chapter  7
11 Pages

Parenting through enactments of loss

WithKaren Earle

Winnicott claimed, “The precursor of the mirror is the mother’s face.” Meditating on this quote, this chapter examines how the author’s difficult beginnings with a difficult mother unable to reconcile with her difficult past set off a series of enactments that ricocheted down the generations, setting off different sets of enactments the author played out with each of her daughters. She speculates about the ways each set contributed to the differences in each daughter’s move from adolescence into adulthood. In Attachment in Psychotherapy, Wallin observes that enactments occur when one individual’s vulnerabilities intersect with another’s. Pointing to attachment research, Wallin observes that there is no change in the client without change in the therapist. This chapter focuses on the slow process of relational repair that began only when the author came to understand her responses to each of her daughter’s comings and goings as an enactment of loss.