Saturday, May 19, 2012

Learning to be supportive of those I care about

This was a blog I wrote back in March of 2008 after being blow away watching a new series at the time running on HBO called "In Treatment".  This particular scene was life changing for me, and caused me to do an about face on how I see dating, relationships, and marriage.  We can't judge anyone for who they fall for.

HBO has struck again with another riveting series.  Over the years they have blessed us with shows, and documentaries that have impacted my life.  Just when I thought the golden age of HBO was ending with the season finale of "The Sopranos", a new show had been born to continue the rein.  This time the premium network cable channel has gone back to basics.  There are no special effects or fancy scenery; it is all about the acting.
The series revolves around one main character, Paul who is a brilliant therapist.  His practice is run in very cozy and roomy office out of his home.  The series runs 5 nights a week.  The first four nights of each week we witness the sessions of 4 very complex characters that are Paul’s patients.  To make matters even more interesting there is a curve ball thrown in on the fifth night of each week.  We find that Paul is actually in therapy himself to try and fix his failing marriage, and to come to terms with his growing feelings towards Laura, one of his patients.
Anyways, I never meant to sound like some wanna be critic writing this blog.  I will get down to the nitty gritty while this is all fresh in my mind.  My entire life I have always perceived psychologists as people who can stay out of unhealthy situations because they have the right tools mentally.  The ironic thing is that I see now that even the most mentally educated people are just as human as we are.  Up until I started watching this show I always felt that one stayed in the wrong circumstances such as a bad relationship, living situation, job, etc because they did not love themselves, and did not feel they deserved better in life.  As I began to grow older I started to believe that all of my bad relationships and flings were a result of my own insecurities.  While the majority of these experiences were probably a result of my own past self esteem issues I was recently taught from this show that there are other important factors involved.
In last nights episode Paul was at his therapy appointment with his therapist, Gina.  Gina is a very close friend and colleague of Paul’s.  Both of them know a lot about each other, or so they think.  For awhile you watch Gina and Paul push each others buttons with psychotherapy Jedi minds games.  Paul intermittently lets his guard down, but becomes angry at Gina each time this happens because she has won at the game.  Each time this occurs Paul shuts off his vulnerability and finds a way to insult Gina.  Gina is tough as nails, or so we think.  For weeks you watch Paul’s insults towards Gina roll off her back like water.  As time went on you slowly see Gina breaking down.  Last night Paul finally pushed Gina too far in telling her how she broke one of her patient’s hearts to pieces.  Paul has assumed all of this time that she blew her only chance at happiness to obey the code of therapy ethics in never getting involved with a patient.
Gina finally breaks.  Within seconds it is revealed that Gina is not the hard by the book emotionless person we thought she was.  You see Gina tear up and defend herself.  Gina explains to Paul that she was very fond of this male patient, and even "wanted to eat him up".  However, she was not in love with him.  You learn that Gina was actually married for a number of years.  Gina admits that her husband cheated on her many times, and made a fool out of her.  She even stayed with him until his death.  My first reaction was to judge her as a weak woman who didn’t love herself, as this how I felt about my past similar involvements.  Little did I know how far off base I was in my whole thought process.  Gina assures the audience that she is a very confident self loving person with simple dialect.  I am still left wondering why she tortured herself for years by staying with her husband.   After a few agonizing seconds of anticipation Gina tells us, "I loved the person I was around him".
As quickly as the last few grains of sand drop through an hour glass my whole viewpoint on relationships and dating is forever changed.  I see it so clearly now.  I now understand why so many people close to me have chosen be terrible marriages and attachments. And more importantly, the missing puzzle piece to my past dating experiences has been has been found.  Ever since I watched this episode I have gone through my sorted dating timeline.  There were men that made me feel sexy as hell, guys who accepted me for all of my faults and even loved me for them, and fellows I could be myself to my entirety around.  I feel so lucky to have been introduced to this show.   I have such an inner piece now.   Because of this one particular plot line I can forgive myself for staying around too long in certain romantic situations.  I have come to realize that at times the euphoria certain men gave me out weighed their shortcomings in their overall treatment of me, but only temporarily.  As a long time number cruncher I always end up creating a "T-Account" of any situation I am pondering.  If the debit and credits, i.e. the good and bad traits do not balance out, or if the bad traits out number the good traits it results in me cutting my losses. 
Maybe it is a combination of my stubborn accounting background, and reading the book "He’s Just Not That into You."  Or perhaps it is simply because there has never been a man in my life that has been so extraordinary that I was willing to put up with his cheating or poor treatment.  All I know now is that I have to remember Gina’s situation could be the case with many of those close to me.  These individuals I speak of are my long term dear friends and family members.  They are of a different kind of love that is much simpler to grasp.  One thing I have always known about them is that their presence in my life is a gift from heaven.  Because I am so fortunate to have these people in my life I must never forget to support them if they are dealing with what I will now call a "Gina situation."