Learning From Abuse and Anger

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“Suzanne Gelb Image”

Dear Readers:


As an added resource, over the next few months I will supplement my answers with self-help materials. Supplemental reading for today’s answers can be found in my book “Welcome Home. A Book About Overcoming Addictions” (p. 62 for Answer 1; p. 63 for Answer 2). For more information visit my Web site at www.DrGelbSays.com.

”Parents – How Do I Appreciate Them?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

I was an abused child and I have done a lot of personal growth work to get myself on track and make a good life. How can I not be bitter toward my parents for raising me the way they did?

Grateful to have Survived

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Survivor:

Until a person can release themselves from the affliction of being an abused child, then they are likely to still, on some level, feel as if they are that abused child. I believe that in order to truly be free of this affliction, a person needs to reach that point where they can affirm and accept that, yes, I was abused, but I am grateful to have survived, and now I will forgive myself for the hate and agony I have felt, not only toward myself but toward my caregivers. In order for me to survive, there was probably a reason for my anger and hate. However, that no longer applies to me. I can be a self-loving adult because now I can accept and love the child within me, and we merge and begin to live a meaningful life.

”Mistakes — Why Can’t They be OK?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

I’m 13 years old and I try to be a good kid and help around the house. But when I make a mistake, like I fold the laundry wrong because there is a new shirt and I don’t know how my Mom wants it folded, then she gets mad at me, and there is no way I can fix the mistake. Is it bad to make mistakes?

Trying To Get It Right

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Trying:

I believe that more than likely your mother is as knowledgeable as she is because she has learned from mistakes that she has made. And yes, you, like the rest of us, will probably continue to make mistakes the rest of your life. Mistakes are not a sin. However, not learning from our mistakes tends to hold heavy consequences. We can learn either by trial or error, or we can learn by way of emulation.

If I were in your position, I would ask my mother to show you how she wants something folded and I would keep that item separate from the rest and practice folding it the same way. That goes for many tasks, such as folding clothes, hand towels, napkins or for the way one sets a table. These are habits that people form to be socially acceptable.

You appear to be a smart and intelligent 13-year-old. I hope you do not do what so many teenagers who experience disapproval have done — they resort to anger and stubbornness and indifference to punish their parents for their disapproval. Remember that we can teach ourselves and learn to master many challenges. Good luck to you in growing strong and healthy.

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

”’Email your questions to mailto:DrGelbSays@hawaiireporter.com More information on Dr. Gelb’s services and related resources available at”’ https://www.DrGelbSays.com