Are You Loving An Institution Or An Ideal? 

marycryingMy personal “false love” experience of traumatic bonding was in relationship to my mother, not my father. As a result, I’ve been blessed with a good marriage of over 20 years. Thank you Dad for loving your little girl “good enough!”

However, my life has not been free from traumatic bonds and the painful emotional suffering that accompanies such “false love.” Much of my suffering has been related to my relationship with my mother and then my Catholic Church as an institution. I bonded codependently to my Church like I was traumatically bonded to my mother.

People can codependently bond to their church communities, their careers and places of employment, their friendships, as well as extended family members. It is in the second half of life, after we turn 35 years old according to Carl Jung, that we are free to look at the false ideologies which are guiding our life choices with lies that we believe to be true.

Healing from traumatic bonds and codependency in my life began when I started studying for a graduate degree in theology through St. Joseph’s College of Maine. At St. Joseph’s College I met many wonderful women theology professors who brought healing into my life. They modeled for me and taught me what my Catholic faith really believes. They demonstrated compassion and love. I learned about mercy and grace, things that my obsessively perfectionist mother and the other Catholic women in my parish communities seemed to know nothing about.

It has taken many, many years for me to learn to accept love and mercy from my “mother figures” without trying obessively hard to earn it through perfectionism. This has been the journey of my soul. I write to share my story because I know that I am not alone.

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