Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – email@example.com
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It’s all going to be OK…..or is it?
I think that deep down most of us fear the worst – that we’ll get ill and there’ll be nobody to look after us – that we’ll lose our job and there’ll be nobody to support us – that we’ll collapse emotionally and there’ll be nobody to help us recover. For all the confidence we might exhibit to others, for all the competence we might possess in managing our day to day lives, deep down inside us, or inside most of us, there’s a gibbering wreck trying not to get out.
It’s not surprising that’s the case because we enter the world in a state of complete dependence. New born babies could not survive without help, and happily, for the vast majority of babies, there’s someone (usually a mother) there to tend to their every need. When a baby’s hungry, or cold, or ill, or needs changing, mum’s there like magic to sort it out. And so we learn, from an early age, that it’s all going to be OK; that when we need somebody, we cry, and they come to help us.
But as we grow up, things get more complicated. There isn’t always someone there – maybe a new baby is taking mum’s attention, maybe mum is ill, maybe we find ourselves expected to cope more on out own – and maybe we make mistakes, maybe we are told off – and so we start to learn that life is difficult, and that mum won’t always come running. And however well we cope with things that come up, however able we are, doubts start to creep in – can I be sure that it is going to be OK?
As adults, one of the great things about being in a stable, long-term relationship is that it restores that deep, inner certainty that we had as kids. Our partner will always be there for us, to catch us when we fall, to hold us when we shake, to calm us when we seethe. If the worst happens, are partner will be there for us. It will all be OK.
Or will it?
The trouble is that things can change. Relationships can go wrong, often through nobody’s fault, just because circumstances change. Our feelings change, our partner’s feelings change, and if the relationship doesn’t change with us, it can break down. And so that inner reliance that we built on our partner, that feeling that it will all be OK, is suddenly ripped away. We might still have our kids, our house, our job, our friends and family – at the top level, maybe not that much has changed – but deep down, that fundamental security we felt – that mirrored our feelings as a baby – has been destroyed. And so we can feel, once again, as vulnerable as a new-born baby.
When this happens, it can be almost like you need to grow up again. As we move from childhood to adulthood we gain self-reliance and self-confidence, and it seems that often people need to go through a similar process when a relationship breaks up. We can come to realise that, in the relationship that believed would last forever, we have lost ourselves – our needs and ambitions have been put to one side – we have stopped striving, achieving, being proud of ourselves.
And so we have to rebuild, to think for ourselves, a bit like selfish teenagers, except that as adults we are much better placed to make good decisions. We’ve grown up once, so we can do it again, except that we can do it better this time. We can better trust our judgment and our instincts. We can stand up more firmly for what we want and what we believe is right. We can apply ourselves and achieve our objectives.
And it will be OK.