In my ongoing, exploration of couple Dynamics, I had to do a series probing, the intricacies of couples under lockdown, but in this instance, it isn’t the loss of job.
That is so heightened, but the Deep commitment to preserving.
One sense of leadership and position and that may put the family at risk.
So while this episode in, Nigeria belongs to my podcast, where should we begin?
I also thought it has its place in housework.
I feel like at the end of the day.
I’m just kind of like holy shit.
You know, it’s just not.
None of the couple’s.
You are about to hear are ongoing clients of Esther perel for the purposes of maintaining their confidentiality names.
And some identifiable characteristics have been removed, but their voices, and their stories are real.
They moved from the west coast to Lagos Nigeria.
He had received a dream job, where he could not just do well, but also do good.
I was approached by a vice president of the company.
I work for with the proposition that they wanted to start a team here in Africa.
She left her career as a nurse and their two daughters 12 and 5 came with them to what was to A spectacular family adventure.
Basically, the trying part has been this move.
This move has really challenged a lot of things and then covid has made it.
I mean, I would say like 20 times worse and everything maybe even more disrupted with the upheavals and the violence.
And the poverty that may ensue.
There is no chance, the government is going to maintain Law and Order if they try and extend the lockdown.
They showed videos of where the government is trying to distribute food to people in.
Need a truck rolls up with bags of rice and hundreds of people mob.
No one cares about social distancing.
They’re literally fist fighting over bags of rice.
They are in a bind whether to stay or to go looking for a sign but not knowing what that sign will be.
We literally packed everything from our house in Seattle, into a container and had it shipped here.
And evacuation plan would probably not cover more than a couple of suitcases.
I mean, maybe it would be okay, but maybe we would leave and then someone just walk in and take everything in the house and there’d be no point in coming back to try and get stuff at that public.
And in the midst of this, they’re threatened with losing their connection.
I feel like we don’t have the opportunity to Simply live.
Like it’s always you in the office or me trying to remind you that Ooh, that life exists outside the office.
Please come outside to have dinner.
And that is a problem when they need to reach each other in order to know where they go from here.
When we first came, I was so ready for a challenge.
Ready to throw our old lives away do this big new thing, but there’s so many challenges like that feel like threatening to our safety here before covid.
And now with covid, everything is up in the air and it’s not that I resent the decision to come.
I was a part of that decision and I felt included in that.
But now we’re in this new situation.
It’s definitely more try in the sense of having that reverence for what we intended to do.
It seems to pale sort of in the big picture.
It was something that I think we both knew was going to be challenging and then it turned out to be even more challenging than what we were expecting it to be.
By possibly an order of magnitude.
What is the this?
Scribe it for me, please.
How did you vote?
See the move when you were making this decision together?
I think we imagined the logistics of moving from one country to another, with all of our belongings and everything to be a little bit smoother than it ended up being, there was a period of time where we had to be separated.
For it goes a little over a month.
And we weren’t anticipating to have to be separate for that period of time and that period of time, coincided with a lot of things need to happen.
That was a pretty big burden, her being home with the kids while I was off in Nigeria already and having to deal with moving things across the world and then arriving and are selecting the right for two months.
And so being able to get the things, we needed was a little difficult figuring out.
Although Schools and getting kids into schools that was quite a bit of work and all of this in a country that neither of us had spent any amount of time.
In one of the things I would say about what changed is that?
I think the benefits that we believed would be here and compared to the risks.
I think changed a lot.
Once we came.
I didn’t imagine all the ways that I would feel like we were giving up so many things.
I also felt that the benefit to like what you’re doing here.
And like what your dream is to do here.
I’m also recognized like that.
There’s a more benefit to that, too, as well.
There’s a bigger need than I could have imagined for what you came here to do.
So before covid, I felt like we were still kind of assessing, you know, what are the things that we really lost in this mode?
And what are the things that we gained and how important is it to us, too?
