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Why does it come as so much of a shock?

I picked up 2son this morning for the weekend. He’s been opening up in therapy which is a huge first.

He says he felt bullied his entire time at primary school, not just during the couple of years when I was aware of it and tried to get it resolved, but for the entire time and by “pretty much everybody”.

I was bullied for five years at school.

He says he doesn’t trust anyone and that this upset the other patients who trust him. He rejects compliments from them and they feel that he’s rejecting them.

It’s taken me a long time to smile nicely and say thank you when someone says something positive to me. I don’t have a trust issue, or at least I don’t think I do.

He says it wouldn’t bother him if he had no friends, as friends are complicated and need thought.

My father’s favourite saying on this topic is “I never had any friends at school and look where I’ve got to”. Over seventy and he has about two friends. As a child I rejected people on the basis that it was easier than trying to make friends. I was very stubborn and wanted other children to accept me exactly how I was and if they didn’t like me, well I wasn’t going to make any effort.

The result was I had very few friends and my attitude of public defiance was off-putting and unwelcoming. I find making friends really difficult and have only really succeeded at having more than one friend at a time in the last ten years.

2son wants a time machine so he can go back and do things differently.

I have trouble accepting my past and not wishing for better alternatives.

2son doesn’t or can’t envisage a future where he’s happy.

I can’t really see a happy future for me.

For all my desires to not pass on my stuff to my children, here’s one of my offspring who echoes my childhood and my issues. Whether it’s circumstancial or whether I’ve unwittingly passed these feelings on will remain unanswered.

The one enormous advantage 2son has over me at his age is that we recognise there is a problem and are trying to help him. I try to be understanding and sympathetic. There is an immense amount of support in place for him and an acknowledgment that he has right to his own feelings. I didn’t have any of that and I had to wait another twenty odd years before being able to think about my feelings. As I just said to him, I have to bring up a family and earn a living on top of trying to resolve my issues. It’s a lot easier to do this when you’re young and can focus, without other pressures.

We shall talk some more but the similarities between us really knocked me.