Sunday, November 13, 2011

He said, she said ...

You might want to make yourself a nice cup of hot cocoa before you start reading.  Get comfortable. It’s a bit of a longer ride than usual.

(For those of you who have just tuned in, “The Robert” and I reconnected a year ago after almost 25 years of not seeing each other.  It was a long-distance thing and although a wonderful experience, it had its challenges.  I chose to end it in April and we hadn’t spoken for almost six months at his request.)

This week, The Robert was soundly nudged by the universe to communicate with me.  (He had important renewal information that he realized I needed in order to keep this blog online.) 

While he had me “on the line” as it were, he decided to share with me how he had been feeling about what had happened between us.  I’m not going to share the first six or seven emails with you … suffice it to say that it was liberally laced (on both sides) with perceived sarcasm, blame, anger and attacks – something that can easily happen when you are just looking at it in print.  It was really uncomfortable.  As the content went into a nosedive, The Robert deftly managed to pull us out of it by asking for a phone conversation.  I agreed.  When we talked, we covered a lot of ground, both of us very surprised at how we had so profoundly misinterpreted each other’s feelings.  (In one of his emails he referred to me as a “Mystical Healer Extraordinaire”, and I took it as sarcasm, hence the references to Doctor in the following excerpts of what happened next.

He said …

I think I'm in need of one more session, if it’s all right with you. I loved the talk with you yesterday, but I didn’t get to the real source of my anger/angst. I was sort of blown away by your perspective on things and I got a bit sidetracked. I have to get this out or I won’t be able to let it go from cycling around in my head. I could write it out I suppose, but email just doesn’t cut it for this stuff, as we've seen :). xox

She said …

I have actually had to think a lot about this.  What I have come to is that I am happy to have as many conversations as you like but with a caveat or two ...

If you need to vent or attack me as a way of getting to your real source of anger or angst, then no.  I’m not in.  It’s not fruitful. 

I’d like to try and explain why.  You may have felt better after you said those things in your “shredding” p.s. to me, and that’s great.  I'm glad you got it off your chest. The thing is, it won’t last.  It will cycle again in the future because it really wasn’t what you needed to do with that anger.  And in the meantime, I take the brunt of something that really isn’t mine.  Then I react from my “I'm-not-good-enough” soft spot, you feel awful because you did it, and it starts a whole other cycle of self recrimination, anger, resentment, and so on.  While I’m far from perfect, I recognize when I react and I do try to take responsibility for it and not dump it on someone else (so I apologize and reframe). My goal is to recognize it in the moment so the yucky stuff can be dealt with head on and then we can evolve.

This may sound like I’m absolving myself of any part I played in your misery but au contraire, I play a huge part in your misery and I believe that’s one of the purposes of relationship.  I said/did things that angered and saddened you beyond belief.  I know that.  What I also know is that anger and sadness existed deep inside you before I came along.  My part in all of this (not consciously) was to cause that anger and sadness to surface so you have a fighting chance to deal with it.  Imagine going through our lives with all that buried?  I am only half alive if I choose to carry that kind of stuff with me.  My practice is to continue to notice when that shit comes up, and then choose to let it go.  I don’t want to bury anything!  (I’ve had a lot of practice in this area as you know.)

So, my dear friend, over to you.  If you are interested in these terms of engagement, then give me a call. I really enjoyed hearing your voice yesterday. oxoxdrknowitallxoxoxoxox

He said …

Hi Dr.,

Nicely said and thought out. I agree with you, that makes so much sense. I thought about it for quite a while, too, after I sent the note, and came to a similar conclusion. It was a bad idea and would not be helpful at all. I realized it would have sounded like an attack and that’s definitely not where I want to go with you. You analyzed this so beautifully anyway, I’m sure I can use this to help fill in that worn synaptic pathway. It’s really become a meaningless feedback loop. I’m tired of it. When it starts to cycle again, I will preempt it and think of what you said here instead. It will work. New pathways.

I’m very good with where we are right now. No, I’m ecstatic. What a difference a few days can make. We’ve hit bare metal and now we can build again. Baby steps first, but steps nonetheless.

Thank you very much for your reply. This is the real encore I needed. xoxaverybigfriendlyhugxox

P.S. You should blog about the process we just went through. I think it will make a great article. Maybe even a two-parter. Mention my alias, I’d like that.

P.P.S.  Love you.

She said …

Dear The Robert.  I was actually going to ask you if I could blog about this.  It is so rich is it not?  I love you too.  xoxox

He said …

Rich ... my sentiments exactly. Good for 2 or 3 installments at least! xoxox

I’m happy to report that while we aren’t communicating every day, we have the wherewithal to catch ourselves if we stray from the heart of our deep friendship.

Thank you Robert.  xoxox
Authentically yours,


1 comment:

  1. What can I say except after a few tears of sheer delight I am beaming. I LOVE to feel the LOVE that is always present and always has been between you two. The Robert, if you ever want another cheerleader in clarity I hope you know I am in your court and am offering myself as a direct sounding board. I specialize in ego dismanteling(mine has alwasy been super tricky)so I have lots of experience in that department. Love Marty