13 Jan

I had a conversation with my friend who’s an esteemed psychologist. A Ph.D., she has a vibrant practice in Manhattan. She has several children, all sons. Two of them recently got married. She had a difficult time when the first one was engaged, often complaining about his then fiancé. Lots of little things about her annoyed my friend. At one point she even “spoke” to her son about the woman he’d chosen to marry, telling him that she thought he’d have to do more than his share of care taking in the relationship. The son assured his mother that he was completely aware of his fiancé’s gifts and flaws. This didn’t assuage my friend. She continued to worry that her son was making a huge mistake.

Her reaction to the second one was fine until after their marriage and she then began to complain even more about that son’s wife. The details of her complaints don’t matter. The point of the story is the issue she was complaining about wasn’t the problem at all.

At dinner yesterday with her husband, two of her sons and daughters-in-law, my friend, found herself having a wonderful time. Then a light bulb went off. She realized that her anger, anxiety and all her negative feelings weren’t about the women at all. It was about feeling as if she was losing her sons. As she looked around the table, feeling happy and full, she acknowledged that her daughters-in-law are, in fact, wonderful, accomplished women, who love their husbands, her sons.

Today, when my friend is recalling her aha moment of insight, I, who fancies myself an amateur shrink, reminded her that I’d pointed out this very thing to her almost a year ago. Initially she said, “I don’t remember that.”

I said, “I do” and pointed to the exact spot on our walk where I’d said it and, I reminded her, that she’d even teared up at the time.

“Mm hmm,” she said, “I remember now.” The point of this story isn’t about my being right, but about the power of insight. Now that my friend realizes what she was actually agitated about, she no longer is. It’s gone away, poof like magic.

Although it isn’t magic. It’s the result of work. The willingness to talk about our hurts and annoyances, to be raw and bare. Only when we’re willing to pick away the scab, will it fall off and begin to heal.


4 Responses to “Insight”

  1. Artie Nicholson collins January 24, 2015 at 2:07 am #

    Benilde – Welcome to My Breakdown, sounds like one that will pull on my heart string! i look forward to reading it and hope it is as enjoyable as your others. I have read them all!

    • Benilde Little January 26, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

      Thanks Artie! I hope it will touch readers. I’m looking forward to being on the road and having lots of important, cathartic discussions.

  2. Rachel Roberts January 29, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    I have read all of your books and really like the voices of your characters. I dunno if you will continue writing fiction novels, but I find them to be inspiring for people who enjoy allowing themselves to experience all the colors of human emotion. I hope this doesn’t spill over into your personal space too much (my rolodex is full too), just wanted to compliment the art.

    • Benilde Little January 29, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

      Thank you Rachel. Glad you’ve enjoyed the novels. I’m just starting a new one.

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