Subject:  Me, Myself & I:  In Search of Validation

Posted by:  Dr. Ursula A. Falk

Date:  11/26/01



Me, Myself and I:  In Search of Validation

                    (Understandings on the couch of a psychotherapist)

by Ursula A. Falk

  Have you ever observed that when in a conversation people enjoy the conversation most if the subject turns to them?  People want to talk about themselves, their accomplishments, their aches and pains, their wonderful son, their talented daughter, their worthless son or daughter in law, their doctor, their significant other, their life experiences.


     ďI want to know who I really am,Ē forty eight year old Anna verbalized.  ďThat is why I am here.  I want you to help me find myself.  My mother never told me the name of the woman who gave birth to me.  She always covered up.  Let me tell you about me. I have asked my mother time and again to give me a glimpse into my real self.  I like myself a lot. After all I have good traits and donít look bad at all.  Wouldnít you feel youíd like to know more about your birth parents if you were adopted?  Yes, I had a good life so far.  How do I know that my parents were not someone very important and maybe I missed a lot by not knowing them.  Why is that so important to me?  Itís because maybe then Iíd get to know myself even better.Ē


ďPlease help me to find myself,Ē  emanated from the mouth of a troubled Danielle.  I was always the one to do everything for my parents and yet they prefer my brother.  What is it about me that caused this situation?  For years he has lived out of town and whenever there was a problem with the folks he wasnít here for them.  When my mother fractured her leg it was me who drove her back and forth to the hospital.  When Dad was alone I brought all of his meals to him.  They expected all of these things from me.  When they went to the airport it was me who drove them there.  No one cared that I have four kids, a husband and a job.  When Johnny comes to town once a year my Dad and Mom fall all over him.  They tell him how much they miss him, how great he is and how proud they are of him.  Iíll never be like that with my kids, not ever!Ē


      ďMy parents never loved me.  Of the three daughters in the family I was the one left out of their thoughts, their caring.  They sometimes said mean things to me like: ĎClean your roomí,  while my sisters could get away with having theirs messy.  Is there something wrong with me?  Why do they act like this toward me? Iím already seventeen and I canít do anything without telling them where Iím going, when Iíll be home and who Iím with.  My mother is a control freak.  She pushed me to get a job when I wanted to have fun.  Iím a senior in high school and my friends do what they want.  They donít have to work if they donít want to.  My Dad hates me.  Heís always yelling at me.  He says he canít understand why Iím so dumb when I have two smart parents like himself and my mother.  He doesnít like my looks either.  He says my hair is all bunched up and I look like an old maid or a cleaning woman.  He said they have scarves like I have tied around their heads.  I donít know why they're so mean to me -  why, why? I want to move out, to leave and go out of town to college.  They wonít give me the money for that.  Iíll do it myself as soon as I graduate next June.  Iíll get me my own apartment and work at some crumby job.  Thatís what Iíll do.  So there!  That will show them I can take care of myself and donít need them!Ē 


   ďAm I not worthy?Ē  Joseph asked. ďAm I not as good looking as my brothers and sisters?  Thirty eight year old Joe looks quizzically at his therapist while he throws back his head organizing his straight blond hair.  I tried out for a play at the downtown little theater.  I was so good and looked the part that they advertised for.  Iím six foot one inch tall, have a muscular body and absolutely know how to emote.  They gave the part to a five foot ten inch jerk that canít pronounce the English language nearly as well as I can.  Why did they not give me what I deserve?Ē


    ďYou tell me I should stay with my wife.  We have been married for fourteen years and have two adorable children.  A girl of ten and a boy of five.  She wonít give me what I need.  I believe husband and wife should be one.  Whatever each needs should be given without question, with great happiness.  They made vows, now let them carry those out.  You ask what is it that I am not getting.  For one Ė itís the kind of sex that I need and that makes me happy.  Yes, we do have sex once, twice sometimes more per week.  Thatís not what I mean.  She doesnít like me touching her all the time in the rear.  She doesnít like rear end sex Ė uh, I guess you call it anal sex.  She doesnít like to do some of the things that are different that I love.  Just because I had an affair in Singapore when I was out of town for business doesnít mean she should get so angry.  She has to understand that I was away for a full week and needed to be loved.  I donít mean that phone call that came from her every night.  I could have done without that.  Yo Ji Ling gave me so much love.  She stroked me and squeezed me in places of my body that made me feel like a man.  Yes Jolene took me back but why did I tell her about Yo?  I wanted to let her know just what I like.  That is very important to me.  Yes she is a good mother, keeps a clean house, is a good cook, never pushes me away but I need more.  You know what I mean.  A husband should be a wifeís first priority.  Oh, yes of course so should a wife be a husbandís first. That is, if she deserves it.  I earn the living for her and sometimes work ten hours a day.  That should be enough.  She doesnít give me that which Yo gave me on those two nights in Singapore.  She didnít ask a thing from me.  Right away she came to me the way I wanted and needed.  I want Jolene to blend into me.  You know what I mean.  Whatís wrong with having a little relaxation and really feeling good about yourself through the deeds of others.  What they do for you.  As I said before the wife should blend into me.  She and I should be one body almost.  You know what I mean?  There shouldnít be such a thing as her not liking the kind of love that Iím giving her.  If she doesnít then I know there is something wrong, something very wrong.  Her being mad because Yo Ji Ling showed me the real thing is just selfishness on her part and she should be happy that this woman made me happy.  She should make an effort to be more like her.  If she canít do that maybe we are wrong for each other.  As I told you before she doesnít give me and my needs priority.  She chooses the children and her health number one when she owes me that spot.  How can I change her to have her be what I love and need?Ē


