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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Character Clinic: Mary Olsen

Blog Tour Buddies: Today Jaime Wright is hosting me over at her blog! Stop by and say hello. :)

 This week's assessment is for Annette. She's writing about Mary, a divorced female, who, in her late 60s and after 40 years of marriage, finds love again with Mitchell, an old high school friend. He's twice divorced and has two sons by his first wife. One son has shown downright disapproval about his Mitchell's choice of Mary. Mitchell's second marriage to Evelyn was one full of love, even though she died after only four years of being together. Evelyn is, however, lauded by the man's family, and this disturbs Mary, especially after Mary finds papers that indicate Evelyn wasn't an angel and had some hidden secrets (like Mitchell was her fourth husband). Mary's obsessed with "righting the issue," shows Mitchell and hurts him.

Annette wants to know: How can I make her heal? What does she have to do to release this? I don't plan for any external action to make everything rosy, but her insecurities are holding her prisoner. Since the circumstances will not change, what will it take to free Mary from herself? She's a dichotomy: loving, giving, kind, and selfishly vengeful.

Mary -

After reading the above about you, it makes me think that you are as real as the women in my office. Real people have genuine love and on the flip side harbor selfish vengeance.  We all have a mean streak in us somewhere, and it would be highly unnormal for you not to want to seek justice where Evelyn is concerned. After all, it's basically unfair that she's thought of so highly.

So some normalization of your urges is needed. However, the obsession part isn't so normal. Especially given how hurt Mitchell was when you showed him the papers proving Evelyn a liar/keeper of secrets. You're incessant need to be right--to be justified--where's that coming from?

I'd wager that the issues that you're presenting with actually have less to do with Mitchell and his family lauding Evelyn as a saint and more to do with your own issues of self-worth and esteem. If it weren't Evelyn, you'd find something else to get "stuck in your craw," some other social issue to get up in arms about or champion.

You're going to have to think back to what time in your life when you felt like you weren't good enough, or weren't measuring up. It's that part of you that needs healing. This will be a challenge to your author, who is thinking more about the current story line than the story that brought you there.

We all enter into relationships bringing baggage. Whether that's baggage from other relationships, from our family of origin, or from a mean high school cheerleader, the baggage weighs varying pounds based on how far we've carried it, where we're going with it, and what's in the bag.

Mitchell has actually done things very right. He's talked to his sons, told them to respect you. He tells you he loves you. So I'm not sure, based on what info you've given, if your insecurity comes from doubting him or not. In therapy, I tell people that if someone says they love you, do things that show they love you, then they probably love you. (Spade's a spade, and all that.)

What would it look like for you if everything was perfect? What does Mitchell have to do to prove himself? Why do you have that need for him to do so?

What would it take for you to find contentment where you're at? To be truly happy? The Great Wall wasn't built in one fell swoop. It was built brick by brick. You'll have to start somewhere. I'd recommend going back--however long you have to go back--to where your insecurities took root.

I hope this has been helpful, but I'd love to see you back on the couch to go deeper.


Matthew MacNish said...

This is fascinating.

Jeff King said...

This hit home for me… I am happy with who I am, my family is safe and healthy, I make a good living and tomorrow looks bright. I am done looking for the rain cloud—for today, I enjoy the sun.

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.