I’m not done yet with referencing articles about psychological treatments. This time I will be quoting an article from June 30th. In this article, the therapist argues that many times a patient’s trauma stems from generations of family members having been mistreated. To a great extent this psychologist hesitates to condemn any parent because of the way he or she treats their children. They may simply be carrying on the patterns of horrible parenting they were subjected to as children.
Although I have some trouble exonerating parents entirely, and we would certainly have to know whether they themselves had similarly bad parenting, this position sounds very close to the damage that occurs in families where alcoholism or abuse of all kinds can be traced back for generations. It’s well accepted that children learn patterns of behavior by what they experience in the home, and that genetic traits are hard to fight.
According to this article, a mother’s behavior toward her child that includes shaming may be an indication that she was once shamed by her parents. Oddly enough, the one thing the mother and child share is the shaming they’ve both suffered through. But that does not bring them together in any way.
The reason this therapist refers to the game of hide and seek is that children may hide their feelings yet wish to have them uncovered. If no one tries to unearth what those feelings are, the children are apt to withdraw in the belief that no one cares. According to this therapist, “we all need to hide sometimes. We need to go into the private space of our mind and take measure of our thoughts. We need to enter this space so we can reflect. And then, having done so, we long to be discovered by someone who’s looking, someone who really wants to find us. If we never have our feelings known and accepted by the people who are important to us, then hiding is no game; it’s a way of life.
It is “‘joy to be hidden,’ the pediatrician and psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott once wrote, ‘but disaster not to be found.’” (Yes, D. W. Winnicott again.)
What this article leads me to think is that even as an adult, we want someone to seek to determine what our feelings and inner thoughts are, and when that doesn’t happen, we withdraw again. In the case of Martin Ellingham (or Louisa, for that matter), childhood has inclined him to be protective of his inner thoughts and feelings. Now that he’s married, he continues to safeguard himself even though he would really like to know that his feelings are important enough for someone to want to draw them out.
That is the dilemma for Louisa. How much pressure should anyone put on a spouse to share his/her inner thoughts? How hard is it to drop one’s own protective barriers and express those innermost feelings, perhaps leaving oneself exposed or probing too deeply into one’s partner’s emotions?
Originally posted 2015-07-17 11:11:07.