Saturday, August 27, 2011

Spoiled and Coddled

When I was 15, I had a conversation with my mother in which I shared with her that there was nothing in life I wanted or made me happy, no dreams or wishes or desires I wanted fulfilled, nothing between now and death that I can imagine would make life somehow worth living.

I now realize that I was telling her, in my teenage angsty way, that I was mildly depressed. I now realize that, as a psychologist, she should have picked up on that.

Instead, she said: "That's because you're spoiled and coddled. You always had everything, so that's why you don't want anything."


  1. That's horrible. And so obviously expressed too. Didn't a psychologist have a sense of obviousness if not a sense of appropriateness?

    What's familiar here is the message, "Your parents have already faced the real challenges of life on your behalf. Your own life and its amenities are unearned, therefore not really yours, therefore you have no right to your own choices. No challenge you face for yourself will ever count as genuine. Therefore your experiences are not as real as theirs."

    It's a padded cell. No wonder you sought out contact with the harshest aspects of life and literature.

    - GKA

  2. I don't know why she said that to you,yet in a way, she's sort of admitting her own control but couched it in positive terms-well, positive to her yet negative toward you. horrid. I was just the same at 15, no ambition. I just wanted to 'get by' and 'keep my head down'. I The irony is that my parents were disappointed that I had no 'get up and go!'Such a characteristic requires the nurturing of confidence and dare I say it, independent thinking!

  3. actually the exact opposite is true. i was called spoiled before too. turns out, the correct term is 'abused,' actually. who'd have thunk!

    your mother, as a human being, should have detected that, meaning the sadness and desolation in your voice. but she's crazy, apparently, and said something just fucking horrid and extremely incorrect. that's the complete opposite! ugh, so gross.

  4. Interesting how parental denial over rides all education. My father has his masters in education psychology, admitted that my mother was difficult but just said, "You have to love her." Totally missed everything about a very real problem. You are not alone in trying to tell parents that a problem existed. I kept trying to tell my parents that there was something wrong with me when I was a teenager. They assured me I was just like every other teenager exaggerating my problems. They called it making mountains out of mole hills. I talked to other teenagers and I knew something was wrong with me. I just didn't have words to express it. At age 45, my counselor assured me I was seriously messed up and not like many that he knew. I am sorry to say that you are not alone in having parents that can't see the forest through the trees. They can't imagine how "their child" could be struggling with feelings of depression. Better to deny than to admit everything isn't perfect. When my daughter came with me with her health concerns I assured her that I believed her and would happily share what I had learned about living healthy. I wasn't a perfect parent but I did reassure them when they said they were struggling. Good for you to recognize your own words for the symptoms that they are. And you are right her answer was totally off base and insensitive.


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