Reader Contribution: Reaction formation

Rose M. via Facebook

Reaction formation example… a mother smothers a child with love and tells that child that nobody will ever love them as much as they do. As the child grows the mother takes control of the child’s behaviour, emotions and mental processes by never allowing the child to make their own decisions. Showing disappointment when they try to and rewarding them when they capitulate to the mothers wishes.

Everything becomes about what the mother wants. A child may not be musical but the mother insists on lessons, a child prefers soccer to tennis but the mother insists on tennis lessons. A child loves art but the mother sees no future in it so will actively discourage any creativity.

During puberty is the worst time for the child as the mother completely squashes any attempts the child makes to be independent. The child becomes voiceless. The mother will sabotage any friendships the child makes that she deems a threat to her control. A normal teen will push the boundaries of every little word a parent utters, this child is too fearful of the mothers abandonment.

This child has grown up believing in and reacting to a life so far formed by the mothers insistence that nobody will ever love the child/// as much as she does. Falling in love is a nightmare for the adult child, never quite believing that their partner truly loves them. As much as the mother does.

This example of reaction formation is only one of many ways we are affected by people who use this method to control our lives. Our best friend may be doing it, our work colleague, our spouse, even a child may be practising on us.

It’s important to be aware that our decisions are based on facts that we know ourselves to be true, not on what other people decide for us. If you make a mistake then you can’t blame anyone but yourself and that’s the only way we learn who we are and how we want to live our lives. If we make a pie and we don’t like it then we are less likely to make that pie again.