Friday, March 23, 2012


Elizabeth:  Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out by Mary Elizabeth Moloney has just been published.  When my copy arrived from, I could not put it down.  The book is autobiographical, recounting the life of a woman who has struggled to deal with a powerful mother-complex.  Ms. Moloney wrote the book over the last ten years while deeply engaged in a long-term Jungian analysis (not with me).  It is one of the most honest and compelling stories I have ever read.  The author captures the inner struggle of someone caught in the terrible bind of needing her mother's love but never being able to attain it.  Her life became a recapitulation of that tragedy, a long series of seeking to please others while ignoring her own needs.

Ms. Moloney uses the metaphor of clothing as a structure in the narrative.  As a symbol for the persona, her adaptation to the outer world, the metaphor captures her journey from being dressed by mother, by requirements of the various private schools she attended, by the Catholic order of nuns she joined, by the requirements of a trousseau when she married, and eventually by the requirements of her own personhood.

There are many case histories in Jungian Psychology written by analysts.  I have long wanted to read one written by an analysand.  Elizabeth is, in addition to being autobiographical, a deeply moving account of the process of analysis.

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