Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, February 07, 2014

Toxic Familial Love

Human beings love those to whom they are emotionally closest. And those most generally are the people who are part of their immediate family. Yet there is that conundrum in human nature that the love felt for family members can be corrupted and become distant and then finally expressed as hatred. It has been said by some sages that Love/Hate are simply not that far removed from one another as emotions, that it may not take much under some circumstances, with some individuals for love to be transformed into hate.

There are also folkloric aphorisms that reflect the truth of human emotional ties and the manner in which they can change to reflect the opposite emotion of what they formerly represented through emotional derangement. There is no fury like a woman scorned is one. Sometimes the pain of rejection by one in whom much emotion was invested is so great that the mind turns the former lover into the very image of a hateful opponent. And the urge to reciprocate, to cause pain in return, what is termed revenge, dominates.

When former lovers, two people sanctified in marriage for one reason or another separate and become emotionally remote, if they are mature emotionally they are capable of surmounting the mutual pain, to retain respect for one another and a residual affection can result, remaining 'friends' where they were once an inseparable tandem. If they have children this means they are able to share their love for their children and in this way fulfil their parental obligations, in the process raising emotionally secure offspring.

But when rancour and bitterness prevail, then not only is the friendship, the common experience and the memories sacrificed to hatred, but the effect on the children they share can be devastating. With one parent continually destroying the image of the other in the children's opinion. Children are malleable and trusting. If their mother repeats time and again how their father chose to desert them because he is indifferent to them, the child will eventually succumb to that belief and the chasm becomes too wide to bridge.
"My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister.
"Of course Woody did not molest my sister. She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him.
"I don't know if my sister really believes she was molested or is trying to please her mother. Pleasing my mother was a very powerful motivation because to be on her wrong side was horrible."
Moses Farrow, adopted son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow
Vengeful personalities, scathing in their denunciation of those they feel betrayed them, can be overpowering and frightening to those exposed to their horrendous rants. Exposure to such people is devastating; those who must listen continually to their accusations of blame against someone they once loved experience what it is like to shrink inside with dismayed fear and trepidation lest that deadly loathing be turned upon them.

Moses Farrow was speaking of his sister Dylan Farrow who accused her father Woody Allen of sexual assault, imposing himself on her when she was a child. Both he and his sister, both now 28, were adopted by Mia Farrow and Woody Allen.  Moses Farrow, now a family therapist, most certainly has some professional, let alone personal insight into what motivates people like his mother to express their searing hatred for someone they once loved.

He claims his mother was out to find fulfillment in vengeance, to destroy his father's reputation because of his father's affair with Ms. Farrow's adopted daughter from a previous relationship. Infamously, Woody Allen courted and married the young woman who was Ms. Farrow's adoptive daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. It was a December-April romance so to speak, and one that seemed rather tawdry under the circumstances of familial relations.

Moses Farrow has been estranged from Mia Farrow, the adoptive mother who raised him. There is obviously little love lost between them. And now Moses Farrow must accommodate himself to the reality that he has lost his personal relationship with his sister, Dylan Farrow. "This is such a betrayal to me and my whole family. My memories are the truth and they are mine and I will live with that for the rest of my life", she said, claiming her brother was now "dead" to her.

In fact, her memories may be invented ones, not a deliberate thing on her part, but perhaps suggested frequently and finally accepted as reality. But in truth, no one can know and the truth may never be revealed, whether the young woman's accusations against her father are based in reality, or in a wretched fantasy of inherited rage. The human mind believes what circumstances often present us with, having little relation to truth and reality.

But yet it is entirely possible that her memory is faultless, and so is her blame. This entire sordid, sad and miserable affair is not unusual within families, and does present as a sad dysfunction of human nature.

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