Guilty of Everything: Letters to Brian
DAVID EPSTON AND BRIAN
You informed me that you “can’t differentiate between life and death. . .” and that “life isn’t giving me anything more” and because of this, “I am in the middle”. Or are you in a muddle? On the other hand, you acknowledged that “I’m not giving life much” when I asked how much you were giving life. Still, you informed me that “every effort I make, you have 3,4 bad things happen to you”. I then asked how you got this ‘life is a garden party’ point of view. Where did that come from? You told me that “for the past 10 years, I have been waiting for something good to happen”. And how you had been watching your family and what was becoming of their lives. “My family are all examples of people who are constantly trying .. . and life never gives them a break. They also get bad breaks. . . and never a lucky break”. You were of the opinion that they were “a luckless lot”, even though “they give their best. . . are both honest, good people. . . never unkind and have always worked long hours and hard”.
Brian, are you going to leave your fate to luck? Have you ever heard of the saying about making luck happen? Or that luck comes to those who are prepared for it?
Still, what you understand to be their “luckless lives” makes you, as you put it so well, “apprehensive about my future as well”.
You then went on to tell me about your growing up, your self-specialization and how everyone else specialised in you in one way or another. You said: “I had four parents – my mother, my father, my aunt, and my uncle” and “I was an only child”. You said: “I wanted for nothing – emotionally, toys,etc.” For awhile there, you were well given to and little was asked of you except to express your so obvious abilities. However, then your auntie and uncle “split up” and that changed the nirvana of your youth in which “everyone loved me equally”. And that was followed by the death of your beloved aunt and your abandonment by your uncle who had meant so much to you. You were clear in your mind that “that’s when it all started” . . .”that’s when it became a conscious thought”. However, on review, everything wasn’t all that rosy, even if your glasses were rose-tinted at the time. For in your relationship with your uncle, “whatever I did wasn’t good enough. . . my uncle would crush me. . . even at mini-golf, he would have to thrash me”. By the same token, your auntie “self-destructed” due to her degenerative disease and you experienced her “self-destruction” right in front of my eyes”.
Brian, if your aunt revisited you, what course do you think she would advise you to take: self-destruction or life-embracement?
You then went on to describe the extent to which the curse of the idea of perfection is subverting your life. As you put it, “it rules my life”. When I asked what exactly ‘it’ is, you spelled out the curse to me: ‘IT MUST BE RIGHT”. Your life is being cursed in any number of ways, both big and small: for example, “I cannot wake up and put on clothes, comb my hair, and pack my school bag” without it requiring you to doubt yourself and match up to perfection in some way or other. And the other side of not being perfect is: “otherwise its crushing”.
Brian, in any way, do you think the curse of the idea of perfection has something to do with the ‘legacy’ from your late relationship with your uncle?
Do you imagine if your uncle endeavoured to find many ways for you to feel right about yourself as a person, that your life wouldn’t be currently such an accursed life? What do you think here?
The curse was also intruding into potential relationships with lovers and friends. For example, you informed me that “if I can’t have the absolute story-book relationship, it’s not worth doing”. . . “if I can’t have the RIGHT friends, don’t expect me to go halfway”.
Brian, do you think the curse of the idea of perfection is ‘murdering’ possibilities for some fun, pleasure, happiness in your life? Do you think by ‘murdering’ your hopes, it will render you hopeless and talk you into your self-execution? Why would you imagine perfection wants your blood? Are you guilty of some crime for which capital punishment is the only retribution?
Early on in the school life, you “went out to get people to dislike me by proving perfection right” but then, realising the folly of that, you made a “conscious decision” to be PERFECTLY wrong: “Instead of trying to beat perfection, I decided to cave in and believe it”.
Brian, if you were to believe in perfection, what does it say about you?
