A bit of a blog rant against parent bashing.
This is what turned me Cranky … teenagers asked for help of a therapist …
“I have trust issues. I don’t trust people, even very close family. I always think people are out to get me and that everyone hates me. Also, if I feel loved or happy a warning goes off in my head telling me I shouldn’t be fooled: no one REALLY loves me, and if I believe that they do, I will end up getting hurt. I don’t know why I feel this way! Nothing ever happened to me to justify this intense fear of rejection.
I understand that part of my believing no one loves me is because I don’t really feel worthy of love because I don’t love myself. Feeling like there is no safe place, no person that can be trusted, is an awful awful feeling. I always feel in danger, I don’t believe the people around me. I feel like people are trying to be nice but they are really lying to me. Please help me feel better.
Nothing ever happened to me to justify this intense fear of rejection.
The therapist answered:
I know you believe that, but I’m certain that something must have caused this “awful feeling” in you. My guess is that your parents didn’t give you a consistent, constant feeling of “YOU ARE IMPORTANT. YOU ARE LOVED. WE LOVE YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, ALWAYS.”
When parents give children those messages, loud and clear, kids don’t feel the way you’ve described your feelings in your question.
I know most of you are parents, so you understand my crankiness. The therapist was a parent-basher; she looked like a kid herself. Moreover, her advice probably widened the gap between the girl and her parents.
I commented crankily, but probably should have added a small “Thank you” for giving me something to rant about here.
PARENTING ADVICE ABOUT TRUST
My comment complained about parent bashing and then offered the following ideas:
Tip one: A reality check. Betrayal and broken trust are part of every relationship no matter how loving. Think of the toddler in the midst of separation anxiety? Parent leaves. Trust broken. Life goes on. Think of the beloved grandparent who dies. Trust broken. Life goes on.
Tip two: We betray each other because we need conflict. Knowing that can keep expectations more realistic. Keeping expectations realistic reduces the pain that comes from every day betrayals. Moreover, it aids dealing effectively when trust gets broken big time.
Tip three: Rating scales are important in maintaining perspective on many things and broken trust is one of those things. Even a simple three point scale can help. Small betrayal, medium betrayal, big time betrayal. It builds perspective.
Tip four: Strong self-soothing skills help deal with life’s hurtful moments. Think about getting my eBook Self-soothing, creating calm in your life. It costs less than a Banana Split and does more good.
Tip five: Strong self-defense skills improve confidence. As always I suggest children profit from taking Peace Aikido training.
Broken trust is part of life and we all need to know that. But distrust can be carried too far. Being hopeful and emotionally strong enough to withstand hurts and betrayals is the best mix.
The first: Although built upon evidenced based practices, there is no guarantee my advice is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my tips; if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser. You are the expert on you and your child; the rest of us experts on many different things.
The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog posts. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments. Life is too short to let problems you can avoid annoy or stress you.