Most of us are building our life on top of a wounded relationship with mother; the archetype, THE Mother, whether biological or our primary caregiver. Many have lost their good mothers. To understand our self, certainly to step into divine feminine, we must understand our relationship with mother.
If we have an incessant drive to create and achieve, ever present anxiety, feeling lost, a lack of boundaries, if we shun anger or rage in our self and in others, these are visible doorways to mother. We don’t have to be at war with mother to be at the effect of her.
I recently called a therapist to help me, because as I age, my relationship with my mother is beckoning me to make a significant change. As I become more self aware and as I begin to thrive, my relationship with her stands out as failing. I revert in an instant to being an angry teenager, set off in an instant, and it takes enormous energy to call or visit. There is something here for me to learn, that will play out in other areas of my life, of that I am sure, and I do want harmony with my mom. So rather than staying stuck, I called Pauline for a therapy session.
She invited me to consider my reactions today are the same as when I was a child; numbness in my face, the slowing down of my response time, my higher voice, the drop in my stomach, all physical signs of fear and the cortisol wave preparing me for flight or fight. How can discussing the Easter menu, trigger my body into a fight to survive? When we have years of unexpressed feelings it is like a powder keg waiting for a fuse.
Families often have narcissists at the head and the therapeutic profession considers narcissism a form of emotional abuse. They don’t have to be grandiose to be a narcissist. Meredith Kavanagh’s article 7 Characteristics of a Covert Narcissist, introduces a covert narcissist in an easy to read way,
“Covert narcissism is also referred to as closet narcissism, hypersensitive narcissism, and vulnerable narcissism. As these names point out, someone with this version of traits is generally more shy, sensitive, and insecure. But those feelings of insecurity and weakness turn into defensiveness and anger.
Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman explained it to Scientific American:
“While the ‘overt narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention, ‘covert’ narcissists were more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution.””
To reflect, do I have a consummate burden, worry, or goal in life to earn an other’s love or see them be happy? Do I find myself on a one-way street, against my natural state, for the other? Stay, be silent, agree, be small. We learn to do this to stay safe and earn love as children.
When we continue the dance as adults, it fuels the feeling of never enough, or believing we are bad. We take on mother’s judgements and worries as truth; many live with lack – of confidence, of clarity, of self-knowing, of creativity, of joy. We unknowingly embrace her fear, and express it as anxiety, addiction, stress, depression and self-loathing. This unresolved tension between what is not ours and going against our natural essence creates rage; for the unreceived, unreciprocated, unmet love that will never lead to her being happy.
Being happy might not be mother’s goal.
We take on ways of being, as children, to survive in the shadow of a narcissistic parent or caregiver. If we don’t become self aware, we might live as though these childhood defences are who we are. We will feel empty or false, always seeking. We are not our defences. Our essence lives underneath, shining as brightly as the day we were born.
Two questions help begin the process of untangling from a narcissistic parent:
1-what does a realistic relationship look like? (Aka not dreaming the other will change)
2-what boundaries will I want in place?
The answers are for us alone, helping us claim healthy distance for our self and declaring what we value in relationship, rather than tipping into defensiveness. It is really powerful to answer these two questions.
Narcissistic mothers would be horrified to read this post. She would take it as a personal attack from an angry child, because we are angry with her, and we cannot discuss it with her on the one-way street. Practising boundaries and learning who we are inside will set us free to be a healthy adult.
Toko-pa Turner’s beautiful book Belonging is a great read about mother.
We need to talk about mother. Many of us are in a wounded relationship with her. We need support to understand we cannot make others be happy. Living life as a wounded child is not love, it is fear and we deserve more. We deserve to shine our bright, loving light.
I hope by sharing I offer a safe space for you to reflect upon mother. To me, this is a foundation piece before divine feminine can be realized. Mental health professionals are invaluable to get to know our self. And I am here if you would like to connect.