This week’s post consists of comments on a reader’s email. This reader (I’ll call him Tony) presents some details of his life and his struggle to find happiness, and he asks for my thoughts and suggestions. In this post, I interject my comments as if we’re having a dialogue.
Tony: I am a 22-year-old student with hopes of studying psychology in a graduate program one day. I am enjoying reading Why We Suffer and I’ve found your words to be very insightful as I come to terms with my own psychological issues.
As briefly as I can, I’d like to attempt to explain to you a dilemma that I’ve stumbled upon during my recovery. I understand you have no obligation to respond, but if you have any ideas for me or know of any writings that could be helpful I would really appreciate it.
I have a deep self-worth void that was created in childhood as a result of my father’s emotional abuse toward me. I have experienced problems with addiction, codependency, and chronic emptiness my whole life, and I believe these are the symptoms of deep issues at the core. I understand that in order to overcome this problem I must validate the inner child that was taught to feel worthless and miserable.
Peter: It’s best not to emphasize the idea that you “must” validate the inner child. Rather, you want to become an observer of how you can be inclined to reject, criticize, and disrespect yourself. [Read more…]