“ Why Can’ t You Just Say, Thanks?”
If this sounds familiar it is because most of us have said it or heard it.
Then… Why is it difficult to express gratitude to a partner?
People are complicated. Add in couple dynamics, prior history, unconscious factors, cultural context and you multiply those complications.
Consider Recognizing Your Resistance and Understanding the Possible Benefits of “Just Saying Thanks.”
As the Penn State Sexual Scandal continues to unfold and dominate the media, people everywhere are expressing shock, anger, anguish and loss. College Football, a beloved symbol of healthy American values, has been fractured by the disillusionment suffered when trust and safety are gone and children are no longer safe. Driven by the news and social media updates, people everywhere are asking: How could it happen? Why wasn’t it stopped? Who should be blamed? Who was protecting the kids?
There is one group that is not surprised. They have been silently asking these questions for years. They are the countless adults who were sexually abused as children.
For many of them the Penn State Scandal is emotionally complicated. Whether they have identified and come forth as victims, embraced the power of healing or live with the memory of abuse on the edges of awareness, they are watching a nation grapple with an unthinkable crime – child sexual abuse, a crime of betrayal and the destruction of innocence -“ soul murder.“ For them the response to this scandal carries with it the possibility of both positive and negative impact.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words – the words of warriors are different. For centuries, warriors have written in a way that has pulled us into the heart and horror of war. As illuminated by Jonathan Shay, Homer’s epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey depict the brutality of men and war and the difficulty of homecoming in a way that has had timeless relevance for generations who have served. Ernest Hemingway experienced war firsthand and wrotes dispatches from his many frontlines and Vietnam veteran and author, Tim O’Brien invites us to shoulder, Things They Carried in Vietnam.
Building upon this tradition, The National Endowment of the Arts has made a unique contribution to American Literary History and to those who have served our country. In a project called Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, they reached out to the 2 million active military and their loved ones and invited them to write about their personal experiences of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while the events were happening.
The response was overwhelming. The National Endowment of the arts offered fifty writing workshops by esteemed literary figures on 25 bases in 5 countries, an aircraft carrier and a fleet ship in the Gulf. Six thousand troops participated – another 25,000 were sent the audios.
Given that there are now 81 million baby boomers in this country ranging from ages 46 to 66, there are many people navigating the transitions of midlife. When you add to that the fact that 80% of the male boomers and 77% of the females are married the journey gets more complicated.
Amazon lists over 2,000 books dealing with midlife with titles as different as Awakening at Midlife, Midlife Meltdown, Thinking about Tomorrow: Re-inventing Yourself at Midlife, How to Survive Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis, Midlife Crisis For Men: Male Menopause, My Favorite Midlife Crisis etc. The message is that against the backdrop of mortality and a story half told, men and women navigate their midlife passage in different ways with different challenges and different needs. When married, the impact they have on each other is inevitable.