Laughter Through Tears

Once upon time, King Solomon was deciding an argument between two neighbours.  The first neighbour presented his case and Solomon said:

- Your reasoning sounds correct.

The second neighbour explained his side of the argument and the King stated:

-You, too, it seems are right.

Then one of the King's courtiers exclaimed:

-Master, how can this be?  Both are right?  This simply cannot be!

-Hmm.  It seems that you, too, are right, concluded the wise King.

For better or for worse, this seems to be a typical situation in life.  Despite everyone having their own subjective point of view (seeming to be the only valid one), it is still just one point of view.  If we survey the problem from another point of view, then the picture may be perfectly, often totally opposite, to the first.  Place your hand between yourself and the person you are speaking to so that your palm is facing toward you and the back of your hand is outward toward the other.  Now consider that each insists on the reality that is staring them in the face and refuses to 'see' what the other clearly does.  Would not such an argument be ridiculous?

And yet, the majority of arguments appear this way between, to take one example, married couples. There exists a saying that a pessimist sees the glass half empty and the optimist sees it half full.  They are both wrong.  The glass is at the same time half empty and half full.  Only through this paradoxical and dialectical point of view should one experience reality.  People involved in an argument can be, as a rule, in the right and in the wrong at the same time.  United in reality through their lives together, couples could resolve their problems if it were not for the influence of parents, brothers, sisters, etc.  And in the absence of the influence of parents and in-laws, friends and even children usually come into the picture. A common situation is one in which the mother seeks support from the children and unites with them, while the husband unites ... with his family of origin, colleagues, or tries to pry the children from mother’s “clutches” turning the children into a virtual rope in a tug of war.  The forces, which are outside a couple's relationship, pull them apart and in different directions because of their own conflicts of interests.  Finding themselves in opposite corners of the boxing ring, the couple takes each other on.  The members of each of their 'support groups', i.e. relatives and friends, only contribute to the divide by siding with one or the other while in fact they are only pursuing their own personal interests.  From each of the camps, supporters sincerely see that their 'combatant' has the half-empty glass.  Each member of the couple experiences natural ambivalence toward the mate and the, so to speak, semi-fullness of their glass.  At least until they make a final decision with respect to a divorce, they will suffer the inner conflict of seeing the other's side, on the one hand ... on the other...  Often couples will separate then reunite several times during this difficult process.

Only an experienced psychotherapist is capable of helping a couple recalibrate the balance of their relationship and lead their negotiations to a successful conclusion.  It's important that the work begins early enough.  Unfortunately people often miss the opportunity and come to us in the final stages of the conflict.  For them it is usually the 'last chance'.  The 'next to last chance' would be considerably more productive.  Even better timing would be prior to the wedding --- attending courses, of which I have written previously.  If couples were aware of the fundamental forces within relationships and interpersonal dynamics, problems that arise would not seem to be 'the end of the world'.  Using the skills gained during their training they would either be capable of solving the problem on their own, or, in the case of more difficult situations, would straight away seek out a specialist's help.


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Story of He