The Heart of Jealousy

It had been a long day. The heat seemed to make everything more laborious. As he walked to the little cabin his stride was slow and methodical. She had a lot of spring in her step. She walked ahead of him and told him to quicken his pace. After introductions we sat for several moment in silence and let the air-conditioned cabin refresh us.

I made the appointment with you because I am at my wits end with him. He is always depressed and seems to be so whenever he doesn’t get his way. This is the fourth time seeing someone like you and the only reason I am is because the other people we saw just wanted him on pills, saying that he has a chemical imbalance.  He had been on pills about fifteen years ago when I met him. He then had a chemical imbalance too but once we started dating he told me about it. After, I broke up with him because he was controlling and jealous at times. He stopped taking his meds because I told him I needed someone who I could count on and I didn’t want the roller coast life with him. I had been through that with my father.  We met again three months later and he was off meds and our life was fine.  But since he lost his job things have gotten a lot worse. The next person we saw told me he wasn’t getting enough sex, after he had a private session with each of us. It was basically my fault.

I said it wasn’t your fault, the husband said softly. We have been through all that. That guy was just a Freudian quack, he said in a louder voice.

So now we are here! He is depressed, is not working or looking after any of his responsibilities with the kids or looking for work.

Thanks for being so straight and honest! I hear your view of the problem and you might be 100% right. But what if you’re only partly right?

Then it is better than being 100% wrong!

So if we want to find a solution to this problem, which we haven’t fully defined, then would you be happy with only solving 50% of it?

No I guess not!

So I need to hear your husband’s side!

I am fine with what my wife said. She is right! She is always right when it comes to me. She knows me pretty well.

So does she always know what’s best for you?

Yeah, pretty much!

Wow this is an interesting case!

Well the last few we saw told us we were typical! said the wife .

Well I don’t think so, this I kinda unique!

How is that? they both said.

Well your husband may be the first human being I have met that his wife knows what best for him and he agrees with it.

This made them both laugh, for several minutes.

Do you see what you’re doing now, the both of you?

We’re laughing!

Yes, so I think your learning something! Can you tell me what?

We fight about this all the time. So it’s kind of funny!

And the fight is about what?

He always tells me to stop telling him what to do.

Okay and what goes on inside you, as her husband?

Well I just slow down! Or pretend I don’t hear her, or just do it!

But you’re angry and then get back at me with not helping the kids! Right?

Yeah! She’s right!

Yes and now you guys are doing it again!

Doing what again?

I think you know! You’re smart people!

I know what he means honey!

Good! Well tell me! I always said she is right!

Yes and there is more but if I am going to help you, I need to ask your husband some more questions.

Okay I’d like that! I love it when he squirms for a change.

Sir please tell me! How did you lose your job!

I quit!

Yes he holds jobs for about four to five years then quits!

Please I need to talk to your husband now. Just him, okay? When I’m done, I promise you can have a say! I just need a few minutes. Can you give me that!

Yeah, sorry!

Okay now what is common in all of your last jobs and your relationship with your wife!

He thought for several minutes and replied.

Yes sir, that’s it!

What is it? What was the last job you had that you really liked?

The last one!

Why did you quit then?

Well, I got this new boss and he was a real jerk!

Okay, the job before that?

I left because they wanted me to work in another department, a promotion.

Yes and the job before that?

I quit because the boss was a jerk!

What is the point of all this? I don’t get it! This is beginning to piss me off. What is your fuckin’ point?

I just made it!

What? Honey this guy’s another quack!

I don’ t think he is! I think I see something.

Now don’t tell him!

What? So now it’s two against one.

No it’s not. I’m not on his side. I’m on your side, said his wife.

Yes, I’m only on the side of your relationship! Right? That is what you are here to see me about – your relationship.

Okay, well, if my wife sees it and you see it, then what is it that you see? It’s only fair to tell me.

Well, I can tell you, said the wife, but he won’t let me!

Listen, you have come here to get some help right? And I feel I can help you. But I think it is very important for your husband to find this answer for himself. How many times in your life have other people told you about you and what your difficulty is or was and you listen to them?

Well, only if I care about the person!

Okay, so when your wife gives you her picture of what’s wrong with you, do you change?

He sure as hell doesn’t.

Pardon me but I am asking your husband.

Okay sorry!

