Bert’s therapy: Bull — chapter three

(If you’re new to Monkeytraps, Steve is a therapist who specializes in control issues, and Bert is his control-addicted inner monkey.

“Bert’s therapy” is the session-by-session saga of a control addict trying to learn healthier alternatives .)

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2

“Bull in a china shop.”  What’s that mean?

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That you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

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Emotionally speaking.

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Right.

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Because I’m numb to my own feelings.

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Yes. 

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Which leaves me insensitive to everyone else’s.

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You got it.

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So what do I do now?

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Well, you start by getting interested.

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In feelings.

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That’s right.

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I’d rather not.

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I don’t blame you.

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You don’t?

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Nah.  Getting into feelings is no picnic…

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bert (9)

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…if you’ve spent your life trying to bury them.

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Do I have a choice?

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Sure.  There’s always choices.

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What are mine?

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You can do nothing, hope your marriage survives and your kids don’t grow up emotionally stunted.

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bert (12)

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Or you could graduate from bull to bully. 

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By…

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By insisting that your family accept you as you are.  Some guys try that.

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Is there a third option?

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Develop symptoms.  Anxiety or depression, mainly. 

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I’m already started on that one. 

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I know.  Or you could develop an addiction.

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I don’t drink or drug.

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There’s always food.  Or work.  That’s a popular choice.  

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bert

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Or spend your life in front of screens.  TV, internet.  Games, Facebook, chat rooms, porn.  You know.

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Yeah.

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So.  What’s your preference?

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bert

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Good choice.

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Want more?

 

More recently, men tend to identify themselves by their careers.The Industrial Revolution sent the man out of the house to work, and into a hierarchy of competition and obedience. Assembly line production necessarily discouraged individuation. The man became aware of the possibility that life is not necessarily going to be a series of triumphs.

 

He knows he is not going to see the end of his work. He knows his company is polluting the environment. He is humiliated by his boss. The alternative may be to join the sales staff, working on commissions, which requires him to put on a smile and mask his true feelings even more. Whiskey may not suffice.

 

He comes home from work weary and frustrated. He has suffered the pain of being devalued and feels pressured to achieve more and more power and possessions. His children are rewarded with possession and privilege, if they are obedient. Even in school they are graded not on actual achievement but on how well they do what they are told.

 

The average man spends maybe 10 minutes a day with his son, mostly admonishing him. The parents manipulate each other and the children for control of the possessions. The mother feels closed out by her husband and often uses the children against him. She condescends or “puts him down,” and may use sex against him. The sexes fear and shame each other so easily.

 

It may well be that men have not intentionally closed women out from their feelings, but that they just don’t know what their real feelings are. The man has stuffed his feelings down so deep that he looks within and draws a blank. He feels numb. He has had no role model for the male mode of feeling. Or at least the ones he has had were probably celluloid characters that barely saw him through adolescence.

 

From Emotional isolation: A guy kind of thing (author unknown)

 

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3 responses to “Bert’s therapy: Bull — chapter three

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