You answered this question as to perfection’s opinion of you in the following manner: “I would say I have no ability whatsoever. . . I am a useless, ugly human being. . . I am a useless and ugly friend. . . I look useless and ugly. . . I am absolutely no good on every single level . . . I am not interesting (my comments here WHAT A LIAR PERFECTION IS !!!) Sorry for butting in there, Brian, but I just couldn’t stand sitting outside this paragraph any longer) . . I’m not fun to be around. . I’m not worth knowing. . . I am no use to anyone. . .no one cares about me because I am so useless”. Perfection is obviously trying to embrace you and turn your abilities into self-hatred. Brian, I am pleased to learn that it certainly hasn’t fooled you and blinded you from the ‘truth’ about yourself. You also mentioned how it attempted to “turn an emotional pain into a physical reality” when you went “ape” at the university before you were committed. You realise now that “if no one had stopped me, I could, at the least, have knocked myself unconscious”.
Then you had a “break-through” and not before time. “I knew that I couldn’t attain perfection but where I made a fatal mistake was to hold perfection up as my ideal. And if I can’t attain it, I must die”. Or more aptly, murdered by perfection. It tried to deceive you into thinking that “times up . . .you’ve had your chance. . you can’t do (perfection) . . .so to the execution chamber” . . try again in your next life”.
Brian, do you think the curse of the idea of perfection is your judge, jury, and executioner all rolled up into one?
Brian, at this point in our meeting, I started to feel a strong sense of outrage and injustice. That you were being wronged by perfection rather than you were wrong. That perfection was perpetrating this injustice and you were its innocent victim, walking into its trap.
But before I came to my conclusion, I felt the need to interrogate you to see if you had committed any major crimes. Was it you, for example, who killed some of the unsolved murders? I asked if you had any confessions you thought you should make. To my delight, you informed you were innocent of any major murders, manslaughters,etc. Your only ‘crime’ was not doing perfection. Do you feel angry in any way that perfection almost suckered you into your self-execution?
I then got to thinking that all your life you have been ‘tried’ unfairly. I understand that it is the law of this land that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. Do you agree with such a constitutional provision? And I understand that for a trial to be deemed fair is that any accused person is entitled to a defence. Brian, from what you have told me, perfection has both prosecuted you and persecuted you and you have had no one to advocate for you. No one to cross-examine the allegations of perfection against you (see Page 2 – “perfection’s opinion of you)? Brian, has justice been done or are you the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice? Please consider this very carefully. Your life is at stake and Brian, I am somewhat older than you and strongly believe, if I am any judge on such matters, that if you were to look towards life, it would look very kindly on you.
Brian, if you feel you are just having a stay of your self-execution, consider this before doing anything else:
1) Are you wrong or are you being wronged by perfection, the curse of the idea of perfection?
2) Does a fair trial mean that your case is heard before an impartial jury who listens to both the prosecution (the evidence to support the charges against you) and your defence (the evidence to support your innocence)?
3) If there has been no defence, are there grounds for a mis-trial?
4) If so, do you want to demand a re-trial?
5) If so, do you want to hire me as your legal advocate, knowing how I think and feel about the curse of the idea of perfection and the lives it has either taken or devastated?
Brian, I think there has been a miscarriage of justice.
Hullo! My name is Brian and I am guilty. Guilty of what, you may ask Guilty of everything, I am afraid. You see in my life – whatever I do, the minimal level of achievement is perfection. I must attain perfection in everything I do. My hair must be done perfectly. My clothes must fit perfectly. My friends must be perfect themselves and I guess I hardly need to mention the criteria my girlfriend would have to fulfil! When I got to school, my work must be done 100% correct. If I have taken notes at university and they are untidy, I will rip the all out and write them out again neatly . . . perfectly, infact.
By now, it must seem very clear as to what runs and dominates my life: the ideal of perfection as well as Guilt.
