Monthly Archives: October 2014
She feels unloved, she tells me.
It’s an old problem. She’s felt unloved since she was a child.
Her solution is to demand love from her husband.
Daily, sometimes hourly, she demands he give her more attention, acceptance, approval and affection.
It’s not working, though. And she doesn’t understand why.
What she doesn’t understand is that love is a gift, or it isn’t love.
That it can be received, but not demanded.
Given, but not coerced.
That when love is coerced, it becomes something else.
It becomes a lie.
I’ve just told her that I think she’s clinically depressed.
“Don’t label me,” she says.
“I’m not. I’m diagnosing you,” I say.
“It’s the same thing.”
No, it’s not.
We label people. We diagnose problems.
Labels are judgments, inaccurate and hurtful because they tend to oversimplify and stigmatize.
A diagnosis, though, is an explanation. It explicates something that needs correction or repair.
And when it’s accurate, it points us in the right direction.
Discarding diagnosis because we confuse it with labeling is like ignoring the road map we need to get where we want to go.