“Kiyomi’s Counseling Room” powered by Kiyomi Kawano (Feminist Counselor)
With the help of the new media known as the “web,” we are now able to seek counseling from Kiyomi merely by accessing her website from anywhere in the world. Your worries may be the same as those of other women without realizing it. With the use of the Internet, your distress can be shared and understood by other women.
Following is a message sent to Kiyomi for consultation on February 24, 2012:
“Desire to fill the loneliness of having a lack of parental care as a child”
I have no childhood memories of being cared for by my parents. I have 2 younger brothers and a sister. With a brother a year younger, my mother was too busy taking care of him and had no time for me even though I needed just as much attention and care. I had no choice but to do many things by myself, and I did them willingly to get recognition from my parents.
Because of the way I was brought up, I was much more self-sufficient compared to other kids my age during my elementary school days, and I had a tendency to look after my classmates. They seemed less competent and I treated them as I did with my younger siblings. However, what was natural for my younger brothers and sister to do as I say, it sometimes created friction with my friends and often became a cause for uneasiness in human relationships.
I realized recently that I mind too much about others and that I need to keep a certain distance to balance the ship, but when I discovered how other people were raised with care and attention from their parents, I find myself deprived, lonely and insecure. How can people like me who were not raised with sufficient love and care from parents fill the emptiness in our heart?
Response from Kiyomi
You know yourself very well. It’s good to know that you’re not the type who says, “I go out of my way to do this for you.” Honestly.
Let’s break this problem into two parts. First part, how to find the right distance? This is a difficult problem. If you are too close to someone, for example, like 2 peas in a pod, then you will run into some problems or quarrels when you need to go separate ways. On the other hand, if you keep a far distance, it will not be possible to establish relationship of any kind. I’m sure you have heard that many youngsters these days avoid close relationship because it’s bothersome. In other words, this is a very complicated problem.
So, the problem of creating good human relationships has to do more with how children interacted with other children rather than how much they lacked attention from their parents. By experiencing successes and failures, and learning how to deal with them, we learn gradually how to deal with other people. Of course, the parents’ role to listen to us report proudly of our success and comforting us after experiencing failure has a large effect on us, but it doesn’t account for 100% of our learning.
Since you already know that you have tendency to have too close of a relationship with people, perhaps this is a good time for you to learn to change your ways. It’s never too late to learn. And maybe the reason you mind about others is because there’s a desire to hear people say, “Thank you.” You may already realize this yourself.
With respect to feeling insecure and lonely, does this mean loneliness as a result of failing to maintain a good human relationship? If so, why don’t you find someone to love and if someone tells you he loves you, why not accept his love? It’s easier said than done, I know.
I will be turning 73 soon. I feel assured of my parents’ love, I am fortunate to have a good job, health, and human relationships, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of loneliness.
In any situation as human beings, we all live with desolation which doesn’t wash away with time, but it does have something to do with age, though.
What if there’s one person in this world who tells you he/she sincerely empathizes with you. Does it help? There’s a song sang and written by a French singer songwriter, Georges Moustaki, titled “Ma Solitude.” He says he has spent many days crying of loneliness, but “solitude” was always there right beside him to comfort him and he was not alone, he was not lonesome. There’s a Japanese translation of the lyrics, so please try and listen to the song.
Kiyomi Kawano works as a counselor at Japan/U.S. Psychiatric Hospital and Family Service Center. She introduced the term, “Feminist Therapy” to Japan from the U.S. and become the first feminist counselor in 1970. In 1980 she formed a group in Tokyo to conduct feminist therapy which she named, “Nakama” (friends/mate/comrade) and has assisted in establishing feminist counseling rooms throughout Japan. As a pioneer of feminist counseling and an active practitioner, she is also a pioneer specialist in mother and daughter relationships.
Translated and adapted by M. Doioka