AUREET'S LETTERS — Doctoral Studies 1983-88

October, 1983


…First, there are a lot of issues around being a doctoral student - the commitment, the identity closure - "Yes, this is what you are going to be for the rest of your life". Some questioning as to whether it is what I really want, or better yet, questioning the arrogance entailed in believing I can help others, etc., etc., etc.

Aureet's Doctoral Convocation, 1988

…Another difficult thing has been all my different roles - student in Master's courses, doctoral student, teaching assistant for other Master's students that I have classes with, lowly intern, and then part administrator and "know it all" at the Family Center. The role transitions were a bit much in the midst of my own identity crisis. However, things do seem to be settling down a bit.

Sageet comes over a lot and we see Yaneer occasionally. Both seem to be doing well. Sageet still hasn't found a boyfriend but she is blossoming personally - she seems more sure about herself. Yaneer seems happily married - he accidentally called me "cute" on the phone thinking I was Naomi … Yaneer also said he was on the verge of publishing and seemed excited about his work.

February, 1984


I am proud of where I've come, I'm stronger, more integrated, more centered, more at peace, and more accepting of my fallibility and my competence.

…I need you to be professionally different from me at the same time that I cherish our sharing and desperately need your help and support. I expect that, as in all mother-daughter relationships the struggle will continue, but I also feel that we share a very special relationship. …There is part of me that has been screaming for years that I am not as wonderful as you think I am, that being that wonderful is too hard, and that you must, please, recognize this deep fallible insecure inability to reach your expectations of perfection (and of course my own internalized expectations). I almost felt as though I had no right to be imperfect, my failings were shrugged off as inconsequential, and I felt an imposter in my own skin.

I am trying now to let go of the need to be perfect, to own my imperfections side by side with my competencies, so that the two sides, as well as the internal/external discrepancy, are no longer in a combat struggle. As this happens, I feel more at peace and less reactive to minor criticism or praise. I have more of a sense of who I am, separate from others' biased perceptions and don't over-react as much. I feel more ready to handle life with less intensity, more patience, less anxiety, and more acceptance.

Marriage, Career, Homemaking, Motherhood, Relationships, Competence, Identity, Ability, Expectations, Dreams, Disillusionments, etc. all come together in this struggle.

…Suffice it to say that I have grown a lot this year facing existential issues, facing the meaning of professional commitment and competence, and the disillusionment inherent in realizing that life after fairy tales does not go "happily ever after," but rather only just begins to face the real struggles in adulthood.

Naturally, I always find the best in the growing process and although the struggle may be painful, I engage in it with a vengeance, in order to reap it for all its worth. I still have much more that I need to work through and I feel as I reach each new plateau that I am better for it, and as such, am more able to help my clients and everyone else in my life.

…Lots of Love! your loving - not without struggle - daughter,