This page presents the opening page and a half of CENT Paper No.10,
followed by a link to download a PDF file of the whole paper.
CENT PAPER NUMBER TEN:
Story of Relationship: Or coming to terms with my mother (and father)
Copyright (c) Dr Jim Byrne, January 2010
"Whoever inquires about our childhood wants to know something about our soul. If the question is not just
a rhetorical one and the questioner has the patience to listen, (s)he will come to realize that we love with horror and hate
with an inexplicable love whatever caused us our greatest pain and difficulty".
Erika Burkart, quoted in Miller (1983)
In an earlier paper, I mentioned that I had a partial Freudian analysis at the age of 22 years. It was incomplete
because I could not act upon my analyst's advice:
analyst (had) announced my challenge at the final session we had together: "You need to examine your relationship
with your mother in particular". This was where the analysis failed. Why? Because I had no ‘schema',
or map, definition, or any other ‘handle' on the concept of "relationship". I had no awareness of having
something called "a relationship with my mother". I had no idea what it could possibly mean to "examine"
something called "a relationship".' (CENT Paper No.4)
My mother and I were never close -
and the situation with my father was no different. All of my subsequent relationships with women were affected by this
central fact of my early life: Just as my relationships with men were affected by my poor bond with my father.
In Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT) we maintain, in harmony with Freudian psychoanalysis and the Object Relations
School, that the earliest family relationships form the non-conscious, mental templates for all subsequent relationships;
and that problems in those earliest family relationships need to be corrected as we proceed through life, if we are to achieve
reasonable relationships with others. We also maintain that human beings are essentially emotional beings, and that
our reason and thinking skills are overlaid upon a bed of emotional wiring. Thus our earliest emotional experiences
are formative, and set certain limits to what can be done, thought and felt in later life: unless and until we digest those
experiences, drain them of their emotive charge, and file them away in inactive stores in background memory.
There is, of course, a deeper level to human existence, which is explored in various
spiritual traditions, and that is our relationship to everything that is: to infinity, to eternity, to the absolute
of which each individual thing is a small part. To exist as an isolated consciousness is a problem for each individual,
and I will try to look at that aspect of human existence at the end of this paper.
However, in this paper I mainly want to apply some of the ideas of psychoanalysis and Object Relations, in a CENT
format, to try to resolve my problems with my mother in particular. (I will also necessarily have to include some consideration
of my relations with my father). In the process I will be illustrating how seriously CENT takes early childhood experience,
which is quite different from CBT and REBT.
 Miller, A. (1983) For Your Own Good: Hidden cruelty in child-rearing and the roots of violence.
London: Faber and Faber.
 Byrne, J. (2009d) A journey through models of mind. The story of my personal origins.
CENT Paper No.4. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for CENT. Available online: http://www.abc-counselling.com/id166.html