Letter discussion with Alan #6

To recap:

This is a limited series of letters and responses between adult replacement child, Alan, and Replacement Child Forum co-founder and psychoanalyst Kristina Schellinski.

Photo by - Gemma Evans

We thought our readers would be interested in this ongoing exchange about some specific issues facing Alan as a replacement child. These letter exchanges are not therapy sessions, or meant to replace professional counselling, but with Alan’s permission, we felt the insights expressed may be of help to others who may share some of the same concerns.

**If you are a professional therapist your additional insights concerning these letters would be greatly appreciated by our readers. Please write to us at letters@replacementchildforum.com.**

Letter #6 from Alan

How do you give yourself the power to see life without others’ validation? 

Dear Kristina,

I think I am still stuck in the stage of accepting the fact that I really am in the “Replacement Child Syndrome.”  I’m still looking for outside verification, in spite of what I know. I still need permission to accept it. I still hear my mother: “don’t blame others for your shortcomings”….

I take myself out of the equation and remind myself that my parents lived in four[MOU1]  different places when I lived with them, and two more places after I moved out. To me, a sign of my mother thinking that physical changes will make her feel better and more in control, but of course, the problem goes with you wherever you go…

How do you give yourself the power to see life without others’ validation?



Dear Alan,

I find it very to the point that you write you still seek permission, or validation, that this is what you suffer from. Replacement children may often doubt what they feel when they were not seen or their concerns were not taken into account. Or we protect our parents out of loyalty, though it is not their fault, they were traumatized, grieving and many of the processes coming to bear on the replacement child remained unconscious.

With respect to your mother, maybe she told you “don’t blame others for your shortcomings” out of her fearing a sense of responsibility or because she felt blamed? In any case, it is not about blaming a grieving parent but about gaining understanding for oneself and for the parent. Loving understanding.

I have done quite a bit research and work with transgenerational transmission cases, and one thing I have seen clearly: a descendant is often having to do what a traumatized parent could not do, and that is to face certain issues. Trauma overwhelms, and dissociation is a defense mechanism to help us survive. But feelings and images can be transferred down the lineage. A descendant may then ‘do the work,’ in your case the grieving, and by that setting him- or herself free and do something so that the descendant can rest in peace. Are your parents still alive? Sometimes, this psychological work commences only when the parents have passed on.

You ask: ‘How do you give yourself the power to see life without others’ validation?’ 

Personally, I did seek validation and came to a point where I got it, and then I realized: that is not enough. I have to give myself the validation, or, better put, I can seek it from a much deeper source within myself. From connecting intimately with my soul.

Wishing you a good day and a restful night, Kristina 

To our readers:

We hope this exchange will speak to issues of concern to those who were born,  designated or self-identified as a replacement child. We also hope that it may be informative for therapists working with replacement child clients.

Please write to us if this was helpful to you and we encourage replacement children and all professionals in contact with replacement children to contribute to the replacementchildforum.com.

Write to us at: letters@replacementchildforum.com

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