Evaluate the needs of our family and fulfill those compared to the mission that we can to accomplish, you know, one of the biggest things that I hiding very conscious of you having to give up his freedom of Mobility.
It’s also interesting that code has taken that restriction and intensified it tremendously.
There was the original limited mobility and now it’s Substantially increased with police blockade some things out there, violence violence kidnappings and things like that, that are all a result of the lockdowns that could’ve it have introduced.
It’s like there was an expected pain.
I think, or or thing that was, we’re knowing we’re having to deal with coming here.
We got here and realized actually it’s even worse and then covid showed up and made it even worse.
And I also acknowledge.
I probably am a little bit more of a Hermit style introvert and you so I’m a little less if you ever going home and I am also still working which also affects things differently and she stands out more.
Is that a part of it, too?
That is a that is a big part just in general, the risk of her hopping in the car even going driving as far higher than Me and I’m the risk-taker.
So that means I’m the Shopper and while we were told the humanly that we may not drive ourselves in this country.
We want in our driver to be safe.
So they sent him home to quarantine and continue to pay him, you know, and so it up until today.
It had been me going out and I felt okay doing that.
And then now it’s changed, you know, feel okay, doing that.
There was a kidnapping two weeks ago, relatively close by.
That has a little bit more on edge, about going around and just the vibe of people, you know, like here people are so close to David like, abject poverty already.
So with the restrictions in place by the government, it’s forced a lot of people into abject poverty, you know, and you feel that energy when you go out and I think there’s another part of this too, which is just that there’s a lot of personally, there’s a lot of ethical considerations about About Grace and what kind of access we have to being safe and what the implications are.
I mean, I know you share that because we both have American citizenship and we could have gotten evacuated the embassy evacuated people and we chose not to do that, but there’s still so many feelings around that like, that.
We have the ability to leave and others don’t.
And being American is feeling more complicated right now.
Yeah, so There’s just so many things that have come same or we were we were faced with the embassy emailing us four weeks to tell us that we have the option to evacuate.
The airports are closed here.
So it’s a little bit different than the u.s.
We don’t have the option of just saying.
Okay, we’re done, and we want to go.
So they organize some flights, and during that time for me.
It was like an emotional crisis.
You know, I wasn’t sleeping.
I’m trying to be there for the kids during the day and just make them.
Them feel as safe as they can and at the same time, knowing that safety is actually in question.
And at the same time, he was dealing with the fact that he was supporting his team, making the transition from going, from the office to his, to their homes, to work in their homes.
And I felt like it was so hard for me because I was like spinning, my wheels.
I’m like, I want to plan and a back-up plan and a back-up plan to The Back-up Plan.
And He wasn’t feeling the same way as me.
You know, he just didn’t feel that same sense of Crisis from that decision.
There was times where I feel like the ethical considerations that I have about that.
I was already dealing with internal, he liked thinking about whether whether it’s fair or right.
I don’t know what the right word is there, but just that we even have this option.
It’s so bizarre, you know, you don’t think you don’t really think about what it means to be American, especially, You’re willing to like move across the world, but then you come and you see like what the reality of this covid with to this country and that we have this magical button that we can push.
So that was difficult and I felt like there was times where you would kind of insinuate that we should be so lucky to even have these options and that I should just sort of be satisfied with that.
But That passed and we decided to stay.
And then I think this past week has been really hard again, because a friend of mine who’s actually from Gabon but her husband works for the British Embassy, she was evacuated like by mandate.
And I think that really shook me, like if that is the right thing to do for safety, you know, or I don’t know.
It just really, it’s like, I feel like there was a resolve after we decided to stay at least we just lift it off.
And I wish that we had communicated more during that time.
And there is a pandemic, when disaster approaches every couple has to negotiate their strategy.
How bad is it?
Is it as bad as it’s gonna get?
Will it get worse and often they position themselves with different answers to these angst-ridden questions when she wanted to go, she didn’t are to ask it from him because she was a concern that he came with such a mission in such a sense of responsibility.
