Drew and I attended a marriage retreat last weekend.
It was a terrible, horrible, no-good experience.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, the actual marriage retreat was fine.
We were the awful ones.
If Drew were to read this, he would probably stand up and yell, “Amen, sister!” to profess his agreement.
Seriously. It was bad.
We both came home completely damaged and in need of a lobotomy and a time-travel machine.
Anyway, all the emotional upheaval caused me to do some serious reflecting.
You know, to remind myself that despite the fact that I appear to have regressed to my 15 year-old self during this separation, I have, in fact, acquired some useful information over the years. I take a very small amount of comfort in the fact that it did not take the disintegration of my marriage to learn all of this. Some of it I knew already.
You know, from past personal angst.
1) Everyone could benefit from therapy. Everyone. (Seriously, go now.)
2) Therapists are like people. There’s a lot of really good ones out there, but they’re not all good for you.
3) Despite the fact that I’m a psychologist, I am not immune to being completely oblivious to my own pathology. In fact, my pathology is probably what attracted me to the profession in the first place.
4) We tend to pick partners in an attempt to counteract our dysfunction. This is almost never successful. A better approach would be to deal with the dysfunction directly and then marry someone else who is well-adjusted. This may be an argument for why people shouldn’t get married too young. You need time to address your dysfunction.
5) You’re not responsible for anyone’s happiness except your own. Period.
6) You’ll only be treated as badly as you let yourself be treated.
7) When people treat you terribly, it’s approximately 90% about them and 10% about you.
8) If you’re not happy, you will never believe that you’re in a happy marriage.
9) If you’re comfortable treating yourself poorly, then you’re probably comfortable treating others poorly.
10) How you cope with your problems today will probably be mirrored by your children 20 years from now. So get it right.
11) Not crying at all is as bad as crying all the time.
12) Everyone needs friends. If you don’t have any, its likely that you’re the problem, not them.
13) No problem will ever be fixed if your only strategy is to blame it on everyone else.
14) People are more likely to hear you if you speak quietly. People are most likely to care if you’re not always talking about yourself.
15) You can’t blame everything on your parents. Sometimes you’re just making some really shitty choices.
16) You always have choices. Always.
17) The concept of “my other half” (as in, “he’s my other half”) is unhealthy. You are two separate people, with different talents and interests, and each person deserves an equal amount of respect and acceptance.
18) Once you entertain the idea of divorce, you can’t un-entertain it. It’s there, its an option, and you may never stop wondering what it would be like until you actually get to experience the pleasure of it for yourself.
19) A coping strategy that’s effective at one point in your life may no longer be effective at another time in your life. Unfortunately, you’re probably going to keep using it anyway.
20) As humans, our default isn’t healthy behavior. It needs to be a conscious decision. It needs to be worked toward every day. Kind of like my abs.
Okay, help me out, folks. What other truths have you found to be self-evident?
Seriously, I could use some help, as I am clearly a work in progress.
Especially in light of the fact that I’m probably going to go out and get that lobotomy in order to recover from last weekend.