How are perfection and guilt related? Surely striving to be perfect is nothing to feel guilty about, so how can such a positive motivational force be related to such a negative emotion. But I wonder is perfection such a positive emotion and is it such a positive motivational force to be run by. On the surface and in theory, YES. . . BUT for one blatantly obvious fact. I am only human, and I am therefore bound to make mistakes in every facet of my life. There is no way to escape this. So if I live my life to the ideal of perfection and on the other hand, I am bound to make mistakes, the calculation does not add up. In between perfection and the mistakes, there is a chasm. There is a link missing and that link is guilt. This I’m afraid is the emotion which ties up the sum.
PERFECTION MINUS MISTAKES EQUALS GUILT.
Can you now see how I arrived at my original statement: I am guilty of everything? Without committing some heinous crime, I have managed to condemn myself to death. Such a drastic step to take!
Well, once you realise you cannot attain perfection but still hold it as your ideal, you are even more doomed. Once again, we come to another equation. This one is a little more complex but is just as important.
PERFECTION AS AN IDEAL MINUS THE REALISATION THAT PERFECTION IS UNATTAINABLE EQUALS DEATH.
When you perform this equation in regards to your life, you have definitely taken a turn for the worse. You begin to feel totally useless and worthless. All logical thought leaves your mind while the idea of perfection and it’s partner in crime, guilt, creep in. No longer are you able to think straight. Poison has seeped into your brain. Guilt takes the form of a tumour and in the end all you can feel is pain. . . pain in your head, pain in yours stomach and pain in your legs and arms. All you want to do is run away from yourself and this is when the most obvious solution appears. Death. . .BUT is it the most obvious solution. The answer is no. Death is only the solution that is provided to you by the poison in your brain.
My reply: Fight back . . . . . . .ATTACK.
Signed: Brian Wilson
Hearing you read your account of how perfection and guilt conspired to murder you was chilling but exhilarating. It reminded me of your ‘Self-Specialization’ account all those years ago. You informed me that by seeing through this attempt on your life, you are now in opposition to it. When I asked how did you have such a vision, you described it as “a religious experience” and following on that, “I have a renewed sense of personal power. . . I feel bigger and taller”. Not surprisingly, I suppose, “people around me are reacting in a different way”. When I asked what they might be reacting to, you thought that they would have observed you “rising above it” and that “people are looking up to me again”. Even your friends had been telling you that “we don’t worry about you as much” as they once did. When I asked if it was a vision, you said it “was more a sense”. I marvelled and you told me more: “I feel this vacuum inside. . . pushing me out and up . .. . taller and bigger. . . there is a force field around me. . . protection,. . . . comforting. . . I have a personal sense of power and strength. . . it is an inner, personal type experience. The bad things have been exorcised. I have a feeling that they are seeping out. Three or four months down the line, the sky’s the limit for me”. I can’t help but agree with you, Brian.
We then started to document your commencing your resistance to guilt and perfection and how they had been murdering your hopes and dreams, abilities and achievements. You thought that “coming here” was the first step followed by writing up your own anti-perfection/guilt document. You thought that “writing about it was a liberating experience. . . its was almost like a confession. Defining the problem is half-way to the solution. You had realised that guilt/perfection “had turned everything about me into a fault” and you had now seen through this and could no longer be deceived and betrayed.
When I asked what this meant to you in the conduct of your everyday life to take back your personal power, you told me that “life was no longer grinding. . . day to day dread”. You informed me with a measure of self-respect that “I am dealing with it and leaning to deal with it.” When I inquired as to what would be your clues for your enemy reasserting itself in your life, you said that “not being able to sleep. . . erratic behaviour. . . being absorbed by guilt and perfection. . . taking hours and hours over getting ready”.
Still, there had been a small victory today. Instead of taking your usual 2 to 3 hours to get ready, you only took a 1/2 hour this morning. You thought that perfection “would have been displeased” with you. “I took away the time, at least half to one hour or more, trying to be perfect”. You concluded that “not doing that, perfection could feel robbed of time”.