His team, how could she do this to him?
And then on the other end she wondered what right does she have to actually leave?
And what does that mean?
Ethically that she has this option and privilege to begin with?
And then there’s the fact that when you’re an expat, the embassy mandates your evacuation and you don’t have to deal with your own decision making and all of this is mounting and every time they finally settled on their decision and more people leave.
They are wondering once again have we made the right choice?
Are we putting ourselves into unnecessary stress or safety?
I mean, really.
And then, again, I feel like she got into an argument and it was like, we have this opportunity that other people don’t have which I recognize and I am almost ashamed of it.
You know, like I know that, but at the same time, would we be hoping?
And I would feel the same.
I would be feeling everything that Nigeria is going through.
Even if we were in the u.s., you know.
It’s just been really intense pain, really intense, and it’s asked a lot of our relationship and you have a lot of obligations to your work and you spend a lot of time in your office.
What did you feel when she was talking?
I was experiencing my stomach clenching, you know, when when she was talking about her angst and the things that when what did I hear?
I hear heard you say, you know, here are a few things that I heard.
You tell me if that makes sense to you.
We are both Americans.
I am white.
I’m a woman.
He’s a man.
He is African.
He came here with a mission.
I support this Mission completely.
I too want him to succeed in doing something that has such a larger impact and meaning.
But in this moment, I also think about my children and my safety and I’m scared.
And I my one good close friend.
She just was repatriated.
And am I just holding on to a mission?
But they won’t be a missionary.
They won’t be a person holding it because the idea is bigger than the person.
And then when I go to him, and I try to tell him that he answers me with Statistics.
I don’t even know if he feels any of it and maybe he doesn’t because there’s a part of him that keeps saying.
I have it better than everybody else and therefore my mission stands and I’m not going Where and I don’t know, she says if I have a right to even ask him to go anywhere because I’m supposed to be this support for him, and this partner who joined him in this, major Endeavor where the word challenge used to be attractive and exciting and now it’s become frightening.
I know this is crazy.
But the other day I heard you.
On a phone call with like a co-worker and you are like, how are you and what’s going on there and did a guy?
And I was like, I mean, we don’t really have jealousy issues.
But I was like, I mean, I had to dig deep to find what I was feeling, but I was jealous of this, very simple moment where you were just saying, how are you, you know where I feel like I have to barge in to your office, you know, and tell you declare, you know, something to you on your I’m in between calls and then maybe we end up in an argument and maybe we don’t have time to deal with it for three days because you’re in your office till 4 a.m.
Maybe jealousy isn’t the right feeling.
What I’m hearing.
Her describe is that she’s the partner of someone who came to improve the faith of the people in Africa.
And so when she’s asking him for personal attention, it feels like how can you ask for an individual attention in light of the collective Endeavor that you are embarked upon but then she hears him be so inquisitive about somebody else.
And then she realizes that it becomes one individual.
Yes, and the other individual nerve.
I don’t deal with it.
Well, either in complete fairness, if I don’t feel like I’m being heard.
I’m probably not a very pleasant person to be around.
I’m not like suffer in silence kind of person, you know, so I feel like the Lesser evolved parts of my character just sort of start running the show and then it justifies you staying away from me.
Probably, you know, it’s a cycle that we have to learn to get around.
You still value and admire his rectitude, his mission, his desire to do something that’s bigger than him.
But you also feel less supported by him.
Then you currently need and somewhat abandoned by him.
While he’s being attentive and able to accept the vulnerabilities of others, but he can’t see yours because he needs you to be strong so that he he can be on his mission.
It’s a very here accurate.
You feel that that’s accurate or do that resonate with you at all.
Do you believe it resonates with me?
Maybe that’s the right question.
And so, I will acknowledge that there’s something that I need to internalize a bit more.
I think hopefully rather than thinking about it as me, focusing on their mission Within You.
