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Where ever you are in the world, whether you’re a mum or not, it’s fab to celebrate our mothers. So many of my loveable heroines have been created because of their strong mothers. Women create, nurture and give birth to life. But not all mums know how to love their daughters. Sometimes their daughters don’t meet their mum’s expectations. Or their mums have had a difficult life themselves. That doesn’t make their mums inherently bad. A true heroine knows how to spin gold from straw and sparkle through the darkness. That’s what makes them so loveable.
As I share in my children’s book, Why Doesn’t Mummy Love Me?
As a child therapist, I had the privilege of hearing from boys and girls, young and old, who told me that their mummies didn’t love them as they should.
“If I was my mother, I wouldn’t drink,” one 8-year-old said. His father was in prison and his mother was at the pub. Luckily he had an excellent GRAND-mummy who was raising him and bringing him to therapy to help with his anger issues.
“My mother wanted custody of my sister, but she didn’t come for me. She doesn’t want me. She doesn’t love me. I’m no good,” a 12-year-old boy referred, also for anger issues, told me.
“I want to kill myself,” a 10-year-old sobbed. “My mother is always yelling at me. The more I try to do to make her happy, the more she gives me and then she shouts when I can’t do it all. She wouldn’t care if I died.”
Look into their mother’s history, as I helped these children do, and as I have done to heal my own wounds, and they discover that their mothers are walking wounded. Their mummies (and daddies) rather than learn from their childhoods, victimise all, or some of their children.
One woman, now in her mid-fifties, was the daughter of a mother raised by an alcoholic. “I don’t remember my mother ever being sober,” her mother once confided in her. “And my father flew into violent rages.”
A child of divorced parents once said to her mother, “If you don’t love my dad that means you don’t love half of me.”
I can see the logic, but also the mistaken belief – because her mother had raised her on her own and had given her more love than 20 fathers ever could.
Reflecting now I wonder if a mother doesn’t or can’t love her daughter perhaps there is 50 per cent or more about herself that she doesn’t love either. Perhaps because of the damage inflicted by her mummy (or daddy) too.
Only love loves. It’s often a hard lesson to learn. So many unloved children suffer from mental illnesses, which if left unexamined extends into adulthood
“I was four or five I ran away from home. It’s my earliest memory of wanting to find someone to love me,” a client shared with me.
“I think my mother-story started at birth. I was the first-born— a girl. Not the son my parents wanted. But perhaps the daughter upon whom my father doted. They quickly tried again. My brother, my mother’s favourite, arrived with lungs that never stopped yelling, 11 months after I was born.”
“Don’t show off,” her mother scolded my client, then a child, when she would come home from school with A’s. “Don’t do so well, you know your brother finds school hard.”
She told me that both her siblings later excelled commercially.
“Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Don’t be that. Don’t wear that. Don’t say that. Whack! Don’t be left-handed,” she was told with smack and smack.
“Don’t! Don’t. I soon lost myself. I became a mummy pleaser—or, rather, I tried. Bending over to try to be loved, keeping quiet when I wanted to cry or share something that made me happy. I pursued careers in accounting and banking to make my parents happy—at the cost of my own mental and emotional health.”
I can assure you people-pleasing is not a winner’s strategy. If someone has taken a dislike to you, sometimes, like a person who hates eating fish, their distaste never changes.
Nor should you.
If you can’t be loved by your mother unconditionally then love yourself unconditionally. Warts, pimples, freckles, flaws and extraordinary talents and all. Because you are a star. We all are. Some stars live in dark galaxies, and others need to live in the light to shine brightly.
Promise me you won’t play small to make others feel tall. Be greater today than the story of your past.
Everyone’s mean-mother story is unique. As one of my clients shared, “My issues with my Mum were a bit different. She definitely had a victim mentality and while she would say she was proud of me and my brother with our achievements, there was always a little dig about how much luckier we were than she was. She ‘took umbrage’ (her words) to everything and always seemed to turn an innocuous comment into a personal attack on her. Threatened suicide several times which meant every time I had a fight with her, I had to ring one of her friends afterwards to check in on her to make sure she hadn’t done anything stupid. I think when Dad left (when I was 15), she defined herself as a divorced woman and never recovered.”
