Ending the Legacy

If you’ve been following my blog, you recently read my posts about

The Legacy Of Narcissistic Mothering – part I and part II.

As I sat in the car line waiting to pick up my 4 year old from preschool, I was reading from the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karol McBride, Ph.D.

A lot of things really touch my heart, and it’s difficult not to let the tears fall:

However, one can see that, even with education and awareness, adult daughters of narcissistic mothers can unwittingly fall into the legacy of narcissistic mothering.

Self care does not mean becoming self-absorbed

Healthy self-care means finding fulfillment so that you have energy, love, and empathy for others. Finding the middle ground means realizing that it’s not an either-or situation – you are neither full of self nor drained of self.

This is one of the points of contention a friend and I have had. He felt…

Whether or not I should, I will simply state that–to me–narcissism consists of pathological (utter) self-absorption. As I examine my life, views, thoughts, feelings, actions, reactions, etc., I am not exhibiting narcissistic characteristics. That’s all I need to know about it.

For the record, I personally never said or implied that he was.

I started the conversation about my difficulties in my life and in mothering my children. I tend to disagree that narcissism has to be that extreme. I think, when I spend headspace and take time away from my children to focus on myself, I am at risk for narcissistic thinking and behavior. If I am not careful not to spend TOO much time moping about, feeling sad about what I didn’t get as a child, and feeling uncertain and frustrated about my future goals, or if I actually did make up my mind to go after something and said to heck with how it affects my girls, I could unintentionally slip into narcissism.

It’s part of the reason I’ve been dragging my heels on my own development (aside from the fact I have too many interests and not enough motivation to pick just one). There’s not much I can do at the moment that wouldn’t mean drastic changes – like putting my 4 year old and 6 year old into a daycare setting outside of school hours and putting the other one into after-school “babysitting” programs (and I’ve seen first hand how chaotic the one at our school seems because there’s too many kids in it).

I still have parenting duties and I need to provide guidance, empathy and understanding. I still have household duties to attend to. But I’d MUCH rather forgo all that to blog about my feelings/thoughts/interpretations of things.

To me, that’s a bit narcissistic. If this brooding becomes ALL I ever do, or if I indulge in only things I want to do because I “deserve” it, that’s going to be a LOT more narcissistic.

Except…I do feel stuck. I do feel something is unfinished and I do feel I am in need of grieving and moving on.

And healthy self-care…that’s tricky. I feel like I need to do so much more than I have going on to be fulfilled. Or if I do feel moments of fulfillment…they are short lived. And soon I’m back to feeling drained and sad and lost.

My daughter’s selective mutism and associated difficulties with that sure challenged me for about 3 years, but now that it’s come to a comfortable conclusion, it’s “my turn” to figure where to go from here.

Which brings me to another quote from the book

I wish there were a mental health diagnosis for serial grief. I am not mentally ill. Mostly just sad, and grieving the vision of the mother I so desperately wanted.

– Sonny, aged 39

If I could change that quote to make it my own, it would be this:

I wish there were a mental health diagnosis for serial grief. I am not mentally ill. Mostly just sad, and grieving because I feel the constant conflict of wanting to be the mother I want to be and wanting to be once again, the strong, independent career woman I was.

More to come later…

This entry was posted in abuse, highly sensitive mom, introspection, loss of parental love, motherhood, my mothering goals, personal growth, personal issues, perspective. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ending the Legacy

  1. Papa T says:

    Mrs. RSG,

    It could be that your friend was “declaring” rather than “contending” (as in “contention”). [I don’t see anything in the quote that infers any response to an “accusation” of your friend’s being narcissistic, but thanks for the clarification.]

    Perhaps there is some contemporary definition (or, label) that is more “lenient” than the classical view of narcissism. Perhaps this more lenient view encompasses a greater range of behavior than the classical view–which connoted abject self-absorption. Perhaps…

    Your travails are honorable. I trust that you are finding your way with grace and dignity. You have my support and encouragement. My maternal grandmother often spouted her own brand of mountain wisdom. I remember her saying, “Do SOMETHING…even if it’s wrong.” Sometimes we beat ourselves to paralysis–wanting to be SURE that we are “right”–rather than putting a foot forward. Just sayin’…

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    If my friend reads this, I hope he doesn’t take offense. Sometimes I take points out of context, discuss them as I interpret them. If my friend interpreted narcissism in the classical sense, I decided to add address it here on my blog post since others might have that classical view too.

    Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure if further discussion was welcome with my friend. I decided to address it on my blog because I just started to think that maybe I should stop bugging my friend and just address things on my blog instead.

    I know, I have issues I need to deal with. I know I am selfish and don’t want to do the hard work to get through to the other side. I have to though, otherwise I’m just going to do something stupid. I can’t live the way I’ve been living anymore. I’m fighting misery some days and I can’t stand it. Something is definitely not right when I feel like I’m barely hanging on. I just have to find out how to fix it.

  3. Sela says:

    “… I have too many interests and not enough motivation to pick just one”
    That is something similar to what I am feelling at the moment, but you are lucky because as soon as you start to search better it is, for me this feelling started when my older girl became about 10 years old.

    Wow “… and wanting to be once again, the strong, independent career woman I was. ” That is really touching, because before getting married and become a mother I had also a career, I liked my work and today I just can’t believe I left everything behind, even my country. :(( Well sorry if I am not bringing any solution, I just felt very identify with your comments and I had to express my self.
    I hope you find soon the way to your fullfillment and show others how you did it. :))))

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Sela –

    I think it would be very hard to leave behind my country as well as my career. I get very attached to people and places.

    I have a friend who I see once in a while who met her husband when he was in Russia and she married him and followed him to America. She visits home once in a while and she told us of stories of her last visit.

    I wish I could give you a big hug, because that has to be difficult. I wonder where you lived before and where you live now. I wonder if you get homesick a lot.

    I know…when the kids are a little older…I’ll at least be able to go back to school. Right now is so tough because I drive the kids back and forth to school 4 times a day. It’s a little nuts. But it’s only for one more year. Then I they will be all in school for 6 hours, so that if I wanted to take a class, I would be able to have time to.

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