Stan’s next session was so fascinating that I just had to share it with you. How wise can a 21 year old be? Find out by reading this (condensed) session:
Therapist: How are you doing today Stan?
Stan: I’m good. I woke up to the sound of birds. I’ve been waiting all winter for this. Spring can come now. I just love it.
I’m good. I guess I’m kind of sad though. Looking from the outside in I see that my mother and father are just so different. They are two people that developed in their careers and professions. They both love what they do. They couldn’t be happier in what they are doing.
But after 30 years together they are so distant from each other. I feel like they wasted so much of their lives with each other. It makes me really sad. They are always upset with each other. They go through the same fights over and over. For as long as I remember it’s the same cycle over and over.
When they were younger they focused on us kids. It was family work. Now they are left with each other and they are either fighting or are distant. I see now that it is not just my brother’s passing. It’s the choices they made in their life.
People go through so many changes in 30 years of marriage. They tried but in the end it was such a waste of time. Me and my brother know it. I wish I could make them happy, but I can’t.
The way she is, I know what I can and can’t say. And that is kind of sad.
Therapist: When you and your brother move out of the house they will be left alone to face each other. There will be no distraction. We will see what they do with each other then.
Stan: Even as a couple they are very lonely people. Especially Mom. She wants more out of Dad and he just doesn’t have the emotional capacity.
Mom always looked for more. Look, it’s not my relationship, but it’s depressing to see such good people living out their lives of misery.
Therapist: Do you think their unhappy marriage was in any way connected to your brother’s suicide?
Stan: No. He wasn’t happy with himself, his medical condition. He loved his girlfriend but he felt he could never provide for her the way he wanted to. Maybe the family stressors played a part, but it wasn’t the cause.
He wanted our parents to be proud of him. It meant so much to him – not so much for me. I never needed that, but he relied on them.
I wish Mom could see the reality of her relationship. You know the truth? Their relationship wasn’t a waste. The two of them raised three good kids! It’s just so lonely to watch them.
Therapist: What lessons have you learned from how your Mom and Dad have conducted their relationship?
Stan: It keeps me reminded. It’s why I’m not dating. It reminds me that I won’t marry because it’s “time” or because other people my age are getting married. I will know when it’s right. If it’s not there, it’s not there.
Therapist: I know what you mean! That’s what happened to me when I met my husband. It truly was love at first sight.
Stan: That’s what I want. I don’t want to waste my time. I feel that a lot of people choose comfort over love. I want to experience love to its fullest potential. Most people don’t really think about what they are doing and why they are doing it.
If “society” says it time to get married, I like this person enough, I am comfortable, let’s get married – what does this really have to do with the real you? It’s like society “dumbs us down”. Am I over-thinking here?
Therapist: Not at all. You are looking deeply into your feelings and what really matters to you. You are considering the long term.
Stan: Like my brother’s friend. He’s been with this girl for 10 years, since Junior High School. Their relationship already shows signs of dysfunction. He is so easy going. He jokes around and is so much fun. That’s the very thing that she hates about him. Sooner or later he is going to resent her for sucking the life out of him.
I just want to shake him. “Don’t do it!” “What are you doing?!”
Yes, I know marriage is work. You will have ups and downs, but if you make the wrong choice, you are divorced and you just haven’t signed the papers yet!
If you don’t see it, I can’t make you see. As for me, It would be nice for me to get married and have kids, but if I don’t I will be fine. It’s OK. There are plenty of kids to adopt. Marriage is not something I expect of myself.
Therapist: You are very wise.
Stan: What I wish is that if I want to marry that I ask my family and friends to give me the most honest appraisal of what they see, and what they recommend for me. They may see something I don’t. I will listen and take seriously into account what they see.
You know what I think? Comfort is dangerous! It is the enemy to being true to yourself if you don’t really love at the same time.
The sun is shining today. Summer is on the way. Haa-haa. I love the sun. I love living…..
This young man is determined to find his truth and follow it. Through the pain, suffering and loss he has gained a deep wisdom that has allowed him to forge a path of integrity and authentic love. He has found a way to honor himself in a way that will not compromise his need for true and honest love.
What a joy to see him grow and find his true self.