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Terrifying Mother vs. Phallic Father

I've suggested that what we need is for people to really engage with DeMause's theories, and note when he says things that seem inconsistent. Perhaps he isn't. Perhaps there is a way in which apparent inconsistencies appear to exist, but which can be revealed as simply part of the complicated way things play out. But nevertheless, I wanted to provide an example of the sort of thing I wish people were taking on... testing, to see if they're sufficiently testing his work while reading him, rather than in a sense falling under his spell.

Here's an explanation for the popularity of Hitler in Emotional Life of Nations, which explains Germania as a merging with the Terrifying Mother, but which emphasizes the merger with Hitler as merging with the protective Phallic Father:

"The ecstatic enthusiasm of the jubilant masses of people who celebrated their Phallic Leader came directly from his promises of a violent Purity Crusade that would end what Hitler called the "poisoning hothouse of sexual conceptions and stimulants
[and the] suffocating perfume of our modern eroticism [which is] the personification of incest" --all three images suggesting flashbacks to the sexually engulfing mommy of the family bed. Even during the Depression, Germans said, "We are
somebody again!" only because of their delusional merger with their Phallic Leader."

Here Hitler is phallic, mostly a Strong Man, and strength comes from merging with Him. His Germania is designed to "ward off engulfment by the Terrifying Mother."

Here's an explanation of what merging with Hitler was like in "Origins of War in Child Abuse":

The notion that Adolf was “overly nursed” and “overindulged” by his mother is without a shred of evidence. Like all war leaders, he was fused with her—claiming “My only bride is my Mutterland”—and he personally acted like a usual
German/Austrian mother while speaking to his audience, screaming and bounding on tables and threatening others with death. One German who knew Hitler said, “Hitler is the most profoundly feminine man he has ever met, and there are moments when he becomes almost effeminate.” His listeners knew him as a perfect representative of their own Killer Mothers, Goebbels saying they “felt like a child in the arms of a mother” with him.

So here Hitler is evidently maternal. And rather than helping Germans avoid feelings of incest, of maternal domination, he reminds them of them constantly, with all his "screaming and bounding on tables." He isn't here the Strong Father, nor the perfect servant to the Mother -- the loyal knight -- but rather Mother Herself.


This is just a quick test of his work I did this morning. But it really pays to do a slow reading of his work, not just to learn, but to test. At the very least things get slippery. If there is actually much interest in deep analysis of his work at this site, maybe I'll supply another example later.

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