Sensitive Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

This week I had a client who asked me whether it was possible to meet people in our lives who seem ‘great’ at first sight but who turn into the most toxic creatures we ever met after a short while. I spontaneously smiled and felt compassion – I not only knew it was possible as I also had had countless relationships based on that type of human interaction. 

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Going Off The Wagon: Whose Fault Was It? Rethinking Motherhood.

I love my mom and my dad. I think no matter what they have done or didn’t do will never stop me from caring and tolerating them. I have to myself that they did the best they could and both of them had little to work with when I was born. I keep that in mind and therefore I guess I never truly judged or blamed them for anything.

I do know, however, that they were negligent. Being massively trained in Psychology it is impossible for me not to state it or hide it. Their parenting style consisted in giving me food to make me content – and even though they are not aware of it they also hoped that food would fix any of my emotions or mood, because they didn’t know how to deal with them. That’s how they loved and comforted me, they gave me a lot of food, because they couldn’t give me what they didn’t have.

Later on, their parenting style led me to a diagnosis of morbid obesity at the age of 15. My doctor scared me and she made sure I understood that I could die at the age of 30, if I didn’t change. I got really scared. Then the fear got mixed with anger and I began to workout and eat well everyday. My parents didn’t really believe I would make it and since then people’s uncertainty became one of my biggest driving force, which is not entirely healthy, but I will leave that for another time.

I managed to take off 50Kg (110 pounds) from my body between the age of 15 and 17. However, I didn’t manage to take off the anger, the frustration, and the anxiety of not knowing how to deal with my emotions and life decisions. I never really recovered from my eating disorder, because food was the only solution I was ever taught as a child. I didn’t learn any life skills and my parents were never able to offer me life advice. That always hurt me and I don’t think my parents will ever understand that what I needed, and still need, is someone to put their hands over my heart and say that it is ok, that I am ok.

I will turn 30 next Spring and I think I reached far by myself, even without my parents’ guidance. Luckily, or not, I grew up sensitive, instead of numb, but the program I have had inside for years is one that reproduces my parents’ neglect: I’m great at giving to others, but I still have a lot of work to do in matters of giving to myself and passively receiving from others. I’m better now at receiving compliments and I’ve been doing an incredible progress at keeping away from people who have narcissist tendencies and who replicate, somehow, the dynamic I was exposed to during childhood.

This past week I had a relapse though, and the trigger was the fact that my mother did not call me as she said she would. She actually seldom calls; she might have called 3 times maximum over the past 3 years that I have been living abroad.  I have already discussed that with her and I know she has her own version why she doesn’t call. I already told her, or at least I think I have, how the lack of spontaneous contact through a call makes me feel. However, she didn’t call as she said she would. She called one week later and I didn’t get it because I was taking a nap.

I didn’t proceed as I used to: I would call her back immediately. Instead, I waited for her to try again. It has been 4 days ever since and there hasn’t been no call or text. As a grown up maybe I shouldn’t be bothered, but the truth is that I went off the wagon. I turned to food again. In fact, I must have spent at least a week only eating fast food and indulging in ice-cream and biscuits late at night. I cried. I ate some more. I checked my inbox. I ate some more.

Again, I love my mom and dad. However… I really think it is time for me to stop waiting to receive the kind of love I thought I should have received from them. I think it is time to realise that they are who they are and I am who I am. It does indeed hurt. It is probably one of the most painful lessons, because all the other lessons regarding failed and abusive relationships… they all derived from this wound which food can’t heal. I think I’m consciously stepping out today as the loving and caring mother of myself. That includes guiding myself with love and compassion… it implies reassuring myself that I am ok and things can now start to settle down.

My heart is expanding, my womb is turning alive, and my eyes are watery. I feel that I’m tearing down the shield I had built around me, which blocked me from creating and using my own female energy. Maybe that’s part of motherhood, maybe motherhood is not just to make sure that your child is fed and quiet. I’m sure that motherhood is also about nurturing, creating, and supporting your own energy as a human being, so that you can then become an adult who is ok with just being and who knows for sure that everything is meant to flow compassionately, despite life’s ups and downs.

Edit: My mom gave me a call at the end of the day 🙂

How To Reconnect With Your Life Purpose

If you are already in my e-mail list, you may know by now that I have been through a great process of change and heading to different decisions in life. I am writing a new book at the moment, in which I share my story around burnout and how these last three years made me realise that it’s about time for me to spread my wings and fly towards happiness. I mean true happiness. So I am truly committed to change the direction of my career and leave academia for a while to pursue something that feeds my soul in a deeper way.

And one of the things that helped me to embark on this journey of reconnection with what many call “life purpose” was to go back in time, literally; I asked myself what were my dreams when I was a kid and I let myself be immersed in memories of my childhood. I went back as further as the age 5 or 6, an age in which I would tell people that I wanted to be a teacher.

At the age of 14, I then had the wish of becoming a journalist who is always travelling and reporting from remote places around the world. At the age 17, I wanted to become a nutritionist. At the age of 25, I became someone who had a master’s degree in Psychology but who couldn’t really be a psychologist. And at the age of 29, I am now a professional coach, who is focused on working side by side with inspiring people and help them open even more roads, doors or even windows so they can shine even brighter.

When I look at life through the eyes of the 5 year old child that is inside me, I know what my life purpose is

Looking back, I just have to say that life happens and what goes around comes around. I didn’t trained to be a teacher, but I became one. I didn’t trained to be a journalist, but I keep writing and extending my soul through my fingers. I spent three years depressed for being able to enrol in a nutrition course, but I have now three degrees in Psychology and I know more about how food impacts our minds, souls and bodies than many nutrition students that I have met in this journey. I am not also legally qualified to be a psychologist, because I refuse to be part of an organisation which makes me trade money for acting within my own profession, but I studied social norms and groups so much that I am comfortable to step aside from all the status and prestige that one can have from being a Doctor.

And when I look at life through the eyes of the 5 year old child that is inside me, I know what my life purpose is. My life purpose is not being a doctor, a psychologist, or a nutritionist. When I look back to all the dreams I had, they were all about improving myself and helping others change towards their best selves. So when I am 5 years old again, I’m in that exact moment in time that separates me from living a sad life or live the life that I came to live.

And how did I arrive into this moment? I travelled in time and I recalled every dream that I forced myself to let go because there were always far more people to stop me than to encourage me. I grew up, I screwed up, I got lost, but I have never stopped being to others the type of person that I needed when I was just 5 years old. Today I am not just being that person to others. I am being who I am at my very best for myself and that’s why I am sailing away and embracing the beautiful unknown gift of life. Once more.