1 Love and hate between mothers and daughters 1
Love and hate between mothers and daughterswww.psychspace.com心理学空间网
Electra vs Oedipus: The Drama of the Mother-Daughter Relationship
作者：Hendrika C. Freud
The character of Electra dates back to ancient Greek mythology. Various playwrights, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, devoted tragedies to her, and, for the latter in particular, mother and daughter are at the heart of the play. Everything that could possibly go wrong between the two of them is described in these works.
It is not without reason that, through the centuries, even after the classical era, Electra has continued to be an inspiration for many authors. The legendary Electra was far more preoccupied with her mother, whom she hated, than with the father she adored. Agamemnon, her father, had left home ten years before the setting of the play, when he departed for Troy as military commander to fight for the liberation of the beautiful Helen who had been abducted – thereby triggering or actually causing the Trojan War. In the meantime, Electra’s mother Clytemnestra had taken a new lover. Electra feels neglected and rejected by her. She is jealous of her mother but also of her mother’s lover. Excluded from all intimacy, she wanders around the palace, moaning and cursing.
几个世纪以来，即便是古典时代之后，爱列屈拉一直成为许多作者的灵感，这不是没有原因的。传说中的爱列屈拉对他的母亲吹毛求疵，恨她的母亲胜于她所崇拜的父亲。在这部悲剧 开始之前，她的父亲阿伽门农，已于十年前离开了家，当时，他作为特洛伊之战的指挥官，被派遣去解救遭绑架的美丽的海伦——因此而引发或导致了特洛伊战争。在此期间，爱列屈拉的母亲伊莉克特拉已经有了新欢 。爱列屈拉感到被母亲忽视和拒绝。她妒忌母亲，也妒忌母亲的情人。她被排除在所有亲密关系之外，游荡在宫殿之外，悲鸣着，咒骂着。
Electra dislikes her role as a woman. She rebuffs all thoughts of sexuality. She has no desire to marry, and, if that does have to happen, she certainly wants no children. Her histrionic personality inspires loathing from every corner. Electra has become the prototype of a woman with female problems. She is a domineering victim who manages to conceal her insecurity and yearning for motherly love beneath a great deal of noise. She disparages her more feminine sister and uses her brother Orestes as a tool to avenge herself on her mother. Taking revenge on this detested mother is her only goal in life. Her youth, her beauty – she sacrifices them all for this one purpose. After many bitter and sorrowful years, filled with pain, she succeeds in her scheme: her mother is murdered as she pleads for mercy.
爱列屈拉不喜欢她的女性身份。她拒绝所有性欲的想法，也不渴求婚姻，如果真的结婚也不会要孩子。每一处都散发着她那戏剧化人格的厌恶。爱列屈拉 成为了有着女性问题女人的原型。她是一个专横的殉道者，在大量的喧闹底下，她设法掩盖她的不安全感以及对母爱的渴望。她诋毁更女子气的妹妹，并 利用她的哥哥俄瑞斯忒斯，把他当成工具来报复她的母亲。向这个不入眼的妈妈复仇是她一生的唯一目标。她牺牲了自己的青春美貌只为这一个目的。经过多年 怨恨和悲伤的岁月,充斥着伤痛，她的计划成功了，她的母亲因为恳求怜悯而被杀害。
This is a brief outline of the image we see when we look at Electra from the outside. But how does Electra herself experience her dilemmas, what is her psychic reality, what are her unconscious conflicts?
Briefly told and magnified as only possible in a work of art, the mythical Electra figure shows many of the unconscious preoccupations with which women with problems may be struggling. For instance, the fear of being swallowed up by the powerful mother figure is in conflict with a desperate longing for her love and affection. But masochistic complaints, depression, and sexual inhibitions are frequently manifested as well. All of them are problems that relate back to the very first love object, the mother – just as with Electra.
Culture has changed and is changeable, but certain situations are set in stone. Girls begin their life in a homosexual love relationship – in the sense of with a person of the same sex – with a woman: their mother. Not until later is the heterosexual love for their father added.
