TV SERIES 'THE FAMILY' AND NARCISSISTIC MOTHER-SON RELATIONSHIP

From the first moment of birth, a very strong and special bond is formed between the mother and the baby. This bond, which manifests itself with the mother's mental state, health, character, behaviors and emotions, has an important role in our early life, development, childhood and even adulthood. Hülya Soykan is a narcissist and an addicted mother to her son Aslan Soykan. In this article, we will observe the unhealthy and manipulative mother-son relationship in this series and how this relationship has had an impact on Aslan Soykan's life.

May 8, 2023 - 15:19
May 9, 2023 - 16:09
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TV SERIES 'THE FAMILY' AND NARCISSISTIC MOTHER-SON RELATIONSHIP
TV SERIES 'THE FAMILY' AND NARCISSISTIC MOTHER-SON RELATIONSHIP

The Soykan family is one of the most famous media and mafia families in Turkey. With his father's suicide, Aslan Soykan became the leader of his family. While trying to cope with family traumas, he also struggles to leave the dark jobs that his father is the leader of. Aslan Soykan's life completely changed when his paths crossed with Devin Akın. This couple, who are in love with each other, try to overcome a strong obstacle like Hülya Soykan in order to be together. The mother Hülya Soykan, who had previously driven the women in Aslan's life away from Aslan by trapping and manipulating them, realizes that Devin is not like the others, but a strong rival to her, and tries to separate them by increasing these manipulations.

Why would a mother want to spoil that happiness when her son has fallen in love with a woman and is in a happy relationship? In this series, the answer to this question is the dependent and narcissistic relationship between mother and son, which has been going on since their early life. What does dependent and narcissistic relationship mean?

The bond between a mother and her child is an important thing that affects the whole life of the child, but this bond and being dependent are not the same thing. The dependent relationship brings with it various manipulations. Unlike a healthy mother-son relationship, the mother acts with the thought that she cannot live without her son. A mother being narcissistic has similar consequences, including addiction. The mother sees her child as an extension of herself. They refuse to see him as an independent individual and constantly want to control him. A narcissistic mother constantly uses her son to meet her unrealistic needs and imposes on her that it is her duty to meet those needs. Even the mother sees her son as a substitute husband. This situation becomes more evident as Hülya Soykan's husband dies in the TV series "Family". After his father's death, Aslan is the person who carries on the business, looks after his family, protects and fulfills the wishes of his mother, which puts him in the position of the father of the family.

Another characteristic of a narcissistic mother is that she sees herself, her son, and her family as superior to everyone else. In the series, the Soykan family is a really strong and famous family, but besides this, Hülya Soykan's superior effort to protect this strong image of her family, her obsession with control and her extreme concern that this power will decrease when a mistake is heard is evident. To the people in the community, she enthusiastically praises Aslan, with whom she has a dependent relationship, himself and the powerful family she thinks she has created. But on the other hand, she never talks about her other son, Cihan Soykan, whom she excludes from the family, because Cihan has made a mistake that will shake this power.

This euphoric state of praise cannot last forever because Aslan, whom she had been controlling since his early days, is now a grown man. He is too old to meet his unrealistic expectations under all circumstances and has begun to question authority. In this case, the mother may begin to have some discourses that will strengthen the dependency between her and her son.

“You are my most valuable asset. I wouldn't do anything to hurt you, I'm thinking of you."

“Only your mother can truly love you in this world.”

“That girl is not for you, not for our family. Your relationship won't last long anyway."

We often witness such statements in the series. Mother Hülya Soykan often refers to these discourses especially for Devin because Devin is the biggest threat between herself and her son.

A narcissistic mother may use various manipulations when her son exhibits an act that harms their relationship. Being offended, ignoring her son or acting coldly is one of these manipulations. In the series, Hülya Soykan uses this manipulation for the first time when she learns that Aslan does not come to dinner and spends time with Devin. Later, we see again that his mother was cold to Aslan after their arguments about Devin. Of course, for Aslan, who grew up with an addicted and narcissistic mother, this situation is too distressing to ignore. Even if he is right in their argument, he is the one who apologizes to his mother and tries to please her. Hülya Soykan realizes her power of control and takes pleasure in this situation.

A narcissistic mother will do anything to control and depend on her son for the rest of her life. This includes lying. She may ignore her son's beautiful and strong feeling of love and his need for love from someone outside of his family. An example of this is when Hülya Soykan tells Devin that she should be careful while having a relationship with Aslan, and that she is afraid that Aslan will leave Devin alone like the other women in her life, and then tells Aslan that Devin is rude and her family is bad. A narcissistic parent can lie and manipulate not only their spouses but also their family members. Like Hülya Soykan's manipulation of Cihan to keep Aslan and his brother Cihan at odds.

Having a narcissistic mother can cause some problems in adult life. The child, who grows up with a mother who responds with anger when he cannot meet her unrealistic needs, can maintain the behavior model in his adult life that he should keep his mother's needs above himself and that he should take care of his mother first. When a woman enters his life, staying between his mother and his lover creates a feeling of guilt in him. As soon as the mother realizes that a woman has entered his life, so that her son's devotion to her does not decrease, she resorts to various manipulations and prevents another woman from entering her son's life. For example, Hülya Soykan had caused a car accident with a woman who was in love with Aslan to remove her from their lives, or she had made various plans so that Aslan and Devin would not live in a separate house. Someone with such a mother has difficulty forming close relationships. In the ‘Family’, Aslan Soykan never had a serious relationship before Devin. A child who grows up with a narcissistic and dependent mother is likely to form a narcissistic and dependent relationship with a woman who resembles his mother as an adult. The existence of similarities between Devin and Hülya Soykan in the ‘Family’ was also on the agenda. Also, someone with a narcissistic mother may be someone who has impulsive and extreme reactions in adulthood and has difficulty coping with their emotions, such as when Aslan beat his sister’s husband to death in front of  Devin and his friends because he sees him cheating.

I would like to end with a speech given to Hülya Soykan by Devin, who is a psychologist in the series and is aware of this toxic relationship between Aslan and his mother.

“Due to my profession, I sometimes come across such things that you wouldn't believe. Those who worship their son, those who scrutinize all the women who come into their son's life, those who cannot even sleep at night because they will steal their son from him... we live in a country full of unhealthy mother-son relationships. After all, the strongest reason underlying this pervasive, rotten male-dominated head, crime, violence against women, and all kinds of perversions is the sons raised by mothers with this mentality.”

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Aleyna Uçar İsmim Aleyna Uçar. Çağ Üniversitesi Psikoloji bölümünden bölüm 3.’sü olarak dereceyle mezun oldum. Bu süreç içerisinde Aile ve Sosyal Hizmetler Bakanlığında Stajyer Psikolog olarak görev yapmış ve çeşitli gönüllülük projelerinde yer almış bulunmaktayım. Şu anda terapi eğitimlerimi alma sürecindeyim, aynı zamanda Sayedra Psikoloji’nin yönetim kurulunda yer almakta ve editörlük görevimi sürdürmekteyim. Okumanın, araştırmanın ve öğrenmenin sınırlarının olmadığı mesleğimde etik değerlerine bağlı, üretken bir Psikolog olmak en önemli önceliğimdir.