A Letter from Egle Minelgaite-Beinoriene

Dear Replacement Child Forum,

A few weeks ago, I raised from oblivion some paintings I had drawn when I was about 19 – 22 years old. Now, I look at them with fresh eyes and also surprise as I recognize in these paintings the portrait and inner landscape of a replacement child.

I was hiding in emptiness

When we say ‘portrait’, usually we expect meeting with an image of somebody, a clear expression of his/her authentic character and of particular mood. In these paintings, however, the most visible feature of my portrait from those times, is my hiding and dissolving in emptiness, even my sometimes vanishing in a black hole. Yet, I can see now that even then, I was letting some archetypal creature stand in the central position, at the same time.

I was replacing my own mother

This emotional condition which soaked my whole being through to my bones all my life, was due to my mother‘s sudden death in a car accident when I was 8 years old.  From then on, I was replacing my own mother, for many years of my life.

Since then, the essential pursuit of my existence was letting her image shape my body and psyche, thereby excusing me for having been left alive, and thus allowing me to get emotionally closer with my grandmother, who was mourning her only beloved daughter.

I let my mother live through me

My feelings of guilt for being alive pushed me into a hiding position. I was suppressing my own emotional expressions and needs except those that allowed my mother to live through me. My stunning physical resemblance with my mother perfectly served that. Even now, 39 years after her death, having outlived her age by more than 9 years – it’s hard to believe – but it happens time after time that some strangers stop me in the street asking if I am her daughter! The only difference from childhood times is that now I feel some irritation in such a situation (“I am not my mum at all!”), but in my youth and childhood I felt so proud of that.

“Not to be” and “to let the other express” became my motto of my early days. This is evident to me now, in those paintings I recently re-discovered.

Who is who?
Who is who?

Who is Who?

Let’s play a little bit! Could you find me in that large 4-paged picture (Who is Who? picture 1)? Am I that huge figure looking down from the right top corner? No, it’s she, my mother, or rather my image of her soul. I am not this huge bird, on the lower side either. I am this vanishing small vertical line in the left botton corner. Do you see it?

The Immense Mother

Let’s try with the next picture (The Immense Mother; picture 2).

The Immense Mother
The Immense Mother

Again, I am that tiny unshaped figure to the left side of that huge figure’s hair, climbing up towards a small house at the top.

Mother Nature, mother Earth, served for my mothers embrace (The Mother Nature picture 3; The Dispersing Image picture 4).

I remember that I was constantly wishing to rest, to dissolve myself in nature, which resembled so my persistent wish to disappear in the black hole, when I was younger (The Black Hole picture 5; Toward Nothingness picture 6).

Death energy threatening to absorb me

At that time, the death experience was really absorbing me, or threatening to absorb me. I remember well one dream from that time in which I’m walking in my childhood home surroundings and suddenly find out that in the basement there is a door and some young priest opens that door to nowhere, to the cosmos, to the huge black hole and conducts dead people there. The Earth is flat and narrow in that dream, the Cosmos is above and below, too near to live safely.

The Rising Sun

But the last picture in that series (The Rising Sun, picture 7) shows a little bit a changing atmosphere: there’s no longer a black hole at the centre, but you can rather recognize a rising sphere or ball, resembling more the sun than a hole. It seems, my existence is no longer dissolving but rather dynamically appearing and, finally, coming into being.

The Rising Sun
The Rising Sun

I found a unique, unrepeatable picture of my psyche

Not by chance, my passionate interest in black holes from my childhood days transformed into my no less passionate interest in astrology. That was the crucial point. In astrological charts I found some ‘documented’ testimony that every of us has an unique, unrepeatable picture of their psyche. Thankfully, I discovered that my mother’s astrological chart differed essentially from my own.

This was really the awakening moment! You can see it indicated in the rising sun, a symbol of my rising consciousness, expressed in my painting The Rising Sun picture 7. It was like I got to see in this painting an image of my inner soul, unique and different from mother’s in contrast to the photos of our faces that looked so strikingly similar that I could easily show to anybody her photos instead of mine.

Finally, astrology brought me to analytical psychology, to this never-ending and deep process of cognition of psyche.  

Meeting with Kristina Schellinski and reading her precious book (Individuation for Adult Replacement Children) undoubtedly helped me to see the whole picture of my life in a truly related manner. It has inspired me and given me strength and courage to live and express myself more boldly. To arise again and again from the ashes to this colourful and vibrant life.

I am immeasurably grateful for the replacementchildforum.com giving us this opportunity to express ourselves and to meet with our true self and with others who are on their way to their individuation.         

P.S. With this letter, I hope to encourage others to speak more openly about their replacement condition.

Egle Minelgaite-Beinoriene, Jungian Analyst and Psychotherapist from Lithuania

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