There are few, if any, natural forces among mammalian life on earth than the bond between a mother and child. When this bond is broken it is almost always a result of an intervening and unnatural dynamic. In the case of toxic divorces and potential Parental Alienation, Family Court judges and Mental Health Professionals should interpret a broken bond between mother and child as a red flag that a disordered narcissist might be pulling apart a family and victimizing both the mother and child. Yet, over and over and over again we hear and read how this glaring phenomenon is missed by those people mandated to protect children. These “professionals” should all be familiar with the research conducted in the 1950s by American psychologist, Harry Harlow.
Harlow separated infant rhesus monkeys from their mothers several hours after birth. The monkeys were isolated inside cages, and then raised by dummy mothers. In each cage, Harlow place two dummy mothers. One was made of metal wires, and was fitted with a milk bottle from which the infant monkey could suck. The other was made of wood covered with cloth, which made it resemble a real monkey mother, but it provided the infant monkey with no material sustenance whatsoever. It was hypothesized that the infants would cling to the nourishing metal mother rather than to the baron cloth one. To Harlow’s surprise, the infant monkeys showed a significant preference for the cloth mother, spending most of the time with her. When the two mothers were placed in close proximity, the infants held on to the cloth mother even while they reached over to suck milk from the metal mother. Harlow suspected that perhaps the infants did so because they were cold. So, he fitted an electric bulb inside the wire mother, which now radiated heat. Most of the monkeys continued to prefer the cloth mother.
Follow-up research showed that Harlow’s orphaned monkeys grew up to be emotionally disturbed even though they had received all the nourishment they required. They never fitted into monkey society, had difficulties communicating with other monkeys, and suffered from high levels of anxiety and aggression. The conclusion was inescapable: monkeys must have psychological needs and desires that go beyond their material requirements, and if these are not fulfilled, they will suffer greatly. Harlow’s infant monkeys preferred to spend their time in the hands of the barren cloth mother because they were looking for an emotional bond and not only for milk. In the following decades, numerous studies showed that this conclusion applies not only to monkeys, but to other mammals, as well as birds. (Thanks to Harari, Yuval Noah. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind )
Research has shown that human children deprived of the bonding relationship with their mothers suffer the same long-term consequences and experience extremely difficult, emotionally disturbed adult lives. Why are the courts so blind? Children need both parents so long as both parents desire a relationship with their child.
“Tears In The Rain” describes the mother-child bond and how it can be broken through the manipulation of a narcissistic father seeking revenge against the mother but ultimately punishing the child.
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