Thursday, August 16, 2007

Right or Happy?

Do you want to be right or happy? My therapist keeps asking me.

Both, is my response.

Can’t have it, she slowly shakes her head, not quite exasperated but getting close.

I know what she means. I’m having a hard time embracing it. Being right means nursing the narcissistic injury- whatever it is- and getting everyone around me to say, oh, poor Sara.

I realized it’s something I have done over and over when I've been upset with my wife. I triangulate- I want everyone to see what a horrible, mean person she is so they will take my side. It's because I'm hurt, angry and I want to be RIGHT.

It doesn’t, however, make me happy. Because being right also means not letting go. See? I told you, over and over again.

If I'm not trying to be right, I have to have room to say, well... okay, she's a good person. She's very unhappy with me. She's very unhappy for many reasons. Some have to do with me, some do not. I have to figure out my responsibility, my part and own it.

It sucks. It's a lot of work. It's much easier to say she’s an asshole.

She’s not.

If I can convince everyone around me she is mean, then I don’t have to do the work. I can bask in my narcissistic injury and feel wronged forever.

I’d be right. And she’d be wrong. I can plead my case far better and more sympathetically- I have a way with words and a lot of practice at the triangle. I find it a little ironic that I grew up in an A-framed shaped house (literally)- a big triangle filled with many small ones.

Being happy? Means being willing to compromise, each own our own stuff and work on it. It means making decisions together and not pulling a renegade end around because we feel, in a moment, entitled. It means so much impulse control I think I might need to give up caffeine.

It means looking to my friends for support with my work, instead of building triangles that leave everyone miserable. Our friends love us both- making them choose would be awful. When I call someone and whine about the latest assault, I see myself trying to win favor, trying to be the one more loved.

The right one.

I need to remember it takes two and what role did I have, if any? Is it about me? How can I acknowledge my hurt and still move forward?

Because I want to be happy a lot more than I want to be right.


Anonymous Laura said...

The "triangle" ALWAYS comes up in my sessions.....

I feel your pain - honestly - I do.
I work on the same things in therapy. There is no easy OR quick answer....and the more you work sometimes the more complicated things get.

Oh and Im TIRED of the "lets agree to disagree" BS.....that only goes so far.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

I feel your pain...I do. I admire that you're sticking with working it out. I, myself, ran.

Living in a house that was quickly mirroring my own childhood (2 dysfunctional parents and an only child) pushed way too many buttons for me. So I ran.

Stick with it. Work together. It'll be hard, but I bet it'll be worth it!

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Molly said...

Being raised by a narcissist skews one's entire worldview. My mother has, if not narcissitic personality disorder, then many traits thereof, as (I think) did my grandmother. I'm trying to break the cycle, since if we ever have kids, I don't want them to learn they aren't supposed to have needs that don't coincide with mine.

You seem to be working on considering other people's feelings and how your actions affect them, and I think that's something most of us could stand to work on. It's hard, though.

(If it's any consolation, "I Will Survive" is playing on a coworker's radio. You'll all survive.)

10:36 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

If it were just the two of us? I would have left. She would have left. We would never had made it this far.

but it isn't.

tired? more than tired. exhausted.

6:21 PM  

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