Blessed are the Self-Centered

Is Angelina Driven to Be a Compulsive Mother? (h/t Danielle Bean)

Several months ago I saw a meme where you bolded the sentences that were true for you. One of them was: People who dress like me are portrayed accurately in movies. I guess they were looking for stereotypes – a goth look or a skaterat look or whatever. I dress like most other moms (T-shirts and comfortable shoes), but I don’t think we have a uniform so to speak. But even if we all dressed exactly alike, I don’t think Hollywood is capable of portraying us or any other normal group of people accurately. I don’t think they have any idea what normal people are really like. This article, which basically addresses Jolie’s role as a mom, is proof of that.

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“Following a bout with depression, the compulsion to have kids can be a way of self-medicating,” California psychologist Lara Honos-Webb told ABCNEWS.com. “In essence — a distraction and diversion from the inner feeling of emptiness.”

Having kids…at least having more than one or two…is a compulsion. It’s disordered.

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Studies from NYU’s Center for Advanced Social Science suggest that children from large families don’t fare as well because “parental resources are a fixed pie, and children do better when they get more attention [and money].”

Sure, they do. Rich, spoiled brats are the epitome of well-balanced. It’s all those poor kids who have had to spend their whole childhood sharing and taking turns that grow up to have inner feelings of emptiness.

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Jolie is not the first Hollywood celebrity to display her children like jewels.

I mean, my goodness, it’s one thing to have children, and quite another to actually spend time with them. Get a nanny for goodness sake!

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Psychologists say depression is not uncommon among Mother Earth types like Farrow and Jolie. Mother Teresa, the giver of all givers, suffered from clinical depression most of her life, according to a recent story in Time magazine.

“Just as reports revealed a severe 25-year long case of depression for Mother Teresa, any person who rescues others so much so that they neglect or abandon their own spirit, might be headed for a similar state of overwhelm and depression,” said Honos-Webb, who wrote about the topic in her book “Listening to Depression” and has written several books about depression, parenting and the psychology of pregnancy and birthing.

Self-centeredness is the key to true happiness.

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Having babies can sometimes keep personal problems at bay.

“[It] keeps you busy — if not through adoption, than in pregnancy, you get the oxytocin [often called the ‘hormone of love’] bursts,” said Honos-Webb. “You get attention from other people and you define your own role — all those things manage depression.”

And this is bad. Drugs are a much better way to handle depression. Drugs and therapists. If having babies and raising children makes you happy, you need help.

***

Having children to find happiness is a “recipe for a mental health disaster,” according to Honos-Webb, who coins the phenomenon a “Mother Theresa complex.” The result can be a failure to attach emotionally, causing eating disorders and depression in the children.

“There is such an imbalance to give and not to take,” she said. “On the one hand, Mother Theresa was a saint, but on the other hand, it was a perfect formula for major depression.”

Sainthood ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Really, is eternal happiness worth a few decades of depression? You can’t give, give, give all the time. What’s in it for you? Altruism is so very unhealthy.

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But, said Honos-Webb, “any psychologist can tell you appearances have nothing to do with a person’s state of mental health. Having a parent who is emotionally disturbed will definitely show up in ways that you won’t see on camera.”

Again, let’s look at Mother Teresa. She looked like she handled her life with joy, but she was depressed. The world is a better place for her labors, but so what? Her personal happiness suffered, and that is the tragedy.

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Meanwhile, psychologists say Jolie may, indeed, have a real spirituality to her that motivates her to help others.

“That happens being a mother and it’s not pathology,” said Honos-Webb. “It’s a good thing, but it has to be balanced with everyday concerns and attending to your own health.”

“In some ways,” she said, “saving the world is easier than facing our own inner world of emptiness.”

Yes, some amount of giving and self-sacrifice is part of motherhood, but please keep in mind that your personal mental health is paramount. Be sure to retain a certain amount of time and energy to do things just for you. It’s not being selfish, it’s being healthy.

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Christians call it dying to oneself. Realizing that it’s not all about you.

Hollywood calls it deranged.

Note: depression for mothers is real and not funny. Nowhere in that article does it state as a fact that Angelina Jolie has depression of any kind. The idiots interviewed are speculating that she might be depressed based on her “compulsive” desire to have a lot of children. Women who are depressed should seek counseling from someone other than a celebrity columnist. No mother should feel guilty for having personal time away from her children, especially if it gives fathers more time with them.

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