Marcy S., age 47, North Carolina

This little bit of self-understanding came through a magazine story I was reading in the dentist’s office a few days ago. The woman was remembering her childhood (as an only child) — how her father’s and mother’s moods would change from morning to night or from one day to the next, and especially their silent moods when she thought she had done something to anger them. Sometimes she was afraid to go out and walk down the street because everyone she met might fall silent when they saw her. Later her parents separated and she learned that they had only stayed together when she was a child to give her a home. I think the same might have been true of my parents. Not knowing how they were going to react or be from one day to the next, and feeling no doubt that I was to blame, I guess that could account for my inability to really trust another person. And my fear of rejection — and acceptance because I was afraid to trust the acceptance. That’s it!!