長女情結 華人婦女與心理創傷論   

FBD: First Born Daughter Complex

Traumatized Chinese Women Syndrome

(Click here for English version)

 

黃偉康博士 Dr. Melvin W. Wong, Ph.D.

 

(編者輯錄、翻譯及整理)

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引言

       

        本文章將簡單介紹「長女情結」的特徵、起因及解結之法。經過十多年的臨床觀察,並研究了200多位亞裔女性,普遍在華裔或亞裔家庭的長女身上發現了一些相同的心理困擾,於是將之作歸納,並提出「長女情結」論的說法。 (雖然這些特徵一般在長女身上比較顯著,但一些在相似的家庭環境下長大的女性,不論在家中的排行,也會有類似的心理狀態。) 她們通常在心理輔導的過程中都陷於極大的情緒波動,而這種現象不僅發現於接受普通心理輔導的長女當中,也發現於不同治療層面的長女身上。

 

        雖然很多「長女情結」的特徵都是比較負面,但當這些長女不是處於壓力之下,她們都能妥當的處理事情,甚至比很多人更能幹。我想強調的是,「長女情結」的心理症狀通常會影響她們的人際關係,並帶來性格上的盲點。

 

 

她們的長處

 

        這些長女的能力強,也很會辦事。她們比較自立,對自己要完成的責任都勝任有餘,例如:一個已屬退休年齡的長女可以在繁忙的三藩市商業區獨力打理一間小食店。又或者你若需要託付她們做一些事情,這些長女都比較值得信賴。她們都會盡責的、謹慎的、勤勞的、有效和準時的完成答應做的事。因為她們謹慎及細心的性格,更是照顧小孩和做小手工的能手。

 

 

她們的心理障礙與創傷  

 

        這些長女通常很固執,對世界和週遭事情有鎖定的看法,所以較難適應轉變的環境,也不懂得面對壓力。而且很容易有羞恥感及罪咎感,對公平及公義很敏感,更沒有安全感。因為思想較偏激,她們都缺乏巧妙和靈活地處理人際關係的技巧。但她們的感情也很脆弱,很多時都不能面對孤單或被拒絕,但這個情況通常在心理困擾較嚴重的長女身上發現,她們很怕被遺棄,甚至懼怕獨自面對黑夜。有時會感到生命沒有意義和空虛,易怒及易陷入憂鬱。   

 

        這些性格影響她們尋找丈夫,甚至影響日後養兒育女的方法。她們對丈夫或男友要求很高,盼望從對方身上尋回在父母那裡失去的愛和關懷,但一般普通的男性都不能達到她們的要求。更可惜的是因為不了解自己感情上的需要,而通常下嫁一個不能滿足自己的丈夫。這些長女對配偶及子女也要事事支配,更會將自己的憤恨和恐懼投影在感覺與自己比較親近的女兒身上 (特別是最大的女兒)

 

        她們也會愛兒子多過女兒。很多時候以「羞恥」及「不足」感作為教導子女的方法,使子女長大後也重蹈覆轍,自覺不如別人及自卑。

 

 

形成的原因

 

        由於中國文化是講求倫理的文化,有論資排輩和重男輕女的觀念,一般而言,長女在成長期往往被父母忽略,得到絕少的關心和鼓勵,還要肩負照顧弟妹及家務的責任。所以,她們的成長沒有童年。(在中產家庭長大的長女可能承擔較小的家庭責任,但因為她們在家中排行最大,所以也較容易被忽略和傷害。) 而很多時侯父母的婚姻裡沒有真愛,導致母親有很多怨恨,沒有人傾訴,長女就成為唯一的對象了。做長女的沒有父親的愛,又只能接受母親的怨恨,更要充當母親的知己及輔導者的角色。自然地,她們對父親和兄弟很失望,甚至覺得被父親出賣。這導致她們對母親又愛又恨,而對男人的要求很高,甚至沒有好感或憎恨。

 

        通常這些長女的母親本身也是長女,因為身為長女的母親已不能接納自己,更枉能正常地教養自己的長女,她們會很容易將怨恨、恐懼和不安全感投射給長女兒,很多時候更以羞恥感、罪疚感、不足感、離間、分化和偏愛某些子女作為教養兒女的方法,使她們長大後也重蹈覆轍。有些帶有較嚴重心理症狀的長女往往在人際關係裡遭遇過重大的打擊、分離、遺棄和傷害,她們很容易激動,甚至以離家出走、自我切割、自殺、來逃避與報復不公平的對待。

 

 

長女的真實故事

 

