As children, we think we have the magical powers to change all that is wrong with our world. We need to believe that we can control problems in order to survive emotionally. For example, we may have parents who are not emotionally healthy. They may lack the capacity to be nurturing, supportive and affirming. In such cases, we perform to please, trying every means to get our parents to act like functional adults. When our efforts fail in getting what we need from our parents, we turn our feeling inward and believe that somehow we are the one's who are defective, not our parents. That way we can minimize the pain that results from dealing with them. Many people turn to self-blame as a way of coping and hold the image that our parents will someday change and become the loving people that we always wanted. As we transition to adulthood, many of us mantain this psyhic image, believing that people ought to behave the way we want them to repond. Many of us keep striving, pursuing, performing, and fixing in order to fulfill the fantasy of what we want from others. By taking responsibility for our parent's failures, we let them off the hook and minimize the pain regarding how they treated us.

As young children, we need the comfort of feeling safe. We tend to gravitate toward that which is familiar and comfortable even when it is dysfunctional. We maintain behavior patterns established by our parents. The safety of our support system makes us feel secure in the midst of an insecure world. Those who experience appropriate parental support and comfort feel grounded. However, as we transition to adulthood, we continue to look for external validation to make us feel secure, while we live in the midst of insecurity. Eventually, the notion of trying to stay secure breaks down as we are faced with ambiguous and challenging problems. Allan Watts, author and philosopher, alludes to this paradox. the more we try to grab onto security, the more we actually feel out of control. "Grabbing for security is like trying to hold water in our hands." Paradically, it is ony when we accept and embrace insecurity, that we actually become more grounded.

Author's Bio: 

James P. Krehbiel is an author and cognitive-behavioral therapist practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona. He recently released a book entitled, Stepping Out of the Bubble: Reflections on the Pilgrimage of Counseling Therapy.