Brian, how much time has perfection robbed from your life and your enjoyment of and in it?
Brian, if you had been permitted to use that time, lost to perfection for fun, pleasure, scholarship, writing,relationships, how do you imagine your life would be different today?
You thought that although you hadn’t put your mum and dad totally into your new picture, you were “reassuring them”. Do you think they are glad to learn that you are reclaiming your life and your entitlement to express your abilities in any way, shape, or form you choose to express those abilities?
I couldn’t help myself asking you “How did this all happen and when?”You said that you “felt better” after the first meeting and “a hell of a lot better is not to say that things don’t get you down, like your dad’s new relationship and your university studies. But Brian, who told you life was a garden party???
I look forward to meeting and discussing this with you further. I am sending off your thoughts to Tim for his opinion. He’s only 12 but not an ordinary 12 year old as I think you will agree when you read about his escape from perfection.
Yours against perfection
You have continued on with your offensive against guilt and perfection and seem to have detoxified your mind and spirit to a considerable extent. In fact, your mind has cleared sufficiently so that, according to you, “I got some essays done” and moreover, you admitted with some satisfaction that “I enjoyed doing them”. You informed us that “my mind is starting to work to what you described as “illogic” when your mind was in the thrall of perfection: “I was so consumed by it. . . it’s an emotional thing as well. . . it takes a hold of your emotions. . . you become unbalanced in regards to everyday life”. These developments are spreading: for example, you don’t seem to be going along with the ways in what you referred to as this unbalancing process “prejudices me against myself and others”. In fact, you were a bit resentful in “resenting the others for leading a more simplistic, care-free life” and in fact, were known “to lash out” at such people. You saw through some of the operations of perfection: “You spend so much time thinking about perfection that you don’t get around to doing things”. By contrast, by operating in an anti-perfection, manner, you are “doing work and enjoying it”.
What do you imagine perfection and guilt will be thinking of the fact that you can now see that your life could hold some enjoyment and pleasure rather than just being one torture after another. . . one failure to be perfect after another?
You then started detailing your anti-perfection tactics and I was grateful to learn of them so with your permission I might pass them on to some others whose lives are accursed. “Before, it would say all these things and I’d accept them and believe them. Now, by facing up to it, I realise its not as bad as it all seems”. For example, instead of destroying your essays, you are setting them aside and coming back to them later and finding, surprise,surprise that “it’s not so bad after all” and in fact, you are experiencing some fun coming in to what was formerly a dreary drudge of a life: “It’s a lot more fun. . . you feel a lot better about yourself”. What advantage would there be for perfection if it were able to convince you to feel badly about yourself? In fact, by doing what you have done, you were of the opinion that “everything changes”.
And when I asked what was changing in the conduct of your life, you reported the following:
1) “I am feeling a lot better about life. . . not such a grind. . . I am happier within myself. . . I am more pro-Brian but not quite pro-life yet”.
2) You acknowledged that perfection can still exert its power over you on the odd day but even then, you are able to conclude that “it’s not really that bad”. Before you used to believe that the “light at the end of the tunnel was the light of the oncoming train”. But ever since you have been rediscovering your abilities, “there are not so many trains as there used to be or at such regular intervals”. Brian, do you think, in any way, that your anti-perfection practices are rescheduling the oncoming trains? Do you think before too long, you will start travelling your own rather than along perfection’s rails.
3) You are rebelling against the tyranny of appearances from all accounts: “I try not to worry about appearances or how I look. . .it’s still got to be conscious. . . I am finding that I have to use the word NO and that word is an important word”. You acknowledge that you were becoming “alot more defiant” in the face of perfection’s requirements of you. When I asked if there was anything in particular you were saying ‘NO’ to, you said: “I am saying ‘No’ to neatness”. Brian, did you notice too that you weren’t even bothered by my messy desk, files, and video-tapes,etc? I did.