        其中一個研究個案是一位從中國大陸來美的六十歲婦人,她從小就經常被母親責罵,不但擁有一個很不愉快的童年,也不滿意現在的婚姻生活。丈夫很少和她溝通,卻經常的向她吆喝。她不能信任他人,更常常以淚洗臉。她的性格很固執,例如午餐永遠是吃火腿三文治。

 

        另外是一位38歲居住三藩市的日本女性,因為她欠缺安全感,變得有強烈的擁有慾,對配偶要求很高,經常用不同的方式去控制她的丈夫,甚至以自殺來威脅。後來他們開始了婚姻輔導,情況有點改善,但她卻逃避,不願意繼續接受輔導。有「長女情結」的女性通常較難維繫親密的關係,因為她們對人要求很高。

 

        還有一個20歲左右的美藉華裔女性,她非常討厭吃肥豬肉,因為當她還小的時候,縱使強烈反對,她的母親仍然強迫她吃肥肉。為什麼一位母親會對自己唯一的女兒這樣做呢?因為她不能接受自己的心理創傷,便覺得女兒要和自己一樣接受心理創傷,使自己的情緒好過一點。

 

 

解結的方法

 

        這種心理病症源自母親的怨恨,要解決需要從母親那裡開始。要讓這些長女知道,她們的心理症狀是普遍存在於長女身上,並解釋其因由。更要讓她們了解,母親是一種封建制度下病態文化裡的犧牲者,並鼓勵她們必須首先走出這種病態文化的陰影。另外,她們需要學習饒恕,不但寬恕別人(特別她們的母親),更要懂得寬恕及接納自己,使破碎的內在和人際關係得以重整和修復。

 

        父母的親子教育也很重要,要讓父母知道如何避免女兒陷入「長女情結」的心理症狀。健康的父母榜樣可以幫助這些母親學習用無條件的愛去愛她們的子女,使她們能夠分開行為和個人,並不是因為子女的乖與不乖而去表達愛。

 

(作者為加州執照臨床心理學家,現任香港浸會神學院教牧輔導課程義務主任,曾任三藩市公立醫院精神科主治心理醫師、加州大學三藩市分校醫學院精神科助理教授,以及美國中國信徒佈道會、家庭更新協會的特約同工。與妻結婚 20年多,育有一女,現居美國三藩市灣區。Info@ChristianMentalHealth.com)

(本文章是作者黃偉康博士授權於本會刊登,其版權歸作者及家庭更新協會所有。)

 

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First-Born-Daughter (FBD) Syndrome

長女情結: 華人婦女與心理創傷論

Traumatized Chinese Women Syndrome

Copyright © 1994-2009 Melvin W. Wong, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

220 Montgomery Street, Suite 1098, San Francisco, CA 94104, U.S.A.

www.AsianPsy.com                              info@AsianPsy.com             DrMelvinWong@gmail.com

 

Introduction

 

The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the concept of ďFirst-born-daughter (FBD) complex, a pseudo-borderline coping style.Ē This constellation of characteristics of the FBD was derived from Chinese women. (FBD is most commonly manifested in the personality structure of the first-born, but it is also found in women of any birth-order who were brought up under analogous parenting dysfunctions.)  They were in deep emotional turmoil while this author was providing psychological services to them. These services go beyond the scope of psychotherapy, including psychiatric emergencies, acute in-patient psychiatric services, forensic evaluations and expert testimonies (in family law) as well as through speaking engagements for the public.

 

While most of the characteristics of the FBD complex may carry a negative connotation, when the FBD is not under stress, she can be quite functional (the quiet borderline?) It is important to point out that the FBD complex is an ineffective coping style which impairs effective interpersonal relationship and intrapersonal functioning. This complex may overlap some of the features of the borderline personality disorder as described in the DSM.

 

Positive qualities

 

1.    Exceptional independence in carrying out personal responsibilities. Such as the ability for a retired woman to operate a sandwich shop single-handedly in a busy financial district such as San Francisco.

2.    Exceptional dependability in carrying out a task delegated to them. They do their assignment very conscientiously, meticulously, laboriously and effectively without delay.

3.    They are excellent with the care of young children due to extreme cautiousness.

4.    They are excellent crafts-people and they love to do things with their hands.

 

Psychopathology

 

1.    Ineffective interpersonal style due to overly concrete in their perception of the world and events that surround them. They lack the luster of interpersonal subtlety that is important in the development of relationships.

2.    Overly rigid with their perception and they are less able to shift mental sets to deal with a changing environment. A heightened sensitivity towards justice and fairness. High anxiety level & stress proneness.

