This is the first section in Viorst’s book of Necessary Losses. In essence it’s about cutting the umbilical cord from Mommy and Daddy and learning to stand on your own two feet. However, it debunks the idea that you cut the cord when you turn 18, move out, go to University and then forward in your life through self-propelled societal rites of passages. So not true.
Cutting the umbilici starts the day of birth and progresses throughout life. We are expelled from our mother’s womb, hopefully without incident and brought into a world of foreign sterility, naked and cold we scream for what we have lost.
From the womb we become attached and form a sort of nirvana with our mother who feeds us and gently ares for us in the harsh bright world we’ve been brought into. Until she leaves us, the first whack at the connection between mother and child. Papa was there eventually to fill in and to help us gain our footing, showing us that we can be one and together within the family structure. This is our first
experience with love; both giving and receiving love. Agape. Unconditional love.
As time moves forward the abandonment because more of an agreed upon eparation and a coming back together. Again, small gnawing strikes at the ties that bind until we are a single, self-loving, self-empowered human being capable of giving and receiving love without fear of loss of love or self. Like a butterfly who has to push itself away from the chrysalis on it’s own. If you stop to help the transformed to flight it will not have the necessary strength to survive.
How does this apply to me?
- I trip over the umbilici here at home, so we know that it hasn’t been
severed. But not severed by who (or isit whom? I never could get that right.)? I realized while reading this book about how children from narcissistic parents raise narcissistic kids, and it’s a repeated thing. I’ve somehow been put into the roll of my Mothers mother, and I am taking care of her the way she has never been taken care of before. She is completely unencumbered by the stresses of every-day living, she doesn’t have to worry about anything, in general. She has said several times that she’s the happiest she’s ever been. This conflicts with my lack of maternal instinct. Whatever desire I had to be a mother was sated by the nieces and the nephews, I don’t feel like I have it to give now. I’ve learned that love and hate are part of the same process, that thinking about the hate you have for someone you love/like doesn’t make you a bad person, acting on it does. One must make a conscious decision not to do bad things, our choices determined who/what we are. Like Newton’s theory of Motion…To all things there is an equal and opposite reaction. One cannot exist without the other.
- Despite my best efforts, I appear to be more narcissistic than I want to be. Though self-love is vital part of ones esteem, it shouldn’t be all ncompassing to the point of drowning. Therapy, in and of itself, is an indulgence into self, but a necessary one and I shouldn’t feel like I’m being a ‘bad’ person because of it.
- Being the person I want to be instead of the person I present to the world is going to take more work than just pretending I am who I say I am.
- I need to let go of my fearful and childish black-and-white simplifications for the difficult ambiguities of real life. This is going to hurt. Black and white means there is a wrong and a right (where I can be more right than wrong) and a world of ambiguities will never have that satisfaction.
- I’ve got a freakish amount of work to be ME again.
One thought on “The Separate Self”
1. Glad you’re doing this. I think it’ll be cathartic.
2. I agree that “cutting the cord” doesn’t happen at 18. It makes sense that it happens the moment we are born, or it starts to happen. We grow into our own. Or try.
3. Love the layout. XD