“People who annoy people; they are the luckiest people in the world.” – Howie Mandel, entertainer
“Yes, he was a quadriplegic, but he wasn’t a moron, he wasn’t stupid…”
Iris was pissed off…big time! She was tired of carrying him. She was tired of shadowing him. She was tired of protecting him. Yes, he was a quadriplegic, but he wasn’t a moron, he wasn’t stupid and he certainly wasn’t helpless. Iris felt used and exploited and she was going to end it…and end her marriage as well.
Iris was a 45 year old waitress who aspired to be a painter. She was a strong, solid woman with large hands and arms. She projected a soft friendly demeanour in contrast to the frustration she carried inside herself.
Interestingly, Iris painted only horses. They were her inspiration. She told me horses were music in motion…the way they moved as if responding to the innate rhythms in nature. She had never owned a horse but would often find herself parked by the side of the road watching them roam a field…stopping periodically to raise their head as if listening for the next tune.
“… we explored the impact of this family ‘secret’…”
Iris had been married to Igor for over 20 years. He had been a carpenter until a fall transformed him into a wheelchair bound dependent ten years ago. Their two children were on their own now and it was just the two of them facing their future together. And, Iris didn’t want the one Igor envisioned.
But, Iris had other challenges which were magnifying her situation, feeding her fire of frustration which she was safely projecting at Igor. Iris was the baby of her five siblings, a family she felt burdened with a long history, over at least three generations, of incest. She carried deep shame about this which was aggravated by the fact that no one in her family would talk about it…ever!
As we explored the impact of this family ‘secret’ on her, I asked her what she had learned that had served her from it? She was a little taken aback by the question…probably assuming it had only caused her pain…as many do.
But, she had survived it and built a life for herself, so it had to have served her somehow. Her challenge, one of her blind spots, which we all have, was to pin down what it might be.
“ I just laid there crying softly until he finished.”
So, I said,
“Iris, go to the worst moment of those memories, perhaps the time you may have been trying to forget. How old were you and what was going on that made it so painful for you?”
As her eyes watered, she said,
“I was about five years old and my oldest brother, Ian, came into my room and climbed into my bed and molested me. I loved him, he was my favourite brother, but he was doing this to me and he wouldn’t stop when I asked him. I felt so helpless to do anything about it. I just laid there crying softly until he finished.”
“Iris, at its worst moment, I bet you decided something which changed you forever. If that was true what would you have decided that would be important for you now to notice?” I asked her.
“I vowed I’d be the most independent person I knew.”
She had been looking down at her hands, the tears rolling down her cheeks. But, then her head popped up and she looked right at me and said proudly,
“I vowed I’d never be dependent on anyone and especially on my family. I vowed I’d be the most independent person I knew.”
“And, is that true today, Iris?”
“Actually, it is! I’m fiercely independent, Ken. And, I raised our kids that way as well. I guess that why Igor’s situation is so annoying to me. It’s like he wallows in his dependency…he is milking it for all its worth…and it pisses me off!”
“What pisses you off about his dependency, Iris? Do you think you are not dependent?”
“Ken, I just told you I was very independent. I’m not dependent at all…in any way!” she said emphatically.
“Everybody seeks that one special person to annoy for the rest of their life, so they can uncover their own perfection.”
– King Ayles, author
“…different people see Donald Trump as either a devil or an angel…”
“Being dependent or being independent, like beauty, are in the eyes of the beholder. It sounds like you haven’t learned to appreciate your own forms of dependence. If you did, you would find, Igor’s doesn’t seem so annoying, anymore.”
“Are you saying I’m dependent on other people the way I see Igor dependent on me?”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying! Everyone has every trait or behaviour, according to someone at some time in the past. It is always a matter of personal perception. This is nature’s way to ensure we have all the resources we need to optimize our life.”
“Is that why different people see Donald Trump as either a devil or an angel…depending on their politics?”
“It’s really depending on their highest values! The same process is used when we view our family…it is no different!” I offered.
“But, she certainly sees me as dependent…even if I don’t!”
“So that means there are people who see me as a very dependent person and I haven’t been noticing who they are…is that what you mean, Ken?”
“You’ve got it now, Iris! Who comes to your mind as we are discussing this idea?” I asked.
“The most obvious one is our kids. I contact them a lot. If I haven’t heard from them by phone or email or text every day, I get into a sort of panic, worrying something has happened. Igor is forever reminding me they are adults and can take care of themselves…”
“So, your children probably could tell me lots of times, when they perceived you as displaying the dependent trait. Who else?” I asked, now that she had the idea.