3.    They are not able to adjust effectively with social isolation. This characteristic is dependent on the level of functioning of the FBD. The lower the level the more problems with social alienation, being alone, fear of abandonment, and the overwhelming dread when having to face the evening by themselves.

4.    They don't necessarily do well academically.  Usually they would do exceptionally well in early grade school years but their performance would slip when their family responsibilities become too demanding for them.

5.    Emotional lability with an underlying dysthymic mood and restricted affect.

6.    The overwhelming sense of meaninglessness and emptiness. Suicidal ideations are common with FBDís.

7.    The co-dependent behavior on a significant other. Heightened awareness of shame and guilt.

8.    They donít do well with separations because they have unresolved grief and bereavement issues from their family of origin.

9.    The have an intense fear of rejection.

10. They have ambivalence feelings towards significant male love-objects.

 

Etiology of the FBD

 

1.    The traditional Chinese belief that value males more than females and the motherís worth on having a first-born son (重男輕女)  are the precipitating factors.

2.    Mothers of FBD are usually FBDís themselves. They have not accepted themselves and they were not able to bring up FBDís effectively.

3.    FBD mothers usually became too enmeshed with their daughters and they projected what they didnít like about themselves and their fears and insecurities as women onto their FBDís.

4.    FBDís became their motherís confidant and counselor at an young age. There was role-reversal and confusion.

5.    FBDís became their younger siblingsí surrogate mother and care-giver. There was gross experience of splitting.

6.    There is usually the lack of a happy childhood because FBDís have to care for her siblings at a young age.

7.    The lower functioning FBDís are those who have suffered multiple interpersonal traumas, losses and rejections. It is not uncommon for low functioning FBDís to develop the full borderline personality disorder.

8.    It is typical for FBDís to have reduced impulse control and they may contemplate running away from home to escape injustice and they would have chronic suicidal ideations. Self-mutilations and suicide attempts are also common.

9.    They were disappointed with their fathers and their brothers. They felt that their fathers have betrayed them.

10. They have been emotionally and physically abused. The use of shame, divisiveness, splitting, favoritism, nepotism and threats of separation and dread are commonalities in their upbringing.

 

Treatment summary for FBDís

 

1.    Through interpersonal and intrapersonal reconciliation by forgiveness and restoration of relationships.

2.    Through the use of effective parenting skills on their own FBDís. Such as use of  unconditional love.

3.    Through the realization of their childhood aspirations.


 

First-Born-Daughter (FBD) Syndrome

長女情結:華人婦女與心理創傷論

 

Melvin W. Wong, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

 

ASIAN-AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES

 

www.AsianPsy.com                info@AsianPsy.com  DrMelvinWong@gmail.com

 

220 Montgomery Street, Suite 1098 (at Bush Street)

San Francisco, CA 94104. U.S.A. Telephone:(415) 421-6848

 

39785 Paseo Padre Parkway (at Stevenson)

Fremont, CA 94538. U.S.A. Telephone: (510) 475-1475

 

 

          The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of ďFirst-born-daughter (FBD) complex, a pseudo-borderline coping style.Ē

   This constellation of characteristics of the FBD was derived from Chinese women who came through the clinical practices of this author. FBD is most commonly manifested in the personality structure of the first-born, but it is also found in women of any birth-order who were brought up under analogous parenting dysfunctions.

   The FBD complex is an ineffective coping style which impairs effective interpersonal relationship and intrapersonal functioning. This complex may overlap some of the features of the borderline personality disorder as described in the DSM-IIIR. This disorder in personal functioning is a result of the cultural beliefs which placed more worth on first-born sons over daughters. Mothers tend to project low self-esteem and blame on their FBDís and they also enmesh with them. Blurred personal boundaries include using daughters as their confidants, counselors, servants, ďpunching-bagĒ as well as a surrogate mother of their young siblings. The FBDís did not have childhoods but had to be adults too soon. They suffered multiple personal trauma of verbal and physical abuse, separations, abandonments and physical hardships.

  Their symptomatologies include a pseudo-borderline functioning with lability, black-and-white thinking, overly concrete in perception and problem formulation, rigidity, overly-conforming to law and order, emptiness and meaninglessness, fear of rejection and severe co-dependency on relationships. Treatment strategies include personal growth, reconciliation with mother through forgiveness and grief work.

 

"First-born-daughter complex" and "First-born-daughter" syndrome are copyrighted terms. Please credit the owner Dr. Wong when making reference to them.

Copyright © 1994-2009 Melvin W. Wong, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved