Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for March 14th, 2012

Loving Dr. Seuss

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 14, 2012

Posted in Cartoons, Child Psychiatry, Child Psychotherapy | 2 Comments »

The Guilty Parent

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 14, 2012

Shana, fifty-six, feels guilty for how she raised her son, Maxx, currently twenty-five. She saw her husband, Tom, Maxx’s father, physically and emotionally abuse him, and this was a major reason for their subsequent divorce, but she cannot forgive herself for not protecting Maxx when he was little. “Maybe you can apologize to Maxx,” I say, understanding that a retrospective analysis of parenting mistakes can be extraordinarily painful. “I can do that,” Shana replies, “but it won’t change how much  Tom hurt Maxx’s self-esteem. ” “Yes, that’s true, but it will still help him to know that you have been thinking about him and that you understand some of the underpinnings of his self-doubt. “Yes, but how do I forgive myself?” Shana asks in a desperate fashion, as if forgiveness will be instantaneous as opposed to gradual. “Forgiveness is a journey,” I remind her. “Not a nice journey,” she responds with tears. “Right, it is hard to see how one’s behavior caused harm to people who depended on us,” I say, understanding that the nurturing role is fraught with misgivings and missteps.  “Understanding Maxx is very important, even if it means understanding how you let him down,” I say, promoting the notion that grasping Maxx’s psychic building blocks will go a long way to help Maxx. Like psychotherapy where understanding is a  tool for healing, understanding one’s child is  a key ingredient for his/her  future self-confidence.

Posted in Parenting, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy | 2 Comments »

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