Stress Is Not Bad; Bad Stress Is Bad
Stress in our life is too often viewed as always something negative. Creative thinkers, open minds, minds that love to explore the world walk hand in hand with a kind of stress that often energizes and enhances their mind's ability to avoid the trap of passivity that leaves us powerless and feeling denigrated by the oppressive perception of passive powerlessness.
When stress has been made into a hopeless frustrating experience that we have been trained to surrender to, then we do suffer, mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically.
Parents who have not properly respected us, or anyone, can leave us feeling swamped by a feeling of inferiority that does not really reveal a measure of us but actually of them and their inability to unselfishly love us, and themself. The person raised in an atmosphere of subtle disrespect may mistake the hopelessness of getting love from a parent who cannot give it as if this lack is the objective measure of their abilities. A parent who can love gives us the gentle acceptance of very person's right to feel of worth.
Stress that has nowhere to successfully resolve into a solution is (one of) that kind of stress which can kill us mentally, physically or both. A parent that could not live their own life with emotional satisfaction may, sadly enough, unwittingly deny their child the hope that the ability to use stress positively generally generates.
Stress that connects to hope is a life giving force that lets us live dynamically and strongly. Sometimes people cannot connect to strength or hope because they possess guilt for the anger that they feel towards their unconsciously denigrating, yet innocent of negative intent, parent. The parent is actually only expressing their own self loathing but in a way that makes their children feel as if they have earned it. The children may need to feel that they have earned the disrespect because by making it seem as if the parent is sort of right in what they are doing we still have the illusion of a parent; but if we realize that the parent's way of dealing with us is thoroughly irrational then it is possible to see it the same as NOT having that parent which can leave us feeling completely abandoned and alone, more alone than people ever like to feel, but which is healed only when we are helped to realize that we can have, always have, ourself.
When we learn to like and respect ourself we never need be alone in the lonely way that makes us feel abandoned and beyond all hope. Handling stress well is power, power that protects and fulfills us, and we can never need to irrationally feel inferior again.
Therapy that strives to put us in touch with our emotions, as well as our intellectual aspects, gives us a change of making the connections that do not allow stress to be experienced as overwhelming. It may have been overwhelming to try to get love from a parent who did not know how to love, or how to love us, but it does not have to be overwhelming to learn to properly care for ourself.
We at Associates in Psychotherapy view psychotherapy as working at trying to make an alliance with the life loving forces within the patient. It isn't easy, it isn't guaranteed but when it works it is beautiful.
Dr. Lehrer, Psychologist