Of course, it’s not just mums that can be mean, or manipulative. There’s plenty of mean and toxic dads out there. If you think you were or are lucky to have your mum or dad, I promise you one day you’ll look back and you’ll understand why you had your parents.
Like my book coaching client Heather who channelled her lack of love into teaching and later became a children’s self-empowerment author.
Similarly, author and creator of Hay House books, Louise Hay who was sexually and emotionally abused as a child, transformed her wounds into wisdom. Hay’s success lay in highlighting the power of our words to both heal and harm.
David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, based Livia heavily on his own mother, Norma Chase. He described her as being paranoid, sharp-tongued, abusive, and disregarding her son’s career achievements. Many of Livia’s memorable lines, such as “Poor you” (something my mother said whenever I tried to tell her how I felt) are what Norma Chase would say. Rather than be victimised he spent time in psychotherapy and channelled his experiences of growing up with a narcissistic mother into the gangster Tony Sopranos, mother.
Or Kiwi songbird, Kiri Te Kanawa, who said, “I learned early on to be self-reliant.”
Similarly, actress Drew Barrymore divorced both parents when she was fifteen.
In short, it’s easy to imagine who you may have become had your mother been kinder, nicer, sweeter.
But what if the real tragedy is, who would you not have become had life treated you differently? What if your life unfolded exactly as it should? What if there was a divine plan? There’s magic in that!
“Go laugh in the places you cried. Change the narrative. Everything aligns.”
I hope you enjoy this success story from one of my favourite clients—Naomi. Naomi recently completed my Love Stories course and is now the heroine of her own story! She also benefited from my creativity and career coaching services and is now enjoying a career combo—combining her passions and talents and working from home. Working from home was so important for Naomi because she wanted to be there for her young daughters while still doing what she loves!
I had first worked with Cassandra around 2002 when I discovered that I wanted to become a high school drama teacher. At the time this suited the vision I was cultivating for my life. My husband was a teacher too, so I knew the pros and cons of the job, and we were keen to travel and work internationally, not to mention buy a house and have a family. Teaching was a great fit for me. So three countries and two children later, a debt free home in New Zealand, in 2020 the plan had certainly been successful.
The only issue was, I was burnt out. Working in countries like Qatar and South Korea had been exciting and exhilarating, but also incredibly demanding. We decided that 2020 would be the year we returned to New Zealand to put down some roots. However, the rapidly evolving global Covid-19 pandemic turned my well thought out plan to repatriate to New Zealand into a chaotic stress fest! The drama was certainly not limited to my classroom in early February as Covid cases ramped up in Korea. I decided within 24 hours to leave with my ten-year-old daughter to join my husband and our older daughter back in New Zealand. At that point, we didn’t know we wouldn’t be returning. So our apartment, possessions, friends and entire life was left behind.
As the pandemic spread and New Zealand closed its borders, I was relieved and so grateful to be home. I realised that my intuition had guided me through the most stressful decision of my life. I felt guilty that my daughter hadn’t had a chance to say goodbye properly, but I also felt proud of my decision to take the best care of her that I could by doing what I knew was right. Despite having to work online in a different time zone and putting my principal’s nose out of joint I knew with certainty that the universe had looked after us and landed us exactly where we needed to be. This was significant because I knew that I needed to listen to my inner wisdom which had looked after me so well as I navigated this next chapter in my life.
When lockdown eased off and my husband and daughters returned to school, I found myself wondering what I was going to do next. The first day that the home was empty, a little voice in my head kept nagging, “You should be at work! You should be at work!” But my anxious and exhausted brain knew it would not manage the busy classroom in another new school and I really wondered what the heck I was going to do with myself. Then another voice spoke up. “Find Cassandra…” And so I did! I’d remembered how helpful her guidance and encouragement had been when I’d launched into teaching. Maybe now she would be able to support me again?
