‘Do that again and again.’

A

A childhood message from some kinds of selves

Mel is five years old. Her Dad is a rather immature person and when he comes home at night he just flops in front of the TV or says he is too tired to talk to her. Meanwhile">


 

‘Do that again and again.’

A

A childhood message from some kinds of selves

Mel is five years old. Her Dad is a rather immature person and when he comes home at night he just flops in front of the TV or says he is too tired to talk to her. Meanwhile, Mum who is also not very grown-up, is becoming more and more unhappy with her marriage. In fact, Mum has been so miserable over the last two days she has even forgotten to do the washing up and there is now quite a pile of dishes on the sink.   Mel, like most five year olds, would like to have a happy mother and father and like most small children also feels her parents’ immaturity and unhappiness is somehow ‘her fault’. To her, that means it is also her responsibility to make them happy again.

So today, while Mum was crying in the bedroom, Mel pulled a chair up to the sink and very carefully washed all the dishes, to see if that would help. To her delight, when Mum came out and saw what Mel had done she actually smiled! She told Mel she was a good girl for making Mummy happy. When Dad came home, Mum told him about Mel helping and he praised her too and gave her a smile and a little hug.

Mel was overjoyed. In her mind she had discovered an easy way to make her parents happy, just by washing dishes. Like Phil, Mel will quickly adapt herself to fit in with this new understanding.  However, where Phil’s rule-maker (in the story on the next page) tells Phil ‘never ever do that again’ Mel’s rule-maker is saying ‘do that again and again.’

Tomorrow and the day after that, you can bet that Mel will be at the sink and Mum will smile and in a very short time Mel will have a new primary self which, if it were to have a name might be ‘responsible caretaker’ or ‘look after others first’. At that time, Mel, like Phil, is discovering that parts of her natural personality seem like polar opposites to the adapted selves, the ones that seem to be better at making her parents happy. She is years away from learning how to keep both sides in balance, so for now she disowns the natural parts to stop them getting in the way of her adapted responsible caretaker self.

One of the natural parts most likely to be sent into exile is her magical child, the part that knows how to play and have fun and paint pretty pictures but this will seem like a small price to pay if she can only have a happy family and feel she has a place in it.

Once this pattern is established Mel will find herself looking for other ways to ‘make’ Mum and Dad happy especially when they start taking her dishwashing for granted, stop praising her and begin to get sad all over again. By the time Mel is eleven she will have probably become more responsible and more grown-up than either of her parents and will have missed out on most of her childhood.

Each time she adds a little more to her list of ‘responsibilities’ things will get better for a little while, but what Mel is still too young to realise is that Mum and Dad are really both ‘adult-children’ and nothing that she can do will change this. So she will just keep on trying to fix things until she grows up.

.Hit Counter


Copyright John Nutting 1996 - - 2004  and      GROWING AWARENESS   All rights reserved World Wide   LAST UPDATE  Wednesday, 23 January 2008 00:39

Don't worry about these copyright notices at the foot of each page. It just means I want to hang on to legal ownership of what I write for use in future books.  Until that day, please feel free to copy and even adapt them for your own use and for friends as long as you acknowledge me as the author and owner of the copyright and you don't charge anyone for them. If you want to use them professionally or commercially (charge a fee for them) or for clients, each sheet you hand out must include full acknowledgment of copyright ownership as above and if  you are benefiting as a result, I would appreciate an appropriate sharing.

   RETURN TO GROWING AWARENESS  HOME PAGE

Hit Counter