There are other things that can be thought of were factored in there.
Like, I have a calendar schedule time to check in with people.
And so when I get on a phone call and it’s a calendar schedule time to chicken people.
I’m not in any way suggesting, we should do that with us, but that is something that causes me to, then consciously check in, with folks.
It’s not that I’m thinking of them when I think about you, but I do need to do a better job of checking in with you.
You yes, under normal times.
If he was busy or not available, you’d hop in your car and go with good friends.
Yeah, and maybe commiserate with your friend about how unavailable he is.
But in any case, you won’t be waiting alone, leaving at like Penelope, and hoping that come back from the sea.
So, these are not normal circumstances a because you’re in laborers, and being because on top of it, the situation is dangerous.
And you are ran some Basically, so he doesn’t want you to go out either, but that means that, then he suddenly has to become the girlfriend that you’re going to go visit to Commitment late.
And that means that he needs to take on multiple roles because it demands an adaptation.
And I think, if you say I need phone, call scheduled with my colleagues or the members of my team.
How do I create a structure?
That helps me to think about you and that’s perfectly fine.
You know, one would wish maybe that this would come to you more spontaneously, but if it doesn’t, then you schedule it because you see what you describe is.
You probably were very emotionally connected in your family, but it did come with a emotional check-ins on the internal life of the other person.
That’s the more Western definition.
Yeah, I think that it is more difficult for me to say that I want to be vulnerable because it feels like I do have a right to be given my quite fortunate in life situation.
I think that’s probably a little bit exacerbated by the fact that I typically feel a sense of imposter syndrome with regards to my success and what I’ve been able to achieve with my life always.
I don’t actually the ones in this room that that gives me both.
A combined sense of, I shouldn’t have anything to complain about but also like I have a lot to do in order to prove that I deserve that which I have.
I think the combination of those has Global conflicts.
Thank you for this vulnerability.
You just did it.
I’m sure you felt it since Stanford, or maybe before, but it came to my awareness in the form of words.
In a very tragic climactic way right before we left.
And I feel like it was hurled at me, rather than approached with that.
I would understand or that I, maybe, perhaps already understood.
Specifically the feeling the feelings of not like I don’t belong like I’m an imposter something that I felt probably since College.
It’s probably the first first, hit me a went to my high school being the best of everything.
I got to college and it was no longer the case of the best of everything.
But the things I’d like to being good at.
It was easier to be the best time and then I got to college that was Once the case when I started working professionally, that was also a longer the case through a lot of ridiculously smart people around me.
And I always felt like I didn’t belong.
Is that a voice that you have?
Sometimes that says it was good.
Or does most things end up with it?
Could have been better.
It wasn’t good enough.
If only I have done XYZ.
Typically I spend time thinking about what went well and what could have gone better.
Do you do the same with your marriage?
Not often enough?
Alright, The Best of You goes to work and the leftovers come home.
I think it depends on the day.
Tell me, Well, particularly with covid but also in general it like some days I wake up and feel like I’m spending more time in family mode.
I don’t know.
I will say marriage would family involved and then going into work and depending on how much time I spend with family load there.
Sometimes leftovers going to work.
But this is so interesting.
It’s like you you’re absolutely accurate about this is fault line like, that is like you’re saying to him.
Let me take you out of the office where your imposter voice sometimes keeps you till four o’clock in the morning, so that you can experience other parts of you and connect with.
All of us and let us love you.
And he kind of hears it instead of freaking arguing, when she says come to the dining room or come to the bedroom or come sit with me, you have to go.
I didn’t I didn’t feed you these lines.
I’m just letting him go.
It’s like you provide this mantle of security for each other.
Not to go to an extreme.
Her extreme of Nothing will stop me and your extreme of it’s never good enough until it’s good enough, but that means it’s never good enough.
I wish that we spent more time together.
And then that time was more organic.
That it wasn’t time that I sought after explicitly.
I feel that I have a duty to explicitly lay out, my needs for you.
