Mother Complex

It is a given fact in the mother complex that the sufferer does not want to stick out a situation.  In Aion Jung says, for instance:

There is in him a desire to touch reality, to embrace the earth and fructify the field of the world.  But he makes no more than a series of fitful starts, for his initiative as well as his staying power are crippled by the secret memory that the world and happiness may be had as a gift – from the mother.  The fragment of world which he, like every man, must encounter again and again is never quite the right one, since it does not fall into his lap, does not meet him half way, but remains resistant, has to be conquered, and submits only to force.  It makes demands on the masculinity of a man, on his ardour, above all on his courage and resolution when it comes to throwing his whole being into the scales.  For this he would need a faithless Eros, one capable of forgetting his mother.  TPoPA 51

There is a certain type of man with a mother complex who is much attracted by Freudian psychology because its effect on the individual is similar to that of the mother complex itself; that is, it is another prison, and this time you are imprisoned in a situation which is known to your intellect.  The Freudian system has its gaps, but these were not approved by its founder, who created the system as something entirely known, except for the physical aspect where there are openings left for biological chemistry.  On the religious or philosophical side there are no openings.  There everything is precisely defined, and for this reason Freudian analysis seems attractive to the victim of a severe mother complex, with his anxious and ungenerous attitude, because it offers him another cage of protection.  One learns the language easily, and one who has had a Freudian analysis for six months or so knows all about it.  If you have a patient who has had it, he will bring his dream to you with a cheap, ready-made interpretation.  You feel puzzled by the dream and wonder what it means, but he will interrupt you and ask if it is not again the Oedipus situation.  Such people have it all pat, and therefore life cannot flow.  Freudian analysis is completely unfeeling, and this is also expressed factually in as much as the doctor is not allowed to have any personal feeling for his patients and avoids them by putting on his white coat and sitting behind the client; any personal feeling or feeling-reaction is suspect.  If the patient’s feeling function is already damaged, the split will be worsened.  TPoPA 156

(Every) time (a particular patient with a knowledge of Freudian analysis) felt rather too close to a girl, he thought that was the mother complex again, so he got out.  In this way the Freudian way of thinking helped him to carry on his Don Juanism.  What is so damnable about it is that there is even truth in it!  Naturally, in Don Juanism, the partner who is looked for in different women (Goethe formulated it aptly as “seeing Helen in every woman”) is the mother complex, so that to have an affair and then walk out of it because it is again the mother complex is quite justifiable.  It is a wonderful excuse for escape!  And it is quite true that these first fascinations are due to the mother complex; that is, to the play of the anima, and they do prove to be an illusion.  I have not for a long time seen a man who has got into touch with a woman, with feeling, who has not suffered from certain disillusionments and disappointments and who, in the end, has not realized the transience and corruptibility of all earthly life.  TPoPA 156 

(Keeping one in a closed loop of reasoning that leads to inertia) is the spider’s trick of the mother complex.  That is how she tries to catch the hero.  She wants him to sit and ask himself whether he really wanted it or not: whether it is really a question of opposing the father? – if he does this, is he really just falling for his father’s suggestion, or is he simply showing off?  You can be sure that he will sit there forever and the witch will have him in her pocket.  That is the great mother-complex trick.  TPoPA 168

Mother complex – [devouring mother]

In a man – later, when he is on his own – it is a trick of the mother complex to put a philosophical question at just the moment when action is needed.  You often see this trick in actual life.  For instance, a young man wants to go skiing or go off somewhere with his friends; he is filled with the élan of youth, which carries one out of the nest, eager to be with others of the same age.  He and his friends are enthusiastic about taking a boat down the Rhine to Holland.  The boy tells his mother what he plans to do.  It is just youthful exuberance, but the mother begins to worry about his being away.  The boy is living and learning about lie in a natural way, if only the mother does not hang onto him.  But if she does, then she starts:  “Ought you to do this? I don’t think it’s the right thing.  I don’t want to prevent you.  I think it is quite right for you to go in for sport, for instance, but I don’t think you should go just now!”  It is never right “just now.”  Everything must first be thought over – that is the favourite trick of the devouring mother’s animus.  Everything must be discussed first.  On principle she says there is nothing against it, but in this case it seems a bit dangerous.  Do you really want to do it?  And then if he is somewhat cowardly, he begins to wonder, and then the wind has gone out of his sails and he stays at home on Sunday while the others go off without him.  Once more he has been defeated in his masculinity, instead of responding by saying that he doesn’t care if it is right or not, he just wants to go!  The moment for action is not the time for discussion. 


… one could say that whenever a man escapes the whole problem of relationship by a wrong kind of spiritualization, he is still in the clutches of the devouring mother.  What is much worse, he turns all the women in his surroundings into devouring mothers.  What else can happen?  If he doesn’t relate, he can only be eaten!  That is naturally the wrong thing, but it is a kind of involuntary and automatic reaction in a woman.  The more the man refuses to accept relatedness, the more she feels that she has to imprison him, catch him, eat him up, forbid him to move around.  So he calls up the devouring mother in every woman, and then it is a vicious circle.  He is disappointed because every woman turns out to be a devouring wolf.  Then he says, “There you are! That is what I always said!” and walks out on the woman.  Actually, his flightiness has constellated her devouring side, and for this reason he is again caught in the vicious, destructive circle.  Because he does not relate, she comes with her trap and a box to put him in.  Because he has no love, he summons her power-complex. 

So you can say that a man with that attitude toward feeling finds the devouring mother everywhere within and without.  And that would be the wolf.  TPoPA 240

Mother Complex - Nazi's

A man belonging to the Secret Service told me that when he wanted to loosen up young Nazi prisoners so as to get military information out of them, the leading – and practically always successful – question to put when they were determined not to tell the enemy anything was (with a slightly sentimental quiver in the voice), “Is your mother still alive?”   Usually they started to cry, and their tongues were loosened.  He discovered that this was the key question with which to penetrate the armor of the hostile attitude in German youths.  Naturally generalizations must be taken as such; they are only half-truths in individual cases, but if we may characterize national differences, there is still a lack of differentiation of the anima in Germans compared with the more Latin-influenced peoples.   TPoPA 219