Anthony Dimitrion, LCSW, CST
Emotionally-Focused | Sex-Positive | Attachment-Informed
102 S. Maple Ave, Suite C
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
P: (609) 401-2983
"Our caregivers shape the way we connect with others, cope with stressors, and navigate the world."
As humans we are wired for social connection. From the moment we are born, we innately crave loving attention and affection. Our parental figures or primary caregivers are tasked with the responsibility of providing a safe, secure, and stable enough environment where as newborns, toddlers, children, and teenagers we can grow and thrive. When this occurs, a secure attachment is formed. The child eventually grows into a secure adult, who feels safe enough and confident enough within themselves to navigate the world.
When the parent-child dynamics become reversed, distorted, or imbalanced a child's unconscious instinct is to do anything within their power to provide some sense of stability, security, and safety to their world. This often means taking on the emotional, physical, or social responsibilities of caring for themselves, their caregivers, and/or their siblings.
- A teenager becomes emotional caregiver for a depressed mother.
- The oldest child of a family becomes the father-figure for his younger siblings because his self-involved father is too busy working or hanging out with his buddies to spend quality time with his children.
- A narcissistic mother twists her child's sadness, worry, or anger into a slight on her rather than attuning to her child's emotions. This leads the child to suppress and shame her emotions to avoid her mother's attack.
- A child becomes the peacemaker whenever her parents are in an argument.
- A father tells his teenage son to suck it up and be a man when he finds his son crying after a breakup.
How does this impact the adult child of emotionally immature or narcissistic parents?
Family dynamics in childhood influence how we cope with stressors, connect with others (platonically, romantically, and professionally), and view our selves. Adult children of emotionally immature or narcissistic parents may struggle with difficulties including: anxiety, depression, relationship stressors, low self-esteem, harsh inner judgment, boundary setting, effectively communicating needs from others, open expression of feelings, people pleasing tendencies, and regulation of stress.
How can therapy help?
First and foremost, therapy provides a safe, non-judgmental space that is just for you! Together we can process past experiences, making sense of how family dynamics influenced the ways you have navigated through relationships, stressors, and life as a whole. We will explore your internal sense of safety, security, and stability, identifying ways of internally healing childhood wounds and strengthening the innate resiliency that has gotten you this far.
Tools fostered throughout our sessions include: emotional and body-based regulation skills, self-compassion, effective communication, resiliency building, and somatic affective awareness.