4) You have developed a policy of conscious rejection to the torturing demands of perfection. As you put it, “it’s something I have to do every day”. You reported some victories that occurred recently: “I now have two go’s at my hair and if it isn’t perfect, I just drop it”. Brian, that is pretty radical, don’t you think? Shirt-changing is “tougher” but “it’s the next one on my list”. For example, instead of changing shirts today, you just said: “Tough, it’s staying on”. Once again, I observed a renewed attitude of defiance instead of surrender and sheep-like obedience to perfection.
5) “I’m getting up and doing things instead of thinking about them”, in the morning and that is a time perfection usually strikes. You seem to be giving yourself instructions to do things rather than taking instructions from perfection. What do you think? “I’m consciously getting up and going to the library and doing assignments”. You acknowledged too that “I have to do it for myself. . .it’s the only way to beat it. . .you have to get in that ring and perform yourself. . .it has to be you against it (perfection) it’s the only way you can feel true satisfaction. . . others can provide the coaching and cheering but others aren’t always going to be around BUT perfection is. . .unless you face it by yourself, it will strike any time”. When I inquired as to what were perfection’s favourite times to strike, you thought in the morning when “I am thinking about the day and I haven’t got up and got going” and at night when you are tired, alone and in bed.
You then concluded that “it has a go at you when you are on your own”. You think that is why perfection tries so hard to divide you from friends and relationships in order to have you all to itself?
But you had already started to give this PHD-level anti-perfection some thought. Brian, as usual, you are well ahead of yourself so beware that perfection doesn’t try to trick you into stretching your resources too thin. But still you are calling into question the idea of the ‘perfect’ relationship and what that would require of you and of your partner. You had reached the theoretical conclusion that “It is important to be yourself and give yourself a go as you are . . . you don’t have to try so hard in friendships or relationships”. Still, you were aware that you would need to use your policy of conscious rejection and conscious affirmation if you were to bring this theory into the practice of your everyday life. You had seen how “perfection has taken a different route this week. . .it is having a go at me through relationships”. Brian, I wonder if it has always been doing this but before you could only see through BA and MA-level perfection? What do you think? It pulls the usual tricks by lying to you that you are “useless, ugly” but it also actively comes between you and relationships. For example, it will deceive you into saying that a person’s admiration of you is a LIE. Brian, who is lying: perfection or the people that admire you? For example you told me that “if a person liked me and I liked them”, perfection would tell you: “No, it’s not true. . .I am ugly. . .its a lie. . . I would get nasty and push the person away”. And of course, then they do dislike you and seemingly prove perfection right. BUT DOES IT?
You were of the opinion that “I have started opposing isolation” by a policy of conscious rejection of isolation practices which you described as “the inner self-destruct button”. And we marvelled at the contradiction in that you, in the 6 years since I first met you, hadn’t permitted perfection to intrude into your friendships, even though it was still wrecking havoc on your relationships. You justifiably informed me that you had 5 soul-mates and were proud of yourself and them. The Reflecting Team also called into question the distinction between friends and lovers and you seemingly had already reached very similar conclusions.
In response to the Team, and in particular Glen’s comments, you resolved “to day ‘Yes’ to honesty in relationships and taking a risk” and a policy of “conscious affirmation”. I look forward to reviewing this with you.
Yours against perfection and guilt,
It was interesting to catch up with you just as you were feeling you were “going off the rails”. As you put it, “I’m starting to take a different slant. . . guilt has become a monster of its own”. You were of the opinion that guilt had been behind perfection rather than alongside it in your life so far. In fact, guilt had promoted perfection.
Brian, now that guilt is exposed as a perpetrator of perfection, has your defiance of perfection brought you face to face with guilt?
Brian, thinking back over your life, how has guilt coached perfectionism?
What were its tactics? What were your counter-tactics to salvage your life from its domination?
