Jim remembers being a small boy, maybe 4 years old (or 6 or 8 or 10 years old; it doesn’t matter), and getting the “silent treatment” from his mother. It was so unspeakably painful to him to know that she was angry at him and punishing him. He would have done anything she asked to make her silence toward him stop, to make his pain inside stop. He had no way to do this, though, because she would never tell him what he had done wrong, or how he could make it up to her. Her anger and her cruel silence had no reason in reality. Jimmy’s sins were all in his mother’s head, but the pain she inflicted on him was all too real.
I’ll bet you know some truly fine people in their 30s to 60s whose parents, decades ago, treated them something like Jim’s mother did. In many cases, these now older parents still treat them really badly, with hurtful sarcasm, irrational demands, constant criticism, and undeserved anger.
As you can imagine, people raised this way carry their emotional wounds with them forever. Reaching adulthood is little help in healing these wounds. I have coined a term for these adults. I call them children of difficult older parents, or CODOPs.
For over 30 years, I have been helping these frustrated, unappreciated adult sons and daughters, who simply want to be good to their parents, by providing them with powerful new skills. I help them learn (1) how to protect themselves emotionally, (2) how to effectively love their hard to love older relatives, and (3) how to create a healthy legacy for their own children.
If you are a CODOP or if you know a CODOP, I want to invite you or the CODOP you know to participate in a unique focus group over lunch (provided) to discuss with me your experiences & needs as a CODOP.
To participate in the February 15, 2016, focus group, please RSVP ASAP. Email your name and phone number to DrPaul@PaulKChafetz.com. I will call you promptly with details.
“My passion is ensuring that every adult is mentally ready to succeed in all transitions that comprise the adult years. The meaning in my life comes from helping my patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude.