When in the first session I hear a client say she feels unlovable, empty, never really good enough, and is lacking in self-confidence, I begin to wonder about her relationship with her mother.
As a mother of three children myself, I know that it is unreasonable to believe that a mother must be perfect all the time. We just have to be good enough. We will make mistakes. Some women though grew up in homes where nothing was EVER good enough for their mothers.
- Did you grow up with a mother who was overly concerned about what others thought of her?
- Was she only invested in your triumphs when they reflected on her as a good mother?
- Did your mother go from a depressed mood to being egoistical?
- Is it difficult – even now- to tell her no?
- Did you find yourself making decisions as a child and later as an adult, based on what SHE wanted and not you?
- Did your mother compete with you?
- Did you feel as though you needed to take care of her emotional needs growing up?
- Do you find yourself having this same relationship with your own children?
I work with many women who are exploring and healing their past and present relationships with their mothers. The description above details some characteristics of what is called a Narcissistic Personality. I help such daughters with my extended training and being a paneled therapist with Dr. Karyl McBride, author of ”Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers”.
Dr.McBride describes in her book ways to heal the ”unmothered child.” This process allows you the choice to change your present day relationships and to stop the narcissism from continuing in you.
To recover, McBride believes, is to accept your mother’s limitations, reframe some of your mother’s negative messages, and begin having a relationship in a healthier way- on your terms, as your new self (McBride, 2008). It can be a difficult process, but with great possibilities.
Are you ready to begin?