Happiness Is…….

As winter approaches this fall…..I am reminded of the psychiatrist Milton Erickson who when confronted in therapy by a depressed and anxious little senior lady……asked her what made her happy. She replied that she loved growing African violets. He asked her if she would be willing to grow and give a violet to anyone in her church she thought might need it. She said she would do that. And he happily lost a patient. A great reminder that helping others …..doing whatever fits with your values and joy…..lifts us all to a higher ❤️….

by Andrea Avari Stevens

Narcissistic Mothers: the long term effects on their daughters by Peg Streep

Growing up in a household with a mother who belittled and gaslighted me, my goal was simply to escape. She wasn’t a narcissist but she was combative, jealous, angry, and mean. Hidden deep in my closet where no one could see it, I had a piece of oak tag with the number of days left until I would go off to college, and I recall that the number was something like 1000. My assumption was that the real problem was that I was living under her roof and like any other princess trapped in a tower, it was just a matter of making my getaway.

I could not have been more wrong but it turns out I was hardly alone. This is a very common misunderstanding among daughters whose emotional needs weren’t met in childhood. We fail to account for the unseen baggage we have in tow as we head toward the door, as I can personally attest.

As I explain in my book, Daughter Detox: Recovering from an Unloving Mother and Reclaiming Your Life, while there are commonalities among daughters who received insufficient love, validation, and attunement growing up, there are also some significant differences. Some of these differences can be traced back to the mother’s patterns of behavior.

In my work, I identify eight toxic maternal behaviors which are dismissive, controlling, emotionally unavailable, unreliable, self-involved or high in narcissistic traits, combative, enmeshed, and role-reversed. These behaviors are meant as tools for understanding the effect certain maternal behaviors have on a daughter’s development; they are relatively permeable and a mother may display a number of these behaviors either at once or over time. For example, a dismissive mother may also be emotionally unavailable or a controlling mother may become more combative as her daughter gets older and resists the mother’s domination. A mother high in narcissistic traits may be both controlling and emotionally unavailable.

Each of these behaviors requires a daughter to adapt and deal; the self-involved mother or one high in narcissistic traits shapes a daughter’s development in some very specific ways.

Understanding the long reach of childhood experiences

While we may consciously recognize the lack of love and our own unhappiness in our family of origin, we’re unlikely to be able to see the ways we learned to cope and manage as a result. It’s much more likely that we see our adult behaviors as a reflection of our innate personalities than to see various traits as learned responses to a trying environment, But many of your ways of acting and reacting—it might be your fear of being rejected, the way you find it hard to speak your mind, your panic when attention is turned on you , the difficulty you have trusting people, how you always blame yourself when things go wrong—are, in fact, traceable to those childhood experiences.

The single largest effect on any daughter is her insecure style of attachment which reflects both her deficits in managing emotion and her unconscious models of how people behave in relationships; having a mother high in narcissist traits can result in any of the three insecure styles which are anxious-preoccupied, fearful-avoidant, and dismissive-avoidant.

Being raised by a mother high in narcissistic traits leaves a lasting influence on a daughter. If she is one of her mother’s favorites, she will nonetheless lack true self-esteem since her mother only sees a projection of her own wants and needs, not a person in her own right; lacking true self-worth, she may ape her mother’s behaviors, feeling that it’s the best way to get along in the world and the best way to hide her own woundedness. The sensitive daughter or the one who’s become the mother’s scapegoat may be so afraid of becoming a narcissist that she dodges the limelight and hides in the shadows, rendering herself voiceless. This is what Dr. Craig Malkin in his book, Rethinking Narcissism, calls an echoist. If you think of narcissism as a spectrum with healthy self-regard in the middle, the ends are occupied by the echoist, who lacks self-regard, and the narcissist, who uses exaggerated self-regard as armor.

5 things the narcissistic mother teaches her daughter about life

  • you are valued for how you are perceived, not who you are

The mother high in narcissistic traits sees her children as nothing more than extensions of herself and she is highly invested in having them reflect well on her. She cares enormously about appearances and very little about how her children achieve as long as they do. The child who doesn’t go along with the program will be scapegoated and ostracized.

  • love is conditional and can be taken away

What passes for love in the narcissistic mother’s domain is praise and attention, and both are dependent on the child’s continuing to reflect well on her, even in adulthood. Because this mother sees love as earned, she feels perfectly comfortable withdrawing it if a child disappoints her. Of course, the daughter grows up believing the love is nothing more than a transaction which requires quid pro quos and, additionally, forces you to always watch your back.

  • to belong, you must abide by the rules

Because the narcissistic mother requires that her children present themselves as she dictates, failure isn’t acceptable. Many daughters understandably become enormously fearful of failing and, as a result, aren’t likely to take on challenges; they aim low and safe. Others, intent on garnering their mothers’ praise, aim high and sometimes achieve but don’t really credit themselves for what they’ve earned or take ownership of it; outwardly successful, they feel like imposters or frauds.