Paradoxical as that may sound, girls need their mother's cooperation in detaching themselves from her. Sometimes that opportunity for independence is lacking, and women have to find a way to sail between the Scylla of Electra’s murderous hate and the Charybdis of total symbiosis. Both extremes lead to an unhealthy mother–daughter relationship. As always, it is only the happy medium that can progress to a healthy development.
The father is often idealized and, just as Electra’s father, he is missed or lamented in his absence. Often fathers are absent or too little involved with their children, who therefore have to rely on their mother. The girl attempts to direct herself to her father when he is available. If not, she must make do with her fantasies. Sometimes she has a chance to receive the love for which she yearns from her father, the love that she may not have been given by her mother. Sometimes that attempt fails. A second disappointment is then the sad result. However, even if it does succeed, her mother remains the primary object of her desire, which is at best transferred to her father.
父亲经常被理想化，就像爱列屈拉的父亲，他缺席时被怀念或被哀悼。父亲的不在场，或者太少的关注于他们的孩子，孩子们就不得不依赖于他们的母亲。当父亲 可以获得时，女孩便会试图接近她的父亲。否则，她必须设法应付她的幻想。有时候，她有机会收到她从父亲哪儿渴求的爱，这个爱，可能从未从母亲哪儿得到过。有时候这样的尝试会失败。 再一个失望是随后的可悲的结果。然而，即便成功，她的母亲依然是她的愿望完美过渡到父亲哪儿的主要客体。
Subsequently, for a healthy development it is necessary for the image of the omnipotent mother, the goddess, or the queen of childhood fantasy to be abandoned. In psychoanalytic theory this figure is known as the phallic mother, because she is simultaneously both man and woman, as it were. After all, for small children the difference between the sexes is not very clear yet. The fantasy that an individual can be both man and woman is discarded with some difficulty. Even with regard to themselves, girls and women often continue to struggle with their bisexual identity.
The Electra complex is meant not to replace the Oedipus complex but to complement it. The new discoveries around the cliffs that the woman must steer clear of in her development are, in my opinion, better suited to a model in which it is not the father but the mother who occupies centre stage.
Symbiosis, meaning the mutual dependency of two beings, is problematic if taken as a phase of development. Mother and child do, of course, have idyllic moments when they are completely wrapped up in each other. But when a mother feels constantly dependent on her child’s endorsement, there is a disorder at play. This can express itself, for example, in the need for a child to cling to its mother when she is leaving because she would otherwise have the sense that she is not a good mother. I call this unhealthy mutual dependency the symbiotic illusion. It is a disorder that impedes the normal maturation process. When such a bond between mother and daughter remains intact for life, there is not enough room for independence and other relationships.
共生，意味着两个生命的相互依存，如果作为发展的一个阶段是很成问题的。固然，母亲和孩子会有完全沉浸于彼此的田园时光。 但是，当一个母亲的感觉不断地依赖于她的孩子的支持，有一种障碍在作怪。也就是说，比如，孩子需要攀附于其母亲，母亲 离开了，因为她本来意识到她不是一个好妈妈。我称其为不健康的相互依附共生幻想。这是一种障碍，阻断了正常成熟过程的。当母女间的生活中完整的存在这种粘连时，独立和其他的关系 就缺少了足够的空间。
The opposite of the symbiotic illusion – namely, total separation – is equally inauspicious. Under ideal circumstances the girl partially detaches herself from the mother. A girl needs to be able to shape her own identity but, at the same time, continues to need her mother throughout her life as model and counsellor.
Due to the open borders between mothers and daughters, styles of mothering and motherhood are transmitted from generation to generation. This can be fortunate or harmful. Transgenerational transmission of traumas is a wellknown phenomenon and, obviously, not only along the female line, although it is especially visible, forceful, and inescapable there.
For a woman, the inner bond with the mother can be a source both of strength and of frustration. To a great extent, the child’s first relationship is decisive for its identity and sense of self-worth, particularly among women. Subsequent love relationships can be damaged when a woman continues to see herself as the extension of her mother. Then mother and daughter keep mirroring themselves in each other, as in the fairy tale of Snow White: ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the loveliest of them all?’ Involuntarily, such a daughter remains inside her mother’s range of influence and will continue to be a part of her mother, body and soul. Instead of her own desires, she must fulfil her mother’s wishes. The instinctive result of this is hostility towards her mother, often hidden even from herself.
