I read an interesting book recently and you have probably seen it if you enjoy wandering around the bookshops or the WHSmith’s book section- “The book you wish your parents have read (and your children will be glad that you did)” by Philippa Perry. It was recommended by a friend, a fellow book lover of mine, who we share our impressions about various books we finish.
Why I decided to share it with you, is because I see various clients with deep emotional traumas that even they sometimes are not aware of, but it keeps interfering not only with relationships at work, friends and family but with themselves the most. It all tends to lead to unhealthy patterns in their lifestyle and thought processes, increasing chances of ill health, which is what we want to reduce, as life is simply more enjoyable when you can function at your best and live the life you wish for yourself.
When I first started reading it, I wasn’t even sure why I picked it up, as I am not even sure if I want children and wasn’t at the stage where I wanted to dive back into my childhood memories.
The author is very empathetic, but straight in her way of explaining things that parents/family members do that can decrease the possibility of their children in having certain issues in the future- problems with authority, unhealthy attachment styles, depression/anxiety, self-esteem issues, body dysmorphia, and problems when having children themselves in the future.
Now I am not a fan of blaming it all on my childhood/friends/family kind of gal, which I know many younger people are, but I found it fascinating how much it can actually affect us in the future!
You see, I was always the ‘’good child’’- the term normally used for children who don’t get in any trouble, have good grades, study a lot, is nice and polite with everyone, and does everything for everyone. I mean, what else can you wish for? There was the other side of me most people didn’t see. I was also a high-grade people pleaser with high anxiety and depression signs. My health was suffering and I had issues with social interactions and authority. And it was the same with my parents and their parents. It just wasn’t learned at that time that it’s not a normal/healthy way of living- a story I hear from a lot of clients and these patterns tend to persist or come out at very inconvenient times.
There are many things the author suggests/recommends, but I will go through the main ones that have stuck in my head. These are useful not only with children but with friends and family or anyone you decided to invest your time into.
- Listen. We tend to be so busy nowadays that we forget to just sit down and listen to the person talking to us. You don’t even need to reply or give advice. Most of the time, people are just happy that someone listens.
- Acknowledge the emotions. Depending on our personalities, we will be constantly judging other people’s behaviors, thought processes, and how sensitive we think they are. Wouldn’t it be great if we stopped comparing and understand that the person in front of us is going through or feeling something that we can just acknowledge and respect?
- Touch/hug. Not everyone’s love language is touch, so don’t jump on people with free hugs if they do not consent to. However, if you ask, most people invite a human touch/hug when going through something.
- Be present. Constantly asking for the other person to wait until you are done with something else can be done occasionally, but cannot become a habit. No one likes to be a secondary choice, so if you have decided to listen and interact with someone, do so.
- Boundaries. Although a lot of us are chronic people-pleasers, there has to be a line drawn in how much/how long and what we allow others to do without getting us frustrated. If we feel our boundaries are crossed (sometimes without even knowing it), it damages the relationship and causes issues when socializing.
Hope this makes you think a little and gets your empathetic side out. Otherwise, give us a call if feeling overwhelmed and not listened to. There is always someone to talk to.