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You, Missy, are one smart cookie pegasus

Posted by Racer on February 17, 2004, at 18:25:43

In reply to Re: Marriage counseling and individual therapy, ideas?, posted by pegasus on February 17, 2004, at 15:32:51

> About being in therapy for "your problems", the whole deal with couples therapy is that couples, and families, and all kinds of groups of people have a way of functioning that is constructed together. That means all the people participate in developing this structure or dynamic, whether they realize it or not. So, if any person has a "problem" with that dynamic, all of the people who constructed it together need to take a look at it, and build a new structure/dynamic. Am I making any sense?
>

You must be making sense, because I've said the same thing countless times, both to my husband and to friends and their husbands, although never so concisely nor so well. Thank you.


> It's totally common that there might be one person in the family who is identified as "the problem". But usually they are just the one chosen as the *identified* problem.
>

Oh, yeah, in spades. See, that's always been my role in my family. And, despite what my T says about my digressing too much, it really does go back to my Great Grandparents' generation. It's sort of like our nation's current economic snarles being the result of several administrations, rather than just GWB. You can't take me out of context and see it, but that doesn't mean that it isn't real when I'm in context. (Does that make sense?)

Anyway, my mother was her grandfather's favorite. Said grandfather had *all* the power in the family, the strongest personality, the money, etc. No one could criticize my mother, because she was his favorite. So, instead of criticizing her, everyone attacked her indirectly -- through me. I was criticised in ways that reflected her alleged lack of parenting skills, and she would tell me that it was only their way of trying to hurt her, but the message was still there that I had to protect her. Great, huh? I'm a middle aged woman, I have accomplished many pretty unbelievable things, I have many small talents, and I'm still the designated hittee, if you will, of the family. Even younger family members feel that they have the right to attack me at family functions -- like Christmas dinner -- without any fear of reprisals.

> So, if you are unhappy and your husband is happy, that doesn't mean that you have a problem and he doesn't. It means that the two of you together have created a family structure that works for him but not for you. So, you both need to look at how that happened, and how you can modify the family structure so that you are both happy.
>

OK, now I'm pulling out my hair. My husband is not happy. We do not have a structure that works for either of us. I may be the problem in his eyes, but he's also part of the problem in my eyes. The biggest difference is that it would take a geologic event to move him more than a millimeter.

Example: He's been having pains in his chest. Does he tell me? Oh, no, because I'm too fragile, and it might send me over the edge. Finally, he tells me, and we go together to see a cardiologist -- that appointment was the first time I'd heard the actual symptoms, on the right side of his chest -- who says, "Well, your heart is just fine, but you're underweight and need to start exercising regularly in order to keep it that way." Never mind for the moment that I've told him for years that he *isn't* overweight, he's just out of shape and needs to exercise. Last night, while I was doing my own pathetic exercise routine, he came out to tell me not to do it (another story), and then we sat down to talk about getting to exercising together. (For one thing, I do have a good understanding of exercise needs and how to fill them, which he doesn't.)

The talk we finally had did finally get us somewhere, but his basic first response was, "I'm having a pain in my chest that hasn't been diagnosed, I know all I need to know about exercise, and I shouldn't do any because it's bad for me and because I'm way to exhausted all the time to do it -- but I'm such a lazy butt that I waste entire weeks without doing anything, but I can't/won't do anything about it." Remind me again, why don't I strangle him? (Oh, yeah, that's right: husbands aren't in season right now, so I can't get a hunting license...)

The talk, by the way, included the fact that I was frustrated beyond belief by his utter unwillingness to do *anything at all* to try to improve the situation for either of us. And then I reminded him that I really and truly do know lots and lots about conditioning and exercises -- even showed him a few that he *can* do, instead of the things he says he should be doing and *can't* do. (He's not strong enough to do a lot of the sorts of exercises he thinks he should be doing. I know a lot about low stress starter exercises.)

I'll let you know what happens.

> At least, that's my understanding.
>

Yeah, that's only on accounta you're so smart. If you weren't so smart and so skilled, you wouldn't have that sort of insight and communication skill.

;-D


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