Do you ever feel out of control in your relationships? Like there is nothing else you can possibly do to get what you want! "I can’t change my partner, so … can I put up with him/her, or should I just leave?"
I have been aware of this "feeling," but I faced it like never before in a session with a client recently … and here’s how we got around it. (This will work for you too!)
This woman was depressed! And I’m talking the exhausting and draining "crying for hours until you fall asleep" type of depression. Happinesswas not near for her.
I met with her the morning after she was overcome by depression. She had continued crying through breakfast, getting ready and coming to my office. Her face was red and puffy, and her eyes looked hopeless. She claimed that she didn’t know why she was crying, but when I asked her to guess, it was the ongoing feeling of being alone.
She never felt connected to her mother and rebelled in a BIG way. She had a "perfect," apple of mom’s eye sister, who after 40+ years of being an adult, still gets everything her way. She had a "bad apple" brother, who she actually related to as kids, but he has settled on isolation as an adult, and now feels virtually zero connection to him.
Her husband was never there to support and protect her. When he was around, he was out of control with both his emotions and drinking.
She had two children, who received lots of consideration from their mother, as she didn’t want to “be like her mom.” Sure, she lost her temper at times, but the greater message was, “I am here for you.” She feels very connected to her kids, but grieves their individual struggles. Often she can’t be present for them, because she blames herself for their problems.
And then more feeling ALONE!
Crying often means grieving the perceived loss of something. And it made sense … she is mourning the loss of connection and love… from her mother, husband and now her children.
I had introduced the concept of the "curious scientist" the visit before. The curious scientist is an archetype, which is a symbolic representation of a person with certain qualities and attributes. The attributes, which are exceptionally beneficial to happiness, include noticing the results of the experiment (our experiment is life!) … changing the variables of the experiment if the result was not optimal … and then feeling curious and even excited as the experiment unfolds.
By focusing on this concept, she noticed an increase in energy and decrease in pain … in fact, she sent an excited email about her change.
And then, a couple days later, the severe depression with hours of crying overcame her excitement.
She was excited to change variables and see what the new result might be … but … as she faced her current results, she could not find a variable within her control! And, if you have no control over variables, there is no curiosity or excitement for life … no happiness!
As you probably understand, it’s not that she had NO control over variables … but she ran head first into her inability to see her control.
For example, years earlier, her husband was an alcoholic. He could not control his drinking, nor control his actions or emotions when he was drinking. She "knew" she didn’t have any control over variables, so her variable was "hope" that he would change. And at this point in her life, she was running low on hope.