Other people’s problems

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It’s interesting, this blogging thing. When I first started in earnest about nine or ten months ago, I wrote just for the hell of it. There was no audience in mind because there was no audience. If I wanted to write a list of the reasons I felt like shit, I would write a list reasons of why I felt like shit. The ripples it made in the big ol’ pond of the blogosphere were barely, barely perceptible. I wrote to figure stuff out for myself. There was no Lazy Buddhist per se, it that was just the name I went by to remain anonymous.

It feels a bit different now. I have readers. And I have blog buddies that feel like real friends. But how close of friends? The kinds of friends who, before they come over, you clean the house up for and hide all the ugly stuff in the closet? Or the rare kind of friends who you let into the house even if it’s a total mess? For the most part, I think I have made some effort to put my best face forward – in others words, I clean the house before you come over. I try to come off as a pretty decent person – aspiring Buddhist, confirmed animal lover, and patient friend and girlfriend. And I am all these things. Most of the time. But, then other times I don’t feel so nice, and there is no big life lesson in the end. This is one of those times.

It’s been tough times with the boyfriend lately. He’s in therapy. Again. Over the course of the ten years we’ve been together he has tried various types of therapy with various therapists, which he insists have been helpful, but not helpful enough where I can see a change in his behavior. He has a lot of anger towards his parents that they never “got” him. So, as a kid he never really got what he needed to feel loved and validated. Which sucks, it really does. I get it. I really do. Yet, I don’t know how many times I have had to bite my tongue when he starts in on it to avoid saying “just get over it, dude. Seriously.”

I know what it is like to be in therapy. I have spent one quarter (the third quarter) of my life in therapy. It can be tough looking at all this shit that you’ve kept hidden for years and having to relive painful events from your childhood. The work you’re doing is important . . . to you. You can pretty much bet that you’ve lost most of your listeners anytime you start a sentence with “my therapist says . . . ” For most of the time when I was in therapy, I really didn’t have any people close enough to me that I would even confide in. So, I only shared the pain and suffering and the resultant whining and sniffling with my therapist – who was being paid to listen. No one else really knew what kinds of stuff I was working through, and that was OK with me.

When I emerged from therapy, most of my major issues were resolved, and I was free to live a life of ordinary suffering just like everyone else. So, having experienced the benefits of hard core, long term therapy, you would think that I would be really attentive and supportive when someone, especially my nearest and dearest, was going through the throes of therapy. But, I’m finding I’m not. When it comes to other people’s psychological problems, I’m just not all that interested. Really, just save it for your journal – or blog. Please don’t expect me to drop everything I’m doing because you’re reliving all the old feelings of being forced to go to camp when you really, really didn’t want to.

Part of the process of therapy is sticking your head really far up your ass with one of those miner’s lamps and taking a good close look at your shit. It’s icky, it’s stinky and there are little bits of psychic corn from eons ago in there. And it can be pretty fascinating . . . to you. Go ahead and own your shit. But, honestly, the rest of us don’t care. Because, here’s the kicker, everyone has shit. And I think that’s where the healing is. You drop the shame about your shit because you recognize everyone is full of shit – some healthy and well formed, some watery and egregiously stinky. But everyone has it. And we all think our shit is pretty special. Yes, you are special, just like everyone else.

I guess where I am taking offense is when the boyfriend comes over all mopey with his big pile of shit in tow. “See? Look what I found up my colon.” Gee, I was kinda hoping for flowers and maybe a nice dinner out. We don’t spend that much time together, so I would prefer he would leave the shit at home. No one needs a turd wheel on date night. (sorry, I’m so so sorry).

OK, that’s it. I hope y’all are having a wonderful long weekend.

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22 responses »

  1. Oh thank you for stating so perfectly why I get all impatient when my boyfriend picks at some of his psychological scabs. Often the same ones over and over. And then I feel guilty for not being supportive. But really, all I am thinking is: Zzzzzzzzz….a nice dinner out would be so much better!!

  2. Your miners’ helmet analogy is so fitting and viscerally vivid. It sums up therapy perfectly.

    Been there, done that, don’t need more shite (mine or others), thank you very much.

  3. You are so disciplined – holding your tongue like that.

    I sure wouldn’t! I have no patience for people who wallow in their crap.

    OK, I know I do, sometimes, but I know people whose lives depend on it.

    (I have another blog where I started writing crap from my past – all the way back. It’s very cathartic and in it’s own way pretty fun. My most avid readers … are my family. The folks I write about!)

