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Hate In The Mirror - The Quality Of Life
Hate In The Mirror - The Quality Of Life

For the first time, I met the heroine of the consultation in absentia. My friend called and asked if it was possible to give a phone to a woman who is going through a difficult divorce. It turned out that not his own, but his parents. I wondered whether it was about a “fresh” divorce, or one that happened many years ago, and the memories of it affect life “here and now”. And here I have Olga - she is a little over 30, she is slim and pretty. It is noticeable that physically he feels bad - this happens when you see a person who has a headache or backache. And also breathing - superficial, "weak".

Yulia Vasilkina: Olga, I read your letter and I know that the issue is related to the divorce of the parents. But still tell us a little about the situation to get into the topic

Olga: Our family in childhood is mom, dad, me and my younger sister. We all have always lived together. The main thesis: "We have not had divorces." I don’t remember ever having scandals or insults. Dad was the boss - both at work and at home. We are all used to the fact that he decides everything. Outwardly, I look very much like my father, and I was always proud of that. Our house was hospitable and we all worked very hard to make it beautiful and cozy. Now I have been married for a long time, I live in another city. My sister is also married, but lives in her hometown.

Olga continued to talk. For the first time "thunder struck" seven years ago, when it turned out that my father had a mistress for two years. Lyudmila, Olga's mother, kicked out her father, but after a few weeks he returned, and the family began to live together again. It was clear that my mother was "gnawed" by feelings, but she kept the relationship. Not for the sake of their daughters (they were already independent), but for themselves. The final breakup occurred during the family's New Years celebration.

A: My husband and I had just left for the hotel when my sister called. She said: "Come, we have it again." It turned out that the father confessed to his mother that he had another woman and he was leaving for her. This time it was all serious. The father really left and did not want to return. Now he lives in another city many kilometers away with his new wife and mothers on both sides. The divorce was terrible. It seemed that a pack of yeast had been thrown into the village toilet, and it crawled. The whole big family rallied around my mother, and my sister and I were unanimous that one is not to blame for everything.

Yu. V.: How does this situation affect you personally?

A: There are many problems: I cannot accept myself, even my own reflection in the mirror is unpleasant to see. I often criticize my abilities, I have a feeling of failure. It seems that the best in life has already happened, and it will only get worse. Health was badly shaken. I have become more withdrawn, it is difficult to communicate with people, I want and do not want to. However, I do not recognize the parents. I don’t understand whether each of them "became himself" or some character traits sharpened. In a word, these are not the people who raised me. My father ignores me. Absolutely. How to communicate? Or not to communicate? With mom like this: then the position "I am a little capricious girl, help me everything", then "I said!". The unhappy appearance is replaced by dictatorship. I see clear attempts to manipulate.

I invited Olga to draw this in the form of a diagram. Olga identified five main problem areas: “endless illnesses”, “trust in people (husband, friends)”, “self-determination”, “rejection of appearance and habits - what is from mom, and what is from dad”, “isolation ". As is often the case, the scope of work was too broad, especially for one consultation. In this case, efficiency can only be achieved in one way - by asking the client to choose what worries the most and work with it. The comforting information was that all the identified problems are “doors” that lead to the same basic problem and are its parts. But we are talking with the client about what is a priority for him. For Olga, these were “endless illnesses”.

Only at first glance, the issue of illness is not for a psychologist. Of course, not all diseases are of a psychosomatic nature. But serious life problems tend to be reflected in how a person feels. And Olga felt bad - either a severe allergy with urticaria, or "every day a new disease" (headache, muscle jamming, spasms, chills, fever, dizziness, nervousness, apathy, poor sleep, and so on). Breathing, some stiffness in the body, posture, pallor spoke for themselves. Olga was worried about sleep - she could not fall asleep for a long time because of the thoughts about her parents that were spinning in her head, despite the fact that more than two years had passed since the divorce. Olga talked about her physical condition for a long time and finally came to the problem.

A: I can neither give up the situation, nor leave it to myself. To give up the situation would mean that I cease to fully participate in all conversations, discussions and judgments. In this case, I feel like a traitor. But I don't want to throw mud at my father and endlessly discuss crumbs of information about him with our gossips! I try to go home less, it's stressful for me. But I feel like I'm betraying my mother. Leaving the situation to oneself would mean full participation, but on the side of mom. Mom wants me to be on her side. But I can't do that, I love my father! And you know, it's just funny …

Yu. V.: What exactly?

