‘I’ve finally broken through my shell and become the person I’ve always wanted to be.’

‘I’ve finally broken through my shell and become the person I’ve always wanted to be.’

‘I mean can you believe it aged 46 and I’ve only just become my own woman?’

A good friend said that to me yesterday, and do you know what, I could believe it because most of us don’t truly become who we want to be until later in life for a range of reasons. Some of us have to get it wrong before we get it right or take longer to understand what makes us tick or develop confidence and, for a great many others, parental influence can take us down the wrong path.

And that’s because whilst growing up most of us try to please the key influencers of our life, particularly mum and dad, never feeling fit to rebel too far from their path to find our own. This can lead to serious distortions of our life from choosing the wrong subjects to study, wrong college to go to, wrong profession to enter even down to the wrong person to marry.

This does not mean for every failing in our life we blame everyone else. Simply it means when growing up, good intelligent people can make the wrong choices simply wishing to please people they love, and conversely, people who love you can push you in the wrong direction when trying to do the best for you. Whether that’s through domineering parenting or a parent vicariously living through their child and pushing them to do everything they didn’t do themselves but wished they had, or the most damaging, which can take years of therapy, having a ‘narcissistic’ parent, ones that create divisive situations that turn sibling against sibling, family member against family member, leaving the narcissistic parent the dominant figure in the family, creating feuds to always ensure they are the peace maker and deal maker.

Complicated picture I know, but many a child has suffered from this strange psychological construct. The mother or father deliberately creating conflict to divide and conquer and remain the dominant figure of the household. It’s all about power and needing to be wanted. You’ll have read about Munchausen syndrome by proxy when a parent or nurse makes their child or patient ill so they can nurse them back to health, so feeling needed and becoming the child’s saviour to gain their love and trust, well this situation is not dissimilar, only it focuses around creating divisive situations. The effect it can have on the child and into adulthood is devastating and destabilising.

This is why my friend said aged 46 she had finally become her own woman. No longer was anyone pushing her buttons. No longer was she making choices to either please others or upset others as a fight back. No, she was making decisions that were genuinely her own and feeling happy about them. No gut wrenching moments, no turmoil, just good sound proper decisions that make her happy. She has at last found the strength to cut the main protagonist out of her life. She may let her back in somewhere down the line, but not yet as she begins to get her life back on an even keel.

She can’t erase the last 30 years and she doesn’t want to, there’s lots of good there and a child of her own too, and yet she’s now finally happy to be starting her life afresh, starting her life anew. It has been a difficult and painful process for her to understand what it was all about, accepting what had gone on, but she is at peace with herself.

She has always been a writer, a journalist rather than an author, but now she’s writing a book, working for herself, telling it as she sees it. She’s also in the process of buying a new house and moving on. She looked the best I have ever seen her. More vibrant with a great new hair cut, but more than that, she looked relaxed and not anxious. She was walking tall, head held high, finally free of all the mind games which had exhausted her in the past, free of all the baggage that had weighed her down, moving into her new found freedom.

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