Monday, July 20, 2015

Are You Listening?

I've been watching Arranged, a reality show about three arranged-marriage couples: Roma (the only really legit pair), Southern Christians, and Indian. 

The Indian duet, Ragini and Veeral, are not quite typical for their background—they lived together before marrying. I don't know if it's how they spliced the drama for maximum effect, but as soon as they officially wed, they start fighting. (I would think they would have worked out those issues by now, don't you?)
Ragini, definitely a Type-A personality, suggests they see a therapist; the laid-back Veeral is at first horrified, but then agrees. 

In their first session, the therapist suggests an exercise where one speaks, and the other repeats back exactly what the other says. "When you ________, it makes me feel ________," for example. 

Ragini goes first, and Veeral successfully echoes her statements and sentiments. But when Ragini is supposed to be repeating Veeral's words, the therapist interjects, "That's not what he said." 


The therapist interprets Ragini's inability to simply repeat after Veeral that her anxiety and need to control stems from her "wounded inner child"; when young, her emotional needs weren't met, which can manifest in a more self-centered adult who is focused on their own wants and desires. When Veeral speaks, she projects what she thinks he is saying and means, not even contemplating his actual feelings. It's all about her viewpoint. 

I thought this was awesome, firstly because Ragini was so sure she was right about everything. Secondly, because that is just so so so true. How often do we do that in our own relationships? Family, spouses, friends?

Although, how long does "wounded inner child" fly as an excuse? 

I have read the letters some gals write in to "Dear Abby": We've been dating for a while, but he says that he doesn't think it's a good fit and doesn't want to marry me. What can I do to get him over his commitment problems? 

It's up to the professional to inform her: Sweetie, did you even hear him? He's just not that into you. Move on. 

We often don't want to hear what clashes with our desires. But then we complain backward about how we were taken in. Stop banging on the closed door. Find another one. 

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