Suffocation or Existence
When a child is asked to fulfil the needs of a parent, especially its mother, then it faces one of the biggest dilemmas that can continue well into adulthood and later years. If at a young age we exist to fulfil the needs of our mother then the main way in which experience a sense of self is through separation. This separation is not just separation from the mother, but it becomes a way of life. We separate from all others in order to have a sense of our own existence.
As infants the ideal for us is that we are brought into ‘merging love’ (HH Almaas) with one or both parent. It is with this merging that the essence who we are is not only reflected back to us, but is also encouraged. From this we begin to get a sense of self and our individuality. However, when we exist to fulfil the emotional needs of the mother during infancy and perhaps all the way into young adulthood, then it becomes a great challenge for us to sense ourselves as individuals when amongst a group of people or even alone with one other individual, especially if that other person has a strong sense of self or is ‘bigger’ in some way.
This kind of wounding is a double edged sword. Not only did we not get enough – left bereft of nurturance and a sense of self within ‘merging love’ – which leaves us starving for nurturance, recognition and acknowledgement, the only way we knew how to gain a sense of self is through separation that leads to loneliness and isolation. This can lead to the ‘yo-yo’ effect in all relationships – not only with lovers and partners, but also with friends and life itself. We run to others to get what we need and then lose ourselves in becoming what we think they want us to be or we simply feel overshadowed by their presence. Our next step is to then go once more into isolation in order have a sense of self until the next time we are ‘hungry’. All of this put together can lead to a very deep sense of there not being enough – of anything, even of self.
Surviving a narcissistic or emotionally needy mother can be a lifetime’s work – however, it does not need to be a lifetime of suffering.
Through Family Constellation work we can begin to unravel the underlying and often hidden dynamics that have lead to the mother being unable to give freely to her child and through personal process, we can begin to gently open those parts of us that have been locked away from fear of constant invasion.
I look forward to working with you soon,
Shavasti – John
See Also: Family Constellations Website