All of us were parented.
For many of us, it went well.
We were loved, our views were respected,
our needs were tended to.
It helped to make us the more or less sane people we are now.
For others among us, things went really rather badly wrong.
Perhaps there was unreliability,
怒气冲冲 羞愧难当 暴力倾向 甚至更糟糕的状况
anger, humiliation, violence or worse.
If there was, we’re liable to have beendeeply marked.
We may, even if it all happened quite a number of years ago now,
keep noticing new ways
in which the past is getting in the way of a good life in the present.
Our inadequate parenting experiences undermine our ability
to have sound relationships, the right sort of confidence
and to extend adequate nurture to ourselves.
We would like, of course, to move on.
There is something unbalanced and deeply cruel in
the idea of the first 12 years determining the next 50.
We cannot change the past,
but it does remain open to us to correct at least some of its repercussions.
We may learn to do this through a neglected
and yet deeply powerful process we call re-parenting.
How our parents behaved will have laid down a template in our minds
about how we should respond to challenges.
But we don’t need to remain forever stuck with the kind of care
which we imbibed in the early years.
We by nature have an ability to parent ourselves.
What this means is, an ability to- comfort ourselves at moments of difficulty
– to interpret the troubles that beset us with imagination and kindness
– to encourage ourselves in the face of anxiety and loss
– and to reassure the more fragile, agitated parts of us
by drawing upon our experience and our serene aspects.
All this is what good parents do for their children,
but if this did not happen to us,
we can still – in adulthood – step in anddo it for ourselves.
One part of the mind can speak to the other,
one part can act as the sane, resilient counterweight
to the bruised more immature side of the self.
We can figuratively put an arm around our own shoulder.
Our experience of the shortfalls of our own parents offer us an expertise
that is wasted if it stays stuck at the level of criticism.
It should become the template for a far more useful project:
the creation of an inner ideal parent, who acts in all the ways
in which the real thing should have done, but didn’t quite.
Knowing so much about what we did not have
enables us to be experts at what we need
– and should believe we can provide for ourselves.
We already have the perfect inner parent;
it’s simply in many ways the opposite of the one we had.
Though childhood is a one off event in material time,
in psychological time, it is endlessly recurring.
The eight year old us is stillthere –
and we can talk to it and respond to it in a way
that allows it to mature and strengthen in the way it always should.
We can dare to make use of a much underestimated
capacity that of reparenting ourselves.
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