Category Archives: Vulnerability

Parenting: Raising the Blind or Creating Blindness


Identity, ego, super ego, love and fear – are they keeping your child from growing?

Love vs. fear and the interference of both.

Does love get in the way of giving your children the freedom to grow, mature, fail, build a full, rich and solid sense of self, or is love the answer? Perhaps we need to redefine love. A love that is not necessarily knowing of outcome, a particular kind of blindness, that requires ingredients rather then a finished product. 

Psychological or emotional blindness however is a concept I envision as a skewed perception of oneself in relation to others in the world. In this way blindness makes it difficult to navigate relationships and be a self-relient contributing adult. 

To avoid this blindness we need wide open arms that create space for joy and disappointment, as well as the arms offering boundaries, that come from knowing, well meaning and thoughtful parenting.
Fear is not necessarily the evil poison to love, but rather fear lives as a shadow in all of us. It can inform us of our need to know more about ourselves, honor our historical primary wounds (see previous blog post), the courage to loosen our grip on control, and give voice to the unspeakable in the pursuit of freedom. Fear, however, without the passenger of love darkens the world of our children. I think of it as truth accompanied by being held. This informs resiliency. I can know, tolerate and learn from the truth so long as I carry your hugs.

 The dance between love and fear, in their purist form, and our courage and vulnerability to embrace both, allows for us to embrace the goodness of being blind without creating blindness. It is often a difficult and tricky balance for me as a parent, often losing its equilibrium. When the dance falls apart and where either “too” much love or “too” much fear inhabits the space, I find it an opportunity to say, “I am sorry” and for the lesson of being fallible.

I would much rather tip and fall in this dance between love and fear than create blindness in a child who does not know either fully. I just pray to the goddesses that I am somewhere in the ball park.

The Bind of Perfectionism

There has been much written about the cost and cause of perfectionism, as well as its addictive nature. In my opinion, author Brene Brown does a brilliant job of linking the internal and external life of shame with its role in informing and perpetuating perfectionism.

In a recent session with a client we were talking about the lack of play, creativity and freedom in her life. I certainly know that feeling – to be bound up, as if I have tied myself up – where every move, action and utterance has to have purpose, direction and must be perfect. Don’t deny it, many of you know this feeling – come clean.

On the other hand, sometimes my kids complain about my silliness, “Dad can you just be serious. I mean it, be serious for once.” Other times I am compared to comedian Jerry Lewis. I wear their frustrations and the label as a badge of honor – reflecting my willingness to be imperfect. I feel more creative and absolutely more freed up.

To adhere to perfectionism is to set ourselves up. It leads us down a path of less happiness, of being bound, frustrated and reinforcing shame. Play, be silly, and let others become frustrated with your silliness. Take the risk of them being embarrassed by you, laugh at your awkwardness, and embrace your freedom away from perfectionism. Be happier.

Stay on Your Side of the Fence

My feelings are mine. My experiences are mine. My journey is mine. Few people like to be told what they are thinking or feeling. Be curious and live in the land of not knowing. In your relationships help to create a safe place, an invitation for further sharing and revealing, and a reduction in defensiveness, by staying on your side of the fence.

As a couples therapist I often find myself saying, “Please stay on your side of the fence, it will help you to be seen and heard more clearly, it will help your mate to feel seen and heard and it will be fundamentally important to the growth of your relationship.” The process and journey of staying on your side of the fence will better enhance Empathy and Respect – two of the major cornerstones to any intimate relationship.