As an only child, Norma grew up living for parental approval, never getting it and becoming bitterly lonely as a result. Norma's parents were each harsh disciplinarians who expected their daughter to be seen but not heard. Norma's parents had died within two years of each other, when she was in her early twenties. But, in her words, "Even though neither one is here, I hear their voices and just cannot change the behaviors that cause me to sit on myself, rather than let go, make friends, believe in who I am and have fun.
Our work together has helped her to loosen up a great deal. She gave herself assignments involving spending time with others who lived very differently than she and learning that their ways of setting a table, cooking, cleaning, sewing, exercising and the like worked well for them and had their plusses. She also practiced sentences that she could use with others to open conversations and show them that she was interested in them. 7 Ways To Survive The Spring Holiday Season
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Norma, after just a few sessions, realized that the parental demand that she never raise her voice in song, enjoy spontaneity, or as she called it, "color outside of the lines" caused her to be terrified of creative expression. She apologized to her friend for what she realized had been her rudeness.
The next time a birthday celebration came along, although not comfortable, she sang along as long as the music went on. Her new boyfriend was also a beneficiary of who Norma described as "the new me." Each were delighted that not only could she now enjoy breakfast in bed but also lovemaking amidst the crumbs.
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