Larger societal groups such as family, community, and society have historically played a large part in reinforcing the concept of “role modeling” within individual people. In reviewing numerous definitions of the term, I came upon several that suit this month’s installment of Bobbi’s Saga:
- A person regarded by others, especially younger people, as a good example to follow.
- A person who serves as a model in a specific behavioral or social role for another person to emulate.
- Someone who another person admires and tries to imitate.
The first definition seems somewhat “canned,” and lends itself to excessive vanity. The second one would probably assist in earning the grade of “A” on an academic assignment. The third sounds more “real” and thus will be the one we use this week.
Many people go through life consciously attaching to models stating, “I want to be just like him (her).” However, role modeling can be, and usually is, an unconscious action derived from observing and following the behavior and actions of another.
Just as a role model can be defined as a person that others seek to emulate, a role model can also be someone who demonstrates behavior that others reject and avoid.
This month, Bobbi’s Journey of Self -Discovery continues as she takes conscious action to not be like her mother and as a result, her mother becomes her role model as to how not to treat or interact with her children.
Role Models: My Mother, The Woman I Wanted Not To Be: Journal Entry 1/20/14
Sometimes, when I feel I need to be held and kissed, I wonder if it is because I wanted so much more affection as a child. I don’t remember my mother telling me she loved me.
She could have told me I love you often. I just don’t remember being nurtured and feeling like I was important or special. Like no matter what I did in life, I was loved. I wanted to have unconditional love.
I remember things Mother said like:
“I brought you into this world, I’ll take you out.”
“If you ever go to jail, don’t spend your dime calling me.”
“You are going to be a prostitute.”
She called me a whore. It would be nice to have memories like being told you are special, important, smart, beautiful and wanted. But that was not my life.
I used to tell my children I loved them from the time they were conceived. I used to talk to them and tell them how much I loved them before they were born. By the time they were born, I knew them.
There was nothing in life that would ever make me not love them. I would tell them multiple times a day. They understood and felt my love. As a mom, making sure your children know how loved and cherished they are, is your most important job.
Now if anything happens to me I know they knew they are loved. That makes me happy. I felt I have done a good job. I made sure they were loved the way I was not.
Concluding Remarks-Dr. Kane
In this entry, the common theme is her commitment to her children knowing that they were valued and loved by her. It is in her repeated validation of them that she affirms her true and deep love for them.
The urge that drives Bobbi may be the fear of the life that she herself was forced to endure, which rose from the inability to attain the basic human need of unconditional love of the person who gave her life. This urge may be viewed as the psychological self, working in advocacy for her children to provide the nurturing that she herself was denied.
In a way, Bobbi may be working in anticipation of her own death by her own hand. It may be the intensity of her pain and suffering on this earth that drives her to suicidal ideation. Yet, it is the love for her children that maintains her existence.
Not being shown love by her mother, Bobbi does not know how to live; she knows only how to exist. As her love grows for her children, she continues her efforts to survive so her children can have the life that was denied to her.
In this writing, we can see Bobbi’s conscious decision to accept her mother as a role model in the lives of her children. Bobbi demonstrates not only the behavior she wants for her children and also, what she “wants not” to model for her children.
Bobbi’s love, unlike her mother’s, is given unconditionally. She struggles valiantly to insure that her children, as they grow to adulthood, do not suffer the emptiness she herself has experienced during the four decades following her ejection from the home and placement in the state foster care system.
During the preceding four decades, Bobbi teeters between the states of existence and survival. It is only following the attainment of adulthood for her children that Bobbi will become free to begin the next saga of her journey of self-discovery, driving and the empowerment that accompanies it.
This stage, the third of five, dwells within the transitional and experiential stages of the “Journey for Self Discovery,” the stages of which are existence, surviving, driving, striving and thriving. This usually begins with the individual living in their fear, as opposed to living with their fear, and Bobbi’s journey is no different. During this journey, however, Bobbi will learn to balance her fears so she can live with fear instead of in fear as she begins to acknowledge that these fears are a permanent fixture in her life.
Please continue to join us as we walk with Bobbi on her journey!