Sunday, September 20, 2009

Creative Thought Case Study: Sandra

When we won't say "no," our bodies find a way to say "I can't." This is a situation I see frequently is big and small ways, including the stomach bug that gets someone out of a blind date they regretted agreeing to, or the broken arm that got someone out of an historically unpleasant family reunion. In Sandra's case, it was the vaginal bleeding that would start on the Fridays she was planning to spend the weekend with her boyfriend, ending on Sunday night when she was back in her own home.

Sandra's relationship with Max was on its last legs. During their first year together, Sandra and Max felt like they were the perfect couple -- both of them tall, slim, educated professionals with thriving careers. They were giddily happy, infatuated and in love, planning a sweet and pleasant future together. Gradually, Sandra started feeling self-conscious about the fact that Max was ten years younger than she was. She also did not like the way Max tried to monopolize her attention during the days that she had custody of her teenage son. Other, smaller resentments began to surface and soon Sandra knew that she and Max were fundamentally incompatible.

But Sandra was not willing to step up and explain her feelings to Max, terminating the relationship. She felt guilty and selfish for being unhappy in a relationship that appeared on the surface to be perfect, and was ashamed that she would have to explain to her mother that it was she, not Max, who had ended it. 

At first, Max was understanding about Sandra's "inability" to have sex during their weekends together, but it was not long before the loss of this last area of true intimacy between them caused Max to break up with Sandra. The bleeding stopped and never recurred.

During our session together, Sandra immediately made the connection between her unwillingness to tell Max the truth about her feelings and the bleeding. Also, it was not lost on Sandra that her covert agenda resulted in a body reaction that was hidden, and would affect a part of hers and Max's relationship that was invisible except to themselves. Sandra has continued to work on her relationship and communication skills, clearing old patterns and moving forward with what she wants for herself.

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