A: This is my urticaria. I have it when I come to my hometown. As if the body "saves" me from the trip, giving a plausible reason to refuse it!

Yu. V.: It seems so. And now I have a task for you. There are many different photos in front of you. Choose one that reflects the situation as it is now

A: This one, with a knot. He is very unpleasant, he looks like an octopus. The color is optimistic, but the overall look … The background is cracked, there is a deep crack in half. Somewhere at the base of the fault, messed up at all levels and tiers. But … by the way, it's easy to untie it. The rope has been compressed from time to time, and it is not necessary to cut it, you can unravel it.

Yu. V.: Interesting associations. We'll put this picture aside. Now choose a photo that reflects the "ideal" situation in the future

A: This picture will do. There is a boat with several people on it. They all swim together. Everything will become so good! There is no sea, no sun, this is good, not advertising happiness, real. We will all sit in the same family boat and sail. Everyone here will have their own compartment.

Yu. V.: I would like to clarify: does this image mean that you would like to reunite your parents? Is this the most desirable situation for you?

A: No, not really. I'm afraid if they reunite, there won't be peace anyway. Rather, it is for my soul: we are all together, they do not conflict inside me, they get along peacefully. Now it is a constant conflict.

And now the puzzle is complete! All of its parts miraculously fell into place, and it was worth sharing with Olga. I drew attention to the last thought that the parents inside her must live peacefully, and now they are in conflict. This was the reason for the poor physical condition. Love for the father conflicted with the mother's demand to choose her side, and Olga was very much like her father and was proud of it. How could she be proud of further, if it even more irritated her beloved mother? It only remained to look worse and not want to see myself in the mirror. And what about the "mother's" intonations that naturally arose in her speech? Most likely, it was a subconscious attempt to bring the mother and father closer together. But due to the fact that the aggressive behavior of the mother was unpleasant to Olga, she also did not like the arising intonations. As long asas I described these underwater currents, Olga began to "blossom". The back straightened, the face relaxed, and the breathing became deeper. Tears came (how without them?). She seemed to be getting permission to love her parents and be like both of them. Having made this stop, we continued …

Yu. V.: Good. Then another image. Describe to me your desired state in which you would like to come after a while. Physical and mental. Look at yourself as if from the outside and describe what you see

A: I see Olga, who is calm. She has no feeling that "now something is going to happen." She has optimism, faith in the future. Her parents recognize and respect her as a person (now the mother's attitude is "downright"). Olga is sleeping peacefully. She looks better than now, and also got rid of her mother's intonations in her voice.

We started looking for resources that could help Olga cope with the situation, figured out what had already been done (and with what efficiency), and also made a list of steps for the near future. We paved the way from now to later by looking at the images in the pictures.

At the end of the consultation, despite the long and difficult work, Olga looked much better than at the beginning. And this is a very important indicator for the state in which we started working. Efficiency is visible externally - what could be better? Olga said that she structured much of what had previously been spinning in her head, like a worn-out record, and also "got permission" (not mine, internal!) To be like both parents at the same time and not feel guilty.


Two months later, Olga wrote to me: “There are positive shifts, but they are more likely associated with a change in the general attitude than with the step-by-step implementation of the points of the plan that we drew up during the meeting. Loneliness helped a lot, for a month I was on my own with rare exceptions. I still solve health issues. I didn't go to my father. In general, moderation and accuracy. And reasonable egoism."

A year later, we contacted Olga again, and here are the changes that took place in her life: “Communication with my father was restored, he even came to me and accepted our help with my husband. I managed to simply and honestly talk to him so that both (me and he) were satisfied. It's more difficult with mom. Either character changes with age, or a character that we did not know about is manifested. I think it's all together. My younger sister is expecting a baby, the birth is very soon, for 30 years no one has given birth in the family, this will be a new stage for everyone. Reasonable egoism is alive and cheerful - it helps. “Hurry to do good, if it does not threaten you with great harm,” I don’t remember whose words these were. In general, I managed to recover, thank you!"

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