Wise, It’s Justified to not.
Meet them or and that’s outside of my own nature.
And I tell you that a lot that I don’t feel comfortable.
But I do really like, to have things sort of flow.
And I ask that out myself to give you the opportunity to meet my needs by making them.
My size and doable to what I think is doable, you know, but also feel in a way it makes it myself.
Like I’m minimizing the expectations of you as a partner and I see you devote yourself to work and I know what you’re capable of and I know that you love me, you know, and I guess I just wish that we had time and I think that’s the real thing is that it’s not anything Grand that we need to do together.
Because we talked and I think that’s what we do together.
We have a very lovely bathroom that we spend a lot of time inside of and that’s usually where we connect.
We just sit on the ledge of our window and it’s your office.
That’s my office and we cannot bear, you know, for whatever reason.
But I wish that it didn’t have to be explicit and I wish that for you want to connect.
Well, I mean in general, I wish I were in our day, right?
That’s why I feel like Okay to ask in between meetings that we just meet and have a 10-minute talk.
But like, I also feel like we’ve had two beats about like different multiple times, but I ask why we can’t do that to thing in my office.
Kind of where I am, feels like the idea that you would come and spend time in my office or something that bothers you.
Yeah, going it does.
But I understand it’s because you’re toggling between me and work and play and Just for you.
To not be principled about.
He comes into the bathroom.
You going to his play Space.
The fact that he’s inviting you into his place.
Space is very intimate for him.
If on top of it, he can serve you to your teeth coffee.
Something else Drinker my coffee, right?
So he can turn his little shop into his little office into a coffee shop.
Because if you can’t go outside, you’re going to have to use imagination which is exactly what your kids are doing.
Especially your little one.
Any child can in a split-second become the captain of a ship and the owner of a shop, and the doctor running a hospital and anything you want because they know that freedom in confinement, comes through their imagination.
So you can go in his office but it no longer is his office.
It’s actually his pit attack or headquarter or whatever.
You start to rename things.
You give them a new meaning, you play with the definitions, you ritualize them.
You take them outside of the ordinary, you dress up, to go to his office, you know, so that it becomes playful, so that it gives you.
The Sensation that you went out.
Of course, you didn’t go out, but To cares and you can think of it as corny and weird or you can think of it as it elevates us.
You know, from this sense of I am so constrained here.
There’s no one I can go.
There’s not many people around me.
I’m more and more isolated.
And then all I experienced is my husband in his office.
Instead of I’m going for a special visit to my husband.
He invited me to his office.
Now, you’ve turned the whole thing upside down.
You’ve got to go subversive on this.
I like the idea though.
I feel like the amount of time that we’re speaking of is a very small time, 10 minutes, you know, 10 minutes here and it’s 10 minutes there.
And I think just to finish like what I was saying is that It’s that.
I feel like we don’t have the opportunity to Simply live.
Like it’s always you and the office or me trying to remind you that life exists.
Outside the office.
Please come outside to have their okay.
The kids are going to bed and they haven’t seen you all day.
If you don’t come out now, you’re not going to see them today.
And then as soon as the kids go to bed immediately, its back into the office, and I’m laying in my room, doing my things until 4 a.m., And I go to sleep.
I’m not trying to make it sound one-sided.
Like, I know that there’s so It’s complexity, but I guess I just don’t think that for me, like we don’t have space together.
We don’t have time together to like, it’s true.
Do things just exist, like live, like have life like have I don’t know.
Like a drink and a coffee and listening sounds great, but it’s like doesn’t sound feasible.
It feel the statement.
You’re making that are you not making time is like a little confusing.
We go on bike rides as a family together.
How does Those occur.
When you suggest I do when I say best work together today and I can fit it into my schedule.
I do you say hey, do you want to join us for swimming or we try and make it work?
They don’t suggest them myself out for you because I hear the conversation and When we begin today, I asked you tell me a little bit about the history of this relationship.
