Home' LOTL : June 2004 Contents ADVICE BY DAWN COHEN
Q I always feel lonely, despite the fact that I have great friends and
family. I have had lots of relationships, but this overriding sensation
never shifts. Does everyone feel this way? -- Alone in a crowd.
A Intrinsic aloneness is certainly part of every life, but you seem to be dealing with
another kind of isolation. You have good social skills, but maybe you hide important
aspects of your personality from other people, and perhaps even from yourself.
I wonder which feelings are hardest for you to expose -- anger, vulnerability or
neediness? We only feel connected with other people to the extent that we share
ourselves with them. Find out what is blocking you from intimacy by giving
psychotherapy a go. You may find your answers in a few sessions, or it may take much
longer. Pick someone who is a government-registered professional, and a member of
the umbrella organisation for psychotherapists, PACFA.
Q My adolescent son wants to put pornographic pictures on his
walls, and collect pornographic videos and magazines. I think
pornography abuses women and want to forbid it. He says it's his
life and his bedroom. -- Fighting feminist mother.
A Many mothers who dislike pornography feel powerless when their boys become
teenagers. If they forbid pornography at home, boys get it from their friends. There is
little women can do, and still there is the feeling of guilt and responsibility for their
child's actions. Some women get a sympathetic male to watch a pornographic video
with their sons, discussing how it objectifies both women and men. Problematically,
pornography can often become the battleground on which a boy fights out his need to
separate from his mother and become his own person. Ultimately you must leave the
decision up to him, or he will begin to identify pornography as an expression of his
individuation from you. You need to negotiate the line with him between his right to
make his own choices, and your right to be safe from abusive images. You might agree
together that he can keep a private collection as long as you don't have to see them,
or you may come to some other arrangement.
Q I have an old school friend who bores me to tears. She accepts
my lesbianism, but we don't have anything in common any more.
I act pleased to hear from her, but really I dread her phone calls.
A Boredom can sometimes be a symptom of an unexpressed tension in a friendship.
Perhaps you have feelings of anger, longing or other unresolved issues. If so, address
them. On the other hand, sometimes boredom is covering up nothing more than more
boredom. If that is truly the case, and the relationship is no longer meeting your needs,
give it away.
The opinions expressed in this column are the personal views of the
writer, they are not intended to be a substitute for professional
medical advice. If you need medical or psychological help please see
your local GP or psychologist.
I WONDER WHICH FEELINGS ARE HARDEST FOR YOU
TO EXPOSE -- ANGER, VULNERABILITY OR NEEDINESS?
ULTIMATELY YOU MUST LEAVE THE DECISION
UP TO HIM, OR HE WILL BEGIN TO IDENTIFY
PORNOGRAPHY AS AN EXPRESSION OF HIS
INDIVIDUATION FROM YOU.
Clinical Member CAPA
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