ďI give everything and get nothing in return.  Iím always inviting people, giving them gifts, listening to their stupid stories and pay attention to their birthdays, their squealing brats and when we go out together I always let them choose the restaurant.  Why is it always me?  Iíve been so good all my life and what good does it do me. Iím always catering to my friends.  I hate all of these people some of the time.  They donít really deserve my friendship.  They are all using me.  Just because they invited me last Saturday night doesnít mean much.  They waited until Thursday to call me.  It was a last minute thing.  They should have given me much more time.  I believe I was a fill in for somebody else.  You ask me how I know that.  I can feel it.  These kind of things happen to me all the time.  I have strong intuition about such things.  You ask whether I give my friends plenty of notice.  Itís different with me.  I sometimes have to call them in the last minute since Iím a very busy person and have too much to do.  These people that call themselves friends of mine loaf around most of the day Ė well at least some of them do.  They are not as thoughtful as me.Ē


ďMy son is too busy for me,Ē  ninety year old Ruth declared.  ďHeís got time for everybody else, especially his nasty wife.  He calls me from Binghamton once a week on Tuesdays when itís convenient for him.  He doesnít visit on the holidays but always sometime afterwards.  He has nothing to say to me and when I ask him to fix something that is broken he just looks at me.  Heís secretive too Ė doesnít tell me anything.  Whatís he afraid of?  My younger son out in Nevada doesnít bother with me at all.  Once in a while, usually right before Xmas theyíll send me a little card, just so that Iíll give them a gift.  Iím feeling so bad.  I canít see too well, my shoes donít fit me because my feet are swollen and my dentist doesnít know what heís doing.  Nobody has time for me Ė everything is always at their convenience. They are all so selfish.  My younger one Jim was a screamer when he was a baby.  I put up with all that and now look at him!  My late husband was just like him.  A useless piece of _ !  You know what I mean.  My neighbor is so selfish too.  The one that lives in the apartment next to mine.  She has me taking out her garbage every Wednesday.  I started it and now she expects it.  Just because she had a heart attack and limps a little doesnít mean she canít take out her own filth.  And if you think thatís bad you should see her apartment.  Itís full of rubbish and smells of cigarette ashes.  Iíve never had any fun in my life.  From the time I was a little girl my mother had no use for me.  My Dad was ok but he was always working.  I was Daddyís girl.  Itís too bad heís gone.  As I said everybody I knew is just about gone and those that are around are always too busy to bother with me.  They only do it when itís convenient for them.  Since I got rid of my car Iíll have to continue to see you here in my place.  I thank you for coming but I really do need you to come over more often so we can talk. Ē


ďMy husband gave me a worthless engagement ring.  I only wish I would have had it appraised before we got married two years ago,Ē twenty eight year old Rebecca mused. ďIf I had known it then I would have broken our engagement.  This is symbolic of his whole personality.  He is so cheap!  He wonít buy me the mink coat that I have wanted all my life and now he gave me a cheap trinket for my birthday.  Can you believe he bought a new microwave as my major gift?  That he considers an appropriate present for my twenty eighth. Iíve had it with him and I told him so.Ē

   In our culture so much emphasis is placed on material things and so much is placed on the ďIĒ and the ďMeĒ.  To be truly ďhappyĒ we should follow the wisdom of our sages who guided us to look at the real satisfactions in our tour through life.

 Hillelís proverb is a lesson which must be taken seriously. ďIf I am not for myself, who will be for me ? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?Ē

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