And you started with the seed at the bar. and you told me, She was reading a book and I decided I’m Gonna Get This Woman’s attention.
And this woman, just told you.
It is very hard for her.
That doesn’t justify it.
That doesn’t say it’s right or wrong.
It’s just the way she experiences it.
And I don’t know enough about her whole history to know why it is troubling to her, to have to ask for attention.
She likes to receive it.
She likes to resist it and she likes when you work through her resistance.
It’s exactly how you seduced her on day, one.
This is what we are talking about.
Of course, when I suggest, let’s go for a bike, you go for a bike and you enjoy the bike rider.
This is not an issue.
But what she’s coming back with his, it happened because I suggested I asked and I enjoy when you’d say yes, but there’s something about wanting to be slightly showered.
Slightly adorbs slightly seduced.
You put your will of fire on me the way that when you want something.
You go for it and what she’s telling you, she misses that guy and she also misses that woman.
Hello, the time, we talked about how I think the word that usually gets misused here is, I don’t feel saying I don’t feel software, that’s not actually a way to describe, but what I’m talking about, but I think a better way to articulate it is to point out that you talk about me working a lot.
I haven’t Worked on the weekend in the past three weekends, and I don’t think you’ve noticed very much.
Now, you know who she worked on those weekends, and that comes at a huge cost and I don’t feel like that is It’s not that.
I don’t think you notice it.
If I were to take an entire weekend off and not work, and then Monday were to roll around.
And by noon Monday.
I had not gone back to work.
And then by noon, Tuesday, I’d still not done any work.
I don’t feel like, at any point.
You would ask me the question of, hey, shouldn’t you be working or weren’t you behind on something and you took some time off?
Should you get back to the thing?
You were doing growing up?
What do you think?
It’s my responsibility to know about when I have to work in, then to go to work.
No, to communicate to me.
What you need.
I have to go outside of myself and ask for things.
I need me.
So and then we skip to the next part where I say assuming we have communicated, what?
I just kind of assumed that you can skip the next one spot.
So, you know, you can’t, I’ve asked you so many, I have communicated.
So let me repeat the statement by making them even if I have communicated to you.
That I have a busy work schedule or that I have it.
So like when I say things like work is not going well.
And I tell you about a document, I’m supposed to write for work that people are getting frustrated that I’m not writing.
And then I tell you the story of how I failed.
So miserably at getting that document written that someone else had to do it for me because I just never got it done.
Like that’s pretty serious thing.
And not only did I not feel like from You I thought the partner who would help me be able to get that done.
I didn’t feel like you cared at all about that failure.
Like there was no commiseration of any kind and it like in general it feels like and maybe it’s the way it comes across of me.
I’m not trying to accuse or blame or say that it’s because I’m not working that, that’s what happened.
It’s just something that happened that really sucks.
And I would like to feel like there’s a partnership in the sense that that’s something that has to happen.
It’s not something where I have like if I have a lot of work and I should try and make time for the family.
But if I’m not making my deadlines, I feel like we should be together on, trying to figure out how we work around that, as opposed to tell me what you need.
What would you have liked to hear her?
Say what’s one thing?
She could have said?
I’m sorry, that sucks.
Do you want to try?
Me, let’s get it very hard for me to be honest, but I think I hear you.
It’s not hard.
No, it’s not.
I know it’s not that it needs to justification.
I need to actually just do it and I will just give me one second to really get there.
I am very sorry.
This game was a mess and that things are going poorly for you professionally.
And believe it or not.
I do really care.
Like I care.
So very much when you’re feeling stress or when you’re feeling anything about any negative things, really in the world, usually about work.
And at the same time, I want good things for you and I want you to feel good.
It’s hard for me not to.
Sure, the negativity that you present me with, I don’t always know when to try to make you feel better or try to just say, I’m really sorry that it sucks to you people.
Do you like to give them to?
Okay, so much.
This is weird.
