I recently heard from an author friend with whom I’d lost contact over the past few years. I was happy to receive her email asking me to help format her newest endeavor. I didn’t know much about the project, except it was nonfiction–self-help–unlike her two previous books, both novels, I had read and reviewed.
When she sent me the manuscript, I felt as if I’d entered into Gladys Knight’s world when I saw the title and began reading, Revital Shiri-Horowitz’s book, It’s Just Your Imagination – Growing Up With a Narcissistic Mother. Revital was “Killing Me Softly” with her words.
Not literally, of course. But I was struck that despite our different backgrounds, cultures, and details of our lives, we both experienced the same emotional responses to being raised by women who were unable to love us unconditionally because of their own mental condition.
With precise dissection and brutal honesty, Revital paints the picture of her childhood where she was never good enough and could never please her mother. It’s a childhood where love could be withdrawn as easily as it was given. It left the young girl always feeling as if she didn’t deserve love. The girl turns into a woman feeling the same way and always questioning any expressions of love or affection. It’s difficult to trust anyone when the one person a child looks to for love that never wavers, wavers in that love.
It’s a tough road to travel, and only a person who has done it can really understand, and I understood every single word Revital wrote in this book.
But it’s more than just a recounting of a childhood fraught with drama and rejection and judgement. The book offers insight into how and why the grown woman struggles to toss out the dismissive words, “It’s just your imagination” carelessly stated by a mother who never owns up to her role in the child’s emotional well-being.
Revital also shares expert advice and offers steps to overcome the damage inflicted by a narcissistic mother. It’s a primer for me who lived a similar childhood, but it’s also a map for my loved ones who now live with the debris left over in my psyche. I plan on giving a copy of the book to my husband, my daughter and good friends who often don’t understand my feelings of failure, rejection, and invisibility when nothing in their reality of me supports those feelings.
I’m inspired by Revital’s honesty and bravery in coming out with her story and with her advice for healing. It’s Just Your Imagination is a book of hope, and I thank her writing it.
About Revital Shiri-Horowitz: (See Author Wednesday post) Revital Shiri-Horowitz is an experienced teacher and presenter to Jewish communities and audiences. Using her own life story and excerpts of her novels, Revital Shiri-Horowitz generates a warm and uplifting experience for the listener. Her overall mission is to connect her audiences to their roots so that they can be closer to themselves.
Revital Shiri-Horowitz was born and raised in Israel. As a kid, she wrote poetry and short stories. She’s been writing in her journal almost every day since she was nine years old, and up to the time she met her husband, but never imagined that one day she would become a published author in more than one language, and in so many countries, and even continents.
Revital went on to earn a BA in Hebrew Literature and Geography from Tel Aviv University, an MA in Geography from Haifa University, and an MA in Hebrew Literature from Tel Aviv University.
She was an assistant professor of Geography in Haifa and Tel Aviv Universities, and has been an editor for Hebrew-language books.