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No Guarantee

No Guarantee

The past week left me with many challenges, most of which are beyond the scope of my blog. It’s not that these challenges would be inappropriate to write about. It’s just that no one wants to read a ten-page discussion about anything. And, I don’t have the time to write ten pages.

Jordan B. Peterson, Ph.D. is someone everyone should get to know. He is a thinker. He was a celebrated professor at Harvard and the University of Toronto.  He connects neuroscience, psychology, human behavior, and mythology in his teachings. His most recent book, 12 Rules for Life is a must read for those wishing to find both explanations and solutions to today’s societal challenges. His truth rings true.

Not a day goes by without discussions about the uncertainty of America; unprecedented change in morals and values, the collapse of family structure, educators indoctrinating students instead of educating them, the political system degenerating into extreme polarizations without any hope of compromise, the healthcare system transforming into unempathetic bureaucracies focusing on profits at the same time restricting necessary care to the infirm, leadership has metamorphized into dictatorship, and money has become the new water of life in our country.

Patients are asking for a voice of reason to emerge from the deconstructed wreckage of our society. Dr. Peterson makes it clear that to return to a more authentic, sympathetic inclusive community; we first must set our houses in order and improve the world by enhancing ourselves first: A significant bit of advice for everyone everywhere.

Recently I counseled a woman wanting gastric bypass surgery. She is morbidly obese and has failed multiple attempts to lose weight under medically supervised programs. She believes her physical appearance is hideous, making the quality of her relationships poor and uncommitted. She has friends but frequently doubts the real intent of their friendship. She is desperately holding onto a potential fiancé, disregarding all his abusive behaviors. Her boyfriend’s first concern is his physical appearance. Consequently, his priority commitments are to a gym for work-outs and social connections.

The patient shared that her fiancé had been a thin, insecure person before joining the military. He found his voice while serving his country on deployments. When she showed me a picture of him, it was clear from his muscle mass that he had used chemical enhancement to augment is natural physical attributes. Perhaps he found anabolic steroids instead of a voice.

Her current state of mind is greatly influenced by how she sees herself in the mirror. She shared texts her boyfriend wrote to her concerning their relationship. He was neither kind nor gentle. She did not care that his reasoning for his needing space from her was irrational. He constructed a factitious disturbance for leaving the relationship. She was determined to stay in love with him, regardless of his behaviors. She revealed she treated him exceptionally poorly at the beginning of their relationship, but she had realized the error of her ways. She lamented over her lack of compassion for him in the beginning; she was getting back in spades what she had given to him in their past.

Sitting across the desk from a woman so desperate to have both gastric bypass surgery and keeping her disgruntled fiancé happy is a tough go for any physician. The two issues seem unrelated, but I believe they are intimately entwined.

It so happens that her fiancé was happy and content until she decided to have the gastric bypass surgery to lose weight. Her goal is to drop at least one hundred fifty pounds. It is conceivable that her goal could be reached if she commits herself entirely to the process. That amount of weight loss would significantly transform her appearance, which I believe threatens the security of their relationship. Her boyfriend is profoundly insecure. My patient is probably co-dependent, controlling the connection by giving and creating their environment. Her fiancé feels threatened by the potential of her weight loss, signaling his loss of control. Her weight loss will lead to the failing of their relationship which is not based on a healthy foundation anyway.

Dr. Peterson’s book might help them to understand the rules of self-development which would, in turn, help them find healthy, loving relationships.  The lobster story in the first chapter of the book explains the boyfriend’s insecurities as it relates to male development. In his second chapter, he states No clear-seeing, conscious woman is going to tolerate an unawakened man. So, Eve immediately shares the fruit with Adam. That makes him self-conscious. Little has changed. Women have been making men self-conscious since the beginning of time. They do this by primarily by rejecting them – but they also do it by shaming them, if they do not take responsibility…. But the capacity of women to shame men and render them self-conscious is still a primal force of nature.

What about my patient? She is broken in many ways. I told her I was not in favor of the gastric bypass procedure. She said she was going into the surgery with eyes wide open. Her psychologist found no emotional or cognitive defect that would stop my patient from having the operation. I believe she thinks that if her body morphs into a much more accepting shape by society, her life will exponentially improve. If I am correct, I am saddened by her worldview. She has not gotten her true Self in order, so she will continue to live a life of disorder. I told her to pick up a copy of the 12 Rules for Life and read it before her surgery. Perhaps it will give her motivation to find her true authentic self, stand up straight with her shoulders back and treat herself like she was responsible for helping herself.

If I look at it truthfully, I don’t think she’ll change until she hits the bottom of the well with no way out. And, that’s no guarantee either!

Doc

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