The Archers – The Helen Archer And Rob Titchener Saga Part 2

The Archers – The Helen Archer And Rob Titchener Saga Part 2

by Dr Emma Gray - 19th April, 2016

The-archers-thumbnail updatedThe Archers – The Helen Archer and Rob Titchener Saga Part 2

Part 1 of this blog started to look at a current storyline in The Archers, the long running British soap opera on Radio 4. Over the last few months we have seen Helen Archer suffering an escalation of emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her partner Rob Titchener that has recently culminated with Helen, in the defence of her 5 year old son, stabbing Rob Titchener three times.

Why is Rob Titchener with a woman like Helen Archer?

Our choice of partner tells us a lot about our self-esteem. Rob Titchener’s choice of Helen Archer as a partner indicates that he has low self-esteem. Adults with low self-esteem are rarely able to find a close relationship that is balanced in terms of power, either finding themselves as the victim (in this case Helen Archer) or as the abuser (in this case Rob Titchener). Rob Titchener’s low self-esteem makes sense if you look at his parents Bruce and Ursula Titchener who are both very critical of others. Critical parents raise children filled with self-doubt and loathing as through their criticism they undermine their child’s sense of being good enough.

The other important element in Rob’s choice of Helen as a partner is his parent’s relationship. Ursula Titchener, who is initially presented as critical, manipulative and controlling becomes nervy and uncertain in the presence of her husband Bruce. Our parent’s relationship is our first experience of an adult relationship and as such provides a template for future adult relationship. In choosing Helen as a partner Rob is able to recreate the power imbalance he has observed in his parent’s relationship.


Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.


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