When I was trained as a psychoanalyst in the United States, a young man who was Korean American contacted me to see if he could receive analysis. I made an appointment with him over the phone and I gave him the address of my counseling office. I had never met him before. He appeared at the appointed time, and I kindly guided him to the counseling room. But when he sat down, suddenly he said to me, holding back the chair he was sitting on.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Are you trying to blame me now?”
It was a very embarrassing moment for me because I had often heard that I gave out a good impression to people. I gave him a warm smile when he came to my office, but he was expecting I would blame him. What if you felt that someone else would blame you so easily? You might easily experience tension and anxiety in the relationship with him or her.
After I settled him, I asked him to share what he felt as he entered the counseling room. He recalled his childhood experiences without difficulty. As a child, he lived in Korea with his parents, and his father ran a small supermarket. The supermarket consisted of a space where goods were displayed and a small room where the owner resided. He said, “I do not remember the reason why my father did this to me, but my father was very angry and he lifted me up and threw me to the floor. At that time I was just a child.” As he entered my counseling office, the size of my counseling room unconsciously reminded him of the small room where he was thrown by his father when he was a child.
The young man asked for counseling and analysis because of his fear of the exam. After studying abroad in the United States and showing outstanding achievements in his studies, he graduated from a famous law school and was preparing for the bar examination. However, when he tried to fill out the application form, he was so overwhelmed with anxiety and fear that he was not able to apply for the test at all. It was because he automatically thought that his father would be very angry if he fell out of the exam. His father's harsh criticism and relentless evaluation was not a level of fear that he could overcome. This process was being operated unconsciously, so he did not consciously recognize it. But what is surprising was that the father he feared had already passed away. There was no longer the father in the world to blow the sever anger on him. However, his dead father was deeply positioned in the client's inner world and still dominated mind of my client. And even he expected that the counselor should blame and evaluate him.
Our life may actually be like a calm river, but this counseling case shows that the fear and anxiety within us can experience the calm river as a sea of waves. Many people experience that life is a bloody battleground of death and killing. However, there are also many things that are pleasant and happy in our daily lives. How about our Ewhaen? Are we struggling ourselves with excessive demands and expectations which are embedded in our minds? Are you living to meet someone's needs and expectations? Do anxiety and fear dominate our inner world? I hope Ewhaen respect and love themselves deeply. I hope Ewhaen know who they are and what they really like. Furthermore, I hope to become our Ewhaen are able to think that they are good and okay enough so that they can comfort themselves.