She can’t help it – she’s all over me!

Well I should be, you’re acting depressed so you don’t have to work, so you can just be lazy!

Do you know what you’re both doing now? This is the cycle you’re both caught in and I don’t think you want to break that cycle.  You have too much invested in it!

Why would he and I invest in something that doesn’t work?

Yes, I don’t like this. I’m sick and tired of her at me all the time!

And I’m sick and tired of having to do everything while you depress! That’s not fair to me, and I deserve better. And let me tell another thing: if it wasn’t for the kids, I would be gone eight months ago.

So what stopped you? I questioned

The kids!

What about the kids?

It would hurt them too much to see us apart! I don’t think divorce is the answer!

Well in this case I don’t think it is easier. I feel you’re right!

So that puts me between a rock and a hard place, she said.

So when things were at their best and you felt good about your relationship, when was that!

Two years ago, said the husband.

About four months ago I guess really for me!

Wow. Tell me about for months ago!

I’m used to him working, making money, getting promoted and then within a few months he loses his job because he can’t get along with his new boss. It’s clockwork. Then he depresses, I get fed up and we see a counselor, I threaten to leave, he picks up his socks, gets a good job, does well. And the whole thing starts over again.

Okay!  So is this true or is it your perception of what happens.

My perception but it does happen!

Okay, now is she right!

Well yes but no!

The no is what, about eight months ago, right? You said eight months? What happened?

Nothing I can think of!

So the both of you can’t see anything that happened eight months ago.

Yes I can! said his wife.

What, we had a major fight?

We were at a pizza place and I lost it on him.

Why?

Because he asked me if I was having an affair with this guy we met at the pizza place.

How many times over the course of you being together has he accused you of having an affair?

My god, if I think back every time!

That is part of the pattern isn’t it?

I travel with work a couple times a year and I have to go through hell with him before I go and after I come back.

Well she just springs them on me!!!

No I don’t. I have to listen to you weeks before I go! I tried to give you time to prepare for me leaving. I am only gone three or four days two times a year, for gods sake!

At this, the room went dead quiet for some time. Then the wife noticed he was crying.

I’m just afraid you’re going to leave me! You’re so beautiful and it’s like before: I think you’re going to leave because you left me before.

Yes, when we were dating and we didn’t have children and I was not having an affair. If I wanted to be with someone else I would tell you and not have an affair behind your back. Give me some credit!!!

I do I do! I’m sorry. I just can’t help it!

Can I ask you a question? If you can’t help it, what do you think is going to happen to your relationship in the end, if you are incapable of learning something new?

Well, I guess I will drive her away!

So when you struggle with your relationship with your wife and you’re upset, who do you push away?

Well her I guess!

Yes and who else?

I don’t know!

I think you do!

Maybe the people I work with? Is that what your driving at?

I am asking. I see you are in pain. You love your wife and you have a lifetime of controlling people with your depressing.

Did it work on your wife?

No!

So when you feel out of control with your wife, what do you do?

I depress I guess!

Yes and what else?

I just stop working!

Before that?

I guess I just stop…

Trying to get along with people? I said

Yes!

So when you can’t get along with people, what happens?

I depress.

Would you stay married to someone like you?

No!

But she chooses to!

Hey I could do a lot worse! He has a lot of good qualities.

Like what?

Well, he’s very romantic at times. I know he loves me! He’s funny and sensitive for sure. It’s this jealousy thing – it keeps creeping up!

Yes, so if you could learn to not be jealous, what effect do you think that would have in your life, and the relationship with your wife?

It would sure improve things, the husband said.

It is what I always wanted! said the wife. I would love him more for it!

So what do you think? Could you and I get together separately some time next week and talk about your choice to be jealous?

It does feel like a choice!

Are you jealous now!

No! I don’t feel that way.

Why not!

I guess I feel like I’m caught with my pants down!

Yes, you exposed the insecurity that jealousy is.

Yes and it’s kinda dumb of me to be jealous.

Sir, jealousy is nothing more than the emotional content of your thinking, coming from the self that is insecure.

It feels stupid now that it is out like I’m …

Irrational sir!

Yes!

Can I see you next week?

Yes I am looking forward to it. Thanks. This was hard but good!

Yes sir! Life comes to wake us from our stupidity.

Coachbri

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