The Good Mother
A storyline, not a scene: the unmasking of Natasha’s dreams of housewifery. It started for me Wednesday, with Gail getting up from her chair in the Rovers. “He needs his family… he needs me,” about Nick. No! Leave him alone! My pleas to the screen did no good. She had to Save Her Son.
It has been hideous watching Gail this week. Yes, she was right to suspect Natasha and, yes, it seems Natasha wasn’t going to come clean of her own volition. So Gail got the truth out. Almost got Natasha killed too, but dear Sonny Boy is protected from himself again by his devoted ‘fight to protect the cubs’ mom.
A few years ago, I heard a woman jokingly say to her son, “I made you and I can break you.” I thought it was pretty funny. Then some things made me ponder mother-adult child relationships and I realized that too often it isn’t a joke.
Mother is so determined to protect child and so convinced that she knows what is best that child never learns to deal with another person without the protection (interference) of mother. Child never has to deal with his or her own mistakes, or successes, without the help (interference) of mother. Therefore child ends up incapable of having an adult relationship without mother present in physical or psychological form, giving advice. Child always looks for something else to blame for whatever goes wrong (after all Mother always scapegoated someone for child’s problems) and child expects someone else to fix those problems. Mother is happy to do that.
Not all mothers are like that. Thank God my own is not. But I see those mothers and their damaged adult children, products of their missionary zeal. Convinced that their supreme sacrifice of bringing this being into the world gives them the right to control him or her forever, with no questions asked. Convinced that their years of protecting and caring for the child allows them to ‘protect’ and care for the adult. The result is emotionally stunted adults who carry mother and her protection around in the back seat with them for the rest of their lives.
We’re seeing that with Nick. Thank goodness he went to Canada for a few years, without mother, so maybe he’ll survive her hovering and protection now. There’s been a few signs of it. He told her to back off, after Natasha had attempted suicide. Unfortunately he didn’t do it when Gail was confronting Natasha with her lies. He stood shoulder to shoulder with his mother telling Natasha everything that was wrong with her. He and Gail were right, but was the mother-son assault the best way to point these things out to her?
David has been perceptive about Gail’s role in this. He’s pointed out her interference and its consequences in a calm and reasonable manner. Of course, she is unlikely to pay attention to his words. In her understanding of wisdom, she (mother) tells him (son) what’s what, not the other way around.
We all carry our mothers around in our head. Whether that’s good or bad for us, and anyone we come into contact with, depends on the legacy of behaviour our mothers show us. The only bit of hope I saw for the Platt-Tilsey sons was both of them politely but firmly telling her to butt out, that she’d done enough. I hope they stick to that. I’ll bet she won’t. She’s “a good mother.”