Families in The Return of the Native can be vicious. No one can hold a grudge quite like a family member and no one an offer up loyalty quite like one either. The family relationship at the heart of this novel is the intense, strained bond between Clym and his mother. Their relationship comes to a breaking point when Clym fails to meet his mother's expectations for him and he marries Eustacia. But the other families here are also far from neat and tidy. Thomasin and Eustacia have very shady backgrounds in terms of their parents, and the families we do see are plagued by distance (emotional and physical) as well as death. It's notable that we hardly see any examples of functioning nuclear families, with both a mom and a dad around. The only really successful parent we see is Thomasin with her daughter, but even that is a case of a broken home since Thomasin's husband nearly abandoned her and then died, leaving her a widow.
Clym has an Oedipus complex; he's a bit too fond of his mother and it borders on being unhealthy.
Clym has a normal relationship with his mother until after her death, at which point he begins to deify her in hindsight.