Am I Bad And/Or Did I Have Bad Parents?
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on May 16, 2013
“Outer security is thus purchased at the price of inner security,” so says Ronald Fairbairn about a child who protects his parents, defends them, at the expense of his self-esteem and intuition. In other words, when one senses that one’s parents are malicious, then one can protect them, and discard one’s sense of right and wrong, outer security, and thereby dismissing one’s internal sense of ethics, inner security. “It is better to be a sinner in a world ruled by G-d, than to live in a world ruled by the Devil,” Fairbairn continues. To be in a world ruled by the devil, “he can have no sense of security and no hope of redemption,” he elaborates. Fairbairn is famous for his example of the boy faced with poisonous chocolate pudding, as a symbol of difficult parents. He can either eat the poison and die, or starve and die. Inevitably, the boy will eat the poison, as this wins over starvation. This example is meant to illustrate how paranoid thinking can come into existence, if one grows up needing to trust people, who ultimately betray them. In essence, unwinding from bad parenting is a long journey of self-reflection, requiring a separation from parental figures which is both agonizing and destabilizing.