Ever heard of the ‘tyranny of the shoulds’ ? Psychoanalyst Karen Horney coined the phrase, and it is an unhelpful thought pattern that we can all end up using if we are not careful. We have ideas about how we should (or must) live, and how others should respond to us, and how society as a whole should be. When our expectations do not match reality, and we hold on too tightly to these shoulds, we can end up alienating others because we appear like a petulant child making impossible demands. Alternatively, if we stay silent about how we think things should be, we can end up feeling like we have been taken advantage of, which can leave us feeling devalued. Either way, our depression intensifies.
So what can we do about this?
I hope you find this helpful.
Chris Warren-Dickins LLB MA LPC
Psychotherapist in Ridgewood (NJ), and author of Beyond the Blue
+1 (201) 779-6917