20 January 2010

Damage and Recovery

I know now why I'm having so much trouble writing of late. Previously, I'd ascribed my angst to my divorce and the ensuing yearlong trauma that process produced. Now I'm not so sure that's the case.

One of the gifts I got for my recent birthday was the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcisisstic Mothers, by Karyl McBride. As part of the recovery process, the author recommends journaling to purge oneself of the anger, betrayal, and sense of loss that comes from being raised by a narcissistic parent. I started my journal yesterday, and made a horrifying discovery.

In addition to repeatedly calling me a difficult child, criticizing my hairstyle at every opportunity (she likes my hair very short, which makes my face look even rounder and fatter), denigrating my taste in clothes and jewelry, and giving away my cherished possessions, I realized while journaling that my mother has never supported my writing aspirations.

After I sold my first book, a feat of which I was enormously proud, my mother said something along these lines: "That's nice, but I always thought you had something literary in you."

In other words, since my book wasn't literary fiction, what I'd accomplished wasn't nearly good enough. To this day, I'm not even sure she's read anything I've written.

Wow. (cue gazillion-watt lightbulb overhead)

For years, I've swum upstream first against my mother's narcissism and my father's catering to her, then against the narcissism of my ex-husband. I've been drowning in it - messages that I don't matter, that I'm not good enough and never will be. No wonder my Inner Critic is so hateful; she's been parroting back messages learned at the hands of these bastards.

Well, I've had it. This is where I stand up and say, "No more!" I'm a worthy person, a good writer, and I cannot, will not allow anyone to tell me I'm not. I realize this will not happen overnight; it will take a while for me to deprogram myself from years of narcissistic abuse. But I am determined, and I will prevail.


Nancy J. Parra said...

You go!! I can say unequivocally that you are a worthy person, a good writer and a great friend. I for one am lucky to know you. so hugs!!!