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The expert's opinion

The expert's opinion

Influences are strange and sometimes serious things, and we don't always know how to deal with them. We asked psychoanalyst Dr Clerget to shed a bit of light on the subject.  

Why do we come under the influence of certain people? 
We're all 'under the influence'. It's something we all come under as children: it's a permeability that helps us to move from childhood to adulthood. It's not necessarily a handicap, becuase you enrich yourself through others, but if it goes on and on over time you should try and distance yourself from it a little.

Why are some people easy to influence and some completely incapable of being influenced?
Being easily influenced is a defence mechanism. It's common for people who suffer from a lack of self-esteem to be easily influenced. They think themselves worthless, so obviously anyone else is better and worth listening to. It's often down to your upbringing: if you weren't encouraged and made to feel worthwhile as a child you can be very vulnerable to influences.  

Can it be dangerous?
Of course. It all depends on the person doing the influencing: some mean well, but others can be manipulative and nasty. Influence can have very destructive effects. 

How do you get away from someone who is influencing you?
The golden rule is never to cut your ties with your friends, family and loved ones, because they're the people who can help you open your eyes to bad influences. The rest you can do yourself, for example: get yourself promoted to get away from the bad influence, and learn some self-esteem. Some people might escape one influence only to fall under someone else's influence straight away. The most important thing is always to keep your own personal space in which you can grow as a person and recognize who you are.


Sarah Horrocks
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