre parente, a placé près d’une mère de famille les espions les plus sûrs et les plus fins, les plus véridiques et en même temps les plus discrets qu’il y ait au monde. Ils sont muets et ils parlent, ils voient tout et ne paraissent rien voir.]
My mother’s face floated to mind, a pale, reproachful moon, at her last and first visit to the asylum since my twentieth birthday. A daughter in an asylum! I had done that to her. Still, she had obviously decided to forgive me.