infant’s ability to securely attach emotionally to a parent. As a
child and teenager, I spent a great deal of time banished to my
room after times when I expressed my emotions in a loud
fashion. I have a distinct memory of “acting up” in church
during my elementary years. My father marched me to the car,
spanked me, and then left me there to sit until church was over.
I remember feeling great frustration and rage during such
As a child, I was not mirrored well. My very normal
human emotions were not named or honored. Sometimes they
were punished. Therefore, I struggled to express my feelings in
healthy ways. I experienced a lot of anger and frustration. As
the older of two children, I felt pressure to conform to my
parents’ wishes and beliefs. When I did not do so, I often
wondered if I disappointed them. As I entered adulthood, I
experienced tremendous tension as I sometimes tried to please
them and other times wanted to rebel and fight against their
expectations. This must have been confusing for them.
I imagine that my parents were also not mirrored well,
but that is their story to tell. No one in my family set out to
intentionally hurt me. My parents were doing the best that they
knew to do within the reality of their lives. Each of my parents,
in their own way, has communicated this to me. I
wholeheartedly believe and forgive them. I have asked my sons
to forgive me for my emotional deficiencies in their
childhoods. They have.
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