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Caring vs Control


Today a 20 year old university student from Bulgaria told me that her parents disapproved of her living with a Muslim from Turkey. She said her father told her that he would never forgive her and he stopped paying for her to study English at the university. She said her mother stopped writing her.

This is an example of control vs. caring. I have not yet asked the girl if she felt more cared about or more controlled by her parents when they did this, but I suspect she will say more controlled.

Yet this same girl continuously tells me how important her family is to her. This reminds me of the families in South America. South Americans typically make a big deal about the importance of the family. But the reality is often that the parents control the children and the teens more than they really care about them.

In South America using violence to control your children is still common. Using guilt trips is also common. Children and teens are taught to feel afraid of their parent's rejection. They are often afraid their parents will never speak to them if they do things which are not approved of by the parents. I saw this first-hand with Laura from Cajamarca.

I feel sorry for the girl from Bulgaria. She has no money of her own. She is still studying in a university and she believes a university degree is her salvation. She is now living in a one room efficiency with her parents. They sleep on one bed and she sleeps on another a few feet away with no divider at all. It really hurts me to think about this.

She can't move out because she has no money. She is afraid to quit studying and work because she believes she needs to improve her English so she can live in another country.

The other day she told me she couldn't do something because it would hurt her mother too much. This is also the kind of thing I would hear in South America.

I am not sure quite how to put this write now but I will try to get the words down... It is something about parents controling their children and teens with fear... there are two kinds of fear I guess. One is the fear of physical pain. Another is the fear of rejection and abandonment. Another could be the fear of psychological pain, for example feeling guilty. If a parent says "How could you do that to your father after all he has done for you?" this would be a forrm of psychological pain.

All of this is emotional abuse. Even the physical abuse and the violence is emotional abuse.

I don't know exactly how to help my friend in Bulgaria. She needs so many things. She is very emotionally needy and financially dependent on her parents. Her parents have created a person who feels undeserving, unworthy, unlovable, unimportant, unforgiving, disapponted, powerless, uncared about, unappreciated, not special, inadequate, afraid of rejection, afraid of failure, obsessively goal oriented and driven to "succeed".

Yesterday she declared "I will always be alone" as she walked away from me. It really hurts me to see what her parents have done to her. Her father was in the military, by the way. She has told me how alone she has felt, and she obviously needs someone to love her, care about her and not abandon her, but she has already learned such destructive ways of expressing her pain. She has suffered so much already and holds so much pain inside her. But I have never seen her cry. I have only seen her get angry. She labels people but she has difficulty labeling her own feelings. I care so much about her, but it isn't enough. Just like she cares so much about me, but it isn't enough. We were both emotionally abused. We have such strong feelings for each other and so much chemistry and so much need for connection, but I don't know how much longer we are going to be able to maintain our friendship. It hurts that I can't get more of my emotional needs met from her. I think it hurts her, too, that she can't get more of her emotional needs met through me.

We are trying our best but we have both been emotionally handicapped by our parents. I probably understand this better than she does so it is easier for me to be patient with her and forgive her, but I am afraid she will run out of patience with me and leave me. (see link about this)

I need to take a break now....

S. Hein
Feb 3, 2008
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria


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