My novel ‘The New Mrs D’, although largely comedic in content, has a serious message.
When people read that my main character married a man with a porn addiction, without reading further into the book some have asked, ‘why would any sane woman do this?’.
The answer is that this kind of thing is more common than you might think. My protagonist, Bernice Dando, has been needy. Wanting. She has given her all to everyone to the detriment of herself. Why? Because all her life up until now, she has lived in the shadow of a narcissistic mother and as a result, has a codependent personality.
What does this mean?
Besides the almost crippling low self-esteem, codependents have trouble when it comes to communicating their thoughts, feelings and needs. And, if you don’t know what you think, feel or need, how can you ask for what you really, truly want? You won’t own up to your truth. You’re actually scared to be truthful, because you don’t want to upset people. Instead of saying, “I don’t like that,” you might pretend that it’s okay. Instead of saying, ‘no, I won’t marry you. You have issues that are very hurtful to me’, you may say, ‘I do’. And all the while, you are thinking, ‘I can/will fix him’.
“Codependents need other people to like them to feel okay about themselves. They’re afraid of being rejected or abandoned, even if they can function on their own. Others need always to be in a relationship, because they feel depressed or lonely when they’re by themselves for too long. This trait makes it hard for them to end a relationship, even when the relationship is painful or abusive. They end up feeling trapped or settling for less than they are worth. If someone else has a problem, the codependent person wants to help them to the point that they give up themselves. It’s natural to feel empathy and sympathy for someone, but codependents start putting other people ahead of themselves. They keep trying to help and fix the other person, even when that person clearly isn’t taking their advice.” – Mark Banschick, M.D
Psychology Today – THE INTELLIGENT DIVORCE
The New Mrs D is about a woman who finds her truth at last… on a honeymoon alone. It is a lighthearted tale with a serious message, following one woman’s journey of discovery that leads back to her long lost, authentic self. And it is, as one editor has described it, ‘a laugh on every page’.
What’s not to love about a female character with very human flaws, who has deep emotional issues and regular, everyday anxieties a great many women have experienced? A character who starts out wobbling along like Bambi taking his first, tentative steps out into the sunshine and emerges at the finish line, plunging half naked through the Aegean crying out, ‘who cares how this ends?’
For anyone unfamiliar with ‘narcissistic personality disorder’, the work of Dr. Karyl McBride was a huge source of information for me when researching the character of The New Mrs D. Her website, WillI EverBeGoodEnough.com‘ lists Twenty One Characteristics of a Narcissistic Mother. She describes a daughter’s experience thus:
‘Narcissistic mothers teach their daughters that love is not unconditional, that it is given only when they behave in accordance with maternal expectations and whims. As adults, these daughters have difficulty overcoming feelings of inadequacy, disappointment, emotional emptiness, and sadness. They may also have a fear of abandonment that leads them to form unhealthy relationships.’
If you are the child of a narcissistic parent, Dr McBride has written a wonderful book to help you realise you are not alone.
I hope to be able to bring The New Mrs D to your bookshelves soon. Writing it has been a unique voyage of discovery for both my writing and myself. I hope it can be the same for many of you.
You can contact me anytime, should you wish to be informed of the date of release and I would urge you to do so! Prospective publishers love that 😉 Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org