I’m on screen.
You’re on screen, Etc.
But this is a moment where I imagine a hug what you just did.
Now was interrupt a destructive pattern.
It started by you asking for something.
Just tell me.
I know it sucks and not have a whole discussion with me about work or the project or this or that just talk about me.
And then it started with you instead of arguing with it, which would have been your inclination.
To just say it even though it feels a little artificial and but you try it on for size.
And as you said it the experience followed.
And then it comes with the moment of repair.
That gets punctuated with the hug.
Because after that, there’s not much left to say.
We sit in silence.
We feel calmer, we feel closer.
And we stop the useless chatter.
I think what happens between the two of you is that that moment does not occur enough.
You know, in a relationship, you connect you disconnect and then you reconnect.
But you don’t have to reconnect.
So the conversation goes over and over and it’s repeat.
And it’s each of you wants the other person to just be able to say I get it.
Do not have to solve anything.
You just acknowledge the experience of the other, you’re strong people, you will each figure it out.
Let me give you a hug.
And I think that would heal so many things like sometimes, I think we’re arguing, the point that we’re both fearful that I need.
You’re not going to be met as individuals.
We have children and it’s can feel like at the end of the day, like we divide and conquer, you know, and then It can just feel like we’re abandoning each other.
But in the reality, we’re both here fighting so hard for the same thing, and I feel like sometimes we just miss that opportunity to appreciate that.
He’s nodding behind you.
Do you see ya?
And you cannot have one more conversation about the four o’clock or the work or the amount of hours or do this or that, and you need to start noticing when he actually doesn’t work.
You have to tell him.
I really enjoyed spending the day with you.
You don’t have to say anything about.
I appreciate you.
Not were just I had you have to begin to redress the negative spin.
That is entering your Mutual perceptions because then he’s going to be no matter what I do.
It’s not enough, which already he lives with as is now the difficult terrain to hop on and you’re going to live with the feeling of rejection.
I once was important, I am no more and that I think is a story that has more resonance in your life than just with him. so, we need to become very Talented, very Adept.
That’s the word.
I’m looking for at closing the loop and and having those rituals of repair, you know, and that doesn’t mean we need to talk about what just happened.
Cut it short.
What do you need and you, what do you need?
It definitely do that.
Can you tell me?
What is the story behind the rejection?
I don’t know in other ways, not with him.
And not with man.
Really, you know, spend a lot of my life trying to not evade, but just really genuinely, look at what that means to feel that way because my mom left, when I was eight and I was disruptive.
I didn’t, you know, I didn’t have a dad.
Then everybody I loved was dismantled and it’s not lost on me.
You know, and it’s something I’ve worked very hard to heal.
Where did she go?
she just was the, you know, she was a single mom of seven kids and she had to breathe away from us.
She looked Arizona and you’d sisters took care of you, or you all were dispatched in different homes.
No, most of them are old enough.
My brother went to live with my dad, who surfaced for that period of time.
And he, and I had my brother, and I were very close.
So I didn’t see him for a long time.
And I’m from just like, siblings to family, friends to Alaska, then when I was 16, so yeah.
I was quite left to my own devices, somewhat, neglected and feeling.
She makes such a point of not wanting to be the pursuer, not being the beggar of his affections.
And that story, definitely proceeds.
Covid-19 precedes Nigeria and I am pretty sure proceeds ever meeting him, and that’s why I need to go and explore.
What is the roots of her feeling so rejected by him?
And why when he was the pursuer that became the glue that brought them together.
And sometimes in want to tell him and having a mom moment.
I don’t want to feel like that but that’s how it takes over.
There’s things that I work in, there’s things that I have to work very hard on can ask you another question.
Yes, when you move to Nigeria, did it?
Some of the many moves that you’ve had in your life?
Where every time you would move, you would think it would be better.
I think it felt more genuine because it didn’t feel like that.
