Who Am I Really?

Find the Gold in You

Posted May 09, 2011

My grandmother used to tell me, "If you look hard enough, you can always find the gold in others." Her warm wisdom can also be applied to self-discovery. When it's "All About Mom" growing up, the "You" can get lost in the mix. We are forced to conscript to supporting roles demanded by narcissistic mothers and the prevailing family system. It is not uncommon for adult children of narcissistic parents to wonder who they really are or what they really like. We become accustomed to doing for others and not focusing on healthy self-care. As one daughter told me, "The message I got from Mom is that she will love me if I do what shethinks I should do. So I try to be me, but don't know who I am."

A significant part of recovery is discovery. It's finding the authentic self. But... how to do? Below is an exercise to begin that journey. You can use it as a tool to remind yourself what you believe in and to determine what you like and don't like. You make a list of beliefs, desires and preferences and continue to add to it. This is but a start. For each category it is helpful to write how you relate, and what you think and feel about each one. Here's your beginning:

What Are My Values?

Education: your beliefs and philosophy about education for yourself and your family
Politics: your political beliefs
• Religion: your religious or spiritual beliefs
Parenting belief system: how do you want to raise your children and what are your priorities as a  parent?
• Love relationship: what are the most important things to you in a love relationship?
• Opposite sex: who is the ideal man or woman for you; what are the characteristics?
• Friends: what kind of friends are you attracted to?
• Movies: what kind of movies do you like best?
• Books: what kind of books are your favorites?
• Jewelry: what is your style of jewelry?
• Fashion: what is your style of clothing?
• Cars: if you could buy whatever cars you wanted, which two would you choose?
• Architecture and house style: what kinds of architecture do you like?
• Furniture: what are your favorite kinds of furniture?
• Gemstones: your favorite
• Weather: your favorite
• Geography: your favorite landscape
• Season: which of the seasons is your preference and why?
• Music for listening: what kinds of music do you like for pure listening and pleasure?
• Music for dancing: what is your favorite dance music?
• Leisure-time activity: what leisure-time activities do you like most?
• Kick-up-your-heels fun: what activity do you love that brings you sheer joy?
• Exercise: your favorite kind
• Television: you favorite TV shows
• Food: your favorite foods to eat and cook
• Restaurant: when you dine out, where do you most like to go?
• Shopping place: what is your favorite?
• Vacation: your ideal vacation
Sports to play: which do you enjoy the most?
• Sports to watch: which ones?
• Color: the best for you
• Fabrics: your favorites for wearing and decorating
• Flowers: the best ones for you
• Conversation: your favorite topics to discuss and with whom?
• Age group: the best for you to hang out with
• How do you treat others: what is your value system about human connection?

You get the picture, eh? Of course, you will add to it. If you find anything that surprises you... let me know. I would also like to hear your add-ons! This is a good exercise to do with your love partner and kids. It can be a starting point for family value discussions. Sometimes we forget how much we really do know about ourselves. From the mundane fluff to the philosophical, finding the real you is worth the journey. Having a meaningful and fulfilling life requires experimentation with your true desires. "The search for meaning is the search for expression of one's real self." (James F. Masterson, M.D.)

Additional Resources for Recovery:

Resource Website: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com

Book: Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/the-book-2/buy-the-book

Audio Book: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/the-book-2/buy-the-book

Workshop: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers Virtual Workshop. Work recovery in the privacy of your own home, complete with video presentations and homework assignments:  http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/workshop-overview-healing-the-daughters-of-narcissistic-mothers

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DrKarylMcBride

Twitter: http://twitter.com/karylmcbride

Daughter Intensives: One on one sessions with Dr. Karyl McBride
http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/resources/daughter-intensives

“Is this your Mom?” Take the survey: http://www.willieverbegoodenough.com/narcissistic-mother