The influence of the maternal role in childhood is decisive for the state of emotional and mental health in adulthood. When the mother has not healed her own wounds or is narcissistic and absent, she fails to establish an emotional bond with her daughters. Some generations have dealt with this through narcotics or addictions, as we witness in the 2001 film Generación Prozac and Frida Sofía’s denunciations of her maternal lineage during 2021. This article intends to make a synthesis of both situations; the film and the situation of the Guzmán – Pinal clan, to address how this problems are common in many families and also to present some of the healing strategies.
I. Revelations in Entertainment
In the movie Prozac Nation, we see a complaint of anxiety in Generation X. The author, Elizabeth Wurtzel (New York 1967-2020) was not liked by people, nor did she pretend to. From her controversial memoirs, Prozac Nation, she became representative of the depression in the Nirvana generation. The autobiography made into a film entitled Generación Prozac, tells the story of an aspiring writer who wins a scholarship to study journalism at Harvard. Her mother speaks with joy about how the date of entering the university is the «happiest day of her life», to which the young woman responds «- Isn’t that the day you get married?», And the mother affirms: «-No, that’s the most unhappy day of your life.» This dialogue is an example of the trauma that the mother has due to the abandonment of her ex-husband and of how she places many of her hopes on her daughter’s professional development. Elizabeth states «-My parents were divorced before I was two years old. Since then, my father was hardly involved in my life, and my mother became too involved.» The mother stated that when the young woman had her period «the problems would start.» In less than 5 minutes they introduce us to a single mother who has not healed her relationship with the masculine archetype, she focuses on being herself a father and mother, and an economically independent woman, however, she blocks a part of her feminine archetype, the romantic part, the one that listens or nurtures emotionally. Prioritizing the economy is a survival strategy, but it is not the way to a life in balance and peace. To sum up; the film presents the root and development of Elizabeth’s depression, which manifests in sexual promiscuity, an inability to establish lasting social bonds, isolation, anxiety, alcoholism, and finally drug dependence. Is Prozac the solution to a whole depressing generation?, or is it just the palliative, big business, in the face of a massive depression driven by capitalism, the lack of human values and ancestral ways to establish a place in the world in contact with the Sun, the spiritual, and the Earth and clans or families? In some ways the contemporary individual is more skilled than medieval ancestors, in other ways we are more primitive, lacking strong rituals and family and spiritual ties.
In the film, we observe how Elizabeth manifests various self-destructive behaviours, and when she asks for psychological help, she begins her dependence on medication. However, the outcome of her real-life shows that living high never solved her self-esteem problems. While her bestselling novel and film acted as a kind of high-rated show -Dr. House-, which promotes one of the drugs for sale -Prozac or Vicodin-, her identity was still sinking. Wurtzel asked for help, went through more than a dozen clinics and psychotherapists, however, she died at the age of 52 after dealing with breast cancer that metastasized to the brain. The foreword to her book was titled ‘I hate myself and I want to die’, at the end of the day, her words were prophecy. Bottom line: drugs are not a substitute for real mental and emotional healing skills. A chemical that blocks pain, or that allows you to «survive» does not heal you, it only makes you «endure» the disease for longer, while it continues to eat away at your abilities and potential. More time anaesthetized, or under the influence of drugs, is less time to live.
