25 of the most toxic relationships on TV

14 of 25

Photo: A&E

Norma and Norman

There’s no outright confession of a romantic relationship between these two, but the implication is there and impossible to ignore. Norman Bates isn’t really the picture of mental health, but even he’s taking his crazy to new heights when he, at first, becomes possessive and jealous of his mother, and then just goes ahead and assumes her identity.

Even before Norman went straight off the rails, fully living inside his delusion, the mother/son relationship always bordered on abnormal, if not completely creepy. They slept in the same bed, slow danced, and acted jealous when either of them dated.

It was never traditional, but by the same token, there was never anything blatantly wrong about it. That’s what was so insidious about it (at first). You couldn’t really tell if Norman was just an extreme mama’s boy, if Norma was just the ultimate helicopter mom, or if they were playing out some sick romantic scenario. Things became pretty clear once Norman starting assuming his mother’s identity during a series of ominous blackouts. Everybody understood what a whacko he was, without question.

Mother/child dynamics are fraught with compliated politics, and we’ve all experienced a meddling parent in some way or another. But when your life becomes completely enmeshed in your mothers, and then you start killing folks while you pretend to be her, things have definitely gone off the deep end.