Looking in the Mirror

Many survivors look in the mirror and see alters. This doesn’t happen to me, so I can only guess what is going on for them. Perhaps they are seeing the alter who is out at that moment. Perhaps they are seeing an alter blended in with “the host” – the part that others usually see – or superimposed on the “host’s” image. Perhaps they don’t notice anything out of the ordinary because the part that is out expects to see the image of himself or herself in the mirror.

What does happen to me, though, is that I see my mother in the mirror. Her image becomes stronger with each passing year, and it appalls me. Her image isn’t superimposed on mine; I feel I have turned into her. I can see a few differences, but not many. Her hair was thicker, for example.

I avoid mirrors as a result. For a long time I didn’t part my hair because I would have had to use the mirror, and I didn’t use any make-up for the same reason. Just a few months ago I decided that this was ridiculous and started parting my hair for the first time in many a year.

This experience stays in the back of my mind throughout the day. I find myself marking ways in which I am different from her. She never used a computer. She did not exercise. She did not have arthritis. She never washed a window or a floor in her life. She wore red nail polish; I wear none. I have to reassure myself that I still have an identity of my own, no matter what I look like – or what I think I look like.

But it gets worse, much worse. Now I see both my mother and my father in the mirror. I have never identified with my father as I did with my mother. He always seemed foreign to me and I never understood how his mind worked. When I finally figured it out, I still couldn’t understand why he thought that way. Where in the world did he get such stupid and perverse ideas?

I am pretty positive I am not identifying with my father. So why should I see him? Am I really starting to look like him, but without the mustache? That seems pretty unlikely. Perhaps I am not seeing him, but my brother, who did look somewhat like him. My brother died a few years ago and I often have the feeling that I should live for both of us now. Perhaps I have internalized him?

Whatever the explanation, I just don’t get it. My reaction is weird to me. I find my experience just as hard to understand as what I imagine a multiple experiences when they see a change in eye color, the shape of their face, their expression.

Some day I would like an instruction manual for my mind.


4 thoughts on “Looking in the Mirror

  1. Thanks for your words- I am in my 60’s and I also see my mother in my face. And I make lists in my head of the ways I am different from her- at my age she was a little old lady living in a retirement village. The harder I try to not be her… But, after many many years of recovery I am finding some peace and serenity.

  2. Dear Jean,

    Thank you for your most recent post. I appreciate what you share. It helps me to feel not so alone, and to recognize that I might have experiences that I don’t understand, that are different from others, and that can’t be explained. The mother thing is creepy to me. I see an image of my mother, in my mind’s eye, every day, and it really fix turns me. I feel like I can’t get away from her, can’t be separate from her,


  3. Hello Jean,
    I suppose you may be energetically “haunted” by these 3 close relatives, if all of them are dead … As you write, when people are missing, our unconscious internalize them so as to keep them alive ; it’s al about deep psycho-emotional family loyalty. 🙂

  4. I think, I may have an idea. The occult believes that everybody is One, the divine being manifesting in many forms. So, they make different tales and situations, including family, to show how everything is One and a part of the cult. Generational abuse enforces that all the people are the same spirit perpetuating the circle of life/abuse. This belief is always deeply installed in every member, occult beliefs are the most important in the cult. Unlike Christianity, the occult sees any unique being negatively and only not being of One must be sought. So, its works are destructive and there is this total dehumanizing control that takes over any your uniqueness.

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