06 November 2011

Why the boy wants to marry mum (beyond Freud)

I've written several entries on my son's (seemingly long) oedipal phase. And many times, I've simply dismissed it as a psychologically normal stage, which, as a Philosophy major, I honestly don't know anything about. Well this big name Freud said so-and-so. I thought, it was probably true.

And then I started to really get concerned about how keen my boy was about marrying mum. Especially when he also started adding the other detail "If I will marry you, Dad will go to heaven on his own." At that point I knew this wasn't just  some psychological phase. My son was telling me something. He was telling me about his fears.

I think it all began with my one big mistake on telling him about death. He asked about  the mums and dads of his grandparents. I told him that they have already gone to heaven. And then I added, unthinkingly, that everyone will one day go to heaven. Even more stupidly, I went to the example that mum and dad will go to heaven, too. Realizing that I crossed the line there, I quickly added that he will one day go there as well, and that we will all be together.

But I was too late. The next morning, he asked the question, "If you and dad will go to heaven, who will be with me?" Then he started to cry. I soothed him with my embrace and just told him that we will always be with him (with the hopes that one day he will understand that I meant that in MANY ways).

Days after, he started saying "I want to marry you mum." To which I would reply, "No, I'm your mum. And I'm married to Dad."

When he finally said one day that Daddy should go to heaven on his own, two things finally dawned on me.

First, he understood that death meant the absence of the one who dies.

Second, he understood that marriage meant that husband and wife will always be together.

Taking these two together, he must have thought that marriage also meant that husband and wife will always be together, even after death. Ergo, marriage is the solution for the fear of absence in death.

Such painful things for a young boy to think about. I wish there was any way that I could take away this fear. ...

He gave up the marrying-mummy fixation after some time. I think it finally dawned on him that he also wouldn't want mum and dad to be separated (more on this in another entry).

Last month, while putting him to bed, he asked, "Mum, can I marry one of my cousins?" I said, "No, because your cousins are your family, too. You have to marry someone from a different family. Marriage is about two families becoming one."

Then the worried boy said, "Then how can I know whom I'll marry?"

To that the dad joined in, "I didn't know I was going to marry mum when I was six years old! I met mum when she was eighteen, and I was twenty."

I think that calmed his fears for a while. I think he understood that he will have to wait.

But of course, that doesn't fill up the void created by the fear. And I don't think anything ever will.

Haaay, anak. What can I say to you. The only thing we can ever promise is that through our constant example, we will teach you to live in faith and hope. And amidst all of life's uncertainties, there is one truth that you can hold on to -- mum and dad will always always always love you.

1 comment:

ruthietheotaku said...

heheh he will want to marry a little sister too?!