  4. Mmmmmmmmm.

    I do like the shit metaphor. Therapy didn’t work for me, partly because I was just terminally constipated. Not even a therapist could get me to really deal with my shit. Therapy never lasted more than a few sessions. I used to get myself into relationships where I suddenly turned my partner/friend into my therapist. Clearly, this was always fatal, for all the obvious reasons. Now I just do the buddhist thing and I don’t worry about therapists or relationships. I no longer obsess about anybody’s shit.

  5. this post really resonated with me – as well being beautifully written and elegantly funny, it reminded me of why I’m single. Because I have shit. Shit that I don’t want anyone that I know knowing about or looking at, least of all me.

    Blogs rock.

  6. little bits of psychic corn
    chunky hunks of undigested porn
    cars that honk with out no horn
    wedding dresses freshly torn
    funeral shrouds to be worn
    lil bo peep lookin forlorn

    life changing experiences which too often don’t change nothin ~ hey thatz my shit we’re tawkin about here = go get suma yer own then we can party.

  7. I think I feel like the boyfriend at times. And I think the wife feels like you at times. And at times, I think the roles are reversed, although not that often in our case.

    I love your insight, I always look forward to reading what comes next. Its not always roses, but at least its down to earth.

    Thanks for keeping my head somewhat grounded in reality. And I’m going to make an effort to keep my head out of my ass. I don’t like the smell.

  8. Oh my, you really are my alter-ego… I bet we’re related in a past life or something. I’ll have to stop by the Past Lives Pavilion (apologies to Albert Brooks) on my way home to check this out. πŸ™‚
    I blogged about this stuff a while back. I personally gave up on therapy because, well, at some point you just have to grow up and own your shit – but also let go of it at the same time. It’s so hard… since we’re all products of our environments we still fight to hold on to our shit, because in some sort of twisted way, this shit made us who we are today! What kind of crazy shit is that! *giggle*

    Perhaps you should offer him some Psychic Ex-Lax Brownies? Or perhaps a Metaphysical Roto-Rooter? That will clean him out. *laughs*

    Hang in there, dearie. It is hard to relate to someone who so desperately wants to keep revisiting and blaming the past for why they cannot move forward… especially when you are making great strides there yourself.

  9. Just a bit of perspective… you’ve been with this boyfriend for 10 years? I’ve been without one for the last 5! Enjoy what you do have, it might not always be there.

  10. tpgoddess0103 – gee, I guess I’m not the only one, eh?

    Stevo – yup, me too. While I think it is important at some point in one’s life to get way up there and investigate your shit, it really is much nicer (and better smelling) out here.

    CB – the boyfriend really is my practice in patience. If I didn’t really make that effort, I would probably become a screaming shrew. His good qualities outweigh by far the bad, so I’m patient (except when I’m complaining about him in my blog).

    Ron – I’m glad the Buddhist thing is working for you. For myself, I don’t think I could have sincerely done the Buddhist thing if I hadn’t cleaned out some of my shit first.

    Truce – I don’t know if having shit or not having shit really has anything to do with being in a relationship. I think it’s a matter of finding someone to balance your shit. If you’ve got two people with too much shit, the toilet will get backed up, and we know how ugly that can be.

    Marshmellows – one of your better pieces of poetry. Me likey.

    Adam – I’m glad you don’t mind when I get a little down and funky. There are regular readers, like yourself, who I sense are really nice people and I want to bring out my best self for them. Yet, it’s not very realistic in real life, much less a blog. So, thank you for reading and allowing me to relax and not worry that the house is always sparkling and immaculate.

    Vee – Welcome! Make yourself at home. The place isn’t super clean, but it’s comfortable. πŸ™‚

    NM – Sister from another mister? I totally agree it is important to own our shit. Every fucked up thing that has been done to me or I have done to myself makes up who I am today. And since I’m pretty OK with who I am today, I can be OK with my past. The problem with the boyfriend is he hasn’t gotten to the point of being OK with who he is now and he thinks if only he figure out the past and why it was like it was, then and only then can he be happy. Sometimes my heart breaks for him. Sometimes I just get annoyed.

    hedder16 – Welcome! Perspective is important. And like I said above, his good qualities far outweigh his annoying ones. So, rather than nag him personally about the annoying ones, I try to hold my tongue and occasionally complain a bit in my blog.

  11. sorry i haven’t been by your place in a while LB. No need to tidy up for me though. I just like hangin out here with you. : )

    I really liked this post… a lot! I’ve never been in therapy myself but have had events happen where I probably should have gone. Like you said, we all have crap to deal with.

    I liked your pun. made me smile after reading a post that really hit home for me.

