AuthorsDen.com  Join Free! | Login 

     Popular! Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry
Where Authors and Readers come together!

Signed Bookstore | Authors | eBooks | Books | Stories | Articles | Poetry | Blogs | News | Events | Reviews | Videos | Success | Gold Members | Testimonials

Featured Authors: George Wallach, iLisa DAnnolfo Levey, iR.E.E.S Blogs Linda Smith, Publisher, iAlfred Schwab, iDonald Beaulieu, iBrad Bathgate, iGisele Vincent-Page, i
  Home > Self-Help > Articles
Popular: Books, Stories, Articles, Poetry     

Tina B Tessina

· Become a Fan
  Notify me of new titles
  added by this author.

· 490 titles
· 258 Reviews
· Share with Friends!
· Save to My Library
·
Member Since: Mar, 2001

   Sitemap
   My Blog
   Success Story
   Contact Author
   Message Board
   Read Reviews

Newsletter
Subscribe to the Tina B Tessina Newsletter. Enter your name and email below and click "sign me up!"
Name:
Email:


Books
· The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While Youíre Far Apart

· Money, Sex and Kids:

· It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

· How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free

· The Real Thirteenth Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve S

· The 10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make Before 40

· The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again

· The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make AFTER Forty


Articles
· How To Avoid Loving a Jerk

· Dear Dr. Romance: Does Friends with Benefits Work?

· Why Couples Fall out of Love

· Dr. Romance on 10 signs a guy is cheating on you

· Dear Dr. Romance: I was always wrong

· Dear Dr. Romance: I was always wrong

· JEALOUSY, FAITHFULNESS AND DISTANCE

· Dear Dr. Romance: I'm married but I love somebody else

· Dear Dr. Romance: I have never put up with any crap until this one came alo

· Dr. Romance on The Right Way to Love


Poetry
· The Shape of Peace

· Inspiration

· Eternal Dance - Christmas 2005

· On Mitch and Jackieís engagement

· On love

· Bitter lesson

· Redemption

· ANGELS IN DISGUISE

· Storytellers

· Vessels

         More poetry...
Tina B Tessina, click here to update your web pages on AuthorsDen.

Comforting the Little Orphan Girl
By Tina B Tessina
Last edited: Saturday, March 01, 2008
Posted: Saturday, March 01, 2008



Share    Print   Save  Become a Fan
Recent articles by
Tina B Tessina

• How To Avoid Loving a Jerk
• Dear Dr. Romance: Does Friends with Benefits Work?
• Why Couples Fall out of Love
• Dr. Romance on 10 signs a guy is cheating on you
• Dear Dr. Romance: I was always wrong
• Dear Dr. Romance: I was always wrong
• JEALOUSY, FAITHFULNESS AND DISTANCE
           >> View all 471
When life hands me a very difficult time, and I feel defeated and overwhelmed, I enter a hopeless and helpless state of mind I think of as The Little Orphan girl.



When life hands me a very difficult time, and I feel defeated and overwhelmed, I enter a hopeless and helpless state of mind I think of as The Little Orphan girl. This is the way I felt, as a teen, when I lost nearly my whole family, father, aunts and uncles, between the ages of 12 and 18. Needless to say, I was devastated; and I also survived and eventually, thrived. But little orphan girl doesnít remember that I made it through Ė she sinks into despair. When I realize this is going on, I know I have to snap out of it, get into adult thinking mode, and comfort and reassure that sad little part of myself.


Everyone has a similar mental place they can get stuck in Ė sometimes, people call it "depression" although itís not really clinical depression. Itís just a form of mental exhaustion, perhaps due to grief, frustration, disappointment or some other problem. Transactional analysis calls this sad and anxious child part of the psyche the little professor, and hereís how it works, and what to do about it.


Everyone laughs when they describe a small child as "four years old, going on forty." Small children can often seem wise and capable beyond their years. If a child has parents who are absent, incompetent, immature or neglectful to the point that the childís well_being is neglected, the child often takes charge and tries to keep things together. He or she uses observation, imitation, experimentation and pretending to solve problems and keep things together when the parents are not functioning well. Often this is an oldest child, who also takes responsibility for younger siblings, and becomes a substitute parent for them as well as I or herself. Eric Berne, M. D. the developer of Transactional Analysis theory, called such a child a "Little Professor." Robert Phillips, M.D., describes how this happens in his monograph, Structural Symbiotic Systems:



"When Tom reaches twenty_four months of age, he has had sufficient healthy parenting so that he is generally willing to relate to others pleasurably and to explore his small world with enthusiasm.

"On a particular day he toddles into the kitchen where Mother is baking a cake for Fatherís birthday. His senses excited by the sight of Motherís busily relaxed body and by the combined smells of her body and bubbling chocolate, he looks up at Mother and smiles. She smiles in return and, permission granted, he scurries happily to another room to explore, experiencing more stimulation from eye_catching and tactily_differing objects. Soon he returns excitedly to the kitchen, bent perhaps on his first show_and_tell, alive with sensation and awareness.


"But _ what is this! There sits Mother in the corner of the kitchen, hunched over in a tense position and crying, with sharp edges on her sobs. Tomís world is suddenly disrupted _ he whimpers and gets no response from Mother.


"What has he done or not done to account for this catastrophe, Tom wonders in his small magical mind. Tom does not know and might never know that during his brief absence Mother received a telephone call from Father who angrily criticized her for omitting his habitual salami sandwich from the lunch_bag. Bewildered and fearful, Tom waits and waits and finally takes a desperate dare for survival. He awkwardly moves toward Mother, awkwardly extends his arm, and awkwardly pats her shoulder, uttering the magical words "I love you."


