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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures after addressing delegates during her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party's congress in Essen, western Germany, on December 6, 2016.

    'Mutti' Complex: Top Psychoanalyst Explains Why Merkel Afloat Against All Odds

    © AFP 2017/ TOBIAS SCHWARZ
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    Most Germans in a way perceive Angela Merkel as the mother of the nation, with the Chancellor herself actively encouraging that image. We subconsciously regard our mothers as inviolable, which is why Merkel fears no serious criticism, psychoanalyst Hans-Joachim Maaz told Sputnik in an interview.

    Maaz, a renowned psychoanalyst and an expert in East German mentality, compares crowds of demonstrators against Chancellor Merkel with angry kids suffering from lack of understanding. Children living in an environment where their problems are not heard or understood may answer with an explosive reaction, he warns. On the other hand, Chancellor Merkel is inviolable as the mother of the nation. «Mutti is the taboo»,- Maaz claims, adding that another — male — Chancellor would by now be driven from office for similar misdoings.

    Mr. Maaz, during her electoral campaign, particularly in East Germany, Chancellor Merkel has faced the voters' negative reaction: she's been booed. However, Merkel generally pays no attention to the protesters; it's like talking to a brick wall. «Mutti» («mother», «mummy» — Angela Merkel's nickname) is bigger than that?

    Therein lies her secret. By answering to these provocations she would afford ground for the attack and would be forced to enter the polemic. But what she does is turn deaf ear under the motto "You, kids, won't understand". But this attitude may result in explosive consequences. What I learnt from developmental psychology is that when children are not listened to and suffer from lack of understanding, they answer with growing aggression. Then they either fall sick or develop behavioral disorders.

    But most people would never dare to confront and boo their "mother".

    Childhood interaction with parents impacts a person's identity. Later on this determinative experience repeats in marriage, in friendship and in relations with people you are not close to. In psychoanalysis there's a term — "transference". A certain behavior is being redirected to Merkel, whom the majority doesn't criticize. Failure to carry out motherly duties is rarely recognized and almost never provides a matter for debate. The mother is a holy cause, she's a taboo topic, she is never criticized. It's understandable from the evolutionary point of view as well: there's logic in a child not talking against his mother, that would put his mere existence under threat.

    So these feelings are generally suppressed. And then a person behaves in a way his mother would approve. First and foremost this transference applies to Merkel. She is never really lashed out at even for her serious political miscounts, starting with her "energy turn" policy (a switch to renewables and other energy sources), followed by attempts to save euro, the Greece story, and finally the migration and sheltering policy catastrophe. They are easy on "Mutti". Maternity welfare applies to her as well. By confronting Merkel one would in a sense confront his own mother. I assert that any other man, any male Federal Chancellor (in this case) would have long been forced to resign.  

    Could it be that because of this «mother syndrome» male Schulz can't stand a chance against Merkel?

    Yes. I felt uncomfortable while watching their televised debates. Someone should have explained to Schultz he would only have a chance if he put off fear of the "Mutti" and attacked momentarily. I could tell he was afraid: «If I attack her right now, I will fray relations with everyone, that won't do». There is a ring of truth about it: we don't attack our mothers. But it's the only possible way. Unfortunately, Schultz never realized it.

    Is this "Mutti" concept being enforced on Merkel or does she herself encourage this perception?

    Both. Merkel acts humbly and almost never shows hysterical or combative behavior — in this fashion she corresponds to how we view the average mother figure. It wouldn't work if she acted more like a tempting, fashionably dressed woman.

    Is pretending as if there was no miscount — as, for instance, during the migration crisis — also Merkel's tactics?

    Yes, «close your eyes and move forward». Many approve of her sitting through her terms like this, without a fight. I feel like Merkel is the opiate of the masses. From her remarks like «It will be done», «There's no alternative» complete with her visibly calm balanced manner people get the impression that everything is not so bad. From my point of view, that explains her boring election campaign. Merkel is been driven to her Federal Chancellor appointment in a sleeping saloon. She doesn't worry about anything — and she should be, for we are facing serious problems.

    But this doesn't sound like democracy, more like autocracy. Only the crown is missing, so to say.

    Of course, the most disappointing about it is that in point of fact the «Mutti's» rule is killing democracy. It is unprecedented for such serious problems as the change in energy policy or, primarily, the migration crisis, to be decided without participation of a parliament. In parliamentary democracy this kind of questions are to be discussed, valuated and decided in the parliament. I believe it is not happening because of the "mother taboo" complex and because politicians themselves fear future developments.

    For now Chancellor Merkel seems to be still unharmed after all her journeys. Do you think she is capable of enduring all of this up until the end and probably even going down in history as a saint?

    I'm afraid she's going to face quite the opposite. What we're going to see up ahead, the crisis of the West is no more manageable, really. There are difficult decisions to be made to prevent the split of the society in poor and rich and also right and left. The chancellor is no good for this.

    Hans-Joachim Maaz
    © Photo: Hans-Joachim Maaz-Stiftung
    Hans-Joachim Maaz
    Dr. Hans-Joachim Maaz was a chief doctor at the Psychotherapeutic and Psychosomatic Clinic at the Evangelical Social Care Centre Halle before his retirement in 2008. He is a best-selling author. In his writings, he dissects the state of affairs in reunited Germany and the influence it has on the state of mind.    

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