Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thursday Therapy: Deflection

I am really good at one thing. Oh, there may be other things I’m good at in addition to this, but this one thing is what I’m talking about today. I am really good at deflection – the act of turning aside or off course according to the dictionary.

When I am trying to deal with my own issues it is very easy for me to turn aside or wander off course, particularly by analyzing other people’s behavior and issues. Oh, I’m a master at dissecting someone else’s behavior and the causes behind it and what they ought to do to change it.

I caught myself doing this very thing a lot this week, actually since last week’s therapy session. The newish coworker I’ve mentioned here several times (let’s call her D because I do believe she’ll appear here in my blog as a recurring player so she needs a letter all her own) before has been my most recent victim subject. It started fairly innocently. Then I went from one little thing to focusing more on her many problems (in my head only; of course I’m not one of those people that would talk to her and try to show her the error of her ways) than my own. It finally occurred to me that what I was doing here was deflecting, perhaps even projecting some by criticizing behavior in D that I don’t like in myself.

The sidetrack in my thinking started when I overanalyzed (What? Me? Overanalyze? Shocking!) something that Freud said in my last session with him. As we discussed my “need” for men in my life we were addressing what it was that a man in my life provided for me. One thing we came up with was that I feel that as long as I have a man in my life I have a safety net, someone who will take care of me if I can’t take care of myself. (How’s that workin’ for ya’ Trueself? Not so well Dr. Phil; now get out of my head.) I brought up something D had said to me one day as we were telling each other life stories (in the way that new friends do). She said to me “Oh no! You aren’t one of those women who always has to have a man in her life are you?” Well. . . yeah. . . as a matter of fact that’s exactly who I am. Freud said (I know I’m getting this all out of chronological order, but for the life of me I can’t really remember the proper order of how things were discussed.) something about D may have a support system outside of having a man in her life. (EPIPHANY As I write this I just now realize what I’m really in need of is a support system. It’s just that I’ve always defined support system as a man in my life. But it isn’t a man in my life that I need. It is a support system.) I replied that yes, in fact I know that she has a support system comprised of several of her siblings.

Anyway, thinking about the comparison between D and me I realized that from what she says she leans heavily on her siblings, one in particular, so much so in fact after being laid off she moved a few hundred miles to live in the same town with her sister. Even after getting a job that requires more than a one hour commute each way she continues to live in the same town as her sister rather than moving closer to her new job. So much for her being the pillar of independence. And this thinking led me from one thing to the next, analyzing a good bit of what she says and does, and were she to ask I could lay out an entire schematic of things that she could change to make herself into a better, more whole person.

Yeah, a whole week or more with way too much emphasis put towards fixing someone else when in fact there is nothing at all for me to do to fix D. I ain’t volunteering fixes that haven’t been asked for, and she ain’t asking. So. . . much. . . wasted time. . .

BUT. . .
Just having the epiphany above as I was writing has helped pull me just now back from the deflection and refocus efforts on things I can do for me, to make me a more whole person. What I need to do is a two pronged thing here: first, I need to work on my own self image and determine what I truly can depend on myself to handle while second, I need to work on developing a support system or perhaps to some extent just recognizing the support system I already have.

Maybe I don’t have to bear all the burdens all by myself.
Maybe there are ways to share those burdens in an appropriate way so that they aren’t so daunting to me.
Maybe I don’t have to be a lone wolf all my life.
Maybe I don’t have to give up being me in order to be part of the pack.
Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

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