香山リカのココロの万華鏡:いくつになっても /東京

(Mainichi Japan) October 9, 2011
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Seek your parents' attention, but also learn to be an adult
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:いくつになっても /東京

There are many people who hold grudges against their parents all their lives.

In my consultation room, I often encounter cases when patients in their -- let's say 60s -- discuss issues they have with their parents.

"I understand that you were deeply hurt by what your parents told you in the past, but, see, your mother is getting quite old, isn't it time to bury the hatchet?," I used to say, but one time it struck me that I wasn't perfectly grasping the situation.
Those people are not blaming their parents -- they are just seeking their attention.

I realized that behind the anger in their faces, every time they talk against their parents, there is a child who says, "Mom, please look at me!"

As much as it sounds unbelievable that people in their 60s would still seek their parents' attention, it may be that such feelings are rather deeply rooted.

After all, we all need someone to whom we could totally rely on, someone who would listen and understand us, someone who would always protect us.

As I was thinking about this topic, I became interested in up to what age people long for their parents' attention.

In search of an answer, I began reading Toyo Shibata's most recent publication, "Hyakusai" (100 years old).

Last year, Shibata published her first book -- a poem anthology -- at the age of 99 and it quickly became a bestseller.

In her second book, "Hyakusai," apart from poems, she has also written a few biographical essays, where she often refers to her late mother.
In one of the essays, Shibata writes about a dream she had of talking to her mother about this and that, while her mother was standing beside her sleeping bed.

Shibata then concluded the essay with these words -- "No matter how old I get, I'll always miss my mother."

So, in the end, even at the age of 100 people would still miss their parents and would still want to be heard by them.

If Shibata feels this way, then there is nothing abnormal about my elderly patients.

The next time when a patient comes to me and complains about their parents, I will tell them the following: "I understand, after all you are only 67 -- you are still at the age when your parents' words mean so much to you."

Having said that, I think people should acknowledge that there is a time when we all need to start growing up.

We can still miss our parents and still long for their attention, but at the same time we should be ready to step out on our own feet as adults.

Then, if the situation requires it, we should shift roles and become our parents' caregivers.

Becoming an adult is not an easy thing to do.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2011年10月4日 地方版

by kiyoshimat | 2011-10-10 05:43 | 英字新聞

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