  • there are always insiders and outsiders

The world the child sees is filtered by her mother’s take on it; there are winners and losers, people inside her mother’s special orbit and those outside of it who have no status and standing.  The mother high in narcissistic traits plays favorites setting one child against another, watching as each jockeys for attention. Not surprisingly, the daughter grows up believing that this is how the larger world works and that all relationships follow the same patterns.  She thinks you’re either chosen to be on the team, beginning with Team Mom, or doomed to be left out.

  • that verbal abuse is to be expected and manipulation the norm

All children assume that what goes on at their house goes on everywhere, and the daughter of a narcissistic mother is no different; she will usually normalize not just the games her mother plays—pitting one child against another, calling out the scapegoat, designating winners and losers—but how she’s spoken to. Name calling, mocking, and gaslighting are usually part of this mother’s repertoire—it’s how she keeps her kids in line—and the daughter comes of age unable to recognize verbal abuse. This sets her up for normalizing these toxic behaviors in other relationships in her life, both in young and later adulthood. It’s not unusual for a daughter marginalized by a mother high in narcissistic traits to end up with a lover or spouse who treats her the same way.

Until these lessons are exposed for the untruths they are, they will continue to shape both a daughter’s expectations and behaviors. Working with a gifted therapist is the fastest route to unlearning, along with focus and self-help.

Photograph by Alexandre Chambon. Copyright free. Unsplash.com

Malkin, Craig. Rethinking Narcissism: The Secret to Recognizing and Coping with Narcissists. New York: Harper Perennial, 2016.1.3K48

Peg Streep

Peg Streep’s new book, DAUGHTER DETOX: RECOVERING FROM AN UNLOVING MOTHER AND RECLAIMING YOUR LIFE, can be purchased at Amazon. com. The author or co-author of twelve books, she also wrote MEAN MOTHERS: OVERCOMING THE LEGACY OF HURT (William Morrow). She lives in New York City. You can visit her on Facebook or at www.pegstreep.com. All posts are copyrighted by Peg Streep. You are more than welcome to share the link but do not copy and paste the text and post elsewhere.

The Second Coming is not……by Caroline de Lisser

The second coming is not Jesus descending from the clouds, it is the rise of the divine feminine so that the marriage of the masculine and feminine as a spiritual integration on equal terms in the hearts of humanity can occur on earth. Only then can humanity attain balance within themselves, with each other and with Mother Earth. We are witnessing that struggle right now on an external level as we watch women struggle for their rights, people rising up and demanding that we place our attention on bringing to a halt our destruction of the eco system due to greed and the power hungry patriarchy. We are also witnessing the patriarchy being expressed as an archetype in political figures such as Trump. He’s playing his role in this drama so that those who have an opened heart chakra and the eyes to see the truth can rise up in numbers and take a stand in the name of love, unity and respect for all living beings. We are at a crossroad struggling to move out of the dark ages of the Kali Yuga into the Aquarian Age of Enlightenment. We are privileged to be here and those that understand this have a responsibility to vision in the change that needs to happen. Stop focusing on the fear and focus on bringing in light to all the darkness out there. Caroline de Lisser ❤️

Who am I? by Eckhart Tolle

When you look at a tree, you are aware of the tree. When you have a thought or feeling, you are aware of that thought or feeling. When you have a pleasurable or painful experience, you are aware of that experience. These seem to be true and obvious statements.

Yet if you look at them very closely, you will find that in a subtle way their very structure contains a fundamental illusion, an illusion which is unavoidable when you use language. Thought and language create an apparent duality and a separate person where there is none.

The truth is you are not somebody who is aware of the tree, the thought, feeling or experience. You are the awareness or consciousness in and by which those things appear. As you go about your life, can you be aware of yourself as the awareness in which the entire content of your life unfolds?

You say, “I want to know myself.” You are the I. You are the knowing. You are the consciousness through which everything is known and that cannot know itself. It is itself. There is nothing to know beyond that. And yet all knowing arises out of it. The “I” cannot make itself into an object of knowledge, of consciousness.

So you cannot become an object to yourself. That is the very reason the illusion of egoic identity arose because mentally you made yourself into an object. “That’s me,” you say, and then you begin to have a relationship with yourself and tell others and yourself your story.

By knowing yourself as the awareness in which phenomenal existence happens, you become free of dependency on phenomena and free of self-seeking in situations, places, and conditions. In other words, what happens or doesn’t happen is not that important anymore. Things lose their heaviness, their seriousness. A playfulness comes into your life. You recognize this world as a cosmic dance, the dance of form. No more and no less.

When you know who you truly are, there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is, vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on a form. That is the joy of being, of being who you truly are.

Thinking Clearly by Byron Katie

“Once you can think clearly, without the stress of your painful thoughts, the whole world, in all of its unlimited abundance and glory, will open up for you. A fearful mind is limited; it can see only a very few options. A clear mind can see many more options—unlimited options. It can act efficiently, effortlessly, intelligently, in the present moment, and not be stuck in its deadly stories of past and future.”

~ Byron Katie

Awakening by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Awakening can happen only when there is the utter conviction, through intuitive apperception, that we are the subjective dreamer and not the dreamed objects which disappear with the end of the dream. ~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Every Moment is the Guru by Charlotte Joko Beck


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