Yes, I plan to commit suicide in my role as a Chris Durang character.
In other words, the Stork’s swan song is imminent (there’s my mixed metaphor).
I haven’t fired him yet, but I have sworn to do so. I haven’t taken an oath in blood, but I figure blogging about it is almost as good, as far as commitments go.
Truth is, after he said, “Lyralen might abandon me,” it was only a matter of time. Because who can pass up an invitation like that? Besides, it was completely unprofessional and inappropriate. I think sometimes my partner and I should continue our pattern of going through couples therapists like bottles of Smart Water (health freaks that we are) just so we can see what else they can come up with in that category: inappropriate and unprofessional.
See, they’re self-employed, and they report to no one besides their clients, who are in therapy, face it, because they’re f*(&ed up and don’t know any better. So they think they can make up the rules as they go along. NOT. WITH. ME.
Okay. Would you like to know what the Stork did this time? I was actually saying something profoundly intimate to my partner. In fact, I had three profoundly intimate topics in one session, which might be a record.
The first referred to a promise she made to me and how we might finally have a start on an agreement about fair fighting. I said that it should be egalitarian, that I have to live up to it, too. Then she made a practical suggestion about how we could do it. I told her I thought it was a good idea and maybe one of us should take a stab at writing the fair fighting agreement. She said she would. Then I said, “That’s about all I can do on that subject,” and she said, “Okay.” (She really meant the okay, because we’d argued about it so much and she knew giving concessions is hard for me. She is a person of compassion, my partner.)
The second–I decided to tell her that sometimes I can’t see her clearly because she reminds me of my father. I get confused about what love is when she reminds me of him. I start feeling distrust. We were pretty much in the middle of talking about this, and in the process, one of us mentioned a Breathwork and IFS workshop she’d done over the weekend. I said, “Yes, when you came home I wanted to just listen about it, but we still hadn’t resolved the fair fighting thing, and I’d been waiting for you to get back to me about it, and I was anxious, so I didn’t want to be close until we worked it out.” The Stork, who’d got interested in the breathwork thing, says to my partner, “You did a workshop with Stanislav Grof?” And she was like, “Yeah, but not this one. The one I did with him was this fall, at Kripalu.” And he’s like, “I didn’t know he was still alive.” And she’s like, “Yeah.” And he’s like, “I did one workshop and then decided to get trained in it. I bet it helps with accessing x, y & z.” And she’s like, “Yeah, I really like it.” And he’s like, “Lyralen, what about you?” And I’m like, “Honestly, I avoid it like the plague.” And he’s like, “I thought you did a lot of bodywork.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but rebirthing and that kind of breathwork make me want to run for the hills.” He’s like, “It’s good to not have any control.” And I’m like, “You really want to see me out of control?” And so he turns back to my partner and starts monologueing about her experience and I say, “WATASHI WA!” And I point to my nose.
In case you’re wondering, watashi wa is Japanese for me, and in Japan, if you reference yourself, you point to your nose, not your heart like we do in the West.
My partner started cracking up, because she knew I was really saying, “Shut up about the breathwork! I have an AGENDA.”
So then I went back to talking about wanting to see her more clearly. She said she understood, and she wanted to change things because she hates my father. Which was good, I thought.
Finally, I got to topic #3. The night before, I’d asked her, “Do you really want to be closer to me than we normally are?” And she said, “Yes.” So I’d thought about it, and said, “I can’t tell the difference between you wanting closeness and just getting mad at me when I say no to meeting all your needs.” And she said, “I can’t tell the difference either.” And I said, “I can’t turn into someone who finds it easy to be all mushy. I wish I could be as open-hearted as Don was, but I can’t. I get too scared.”
And then the Stork said something useful. I almost fainted. He said, “You can’t be someone else. But you can be present as yourself. Like Oscar Wilde says, ‘You might as well be yourself. Everyone else is taken.'”
I said to my partner, “That’s what closeness means to me. Like when we’re getting along and your neuroses are an endless source of amusement instead of something to criticize.”
But then the Stork says, “I’ve been kind of fading in and out, there’s just something very subdued about this session.” And I’m like, “I’ve been crying all day because of Don.” My partner says, “I’m exhausted from work.” She and I look at each other and we’re like, “This is okay with me, is it with you?”
The Stork says, “I’d like to go back to the fair fighting agreement. You know, in IFS*, you can still get angry, you just have to speak for parts instead of being blended and speaking from parts. You know what I mean, don’t you (to my partner)?”
My partner nods.
Then he looks at me. “Lyralen, do you understand?” As if I’m in kindergarten.
“Yes,” I answer homicidally. Because he has only explained this about 15 times (he’s a born-again IFS person and talks about it incessantly) and besides, I read the IFS books and knew all about speaking for parts instead of from parts before session 1, which I have told him over and over again. Also, I am conceptually gifted, so understanding the concept wasn’t exactly rocket science for me. What I wanted to say was, “Yes, I read the books and in case you haven’t noticed I’m a lot smarter than you are.” What I did say was, “I already told you I’ve done as much as I can on this topic.” And he’s like, “I just want your partner to know that if she tries not to get angry at all it will build up and she’ll explode.” And I’m like, (more homicidal by this point) “But I still can’t do any more on this topic.” He says, “Oh. Okay.”
Therefore, I have taken an oath to fire the Stork so I don’t have to kill him. Much as I will miss the absurdity of Eckhardt Tolle quotes, IFS repetitive lectures, and his abandonment issues, enough is enough.
My partner, who is less reactive to the Stork than I am, basically agrees with all my conclusions. She says, “He just has to be the center of attention all the time.”
So true. And obviously a problem, because I need to be the center of attention, if not all the time, at least 60%. Though 70% is better.
I’m sure this will be a topic with our next couples therapist, as my partner isn’t really happy with 40%, let alone 30. As I’m sure you could guess.
And so, back to the world of therapist interviews. Perhaps we will meet another therapist who talks with puppets, or who dresses as the Wicked Witch of the West or who turns into a dog between visits. I am not looking forward to it. To say the least.
IFS: The Richard Schwartz theory that we are all made up of subselves called parts. Some of these parts are protectors, some critics, some firefighters, some exiles (lost children), etc. My partner is an experienced peer counselor in this method and is now, as I’ve previously mentioned, doing a professional training in it. To prove my intermittent sainthood, I’m doing a workshop to get some practice in it. But, more importantly, I am really interested in writing a comedy called, “Me and My Parts VS. You and Your Parts.” (Which has to have some couples therapy visits in the plot. It just has to.)
IFS info: http://www.selfleadership.org/