Counselling in Wokingham – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406paulcockayne3@gmail.com

Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a classic story by Robert Louis Stevenson, reworked time and time again. A well-known there, of the good man and the evil, both contained in the same body. The idea that we all have a dark side that we keep hidden, that we need to keep under control.

JekyllHyde1Do you feel like that about yourself? Are there things about you that you don’t like, that you struggle to subdue? Maybe you can get very angry, say things you don’t mean, behave badly towards others. Maybe you can be jealous, or vindictive or spiteful and you regret it when you behave like that. Maybe you have a tendency towards laziness that you dislike. I think most of us would say that there are bad sides to our character, things we wish we could get rid of.

That way of looking at ourselves – the Jekyll and Hyde model – depicts a battle between good and evil. So, if you feel you have a Mr Hyde in you, does that mean that you have to battle all the time to keep him down, to keep him under control? I think it does feel like that for many of us.

For the fortunate, the battle is not too difficult to win – and the consequences of the occasional loss are not too great. If you occasionally drink too much, or are rude to people, or slob about watching a lot of TV and wasting your time, does it matter? Let Mr Hyde have his fun, you can apologise later, your friends will understand the occasional lapse – you’re only human after all.

For the less fortunate, their Mr.Hyde impacts on their lives and the lives of those close to them in a significant and serious way. For these people the battle is not easily won and the consequences of losing the fight are dire. And there’s a downward spiral – each lapse can leave them feeling worse about themselves and that makes the battle more difficult to fight, even to the point of surrender. Ultimately Mr Hyde was too strong for Dr Jekyll, of course.

Jekyllhyde3What can be useful here, I think, is to look at things differently. Your Mr Hyde is not a different person living in your body, he’s a part of you. Where has he come from, why is he there? Rather than trying to get rid of MR Hyde, try understanding him instead. So if he’s an angry person, perhaps in part he is copying behaviour you saw as a child, in one of your parents perhaps? He may think that’s a normal way to behave in certain circumstances. What makes him angry? Rudeness? Injustice? Rejection? What triggers him, why is that so important to him, when to other people it may not matter nearly so much? What life experiences have led Mr Hyde to be the way he is? What are his beliefs, his values?

If you can understand your Mr Hyde, you have a chance to help him. He is not an evil man, he is a part of you and he behaves and feels the way he does for a reason. He doesn’t want a battle. Probably what he wants is to be helped. He may be like a little boy or girl who has been hurt badly. He may need someone who can get past the anger, or jealousy, or spitefulness, someone who will look after him. He may feel like your enemy, but he really wants you to be his friend.

Jekyllhyde2If you can make friends with Mr Hyde, you can work together with him. His anger can give you energy, his laziness can help you to destress, his sadness can give you sympathy for others.

Mr Hyde is just like the rest of us, he wants to be loved. And who better to love him than Dr Jekyll, who has known him all his life, who knows him better than anybody. Give the poor man a hug.

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About Paul Cockayne

Counsellor, musician, iPhone developer, games-player, cheese-lover....
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