"And with the suddenness of magic, Sobbing Beauty immediately comes to life again in Tomís world. Mother catches rapturous Tom up in her arms, wets his face with her redemptive sadness, and pronounces the words which will become the curse of grandiosity, "Youíre my wonderful little man! I couldnít get along without you." Tomís small chest expands with pride, his head swells with self_righteousness, and he is immersed in a lethal mixture of liquids which someday might drown him Ė environmental tears, in combination with an internal bath of both adrenalin and acetyl_choline."


Little Tom has now taken over the role of comforting and parenting his mother. If this only happens sporadically, he will learn some useful skills, and still have a mother who is capable when he needs her. But, a child with a mother who is habitually helpless, perhaps drunk or incompetent, soon forms a habit of caretaking. Highly intelligent and resourceful children can do well enough at caretaking to get a lot of praise and gratification from their accomplishment.


Further problems arise when the Little Professor is smart enough to be successful at the caretaking. For such a child caretaking and "acting as if" he or she knows what to do become strongly ingrained habits. A child with this background often grows up to be a highly competent, but stressed and anxious adult. The anxiety is a result of pretending. No matter how successful and competent the person becomes, no matter what he or she achieves, it never seems real. The Little Professor feels like a child whoís pretending to be a grownup.


Until you do the work to separate your childlike self from the past, bring it into the present, and acknowledge all your adult experience and expertise, you will feel as if someone else must be running your life.


Recovering from Little Professor syndrome is not difficult, once you realize youíre behaving in this way. The key is to recognize your competence as an adult, and to learn to identify the difference between using your adult intelligence and using your childlike ability to "fake" what youíre doing. Reassure yourself that you survived whatever was devastating in the past, and you can get through this difficulty, too.


Guidelines for using grownup thinking

1. Pay attention to signals: Notice when you feel anxious about what youíre doing, especially if youíre having anxiety attacks with rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath. This is a strong indication that youíre in "Little Professor" mode. With practice, you can learn to identify the signals that youíre anxious.

2. Use logic: Ask yourself some logical questions about what youíre doing and feeling: Is there a good reason to be so nervous? What am I afraid of? Whatís the worst that could happen? How can I make sure Iím OK? Simply asking these questions, or questions about the facts, such as who, what, when, where, and why; will help you think more like a grownup.

3. Move into adult mode: Remind yourself of all your adult experience and competence. Remember you are not a child.

4. Consider your reasoning: Ask yourself why youíre doing what youíre doing. Can you explain it logically? If not, perhaps itís a reactive, rather than a rational decision.

5. Develop a plan: Make a reasonable plan to accomplish whatever you want to do, break it down into steps, and stick to it. This will reduce the chances of being sidetracked by emotional reactions.

When you stay in adult mode, youíll find that itís much easier to distinguish your true responsibilities from those that belong to others. Youíll feel much more competent, and much more in charge of your own life.© 2008 TINA B. TESSINA

Adapted from "It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction" (New Page) ISBN # 1_56414_548_4


Author Bio:

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. http://www.tinatessina.com is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California, with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 11 books, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction (New Page); How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free (New Page); The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again (Wiley) and The Real 13th Step: Discovering Self_Confidence, Self_Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve Step Programs (New Page.) Her newest books, out from Adams Press in 2008: Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage and Commuter Marriage. She publishes Happiness Tips from Tina, an e-mail newsletter, and the "Dr. Romance Blog" http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/ and has hosted "The Psyche Deli: delectable tidbits for the subconscious" a weekly hour long radio show. She is an online expert, answering relationship questions at www.CouplesCompany.com and Yahoo!Personals, as well as a Redbook Love Network expert and "Psychology Smarts" columnist for First for Women.Dr. Tessina guests frequently on radio, and on such TV shows as "Oprah", "Larry King Live" and ABC news.

Web Site Author and Psychologist answers your FREE question
f

Want to review or comment on this article?
Click here to login!


Need a FREE Reader Membership?
Click here for your Membership!



Books by
Tina B Tessina



The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make AFTER Forty

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Kindle, Amazon, more..




Money, Sex and Kids:

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While Youíre Far Apart

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, more..




It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, more..




The Real Thirteenth Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the Twelve Step Programs

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, more..




How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free

Buy Options
Signed copy!
Amazon, more..


Popular
Self-Help Articles
  1. TALK IS CHEAP !
  2. Does Practice Make Perfect?
  3. Do YOU Have The Power?
  4. Chapter Excerpt : Journaling Through Pregn
  5. WE CRY
  6. My Resolutions for 2015
  7. How to Make a Memorable Presentation: Par
  8. The 5 Wealth Secrets That Made Bill Gates
  9. A Winning Mindset
  10. Marlene Dietrich Teaches Ruth Gordon
  11. Dealing with Criticism: Some Suggestions
  12. Nine Steps To Success... And More
  13. Lucy Can Empower Freelancers
  14. WHY...A FLY?
  15. Stop Adding Story
  16. The Three Biggest Blocks to Your Success
  17. Ok ... OK ... OKAY !
  18. Courage Under Fire - Tips on Overcoming th
  19. THE GREED INSTINCT
  20. How To Get The Struggle Out Of Life Wealth

You can also search authors by alphabetical listing: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



Featured Authors | New to AuthorsDen? | Add AuthorsDen to your Site
Share AD with your friends | Need Help? | About us


Problem with this page?   Report it to AuthorsDen

© AuthorsDen, Inc. All rights reserved.