When You And Your mother Can’t Be Friends

Published April 12, 2013 by lorijss

‘When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends: Resolving The Most Complicated Relationship Of Your Life’ by Dr. Victoria Secunda was the book that drastically changed my outlook on life and how I view myself and my mother. A lot of my thoughts and views were reaffirmed and validated by Dr. Victoria Secunda. After reading what I believe to be this great work One of the great misconceptions of life is that by the time we are twenty-one we are ready to take on the world, our dreams in place and leave childhood behind. This is not true for everyone, a lot of us lack some sort of passport to adulthood. I grew up feeling unacceptable to my mother. I was constantly criticized and both psychologically, physically abused as a child. Memories of me and my mother are mostly dark and gloomy ones. So were the brothers that I grew up with.
One effect of this is me not having my own mind and having a mind in relation to my mother. This results in what Dr. Victoria Secunda calls the “false self” personality. This is really your interpretation of what your mother wants of you rather than living according to your own talents, need, likes and dislikes. This taught me that girl I was afraid to reveal who I was, constantly holding back. I was always feeling like I was always forgotten or left behind. This is what I am now learning that that was the false self. According to Dr. Victoria Secunda, “The daughter distorts herself to become pleasing to her mother’s eyes, rather than focusing on what is pleasing to herself. She reshapes her innate qualities, talents, instincts, and insights to fit into her mother’s view of her. The child becomes uncomfortable in her own skin.”I have always felt uncomfortable in my own skin in all stages of my school life. In elementary school in Jamaica, going to middle school in New York City and going to high school in Jamaica. I have moved around a lot due to my mother’s decisions. Especially during the teenage years I found myself and my own being suppressed at school. I didn’t express myself much, I had one to no friends and spent a lot of time alone. The one that’s always sitting alone at the lunch table was me. I had difficulties trusting people, subconsciously fearing that I would get hurt. The same way I naturally trusted my mother. This was because she is my mother but kept getting emotionally and physically bruised. Thankfully I had a father and if it wasn’t for him my mother would have been in jail and me, who knows?.
I knew that I loved writing but I also loved music. I think I was born with a trait for singing. But this was reshaped in a way where due to the false self; no one would have ever guessed that. I never thought of myself as being able to make a living off of writing and music. My mother did not nurture me or any of my talents. I grew up with someone who didn’t care about my career or my future and acted that way in addition to telling me that. I grew up with a mother that had no dreams for her offsprings. According to Dr. Victoria Secunda, “That’s what kids do. They walk around in distorted positions trying to make their parents right.” A person’s real self is living according to their own wants, needs, talents, dreams and aspirations. I’ve learnt that children are the next line of offense when mothers had not resolved their relationships with their parents. I’ve learnt that my mother has unfinished business with her own parents and have let that leaked over in her own family. Perhaps she decided to start a family to run away from unfinished business with her parents and the family that she grew up with. The false self is fluid adapting throughout your life. Not everyone entirely releases the false self, most remain a variation or their childhood role. Once I started to see how my childhood coping skills show up in my adult life, I see how I can let them go and that this is a process. I started to become kind to the child in me so that she could grow up. According to the interviews that Ms. Secunda conducted she concluded that for some daughters that understanding can pave the way for a renewed relationship with their mothers. However, for other daughters that have been brutalized psychologically or physically it may enable them to reach a separate peace and this is where I am at, at this moment. Despite how much I have been battered and all the psychological abuse I endured from my own mother; I am arriving at a separate peace in accordance to her. Dr. Secunda also addresses the temperaments of daughters who have been brought up with mothers like these. Some of these daughters are very creative, “cocooning themselves within their imaginations, reading vivaciously, and writing stories that make some kind of logic out of the turmoil…” I think that I was this type of child. I’ve always immersed myself into writing stories, poetry and also writing in my journals. These were healthy constructive ways of letting out the anger, and sadness. I have always immersed myself in a lot of reading from sociology, to history, to fiction and non-fiction. You name it I have read it. I also immersed myself in to music and writing songs. I got pass the blame to let go off the false self and emerge a new me, destined to be more than what I ever thought I could be. I don’t have to be a constellation or collection of re-actions to the way that I was treated by my mother. She goes on to state that “the pain of not having a mother emotionally available for so many years will stay with the daughter forever.” The goal is to learn to be a part of the world allowing myself to risk joy, pain and love in my attachments. Also I now see myself as a separate individual from my mother with my own beliefs strengths and weakness. I have started to recognize the healthy and altogether human desire for loving connections while simultaneously being a separate individual. I realize now what I have to do, to share my talents with the world. Education is the key to going after my dreams and playing my part in making the world a better place.


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