In the case of the Guzmán – Pinal clan, we observe a chain of violence through generations. Silvia Pinal, who was born in Guaymas, Sonora, suffered the rejection of her biological father Moisés Pasquel who worked in the XEW and it was General Luis Pinal, her mother’s partner, who gave her his surname. She was one of the divas of the golden age in Mexican cinema. She was married to Enrique Guzmán, and they had two children: Alejandra Guzmán and Luis Enrique Guzmán. In the biographical series titled Silvia Pinal in front of you, from 2018, based on the book Esta soy yo: Silvia Pinal (This is me: Silvia Pinal), intense moments of intrafamily violence – rape, beatings and infidelities – were revealed, which the actress lived between 1967 and 1976, while she was married to the singer who was «baptized» in the series as Felipe Román, but we know they are referring to Enrique Guzmán. Then, in the late 80s, businessman Fernando Frade, Silvia Pinal’s 10-year-old couple ended up marrying their daughter Sylvia Pasquel. These relationships of violence and incest are repeated in subsequent generations. The most recent case is when on Mother’s Day 2019, Frida Sofía accuses her mother Alejandra Guzmán of physical and emotional violence. Frida accused her mother of dating her ex-boyfriend, for this she said she preferred to have an abortion. By 2021, Frida accused her grandfather, Enrique Guzmán, of having groped her when she was 5 years old and declared that her mother should remember how violent he was, as she assured that he had knocked her front teeth out. Alejandra declared that her daughter suffers from borderline personality syndrome, and defended her father, who filed a legal complaint against his granddaughter and those who are responsible, for defamation.
Through the gossip of the figures of the entertainment, and certain books, movies, we can find a reflection of the culture and the common dramas in diverse generations. Both in the situations of Elizabeth Wurtzel and Frida Sofía Guzmán, we are presented with young women who have suffered emotional neglect in childhood, come from families with a heritage of paternal abandonment, and other types of violence, which harms mental health. Although they may seek the alternative of taking medication, or having a catharsis through scandals in social networks, or with autobiographies, they remind us of the phrase «the truth will set us free», probably through telling their story they seek to find meaning, and a possible solution.
II. The commonality of the emotionally absent mother and its negative effects on the psyche of her daughters
In Generation Prozac they tell us that Lou Reed was diagnosed with mood swings at age 17, subjected to electroshocks three times a week, and yet managed to overcome the psychiatric massacre and create a great work of rock and roll. Due to the great influence of the United States on world music, creators like Lou Reed, and bands like Nirvana reach a multitude of followers. In rock music in Spanish, Enrique and his daughter Alejandra Guzmán have managed to captivate large audiences, representing the rebellion of a certain time. There is a cathartic function for each generation through contact with rock music, counterculture or protest. What is it that makes some protagonists of psychological disorders like Lou Reed manage to survive and succeed, and other artists, such as the writer Elizabeth Wurtzel direct their anger towards themselves, or like Frida Sofía exhibit a defiant and childish attitude that at the same time cries out for attention, reconciliation, love, while attacking their relatives, in such a way that they cannot escape the aggressive and self-destructive spiral?
Paying attention to the two stories that I address in this article: Wurtzel and Guzmán, we observe the complexity involved in recognizing and healing the invisible effects of a childhood in which emotional neglect was suffered. When the mother raises her children alone, her priority becomes work, which is usually a job done by men; provide an economy that allows meeting the basic needs of food, shelter, clothing. Then, the role of the nurturing mother is relegated, and the children experience that emptiness. Some of the symptoms are that by not receiving emotional support, they feel that they are not good enough. When the daughter does something positive, she does not receive feedback or appreciation, but her actions are ignored or even underestimated. When she does something negative, she can be judged harshly or ignored as well. If she is constantly neglected, she experiences a void, a wound, which is a lack of contact, recognition and guidance, a lack of memories of a loving presence with her mother. If, in addition, the mother prevents the daughters from having contact with the father figure, or fails to look for a male figure that exerts a positive father influence – be it an uncle, grandfather, teacher or friend -, the daughters are alienated from their biological family what damages, ignores, a part of the girl’s identity. It is unnecessary to teach a daughter to hate one of her parents, because this results in self-hatred, prevents the girl from being able to fully and peacefully acknowledge her being. It can also lead to conflicts to establish healthy relationships with the male sex, since they have been taught to hate him, distrust him, etc. In many cases of childhood emotional neglect, we find mothers who may have narcissistic tendencies, they are people who live absorbed in themselves, and they can manifest a narcissism that borders on the pathological and psychopathic. To deal with this situation, the daughter becomes codependent, gets used to living in a state of high anxiety that she considers normal because she has not known anything else, and constantly interprets social stimuli as triggers of survival mechanisms ( attack, flee, negotiate or freeze). Every daughter who has grown up in the circumstances described is a survivor.
