Most of us want to understand ourselves better, and this inevitably means taking a look at where we came from and how that’s influenced us today.
How’s your inner child feeling to today?
Mine is feeling bored and wants me to stop writing this, and to get outside into the sunshine, as well as find some yummy food to eat (preferably chocolate) right now!
In 2012 I wrote a different article about this subject which still attracts lots of interest – both online and via one of my books – showing me that the matter of resilience continues to intrigue a wide range of people from a broad range of professions.
The most important thing to remember is that not everyone is built of the same stuff when it comes to being able to create the necessary internal psychological structures – or mental ‘grit’ – to support themselves in times of great challenge, adversity and distress. [Read more…]
Q I’m a college and still living at home. I say it’s home but it’s never felt like home. There’s always shouting and arguing going on between my mum and step-dad and my older brother gets involved too. It’s so horrible and I try and keep my distance as much as I can by staying in the college library to study. I feel ignored and over-looked because I’m the quiet one in the family. I shouldn’t have to shout to be seen or heard. It’s left me feeling more nervous and timid, and scared of ever having a relationship in case it ends up like my mum and step-dad’s (my own dad died when I was very small and my step-dad quickly came on the scene). I hate it there and long for the day I can move out and get my own place. Why do they all have to keep shouting at each other all the time?
A You are right. There is no need to shout. I guess they think that it’s an effective way to make the other person hear what they say. It doesn’t mean that the other person is listening though and is most likely pre-occupied with their own next verbal blasting!
It would take an ‘adult’ agreement between them to all stop raising their voices. I very much doubt that you will be able to change their ingrained conflict pattern alone. There will need to be an awareness of how detrimental and futile all that shouting was for them. [Read more…]
Q My 10 year old son mentioned to me that his friend at school likes to trap and hurt animals. I felt sick to the core at what he described seeing at his friend’s house when he went there for a sleepover. I have no doubt that it’s true and my dilemma is whether to speak to the boy’s parents or the school. I don’t think it’s a natural developmental stage and I’m baffled and worried about it. My son thought it was ‘sick’ which is why he told me about it. He now wants to avoid this other boy and I have to say I’m very pleased about that. I’m left wondering why is he so cruel to animals?
A That’s a tricky one to answer. On the one hand we know from research studies that there is a much greater likelihood of adult violence from someone who was cruel to animals as a child.
The other side of the coin is about how you can share your feelings and concerns without being ‘punished’ by the parents who may think their son’s behaviour is acceptable. Or they may not even know about it and then feel ashamed and defensive. [Read more…]
Q After 10 years of marriage we have decided to separate with a view to getting a divorce in two years time.
I know that lots of couples split up yet I hear very conflicting accounts of the effects upon the children.
I feel sad, disappointed and that I’ve somehow failed in my marriage, but I can see that we were never that compatible and we both fell in love with the notion of love. We have just matured and grown apart.
What do you think is the main problem we might need to work through to make all this less painful for our kids?
A I admire your heart-felt concern for the continuing welfare of your children.
I get the impression that this split is amicable and if so this will already be of benefit to your kids.
When you feel concerned about something to do with your separation, then try putting yourself in their place and seeing things from their (immature) perspective. This will help you to separate what is really your own concern or issue, and what might be one of theirs. [Read more…]
Q My kids are both nagging me for the latest games and fashion gear – but I just can’t afford it because I’m a single parent on benefits. They’ll have to make do with what I can get for them, and I get some great bargains from charity shops and car boot sales. My friend said the other day that giving them cast-offs will affect them when they grow up. Do you think it will?
A I have a two-sided response to your question. On the one hand I know from personal experience how shaming it feels not having the same quality or quantity of stuff that childhood peers have. It’s tough being a child who is ridiculed and stands out as different from their peers. Children can be very harsh – because many of them haven’t been brought up to be better than that. [Read more…]
Q I feel like I’ve committed some sort of crime in my family by becoming a single parent. It’s not like I’m the first woman ever to bring up a child without the dad around! My family say they love my daughter, yet I can feel the digs here and there that I’ve somehow made a mistake picking the wrong man (he left when I found out I was pregnant), or by keeping her and bringing her up myself. My brother and sister are at university, but that was never my ‘dream’. When my daughter is older I’ll get a part-time job but for now I want to be there for her. There’s no shame these days so why do my family make me feel wrong for letting them down?
A You’re right – there is no shame in bringing a child into the world and loving that child, and wanting the best in life for them.
Any shame belongs in the minds of those who judge. What I mean is, it’s their own ego and blue-print for how things ‘should’ be, that is the problem. [Read more…]
Q My dad is a nationally well-known business man, and I’ve recently qualified in business studies. I really want to start my own business and have plans in place. My big fear is that I’ll never match up to his success and that he’ll be disappointed in me…and I’ll feel like a failure. It’s getting in the way of me making a start. My mum says that he’ll be proud of me whatever I do but it doesn’t feel like it. I feel like I’ll always be in his shadow and never be accepted as successful in my own right.
A It can be hard to separate from our parents and create our own unique identity – particularly with strong dominant parents and those who are well-known.
I’m glad to hear that your mum says that he’ll be proud of you no matter what. I hope that you hear this directly from him too.
Is he trying to steer and advise you or is he letting you find your own way? [Read more…]
Q All this talk and media stuff about breastfeeding is really making me feel bad. I’m due to have my first baby in a couple of months time and feel pressured by the hospital and my doctor to breastfeed.
The thought of it repulses me. Having someone suckling at me, draining me, dependent on me to be around every few hours like a milking machine. The idea makes me feel trapped and angry. I do want to do the best for my baby and my husband says it’s my choice, but I can tell that he and my family all side with the pro-breastfeeders.
Is there something wrong with me?
A There’s nothing wrong with having a preference and making a choice. The main thing that stands out for me is your struggle between wanting to do the best for your baby and yet not wanting to give your baby the best form of early nutrition – at least not direct from your breast.
Some women can’t breast feed anyway – due to physical problems – and this might be the case for you too when baby arrives. If so, I’d suggest that you also explore the psychological reasons and not only the physical ones.
I am curious about your level of disgust. Such a strong reaction might be fueled by something from your past. [Read more…]