I think this felt like something they’re reflected like my personal idea where I would be at 34 and with the person I wanted to be doing that with and I think it was more concerted and perhaps all the other rules that felt more routine and natural because of the chaos, but it’s definitely been something that I’ve had to be very cognitive.
Does bring up a lot of just moving and I know that with covid and the need like four things to feel threatening of my like personal space.
It brings a lot of that up.
And I I don’t exactly know how to communicate that to him.
You don’t need right now.
So look at him and keep talking.
I don’t think he knows that.
I don’t think you’ve connected the dots yourself.
We things feel fattening.
It makes this sort of chaos that feels outside of myself and it’s difficult for me to feel grounded.
And the only thing I know what to do is just to plan. so right now, my plan feels like it’s involving 200 million people in Nigeria, and I do feel like, when I go to the store, you know, I make a plan for every person I might run into and what I can do to involve them, or help them, or educator engage with them or feel their what they’re feeling and It’s just so much.
Like, when I come home just from like going to the store.
Like I just feel like I felt so many things.
But our home feels like it’s like right now.
Like we don’t know if we moved, where would we go?
It’s such a huge unknown. it triggers things for me that are like, found it in something that I feel like isn’t yours to deal with because it was circumstance and it’s not something I would expect you to understand.
But I have this need to organize my thoughts in a way that make you feel safer.
And I think, just saying this sucks is also applicable are you know?
Doesn’t have to be a plan and sometimes I kind of need someone else to remind me of that.
I feel bad saying it’s mine.
It’s so makes sense.
It makes sense that when you’ve moved so often.
And you didn’t know what was going to happen at the next station in the next home.
That a you became a planner and be.
You became sometimes somebody who dares, what he considers isn’t careful enough.
Because it was a way of taming your fears.
And it makes sense that he can say it sucks, or he can say exactly what he said.
This is ours.
I’m here with you.
Is this time?
You don’t have to do it alone?
In many ways, you’ve often been in a foreign place?
You may not have lived in Africa, but you have been in many foreign places.
And you have often been The Outsider?
And you have often been the one who doesn’t belong, you know, sometimes I spend too much time trying to explain a logical solution to a problem.
I myself need to also say that sucks.
And in particular, when it comes to some of these things, I need to be a little bit more aware of the impact team.
So absolutely want to be there for you or to feel like they actually understand.
I can’t truly understand what you’re going through because I didn’t have the same experience, but Feel like a should at least be punished and this is the type of impact on you and be there more supportive than I had been.
Especially in light of how cooking it.
Tell me what you need from him.
Not what he needs to do, or just tell him how you feel and he’ll know what to do.
He just did it beautifully every time today.
I guess I need you too.
If he knows my name. sort of spiraling like I think you see when I’m Balance.
Someone I’m not more about, you know, when I’m last balance, you know what that looks like.
And maybe, when you see that. sometimes I feel like it provides justification for you to stay away from me and that’s not healthy place for me to exist with someone but it maybe we could learn to recognize what those symptoms are really getting it and just call me out like you do with other things, you know, like It is going into a burning building Lee.
Don’t don’t go in there, you know, if you’re spiraling, but what is it?
What’s going on?
Does he have to talk?
Or does he have to hold you?
I think holding, you would be my preferred method of communication at that time.
Yeah, I don’t think you should talk in those moments just as he did.
And it will also help you not reason with her.
Because your verbal language appears on the rational logical.
But your physical language is very tender.
So that’s another language you have.
It is throughout the session.
I asked myself.
To stay or to go.
And it is clearly not my place as the therapist.
Certainly someone who just met them for one session to tell them my opinion.
But every time I experienced their resolution, I felt that the fear was being transferred onto me and that’s the fear that would say, leave leave even for some time so that you can actually come back.
You’re not safe.
But who am I to say?
Esther perel is the author of mating in captivity, and the State of Affairs.
She’s also the host of the podcast.
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Esther perel is produced by magnificent noise for gimlet and Esther perel Productions.