Through creative brainstorming, starting a passion journal, reading inspiring empowerment stories, writing down every positive thing that anyone said to me (including my lovely students who I was missing terribly), writing my own stories and painting, Cassandra encouraged me to tap into my creativity as I let my next steps evolve.
Suddenly my home was busy and bright, with evidence of my creative work everywhere. My children and husband were excited and happy with what I was doing, my husband even commenting that ‘the Naomi he’d met at university’ had returned. I realised that doing what was good for me, having fun and really taking care of my emotional and mental well being was having a huge positive impact on my whole family. This was priceless, and it was healing for us all.
In one of my sessions with Cassandra, I was reading her something I’d written. She asked me, “Have you thought about voice acting?” I laughed and said, “Of course, I’ve always wanted to have a crack at that, but I’m sure you need an agent.”
She challenged me to find out if that is the case and within the week I had discovered that no, you don’t need an agent, and that there was a weekend workshop coming up which would teach me the basics of recording and creating my own home studio. Within four months of that workshop, I had secured my first author clients and now I am happily narrating for wonderful creative authors.
Combined with narrating, I also started writing again. Encouraged by Cassandra I wrote and painted about some of my travel experiences, and found myself moved by the lessons and clarity which were hidden in my expression. Our new life in New Zealand was happily establishing itself, but my daughter and I were still often feeling sad at how our time in our other home, Korea, had come to an end without warning.
One night when my daughter was unable to sleep because she was tearful and missing her old room and friends, I asked her if she would like me to write a story about what happened. She agreed, and the next day as we sat on the ferry travelling to be with family, ‘An Unexpected Journey – a Covid-19 tale’ was born. It literally flowed out of me, and when I read it to my family, the joy and love that surrounded us all was palpable. This story was the beginning of a therapeutic process for myself and my daughter and little did I know at the time, that it would be the first step in my journey to becoming a self-published author. We transformed trauma into art and we have had many lovely comments from readers all over the world who found our story of Covid-19 touching and even inspiring enough to write their own.
Now I was so happy writing, I decided on a whim to write a romance novel, or at least a few chapters for fun. I found I had so much fun, within five weeks my first romance novel was complete. I entered it in many competitions to get feedback and to challenge myself to learn about formatting and some of the protocols around self-publishing. I was very surprised when my manuscript made it into the finals of the Australian Romance Writers unpublished manuscript competition! The competition is called ‘The Emerald’ and I felt as sparkly as a stunning gemstone as I wore my pride at being a finalist with a big smile on my face. Since then, I have been invited to contribute to an anthology of small-town romances and I have a plan for a series of romance novels that have all sprung from my first attempt.
What I have learned is that my creative energy is a powerhouse. It is limitless and abundant. Once I gave myself permission to use it in earnest to support my own health and wellbeing, whether it was painting, writing or narrating, it was like super-charged therapy. Even though my new self employed life has its ups and downs, I no longer feel as anxious about what lies ahead as I have revealed to myself that my creativity is my superpower and my deep inner wisdom is a reliable guide.
To top it off, I also discovered that my career-combo uses unique skills and talents and there is a specific clientele who are happy to pay me for using them! Narrating Cassandra’s super inspiring self-empowerment book, Midlife Career Rescue: (Employ Yourself): How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate, and Start Living a Life you Love, Before It’s Too Late, has been a blast. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I enjoyed narrating it. For more information about my voice work visit: www.naomibartonvoice.com. You will find links to my writing there too.
It’s been so inspiring to walk with you all on your author and self-employment journey!
Enjoy Naomi’s story—exclusive to Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093TCJGC3
Capturing Stories. Crafting Memories. Sharing your heart. Change your life. Write, Finish, Publish, Share your stories. Earn passive income while you sleep.
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I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!
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