That didn’t happen
And if it happened, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, it’s not a big deal.
And if it is, it’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t want to.
And if I wanted to do it
You deserved it.
A narcissistic mother may manifest the following personality traits: She relates to the world in a superficial and materialistic way. She does not admit to making mistakes, she blames others for her mistakes. They are obsessed with maintaining a «good appearance.» She will never be there for her daughter, no matter what happens to her. The world always revolves around herself, and she is always the victim. She is selfish, self-absorbed, and self-indulgent. They are permanently angry, but they will deny that they are. They lie openly, especially when it comes to denying something wrong that they have done. She provokes people and then blames them if they fight back or argue. She is controlling. She lacks true sympathy for others but can pretend to be nice to people she needs. She is only available emotionally if she wants something. She can distort the facts to fit what she wants to represent. She cultivates a fantasy world where she is better than what she is, more beautiful, famous, richer, etc. She has an attitude in which she considers herself better than other people. She acts differently with her daughter in public and in private; for example, while harshly criticizing her daughter in private, in public she brags about her achievements, to take part of the credit for what the daughter has accomplished. This is painful for the daughter, who does not receive confidence, motivation, or recognition for her efforts. In dysfunctional families, abuse and emotional neglect are allowed, the mother cannot see her daughter’s need for love, her pain, her loneliness, or her achievements, she does not «connect» with that other person who is her daughter. Everything is in her way or it is not. Talking about these conflicts is prohibited. «-It’s not fair, I know I did horrible things to you, but why did you have to talk about it? Can’t you suffer in silence? You’re so bad!» Narcissistic mothers can use guilt and silence (stop talking to their daughters for a certain period) to punish, control, invalidate, avoid issues, or test how much they can invade the boundaries of others. Sometimes the daughter develops «Stockholm syndrome», which is when you love the person who hurts you. Hence, she looks for destructive relationships, such as a repetition of the pattern with the mother, to try to «work it out.»
Many authors have published works that guide victims of similar situations to a peaceful life. They show ways of accepting what happened, reducing flashbacks, seeing with mercy one’s history and the people involved, transcending wounds, and achieving a healthy separation from the mother figure to achieve a psyche that prioritizes self-affirmation. This separation is mainly emotional and mental and is independent of whether or not the daughter chooses to maintain a relationship with her mother and relatives. Some of these books are:
Jasmin Lee Cori. The emotionally absent mother.
J. L. Anderson. The Emotionally Absent Mother.
Michele Gilbert. The Emotionally Absent Mother.
Cameron Lynne MacDonald. Shadow Mothers.
Danu Morrigan. You’re not crazy -It’s your mother.
Jonice Webb, Christine Musello. Running on Empty. Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect.
Karen C. L. Anderson. The peaceful daughter’s guide to separating from a difficult mother.
Katie Lenhart. Toxic Parents.
Karyl McBride. Will I Ever Be Good Enough?
Linda Martinez-Lewi. Freeing yourself from the narcissist in your life.
Linda Martinez-Lewi. Recovering and Healing After the Narcissist.
Lisa A. Romano. Loving the Self Affirmations.
Lisa A. Romano. Quantum tools to help you heal your life now.
Lisa A. Romano. Codependent -Now what?
Lisa A. Romano. The Road Back to me.
Lisa A. Romano. The codependency manifesto.
Melody Devonish. Understanding Narcissistic Mothers.
Nina W. Brow. Children of the Self-Absorbed.
Percy Halo. Rebecca Rivers. Linda Johansson. Narcissistic Mothers.