“Well, there’s my sister, Irene. Whenever I call her to see how Mom and Dad are doing, she will drop in a dig about me being homesick. I’m not homesick at all, I don’t ever want to live in a big city again. But, she certainly sees me as dependent…even if I don’t!” Iris said, clearly frustrated.
“…I get so peeved at him I go up to the attic and paint.”
“That’s a very important point you’re raising, Iris.’
“How is that?”
“You don’t necessarily need to see yourself as dependent for others to see it…remember, it is in the eye of the beholder, like beauty. To anchor the idea, remember, you are attractive to half of the world, and unattractive to the other half…regardless of how you see yourself.”
“That would explain why so many professional models often have poor self-esteem then, eh?”
“Now you have it, Iris! So, let’s go a step further. There are no mistakes in nature. If you have been seeing Igor’s dependency on you as only, or primarily, negative, what are the benefits to you of feeling smothered by that dependency?”
She thought for a moment.
“The first one which pops up is I get so peeved at him I go up to the attic and paint.” she replied.
“Are you telling me you have actually been painting more since his injury, Iris?”
She paused, reflecting briefly, before saying,
“I’ve painted much more since his fall than ever before his fall. I’ve never noticed that before, Ken.”
“How else has his dependency served you, Iris?”
“I don’t hate you, you’re just the most annoying person in my life.” – Rebecca Sparrow, author
“I’ve got much closer to our children!”
With the idea clearly integrating there are benefits to his dependency on her, Iris then added in a soft, slow, gentle voice,
“I’ve got much closer to our children. When they were small, Igor was closer. He would play with them more and take them places. I was doing the housekeeping, meals, homework and that kind of stuff. But now, I’m the one who keeps the close contact while he is coping with his disabilities.”
“Where else does his dependency serve you?” I asked watching her awareness grow by leaps and bounds.
“Even with money. I have always had an issue with being financially dependent on him. I watched my own mom battle with my father about it. It was a sore point in my own marriage.”
“What’s going on now in this area?” I asked.
“I’ve become the one responsible for paying the bills and managing our incomes. And, while it is challenging at times, I’ve become our advocate with the various agencies that offer support to the disabled.”
“…it seems more OK in a way I never thought possible…”
“Iris, I think you have started uncovering the perfection within a perceived imperfection. We are going to uncover the benefits that counterbalanced every time you perceived he was dependent. And, we are going to uncover them in the seven areas of your life. I bet you are already noticing how the benefits you have identified so far must impact your self-esteem and self confidence, eh?”
“Ken, that’s where my mind was taking me. And, his dependency already feels different to me…it seems more OK in a way I never thought possible…I appreciate this way of thinking, can we keep going?”
“We sure can, Iris!”
“… I actually owe the development of my art…my painting…to Igor!”
So, Iris took the trait about Igor that most annoyed her, his dependency on her, along with every other trait or behaviour that pissed her off and uncovered the equilibrating benefits she received in the same second.
Then, she took every behaviour she really liked about Igor, like his caring and devotion, and uncovered the costs to her in those seconds of her life. When she was done this process completely, she could see Igor as he really was, a person dancing, as fast as he could, with his own set of values.
But, she had learned his values were different than her’s…not better or worse, just different. As she completed this focused accelerated learning process, her appreciation for Igor, and especially for herself, rose dramatically.
At the end of our work together, I asked her how she viewed Igor now. She was thoughtful for a moment before saying,
“We are perfect partners for each other. We are unique individuals and this uniqueness is exactly what I need in my life to be who I am! To a great degree, I actually owe the development of my art…my painting…to Igor!”
“The road to truth is long, and lined the entire way with annoying members of your own family.”
– King Ayles, author
Until Next time…
Now you know …your future!
YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY TO UNCOVER YOUR PERFECTION:
“The Couple Transformation Day”
Saturday, October 28th, 2017
Suite #3 The Pierce Institute Offices
549 North River Road, Charlottetown, PE
Here is your chance to:
- Confirm Your Relationship Commitment!
- Conquer Relationships Challenges!
- Build More Emotional Stability!
- Settle Financial Disputes!
- Create A Social Life!
- Resolve Parenting Issues!
- Reinvigorate Your Intimacy!
So: Invest in YOU! – Invest in your RELATIONSHIP!
Register Today! There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities for your future well being!
Details are available at www.kenpiercepsychologist.com
Encourage others to subscribe to our FREE Newsletter and ebook, “Finding Balance in Your Life” And, please like us on Facebook or Twitter.
What is the biggest challenge of your relationship? Let us know and we will offer you some ideas to explore.
Send us your feedback and topic suggestions…we love to hear from you! If you have a specific question or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to contact me.
Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Be well…balanced! Ken
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com