Tales from the Practice of Medicine: Injury (III)


PureInsight | July 21, 2003

[PureInsight.org] Sometimes psychologists teach their patients some methods to help relieve their symptoms, such as beating up a pillow to vent their anger and crying in a deserted place to relieve their sadness. One day Jenny's psychologist decided to hold a make-believe funeral ceremony for her stepfather in order to help process the trauma he caused her when she was young. The ceremony was very realistic: It was held in a real funeral home and Jenny's friends and colleagues were all invited. A closed coffin was put into the funeral parlor, as if Jenny's stepfather were really inside. The ceremony was intended to completely erase the memory of Jenny's stepfather from her mind. During the ceremony, Jenny read a long lament to her stepfather, in which she let out all of the grief she held inside, so that she could forget him forever.

However, Jenny's fate always seemed to mock her. Her husband Mark is very similar to her stepfather in his manner of talking, his habits, hobbies and even the way he arranges his tools. Her stepfather used to force the family to eat fish on Fridays. In protest, Jenny refused to touch fish for the rest of her life. Strangely, Mark either eats sardines at home on Fridays or sneaks out of the house to eat fish in a restaurant. On these days, the family is usually at odds with each other and the atmosphere is very heavy and inharmonious.

In order to treat Jenny, I asked her to come to my traditional Chinese medical clinic every Friday. However, she always found excuses not to come. One time she said she lost her car keys, and another time she said her child was sick. Though she broke many appointments, I continued to wait for her patiently.

One Friday she finally came to my clinic. She was upset and angry, and told me that she hadn't talked with her husband for several days. She asked me in distress, "Is it really impossible for me to break away from the shadows in my life?"

I asked, "What shadows?"

"That evil habit of eating fish on Fridays. Now even my kids are willing to eat fish on Fridays. The more I oppose it, the more fish they eat."

I said, "What is wrong with eating fish on Fridays? Many people living by the sea eat fish as their main food source."

"You know, as soon as I thought this was my stepfather's habit, I…"

I told her, "Jenny, it's time for you to let go of this. You were abused in your childhood, and you want all the innocent people around you to take on your suffering with you. You are too hard on them and now even your children cannot agree with you. Did they really do anything wrong? You suffered a lot, and because of this you should learn how to think more about others. First, love your family, and make their lives better so as to protect them from the tribulations you suffered. There is an old saying that if you do a favor for a person, you will get an equal favor in return. If you respect people, you will be respected by people. What do you think?"

Looking at me, she was speechless. She began to think deeply about this principle.

Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2003/6/13/22028.html

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