I jokingly tell people that the only person I’m aware of who has had more therapy than me is Woody Allen. When I first started therapy, I was thirty-one years old. At the time, I had no idea of my programming, let alone how it affected my relationships, nor did I realize I had played any role whatsoever in creating my own unhappiness.
I’d been married for nine years and had two daughters, yet despite deeply loving my family, I’d felt unhappy in my marriage. I moved into an apartment on my own, and my wife and I started going to a save-the-marriage therapist. I’d already become successful in business, and while I gave myself credit for my professional success, I took no responsibility for my lack of fulfillment in my marriage. I thought I was unhappy because being unhappy was the nature of life. I felt like a victim; I assumed that was just the way it was and there was nothing I could do about it.
Looking back, I can now see that the voice in my head spoke to me all the time with a running, highly judgmental and negative critique of both me and my situation. I didn’t think about the voice in my head; I believed the voice was me. I believed that whatever it said was the truth.
The voice in my head told me I was emotionally incomplete, that somehow I was unable to understand or perhaps respond to people emotionally as other people could. I created a vivid image to explain this: All the souls were waiting in line to be outfitted with “supplies” before being born to human life, and whoever was handing out the skills for proper emotional balance was on a cigarette break when my turn came, so I didn’t get any.
Up to that time, the voice in my head offered me no hope that it would ever stop being critical of me. It also offered me no hope that I could lessen the anxiety that was always with me in my personal relationships, especially in regard to potential confrontations and rejection. It never hinted to me that I wasn’t a victim of life but rather a victim of my own dysfunctional programming—that I was doing the same things over and over and expecting different results!
- 7 May, 2014
- Posted by Steve Fogel
- 0 Comments