The Reality of The Trust Survival Style

We’ve all been deluded at some stage, whether it be by a friend or a lover, a family member or an acquaintance. Some people just seem to magically draw us in and we imagine they are something they are not.

Often times they do nothing to correct our impressions: some really want to be the person we think they are; some like the status our adoration gives them; others aren’t even aware of the story we have created around them.

It’s hard when they show their true colours. The process of untangling our emotions from the image we had created, and believed, is damned difficult. I reckon it’s the same as the mourning process – we have to mourn that person as if they have died, and in a way they have. The image has died. So we go through the whole: denial, anger, bargaining, depression route until we finally find some closure and accept we were wrong.

Sometimes this happens when one of us grows personally and the other stalls or grows in a different direction. There’s nothing wrong with either person – we just become different. This can be a slower process, so the mourning is less dramatic and the closure can come more easily. The others just disappears from our life or we disappear from theirs’.

This is the next post in a series that began here:Preventing Our Children From Developing Demons (And Healing Our Own).

Imagine how much harder it is then for the child – adult sized or younger – who has been given a persona to live up to by their parents. Not only are they not loved or accepted for who they really are – but they have to be someone they are not in order to survive.

Then one day that illusion is shattered. Then, for some reason, they suddenly lose the persona, at this point they have probably broken the relationship they had with their parents, and they have no idea who they really are or how to be themselves. They may be 22, or 32, or 46 or 77 years of age. The mourning process is intense and unrelenting. It is physically uncomfortable as any mourning is.

While most of us at least have our own identity to cling to when we lose our illusions of another – these people don’t. More often than not, they self-destruct. They either implode – and shut off their emotional state from the rest of the world – or they explode – and take their emotional state out on the rest of the world. It’s messy. And the only way through it, is through it.

The only strategy I have seen people use to effectively deal with this loss is to put distance between them and their parents. Sometimes it’s a geographical distance at other times it’s just emotional distance. In many cases, it’s the cutting of all contact. At least for some years.

To many looking in on the situation, this can seem an immature approach or one which is inordinately cruel to the parents who have given so much to their children. In fact it is an adult survival technique often suggested by psychotherapists and the like.

It is useful because it gives the ‘child’ the chance to properly mourn their lost persona. Contact with people who have imposed their ego needs on another is too difficult in this situation. Often those parent egos haven’t changed – they still intrude their wishes upon their children and they want to feed the images they created. As long as those images are being fed they can not be laid to rest and  new, more authentic identities cannot be created.

This is Karpman Drama Triangle stuff and something I talk about in my soon to be released book (All About Tantrums, June 2013).


The drama roles we learn at home in the first four to five years of our life can be insidious, and give us automatic and life-long behaviours. Bringing these patterns into our consciousness to be recognised and put-out, so to speak, is a hell-process – and the worst of it is, as soon as we see our parents again, it is all too easy to resort to those childhood patterns of behaviour. Often as not, it’s not until our blessed 40s that we really come to terms with the differences between who we are and who our parents think we are. And for some people, it never happens.


About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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