Home' LOTL : September 2004 Contents ADVICE BY DAWN COHEN
Q I often start projects and never finish them. I can be doing a great
sculpture, but before I finish it I lose interest and begin something else.
A therapist once said I lacked confidence because I was adopted.
Should I go to self-esteem classes? -- Nerida, Cremorne.
A We often enact childhood traumas in our adult life quite unconsciously. You are
giving away your creative babies before you can enjoy them. Your birth mother did the
same with you. Whatever the actual reason your birth-mother gave you up for adoption,
it's possible that your internal child believes that your mother lost interest in you just like
you are losing interest in your creations. You need to get a conversation going with your
child-self about the sense she has made of your adoption. You can't do it by yourself
because your conscious understanding may be quite different to what is going on
underneath. Self-esteem classes won't go deep enough, but psychotherapy with a
government-registered psychotherapist who works with the unconscious will.
Q Most people disappoint me. I meet new people all the time, and they
always let me down. I am too pessimistic, maybe, but experience
proves me right. Now I no longer expect anything from anyone, and
that way I don't get hurt. -- Thin skinned.
A You are comfortable protecting yourself from pain, but you are like a closed-off lake,
unrefreshed by river or sea. Would you rather be right or happy? You may be
unwittingly contributing to the relationship pattern where people let you down. Possibly
you have unrealistic expectations. Perhaps deep down you are afraid of it being
different. If you explored your contribution to the dynamic, you would initially feel out
of control. In the long-term, happiness would become a possibility.
Q I have a friend who keeps going after the girls I am interested in.
She has other great qualities, but she believes all is fair in love and
war. I think friends should tell each other who they fancy, so I have
been sharing stuff with her. Should I stop being friends? -- Gazumped.
A First, stop telling her about your romantic interests. In this particular area she can't
be trusted, and you must protect yourself. If the friendship can't work unless you place
yourself in danger, then you may need to let her go.
Q My elderly mother has all her faculties, but she will not believe me
when I tell her she is getting ripped-off by her long-time housekeeper.
She only steals change and Mum is not short of money but I am so
angry about it, I want to do something. -- Discerning daughter.
A Your mum may have reasons for denying the thefts. Perhaps the emotional loss of
her housekeeper is more devastating than the loss of the money. I hear how frustrated
and powerless you feel, but until your mother wants to know, any action you take
would be intruding on her right to control her own life. Make sure your mother feels
safe enough with you to tell you if the housekeeper is abusing her in any other way.
Your responsibilities in this situation would be quite different if your mother was not
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.
... BUT YOU ARE LIKE A CLOSED-OFF LAKE,
UNREFRESHED BY RIVER OR SEA. WOULD YOU RATHER
BE RIGHT OR HAPPY?
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