Friday, October 17, 2008

Grow Your Own Mother

I’m reading the book, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” by Karyl McBride, PhD. It is about healing and recovery for daughters of narcissistic mothers. She writes about the wound, the patterns of behavior, the persistent never good enough and invisibility that accrue to women whose mother was somewhere on the continuum from self-absorbed to full-blown narcissist. Part of the recovery that McBride describes is developing an internal mother who is all the things one’s real mother was not able to be.

So today at the beach I began to envision what that mother would be like and I began to borrow parts of other women—and some men—to grow my own mother. To be fair I did include a lot of my real mother and many of her best qualities: passion, curiosity, interest in people, physical energy, humor. But, as I walked the beach, I began to name the others that I’d include in my internal mother. I could add in bits of Georgia O’Keefe, May Sarton, parts of my good friends that I’d want to have as part of the eternal mom-in-me. I also added in my two grandmothers: Josephine and Sophia—who I know of but didn’t really know. But could I pass up a grandmother named Sophia—wisdom—in building an inner mother? And Josephine, a poker player and “reproductive health advocate” (she was the neighborhood abortionist.) As I walked the beach I wrote their names in the sand, physically co-signing the new mother-in-me.

I can feel the new supportive, encouraging, powerful maternal presence growing. I picture it like one of those pills you drop in water to delight a child. After soaking in water they bloom into a seahorse or a dragon. Now soaked in lots of saltwater--ocean and tears—I am growing my own mother.

Thank you Karyl McBride for your great and healing book.

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