rene regularly got into trouble because she was always trying to help people. She would anticipate the needs of her boss, but she never made a clear contract about her role, so this led to unnecessary misunderstandings and interpersonal conflicts. When I started exploring this pattern with her, she told the story of the divorce of her parents when she was three. Her mother was completely overwhelmed when her husband left and told Irene that she was the only one she could rely on. Mother stayed in that victim position, and Irene assumed responsibility without asking.
Irene was also a victim of the situation. In those early days, she lost her father and grandfather through the divorce, and from her mother she couldn't expect a parent to care for her. In a naive, desperate attempt to prevent mother completely becoming unhinged, Irene became a 'parentified child'. She started protecting her mother against everything that could possibly upset her, as if she were her own child, and this became the template for her role in society. Because this was the magical solution of a little girl, Irene never learned to negotiate or make a contract with her boss when something needed to be done: She took responsibility before anything could happen.
The smart solution of little Irene ended her childhood in her belief that her needs could only be met at the cost of her taking care of others. When I asked her what would happen if she stopped caring for others, she saw the image of Hans Christian Andersen's story of the girl with the matches, who didn't belong to a family and died outside in the cold. She became very sad when she contemplated this, and I gave her the Logosynthesis sentences for "the mother I never had." After the third sentence she wept. Then I gave her the sentences for "the girl with the matches". After the cycle she murmured: "This is a sad story, but it's not about me." After this, we discussed how she could negotiate with her mother about her priorities. In a few months, she's going to be a mother herself, and that means that she won't be able to take care of her mother the way she used to. Taking the role of the parentified child was Irene's way out of the trauma of the separation of her parents. The underlying abandonment was not directly accessible, but it was represented in the metaphor of the girl with the matches