Exchanging Experiences

Still feel pissed off with everything. Tonight is the men’s group and I would rather not be there. I have no enthusiasm for anything. Time to fight.

Kuldip arrived first and could probably tell that I wasn’t feeling sociable. I had just received my appraisal back from Karaj and was keen to know what he had written. I told myself that I needed to welcome Kuldip and pastime, but he wandered out into the garden before I had got myself together. Stop this. I need to welcome everyone no matter what mood I’m in. Sunil was next to arrive and as soon as I saw his face my mood lightened.

Before the group began, I spoke to Karaj about his feedback on my journal. He told me that not only am I wanting to be rescued from all my pain and predicaments, I am also trying to rescue others – Karaj and Andy, for example. No wonder I am in so much pain.

Having urged Calvin before the start of the session to raise his issues early, Karaj cued him in. He had two items on his agenda. The first concerned his personal review which we had worked through during the previous group. His boss is not willing to include his additional comments. The solution was simple: rather than sign it in the usual place he should include his comments on a separate sheet and then sign. That way the document is not complete without the additional remarks.

Calvin’s second point concerned a criminal investigation at work in which he will be involved but not implicated. Calvin was worried that he may get into trouble despite not having done anything wrong. Again, the solution was simple: relax. Karaj prompted me to read from my appraisal; the part about getting too serious and needing to have fun again. There’s nothing we can do in advance of a situation which we cannot hope to predict with any real accuracy. There is no point in analysing before the event, especially when we have the ability to cope very well with any circumstance as and when it occurs.

I also read the extract about missing my train last weekend. This served to demonstrate our apparent need to create conflict and argument in order to have an intense relationship with each other. Why can’t we have intensity in calmness? Think how effective we can be if we relate to each other with the same intensity we reserve for arguments, yet we do so in stillness.

After a break Earl raised what he referred to as a ‘little’ issue. He does this every time. By saying things like that he is telling the group that he doesn’t need any help or that we cannot help him. His issue revolved around a surprise weekend he has arranged for his wife. Karaj asked Leon to read the ‘Thoughts’ from the Newsletter 7, which was concerned with just that – surprises. Earl put up a good fight insisting that it is a bleak world in which surprises are a bad idea and where couples do not interact with each other in loving, romantic togetherness. It was pointed out to him that his bleak outlook is his favoured view of his world and that regardless of how things are or should be, he would always be keen to hang on to his bleak view of things.

At this point Robert and Dev arrived. It was perfect timing because Robert was just the man to give Earl the perspective he needed. Robert talked about how his relationship with his wife has changed since the Sunday in June when he resisted checking in with her after the men’s group. Since then he has noticed that he is not the centre of her world and he cannot solve any of her issues for her. Their relationship has shifted to one of two individuals enjoying less time together and being better off for it, as opposed to one couple living in each other’s pockets and getting on each other’s nerves more and more. Leave women alone – you will find more peace and love that way.

I read more from my appraisal. This time it was the negativity of Tuesday. It felt good to let everyone know that I was down. It felt good to verbalise it. During the subsequent break I noted that in contrast to the last group, I now felt much better; I do care, whereas for the last couple of weeks I haven’t. In addition, I am not being cocky like I had been in the last group, and I am prepared to fight to sort myself out.

We finished at midnight. I summed up my feelings about the evening by saying that the whole day has seen a gentle shift in my mood and attitude and, despite my apathy towards the group before it started tonight, it has given my a big push away from my self-inflicted seriousness. Have some fun.

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