He's Looking for Mom, She's Looking for Dad, Or, Oedipus and Electra: Can you help this couple?

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Title: He's Looking for Mom, She's Looking for Dad, Or, Oedipus and Electra: Can you help this couple?
Creator: Fialka
Date(s): August, 2001
Medium: online
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links: Who Owns Scully? - Fialka, Archived version
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He's Looking for Mom, She's Looking for Dad, Or, Oedipus and Electra: Can you help this couple? is by Fialka.

It was part of a series. The author comments that: "Many of these essays first appeared as discussions on OBSSE, Scullyfic and/or ATXA." The essay was first posted to The Annotated X-Files Study Guide and is at Fialka's Candybox.

Later, it was reposted:
Sadly, when the old NBCI server went the way of so many really cool, free things on the net, I never could find another free site with enough space to house the whole Study Guide, and it didn't get enough traffic to warrant paying for 250mb on a server somewhere. Not to mention, I no longer have as much time on my hands as I did back then, so like the UFOs...well, it is another UFO. Some of it still appears to be here, if you can wade your way through all the advertising on FortuneCity. I sure won't be insulted if you don't. These essays are from the original site, and appear here unchanged. Unlinked titles got abducted by aliens somewhere along the way. If you find them wandering dazed by the side of the road, could you be so kind as to send them home?


Having written about the sibling elements in Mulder and Scully's relationship, it seems time to look at what elements of their parents theymight have recreated in each other. On the surface, the Scully/Mulder families are a juxtaposition of light and dark, of warmth and cool distance. And yet, they've turned out two very similar individuals, both wary loners, both people who do not know how to speak their hearts. Even a casual look beneath the surface reveals a Margaret Scully who stands proud and strong even at her husband's funeral, who does not allow herself to cry even when comforting her distraught, dying daughter. Scully's reticence is not a product of her military childhood. It's a direct inheritance from her mother.
Frankly, I don't think that family was ever anything like okay, though I don't subscribe to the Mulder was a severely battered child theory either. He was a sensitive kid and something terrible happened and he's spent 25 years blaming himself and trying to put it right. And that's really enough to explain his basic psychology, just as Scully's basic psychology can be explained as the need to gain her father's approval, to make him as proud of her as he was of her brothers.
Personally, I've always thought Bill was Dad's favourite, and that's partly why he turned out so much like him. From what we know of Bill, Melissa and Dana there seemed to be a lot of competition for that man's attention - Bill got his approval, Melissa gave up, but Scully was thirty years old when he died, and she still wasn't certain of her place in his heart. That doesn't sound to me like the favoured child. That sounds like someone who never got enough of her father's love, or felt it was so attached to her behaviour that she never believed her father really loved *her*, Dana, with all her faults and weaknesses. Which would go a long way towards explaining her need to make herself into the perfect soldier, which she is. And I could say that she's translated that onto Mulder in a sense - that she feels his love and approval are based on her being smart and strong and courageous and honourable and that has a lot to do with the continuance of Scully's 'I'm Fine' syndrome. She's afraid that if she lets him see how vulnerable she is at times she'll lose that 'love,' but real love requires that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to our partners, that we allow them to see us completely unmasked. I think that would be difficult enough for Scully with any man, but add the professional relationship on top of that and you jack up the stakes to near impossible. That's the one place her self-esteem is exceedingly fragile and Mulder has time and again proved himself careless. And at the bottom line, he is first and foremost her colleague, not her "best friend." Funny, I can't swallow S/Sk fic, yet I can see this as a way they'd be better matched -- neither of them would demand openness from the other, neither would cross the boundary into each other's private territory. Mulder does, always has, and as her lover he'd be certain to expect that she be more open, would share more of her private self with him. And I think it wouldn't be too pleasant when it turns out that she won't. Or can't.