Reviewing the influence of guilt over your life, you said that “I feel guilty about everything I did”. And you thought that had something to do with being “thrashed” in everything you did by your uncle and his perfectionism. Guilt conspired to convince you that “basically, I am no good” and would taunt you and depreciate you with such insults as ‘you’re no good at anything. . . whatever you do isn’t good enough’.
Brian, has guilt conspired to be your judge, jury, and executioner all rolled up into one?
Brian, in your nightmare, is the faceless hangman guilt? What do you think Bob Dylan meant by ‘the hangman must always keep his face well hidden’?
Brian, are you starting to see guilt not as your judge and jury but as your persecutor, running you down and then finishing you off by hanging?
It was interesting to note that of late you have reduced your fun and “lost direction slightly’. Brian, do you think guilt has been operating on you by demanding that you know the outcome of your future before it happens? Brian, why would guilt spoil all the surprise and excitement of your future vision? Brian , is one of guilt’s tactics to spoil your life to oblige you to pre-plan your life? As you put it, “I want to know my future before it happens”. Does guilt want to squeeze the spontaneity out of your life, so it isn’t worth living because of the boredom and foreknowledge of it? Still, you had been taking some actions in terms of the conclusions you had reached to oppose this slightly lost direction. And this seemed connected to your experience this summer when “I went out and met people”, even though you still haven’t found “my sort of people”. You thought you might take a bar-tender’s course and “try to make my life more full”.
Brian, do you think if you don’t fill up your life with novelty and learning, guilt will fill it up with abuse and depreciation?
Brian, how did you arrive at your conclusion to “have more personal involvement along wimplistic lines. . .I was quite happy over summer”?
Still, you had to admit that “guilt is egging me on again”. Brian, do you think you may need to recommence your anti-guilt life style?
What were the signs that guilt was making another appearance in your life’s drama? You thought that the signs were that “I’m coasting back into the isolation rut, spending too much time thinking over the last ten years of sins”. In the face of these old charges being brought up against you yet again, you said: “I want to move on emotionally from the last ten years”.
I enquired if you thought confession, penance, and absolution might provide a ‘path’ to spiritual or legal freedom from guilt’s punishments, self-tortures, and threats to your life. When I asked you to make your confession, you put it simply: “Mouth almighty!” And when I inquired as to where that came from, you told me it was an Elvis Costello’s song: “Mouth almighty, that’s what I’ve got, Mouth almighty, tell you what’s what, Mouth almighty, I wish I never opened my mouth almighty!” You thought your parents had borne the brunt of “my acid tongue”. However, you had to admit, despite this, “largely people have forgiven me but I feel guilty myself. . .within me. . I bear the brunt of my guilt”.
We discussed what you thought might be an appropriate penance to absolve you for the past ten years. One proposal was washing your mouth out with sunlight soap until your mouth was cleansed of its ‘acidity’. That might be your atonement for the sins of the past. You also came up with some ideas for reparation: the vow of reciprocity in relationship.
And this was connected to your desire “to be more accessible emotionally to friends this year”. And accessibility meant vulnerability; that you are no longer required to act perfect to your friends and parents: you are no longer required to be “all right’ and consequently, if they have a difference of opinion, they are ‘all wrong’. You thought that guilt and perfection had in a manner of speaking ‘talked’ you into being a ‘tourist’ in your own life, working hard at constructing a lot of ‘fronts’. You thought your vow of reciprocity in relationship might entail constructing a self for Brian in which you can “be a person who can both show strength and weakness, be right and wrong, be responsive to the experience of others and appreciate other’s uniquenessess rather than wishing to change or improve them, and being an appreciating rather than a critical friend and son”. You agreed that your penance would in fact to try out this new kind of person.
