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Gudrun Zomerland, MFT, CCPS
Licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist
MFC #27617
405 Chinn Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-575-8468
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Client Resources:

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Articles by
Gudrun Zomerland:

Addiction and
Co-Dependency:

shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
internet pornography addiction The Dangers of
Internet Porn
teen drug alcohol addiction Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
teen drug alcohol additction Teen Addiction:
An Open Letter
prescription drug abuse Prescription Drug Abuse
windsor alcohol and chemical dependency treatment The Core of Co-Dependency
santa rosa counselor for depression and anxiety Co-Dependent Characteristics
childhood trauma and post traumatic stress support H.A.L.T.: A Self-Care Tool
family and couples counseling in sonoma county The Family Member in Denial
 

Relationships:

treatment for trauma from domestic violence and spousal abuse Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
attachment disorders in adult relationships Attachment in Adult Relationships
healthy communication skills in adult relationships and marriage Getting to Know Your Emotions
sonoma county marriage counselor Communication Skills for Couples - 101
treatment options for alcoholism and drug addiction in marin county Differentiation, or What Makes Relationships Work
santa rosa psychotherapist treating depression and anxiety John Gottman's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
 

General Topics:

narcissism Rapunzel, Daughter of a
Closet Narcissist
psychotherapy for trauma Trauma: The Shaking Of A Soul
shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
narcissistic parents and conarcissistic children Narcissism and Co-Narcissism
counseling for sexual abuse trauma in northern california Sexual Abuse Guidelines
rohnert park PTSD post traumatic stress disorder therapy Book Review:
"Stop Gaining Weight"
The Body Never Lies by Alice Miller and Hidden in Plain Sight by Barry Grosskopf Is Forgiving Our Parents Necessary for Mental Health?
overcoming fear and phobia through psychotherapy Fear of Fear
counseling for gay and lesbian couples in sonoma and marin county Living with the Light and Dark Sides of Life

 

CAMFT

 

 
 
 
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Rapunzel, Daughter of a Closet Narcissist

Gudrun Zomerland, MFT

A couple of months before the movie "Tangled" came out I had come across the story of Rapunzel, again. Having grown up in Germany, I had heard it before but did not remember any of the details. The movie is a very changed version of the original; it is so changed that none of the ingredients that make Rapunzel's psychological challenge so pronounced are present any more. In "Tangled" Rapunzel is a spunky, self-assured young woman. She is a worthy role model for girls but she is not what the Brothers Grimm had in mind. They were trying to teach girls the particular patterns, pitfalls, and tasks involved in growing up with a mother who is both abandoning and imprisoning, needing her daughter emotionally but rejecting and devaluing her at the same time.

For some time I had been searching for a description of a type of narcissism not usually talked about. When we hear the word narcissism most of us think of the exhibitionistic kind. We think of "Mommy Dearest", the type of narcissist who is so obviously self-absorbed and flamboyant that she molds her daughter into an idealized extension of herself. If there are multiple children, she will reject the other ones, but with the first one (usually) she will stay fused or try to stay fused for the rest of her life. But there are other types of narcissism, not so obvious.

In recent years professionals in the mental health field have started to distinguish between those other types of narcissism. There are so many subcategories at this point, both among clinical as well as lay publications, that it can be quite confusing. So, when I listened to the original Rapunzel story, I experienced a moment of wonderful recognition. The Brothers Grimm, over two hundred years ago, described my mother and my journey and the mothers and journeys of many of my clients! The best diagnostic label for these mothers is "closet narcissists".

Narcissistic mothers, whether "closet" or otherwise, are not bad people; they are adult children who have been deeply wounded and traumatized at a very early age. In my mother's case, she was orphaned at age 1½ and grew up with relatives who were not very capable parents. She described her childhood as that of Cinderella. She had her own fairy tale to live through. However, without her having inner and outer resources for healing herself, her trauma became generational and it was passed on to me.

Next page: What causes the narcissistic injury?
 
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