Muffy is a little stuffed dog I bought when missing Bella got to be too much for me. He is a “transitional object,” like the “security blanket” a child uses when she is learning that she’s apart from her mother, an individual who will have to take care of herself. If her mother is loving, she will create an internal loving mother which will give her a firm foundation for building a life. If her mother is not loving, or disabled in some way (by depression, say, or alcoholism) then she will internalize a critical judge or a destructive inner voice.
It’s astonishing how real Muffy has become to me. I only show him to close friends who understand what my life is like. I take him to therapy sessions. When I’m sitting in Erica’s waiting room, he’s hidden in my bag. I try to make sure he’s comfortable when I put him in the bag. When I’m in need of reassurance, I grab him and hug him. He’s a big help.
Because I’m working on infancy issues with Erica, and because my mother left me alone too often and for too long, I’m experiencing with Muffy the same thing small children experience with their “security blanket.” It’s a normal healthy thing for a child to do when they are learning that they are not one with the mother but an individual. In my case, I never really felt connected to my mother, so I’m having to re-do this part of my development. I hope I will be able to internalize a loving supportive caretaker.
The received wisdom in the 40’s was that a mother was supposed to leave the baby to cry, instead of picking her up every time. This would keep her from becoming “spoiled.” Mother was alone with me (my father was away fighting WWII) and she was really not prepared for the 24/7 needs of a baby. So it was convenient to leave me to cry.
The other thing I’m experiencing that a baby experiences when it’s left alone is apathy. This has been getting harder. During the summer I had two projects: the Box of Stories, and this blog. Now I seem to be apathetic most of the time except when I’m with people. This is why someone doing this work should ideally have 3 appointments per week.