Richard Grannon. How to Stop an Emotional Flashback.
Richard Grannon. Leyla Loric. How to take revenge on a narcissist.
Richard Grannon. Leyla Loric. The narcissist’s secrets.
Tori Murphy. Narcissistic Mothers 101.
One of the books that have given rise to this publishing trend, which I especially want to recommend is that of Pete Walker. 2013. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma. By the same author, a 2015 work is The Tao of Fully Feeling: Harvesting Forgiveness out of Blame. Exploring these titles will undoubtedly provide you with further suggestions for healing. Of course, it is necessary not only reading, but also to practice the exercises, and the accompaniment of a therapist specialized in childhood trauma, codependency and narcissism.
III. Healing Alternatives for People Who Have Suffered Emotional Neglect
To heal the emptiness, the nightmares, life in limbo and escape? For victims of narcissistic mothers, Mother’s Day is sad because it reminds them not of shared love, but years of emotional abandonment. What do you do with abusive and selfish mothers on Mother’s Day? Is the inner child silenced and the mother celebrated despite the pain, or is she publicly accused in the Frida Sofía style? Do you want them to feel like the golden son, the black sheep or scapegoat, the jester, pet or the lost child, ghost, that is; the way they have made their sons feel? In narcissistic families, children often learn not to live together and support each other, but to compete with each other. The golden son is usually the one who knows how to charm the mother and lie and manipulate to receive special treatment while bullying others. The black sheep or scapegoat is the one who isolates him or herself, leaves the family, and experiences depression and even suicidal symptoms, constantly aware of the absence that carries. In Latin America, there is a cheesy matriarchy, a «mother cult,» which makes it even more difficult for victims of abuse to find therapists who truly understand the hurts caused by absent and narcissistic mothers. Telling them «but she gave you shelter, food, clothing, school» is not comfort, nor is it to remind them that «they will understand when their children make that to them.» True, if healing is not achieved, the programs will be repeated, but it is not about predicting the revenge of time, but about seeking the transcendence of negative patterns to achieve a healthy and loving life. In summary, I list some points that need to be healed in similar situations.
- To Heal Emotional Neglect: The economic care of parents to children is important, but it does not replace the affective care that allows psycho-emotional development in children. To heal from emotional neglect in childhood, radical acceptance is necessary, and create a space of care with mercy for all parties. To transcend a problem is not to remain attached to guilt or fear or pain, it is to find a way to transmute and release wounds, to have space to cultivate love and well-being. Accepting abandonment, indifference, and giving our inner child the love and acceptance, the unconditional attention that it has never received is difficult but possible. It requires us to find a way to shed burdens, overcome flashbacks, and learn to be parents, mothers of ourselves.
- Make the necessary mourning: To heal, daughters must very surely agree to give up waiting for an apology or for the love that they will probably never honestly receive from their mother, and go through the process of mourning for not having the support and affection from their mothers, fathers or guardians, and yet give themselves unconditional love, an indispensable self-affirmation for their adult, adolescent and inner child identity.
- Heal Sexual Violence in the Lineage: Recognize the repetition of patterns of sexual violence, incest, abortions, etc., in the family tree. In bio-decoding, we know that when a program of violence is not healed, it tends to be repeated in the younger generations. It is important to do meditations to cancel this violence. Pray and bless the family tree, understand that we choose to be born in a certain lineage because we are ready to overcome the challenges that this situation presents. Diseases are not to sink into them helplessly, but to find a way to transcend them, and then receive the teaching, the gift that experience gives us.
In many cases, the healing of childhood wounds is not simple, it is not a linear process, but rather something organic. It may take months or years, but each step toward healing will increase well-being. On some occasions, people who have asked me for support to heal the relationship with the mother through guided meditations find that it is important to invest time and effort in oneself because only as people who work to integrate all that we are, we do manage to feel ready to move forward in the world.
Thank you. Love, grace and transcendence blessings
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