Today’s post is the third in the new series on ‘Good Enough’. I read it in one breath and I couldn’t wait to share it. It explains beautifully why we need to feel loved by our mothers; and if not, what a journey of learning to feel good enough for our own sake may look like. It’s by Lorraine Childerstone.
Lorraine Childerstone is a lover of life, seeker of the truth and of a kinder way to be in the world. So many times she has read stories of people who went through challenging times in their lives and came out stronger and wiser. She’s still living the challenge. This is the story so far…
So I’m driving into the most blissful autumn sunset, and as the sun sinks lower I feel my being soften, as though held in the arms of the universe. I’m heading to an evening of spiritual healing with a wonderful group of likeminded souls. I love the healing path, I have a challenging new job as a teacher, and I feel good enough, at last, good enough to belong, to receive this blessing of life…
…six months later I have split painfully from my healing teacher and community, losing my job in the process. Both my parents have died, just four weeks apart, one suddenly and unexpectedly, one slowly and quietly. I have lost my future and my past in a matter of months. Who am I now? And this definitely doesn’t feel good enough…!
…yet I am still alive, I am still breathing. So am I good enough without a teacher, without a path, without the support of a community? All the things it took to make me good enough before? As I am still alive I presume that life is still saying yes to me, even if I am in the middle of it changing rather spectacularly. Can I say yes to a new way of being good enough?
…because quietly my ‘spiritual’ journey has been about making me feel better about myself, my emptiness. And with the end of my ‘spiritual’ journey comes the end of that particular fairy tale – that if I find the right path, I’ll at last feel okay in myself.
The split from my teacher is painful, confusing and sudden. I feel shocked and cut adrift. Is this something teachers do to their students to test them? And I am not good enough to pass it? Is this all part of the plan?
I decide to get help. A grief counsellor ‘gets’ where I am straight away. Eventually, she ventures that it sounds like my teacher has been emotionally abusive. I look blankly. I can’t feel a response. Really? I’m not sure at all.
So I decide to take a long look at myself, a deep soul searching. And I remember that as the split came there was a vivid moment of clarity, when I was looking at a blaze of light going right through me, and at the root of my spine, dark areas which needed ‘integrating’.
Months later I’m sitting opposite a very wise woman, with twinkles in her eyes, and a soft loving heart. I want to integrate – and find a new way forwards. And my mouth drops in amazement as she reels off so many things about me which are true and which I have no idea how she knows. And she gets right to the heart of emotional abuse, to the root of it. She tells me my mother had a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Something in me shifts. Something in me recognises the truth.
…I go to see a psychotherapist. At 50! Shit, aren’t I supposed to have got it all together by now? I tell her what I’ve learned from the wise woman and say I want to explore this new past with Pesso Boyden therapy, which helps repattern the nervous system, replacing trauma with healthy support and protection. I feel like I’ve been run over by several tractors all at once. I need help. Meditation practice stresses the need to live in the present – yet this seems to be taking me very firmly back to the past. Is this helpful? Something in me says yes
We complete a structure – the word for a session in Pesso Boyden– she looks at me. “It was bad,” she says quietly. “I’ve never seen so many protective figures in place before.”
I buy a book, about women whose mothers don’t love them. There’s a list of 24 traits at the start. The more you tick, the more likely your mother was to have NPD. And be emotionally abusive.
I tick 17.
I read. And read. And read. It wasn’t my fault. No matter what I did, it would never, ever be good enough, ever.
Learn to heal, get a good job, have kids, keep a nice house, be a people pleaser, be a doormat, keep quiet, keep the peace, learn to do it all yourself, take all the crap and shit and smile. None of it was ever good enough. Take her behaviour and keep quiet, even though you know something is badly wrong, because ‘that’s just how it is’. And it’s never been spelled out as abusive. Until now.
And the wise woman connects my mother and my teacher in a way that suddenly lights up the darkness and confusion – it really wasn’t my fault!
So I would never be good enough for my mother. But now, how to be good enough just for me? How to find my path with no path? What can be healed, and what do I have to live with.
What have I done to my children?
…am I good enough to be an adult now, to take care of my child inside?
“You need to grow up” my teacher had once said… A bit like telling a blind man to see more clearly. I would have loved to, if only I’d known how.
Of course he left out that bit!
I guess that’s up to me now. Wish me luck!
If you would like to share your own stories about spiritual teachers, narcissistic parents, Pesso Boyden or healing from a painful past, I would love to hear from you. Facebook me Lorraine Childerstone, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you’d like to contribute to the series too, please email me at email@example.com.
P.P.S. By the way, everyone who signs-up to my mailing list will receive a guided compassion meditation to release the feeling of ‘not good enough.’
P.P.P.S. There is no post next week – I’m taking a week off to have some family time.
Images: With thanks to google images.