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心の丸窓/Round window of the mind(46) Hurt and development

☞心の丸窓は、心の杜の医師による心の診療に関するコラムです。

Round window of the mind is the column about mental therapy written by doctors of Kokoronomori Shinjuku Clinic.


Hurt of the mind is painful. Usually, we try not to be hurt as much as we can. However, it is also true that, sometimes, we develop our personality when we are hurt. In this article, I would like to consider about the relationship between hurt and development of the personality. 

Of course, I am not saying that a parent should hurt his/her child to stimulate the child's development. If a parent intentionally tries to hurt his/her child, it can be regarded as an abuse. But sometimes, a parent fails to meet child's innocent, but, maybe, too great needs or expectations. Moreover, the parent may even prioritize his/her own needs. What a betrayal! These failures may leave serious wound on the child's mind. And the wound may cause a serious damage, or trauma, on the personality of the child. The child may be frustrated, humiliated, disappointed, despaired, etc. However, at such moments, the child would have an opportunity to face with the hard and cruel reality of the world; the parent is not a perfect person, but a normal, ordinary human being who may fail to meet child's needs. That is to say, there is a limitation of the capacity of the parent. 

There are two kinds of the ways of dealing with these kinds of situations for the child; accepting and avoiding. Avoiding includes denial. For example, turning blind eyes to the reality, the child may think that the parent was intentionally attacking him from hatred, i.e. abuse as he perceives. Or, he may think that it was his fault, rather than the parent's failure. "Mom was depressed and could not take care of me, because I was not a good boy.", for example. This kind of understanding can protect his idealized view of his parent, but he avoids seeing and accepting the reality. If the child can accept the reality, taking pain, he may be able to overcome the wound, though a scar might be left. And only then he can develop and grow, which means becoming able to see more of the reality of the world.

And then, it is also important to have a supportive environment for the child to heal the wound. This might be, for example, sincere apology of the parent about the failure, even knowing it is sometimes inevitable. Or, it could be tolerating the child's retaliation. In other words, the parent also takes pain.

Thus, personal development can only be achieved by true experience of being hurt.

(Gugan)

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