  12. God this is funny.

    I don’t know if you meant it that way, I’m sure there’s honest annoyance, but by the end I was just howling.

    I’m doing the therapy thing right now, so will probably be dropping back to this post from time to time for a good dose of perspective.

    ‘turd-wheel’

    lololol

  13. *thinking*

    Hmmmmm.

    You know, I would venture to guess, perhaps incorrectly, that you would be less annoyed with your boyfriend if he actually drew some conclusions and changed, as a result of his self-examinations, or perhaps even involved you in the process of his trying to change.

    Sort of something along the lines of: You know how my parents made me go to camp when I really really really didn’t want to? Well, that had a major impact on me, even though it seems like a small thing. I feel like I really have to defend my right not to do something I don’t want to do, even when it’s reasonable. Now I understand better why I do that, and I know it’s frustrating to you. So … when I do that, could you maybe say something like “Dude, it’s not like I’m making you go to camp?” I’m trying hard to get past it, but I think it would help if I could be reminded, because I don’t always see it.

    I could be wrong, of course. But looking back at my own relationships … I really wanted to kill one of the women I was with, who seemed wilfully stupid in therapy. She never got over anything, and never seemed to make any progress. At one point, I was so frustrated with her that I actually said: “I’m so sick of hearing you talk about how much you want to kill yourself … would you please either just get it over with, or make a genuine effort to improve your life, which would mean doing some actual work in therapy, instead of just sitting there crying for an hour?”

    Yeah, I know. I can’t believe I said that, either.

    But then there was my other girlfriend, who would tell me about her therapy sessions, and who was very interesting about them, and wanted me to know not just what she was learning about herself, but how she wanted to change because of what she was learning, and she wanted my opinions as well. I didn’t mind her talking to me about it at all. I felt like I was part of her process.

    Maybe that’s what makes the difference.

  14. I feel with you on the source of your impatience. It’s not just with those who are wandering aimlessly in therapy, it can sometimes be the whole blasted population — stuck on themselves as the center of the universe and every slight the rest of the world has cast their way.

    “HELLO — hey! there are a LOT of people trying to stand in the center of the universe, buddy. Take a number!”

    It’s good to open the exhaust valve on the steam pipes here in blogland. It makes reality safer for those who live with us, eh? πŸ™‚

    Shu

  15. Jules – you’re always welcome to make yourself at home as long as you don’t mind the cat and bunny fur all over the furniture.

    Amuirin – I am glad my pain amuses you. Go ahead laugh at my suffering, see if I care. πŸ˜‰ Once I got past the fact that I was going to come off as a bit of a bitch, I just let ‘er rip. And thank you so much for laughing at the “turd wheel”. I do so enjoy a bad pun.

    David – *thinking* Hmmmm. Yes, I think you’re right that my annoyance is coming from the fact that he seems to be stuck in the feeling and doesn’t seem to be willing to make that jump to how it affects him today. Mostly, I think he is just looking for someone to validate his childhood pain and to agree with him that his parents were all sorts of horrible. And frankly if that is all a therapist is going to do, you’ve got yourself a bad therapist.

    While I have never gotten so annoyed that I have wished he were dead, I would occasionally challenge him to a game I call “Dueling Childhoods” where for every complaint he has about his childhood, I can match and most of the time best him. He used to feel kind of silly when we did a trauma by trauma analysis. However, that game was neither effective nor kind. So, I am left with tuning him out and/or changing the subject when he starts going down that road. I’m not his mommy or his therapist, so it’s not my job to help him figure it out if he refuses to himself, ya know?

    Shu – That’s the problem, isn’t it? The center of the universe is pretty small, and every thinks they should be the sole occupant. As I get older and maybe a little wiser, I’m happier to let others take their place at the center. But, I guess the problem I have with the boyfriend is that the time he spends moping cuts in on the time we could be having fun.

    I do appreciate the opportunity to vent every now and again and see that others can relate. Blogland is good. πŸ™‚

  16. since the ‘turd wheel’ has fine alley been referenced i feel its time to report that after reviewing a top ten list of puns to see if any of them would make him laff David Letterman sadly discovered that no pun in ten did.

  17. “own your shit…drop the shame about your shit because you recognize everyone is full of shit – some healthy and well formed, some watery and egregiously stinky. But everyone has it.”

    butt itz not possible to wallow in the healthy well formed shit (unless your willing to do a whole bunch of pre-wallowing processing) so that only leaves the water egregiously stinky stuff = yum yum oink oink

    or as Samuel Clemens might have put it (no relation to Roger btw): If the shit fits wallow init ~ just please dowit downwind & use yerown towel – tank you very mush

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