对于一个女性，与母亲的内在边界将是力量和挫折的源泉。在很大程度上，孩子的第一个关系决定了他的身份认同和自我价值感，尤其存在于女性中。当一个女子持续的把她自己当作她母亲的延续时，随后的爱的关系会受到伤害。于是母女相互彼此镜映参照，如同童话故事中的白雪公主：“魔镜， 墙上魔镜，谁是他们中最可爱的？”不知不觉的，这样的女儿仍然在母亲的影响范围内，也将继续成为母亲身体和灵魂的一部分。她必须满足母亲的希冀 ，而不是她自己的欲望。这种本能的导致了指向母亲的敌意，往往是被她自己所隐藏。
The way in which unconscious feelings of hatred can colour and decide the emotional life of a daughter is the principal theme of this book. Separation is related to autonomy. Women often interpret their detachment as a form of aggression that might harm the mother. Thus they tend to conceal their anger and turn it against themselves in the form of headaches, feelings of guilt, or masochism. The purpose of this book is to use the fateful struggle of Electra as a paradigm for conflicts in female development.
We shall see that the Oedipus paradigm in girls frequently ends in an Electra complex – that is to say: rage with the mother and idealization of the father. The other extreme, the ‘symbiotic illusion’ with the mother, appears frequently as well. This prevents the girl from growing into an independent person. Consequently, she is basically unable to enter into an adult heterosexual relationship. In her intimate relationships she will tend to claim the other, to cling to or fuse with that person. The symbiotic illusion as quasi-intimacy makes the other invisible as a separate individual.
A sound theory is indispensable in confronting reality, but everyday practice is still the most fascinating. Recently, Tessa, a beautiful and well-educated young woman, came into my consultation room with a mysteriously amused look on her face. This shy woman with a soft voice smiled at me with a mixture of ‘glad to see you’, with alarm in her gaze, and with unambiguous triumph, almost a note of pity. When questioned, she burst into uncontrollable laughter that at the same time she was ashamed of, as if she were betraying something about herself that would have been better left concealed. Then an elaborate panorama unfolded around her and her parents, who had divorced early on.
一个健全的理论必须面对现实，但日常实践是最吸引人的。最近，Tessa，一个美丽的和受过良好教育的年轻女子，面带神秘而又愉快的微笑来到了我的咨询室 。这个害羞的女人声音甜美，微笑的看着我，又惊又喜的说“很高兴见到你”，眼神中有警觉，带着毫不掩饰的胜利，又有一丝遗憾。面质中，她爆发出无法控制的笑声，同时她 又为此害臊，仿佛她背叛了自己那些本应更好隐藏的部分。然后一个复杂的现象展现在她和她那早就离婚的父母周围。
Tessa’s mother had trouble listening to and being interested in her, while her father, a childlike and egocentric man who was more seductive than interested, always praised her to the sky to others. This habitually led to scenes that were embarrassing to her, whereby she was pushed forward as her father’s showpiece. A contrasting scenario was played out with her mother. Being small and helpless without a trace of hostility produced at least a bit of attention in this distant and overburdened mother. Stepping more into the limelight would only have elicited rejection, Tessa feared.
Upon closer examination it turned out that Tessa had always been afraid of her mother’s jealousy. She was quite astonished when I first articulated that possibility. Her mother, who had not had much education, never quite knew what her daughter was studying. During therapy it became clear quite quickly what a taboo existed for her in competing with me as a woman. This ambitious, highly competitive young woman had learned to live with a hidden identity. She was terrified of the murderous envy that in her fantasy she might incite if she were to be successful, and she had therefore learned to conceal her triumphs beneath a great show of modesty.
This example illustrates how the Oedipus story about patricide and the little boy’s love for the mother is not automatically applicable to a girl. Of course, there is a vital attraction between the sexes and being different continues to be the most exciting thing there is. But the gratification of a girl’s desires often has a great deal more to do with her mother than with her father.