The healthiest children, emotionally, are those that are cared for when they need caring. However all children suffer distress, discomfort and sadness. Some mothers, due to their own denial of a need for themselves to be nurtured, can not access the feeling of “healthy sadness”, so when the child is sad they react inappropriately. They might become emotionally withdrawn. So the child is left helpless and left in the state of distress. Conversely they may rush in to stop the child’s pain every time, because this sad emotion is so unbearable for them. If this happens the child will not be able to experience sadness themselves and continually require comforting without the full experience. This leads to avoidant behaviour. The feelings are cut off. One is left in “sadness limbo”. The full emotion is not experienced so one cannot come out the other side. This is depression. Every time the sadness is avoided the feelings keep piling up behind their screen leading to further and deeper depression. This stage happens after the child has learned he is separate but the closer to the earlier paranoia stage the client is the more severe the depression. Manic depression is a form of severe depression. In a manic state the client can regress back into a paranoid or schizophrenic state.
So far we have discussed the role of the mother but what part does the father play? The father needs to reclaim the mother from the child and needs to be the one who sets and enforces the rules. If this is not done the child will grow up with authority issues and have an inability to be authoritative and assertive, it may also lead to lack of confidence and role confusion among the children.
If the child ends up taking sides with one of the parents against the other because the parents are in conflict, they can end up as a problem child. This is the child’s attempt at uniting the parents by putting themselves as the focus of the problem. This pattern is a hard one to break and can result in a underachievement or antisocial behaviour. Alternatively they can become ill in order to bring the parents together. This can result in somatoform disorder in adulthood.