You thought that should guilt rear its ugly head, you would do more penance. When I asked again what a penitential attitude would be, you said the following: “I am going to make suggestions and start saying to myself: ‘Yes, they do want to see me’. You considered that the vow of reciprocity and the penitential attitude would also involve dialoguing with friends rather than monologuing. “How will you know when you are doing penance?” I asked. Your answer was an interesting one: “When it feels strange, uncomfortable, awkward or I feel nervous”. Those would be the signs that you are doing penance. When I asked what effect the vow of reciprocity might have on your relationships, you said: “My friends and parents can appreciate him more and know him better at a deeper level. . . my friends are realising that they have been presented with an image. . . I want them to know the person Brian Wilson”.
Brian, I believe that your friends are in for a very interesting time, knowing you as I do rather than some ‘front’ or image you have put up to look perfect or imperfect as the case may be.
I will ring you on my return and I certainly will be interested to learn if you are ready for absolution or whether you need more penance for your sins committed when you were under the influence of the deveil of guilt and perfection.
You told us that receiving the last letter was the seed of an idea that was to germinate on a particularly significant day in your life, the day of your 20th birthday. June 10th to be exact! You thought that firstly, “20 is a magic number” but more importantly, you reflected on that day, June 10th, that “life is too short. . . the first quarter has gone so quickly. . .I don’t want to spend the next 60 worrying”. You informed us that you devised “a new way of thinking: I stopped worrying about everything”. Although you haven’t noticed any obvious changes “in my life style”, you did comment that you are no longer “wasting so much time feeling guilty about things”.
And in addition, you have devised a personal philosophy for yourself which you imagined “some people may think is negative” and summed it up with the aphorism “Life is pointless”. By that, Brian, do you mean that you are not taking yourself so seriously? In your old view, as you put it, “every mistake I made was crucial” but “I don’t feel so bad now. . . but rather guilt free”. You said that you are finding it hard to believe: “I wouldn’t have believed it myself” and naturally are still somewhat tentative. Guilt-freeness is only six weeks old. Although such a philosophical stance has not been tested in any big ways, there have been plenty of “small ways”. You seem to be practising your life differently, Brian. As you put it, “I can’t see into the future. . . I am living each day. . .I am more accepting of the situation”. And this has led to you feeling “I am getting more out of life on certain days”. And even when you do make the odd mistake, “I screw something up, I switch off and get a bit of a buzz out of it”.
In your guilt days, you would “lose sleep, be immensely depressed and do my head in my hands stuff”. Although you were unconvinced this was showing on your outside, you thought it was “more something that has occurred within me”. Still, it happened “like a blinding flash to me”. Although no one has noticed this yet, you thought that your mother or Mark would be the first and second person to comment. In fact, you yourself “weren’t expecting it. . . what happened to me was unique. . . and for the first 2 or 3 days, I thought I was going through a good phase. . and now that 2 or 3 days have turned into 2, 3 months”.
You thought you might be closing in on a big test, “falling in love and screwing up”. Still, you have even come to the conclusion that “intimate relationships aren’t worrying me so much” and that “I can handle living on my own”.
You had also observed that “each day passes and I have little tests”. Brian, do you think it is possible if it weren’t for your new philosophical attitude, that these little tests would have been big tests? Are you making mole-hills out of former mountains?
But as usual, you saved the best for almost last: “I learned to drive”. And this wasn’t easy considering how you had been traumatised about driving, waking up to hear breaking glass one night and “awful screaming”. You acknowledged that this “effected me for a long time”. Not surprisingly, “it put me off”. Up until a few months ago, you were fear-driven in relation to car driving. Still, you applied your new attitude and “was relaxed” during your lessons and test and got your license with flying colours.
When I asked you to sum up your newfound philosophy, it had to do with “sensitivity”, “taking life day by day”, “not so much dwelling on the past”, the “what if syndrome has changed” and in fact is “no longer there”. Brian, clearly you have left your past behind and as you put it, “people always complicate things. . .in my case, I was over-emotional”. ‘I AM LIVING DAY BY DAY”.
Yours with best wishes,
David and The Team.