«The specific role of the father as a transference prototype is not so simple as it seems to many fathers. Father is not merely a toy with whom the child can occasionally play. The child needs to identify with this giant who lives with him and with Mother; he wants to become familiar with the giant, he wants the giant to become part of his world. The child wants more than this—he wants to be gratified by Father so that he can love Father as much as he does Mother.
But the child will transfer some of its love and emotional investment to Father only if it sees something of Mother in him. Father can do the same things Mother does—he can feed the child, can solace him, can take care of him—and thus the child can maintain a feeling of gratitude and affection toward this third person.
This transference of feelings can only take place, however, when the relationship between the parents themselves is tranquil. How can the child identify with and love his parents when they are in constant conflict with each other?
This picture is, of course, something of an oversimplification. There are mothers who behave like cold, distant fathers, and fathers who behave like warm, cuddling mothers. There are grandparents or adoptive parents who can take over. There are many mother or father substitutes. But this is not my point. My point is that in every situation there must be some individual who can become the conditioning prototype for the child’s relationships with new beings.
This first person is most likely to be the father, and it is he who changes the child’s biological dependency into a psychological relationship. When there is no father figure, or if the father is too weak or too busy or is denying and tyrannical toward the child, the result is that the child’s relationship with and dependence on the mother remains strong and lasts too long.
Consequently, the child’s need for social participation and for gregarious ties with others may become to him a consuming need. As an adult he may be willing to join with any social group which promises him support and reassurance. Or his unconscious resentment against the father who did not help him to grow up into an immature adult and become independent may be diverted into a resentment against other symbols of authority, such as society itself. Either way the child may be headed for maladjustment and for difficulties. Either way the child may grow up into an immature adult.
In the building up of man’s awareness of an independent self and the establishment of his ability to have easy, relaxed relationships with his fellow men, the father, as the natural chief and protector of the family, plays an important role. He cuts the cord. He may condition the later pattern of dependence and independence. His potential psychological dominance can become a blessing or a curse, for the child’s emotional attitude toward its father becomes the prototype for its attitudes toward future leaders and toward society itself.»
Utdrag fra: Joost A. M. Meerloo. «The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing».