Monday, September 19, 2011

New Understanding: The Years Between the Lines

Henri Nouwen's Inner Voice of Love was my first experience in which I realized that my love for reading could be a source of comfort and healing that I so desperately needed.  It's a relatively short book, broken up into one to two page imperatives, but I am only about half way finished since I began this book a year and a half ago.  When expressing my guilt and worry over not having already completed this book, my counselor said, "I think you've read it exactly the way it was meant for you to read."  I decided to take her word for it.

I also decided to delve into the world of books to find more comfort and healing and answers to painful questions of my past.  I searched Amazon for books about adult children of borderline mothers, and ordered three books:  Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride, Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel, and The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori, the book I am currently reading.

I emailed my counselor after I ordered these three books.  Her advice was to "pepper these books in with your other reading", the same advice offered by the books' authors.  They warned that painful memories and feelings are likely to be festered.  So far, I haven't felt pain from reading The Emotionally Absent Mother.  What I have felt is clarity and understanding for why I am the way I am.  The book talks about the different roles of mothering and attachment issues which can begin as infants, and gives examples of being under-mothered and the effects experienced from childhood into adulthood. 

A few years back, I began reading Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Ann Lawson.  It was like reading a story about my childhood and adolescence and provided the first strand of light which opened my eyes to the fact that I possibly may not be a bad, crazy person.  I was just beginning to begin to think about beginning my journey, so I wasn't reading the book with the purpose in which I am currently reading The Emotionally Absent Mother, but the chapters I did read were very helpful and eye-opening, to say the least.  I do see myself picking back up where I left off and completing the book with a new vigor.

So here I am today, steadfast in my journey, with miles behind me and so many miles ahead.  The current leg of my journey involves finding peace through the wisdom provided in books.  And while I have no doubt that I will hit a bumpy patch of reading that conjures up terrible memories and feelings of fear, anger, and loneliness toward the person I feel I should adore and love the most, for today, I am finding simple clarity in understanding how my experiences as an infant, toddler, child, and teenager shaped my adulthood emotions, hang-ups, and actions - all of which are the source of so much guilt, sadness, and regret that I hold so deep inside.

To know that I am a few years closer, a few books closer, a few pages closer to getting this dead weight out of my life...well that is uplifting in itself.

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