A couple of my young adult clients visited a website that provides free psychic readings online this summer. They always ask me what do I think of it. I don’t know, I say. What do you think of it? Often they are blown away by the acurracy of the predictions. But I am more interested in what they do with the information.
Scenario No. 1. – Let’s say your relationship is going down the tubes… Your psychic says, your relationship is going down the tubes. What you should be asking yourself is why do you need this type of validation? Does low self-esteem color all of your relationships? Let’s trace it back to its roots. We don’t need Freud to say let’s start in childhood, although he certainly broke that ground. As the Father of psychoanalysis and a Jew in an increasingly hostile Eastern Europe, he tried to bring feelings of estrangement, alienation, phobia, paranoia and depression into focus. With his colorful jargon and emphasis on repressed sexual drives he was indeed ahead of his time. In ways like a psychic might apply, he looked at what behaviors came early on and tried to predict what might come later. He couldn’t know then what we know now – that much of life is biologically pre-determined. But he did know that in order to help his patients he needed to analyse, make connections and interpretations, and then hope the client felt validated, and therefore more relaxed. One of my clients fit this scenario very well. Amelia kept on getting into relationships that were beneath her dignity, and then sabotaging them, repeating what had happened in her family of origin, where her father abandoned them and myriad step-fathers did nothing to encourage her. Left with a sagging self-esteem she concluded in her early 20’s that she was doomed to repeat the pattern. Insight goes a long way with these matters but it’s not enough. Combined with an attempt to decrease anxiety in the body, Amelia learned to quiet down her expectations into a more reasonable realm and appreciate and seek security and stability over chaos and rage.
Scenario No. 2. – Let’s say your childhood was full of phobia and fear so much so that you never learned to drive or take any form of transportation. Your Tarot card reader says, you have to go outside of your comfort zone or you will become locked in a maze with no way out. It would behoove you to seek therapy for anxiety in order to find out what that comfort zone is and exactly how to go outside of it without losing yourself completely. In small, baby steps, exposure therapy can help you face fears in tiny micro-doses. Just like an innoculation gives a little dose of something, so too can trying something for the first time. If no harm comes to you, perhaps you can try it again, this time, say, an international flight. This approach always tests the question, do I really have to do it? Depends on how frustrated you are. If you’re a biology instructor and your tenure depends on going to the Galapagos, I would try a fear of flying program at the airlines. If you’re a bus driver, it’s probably not necessary. It has to do with knowing yourself. My client Theresa had this difficulty. So bored of her self-imposed cordoned-off lifestyle she had made her world a bell jar from which there was no escape. By slowly expanding the boundaries of her daily life, she experienced new things and eventually reported a more satisfying existence.
Scenario No. 3. – Let’s say your boyfriend is a creep. Your psychic says dump him before it’s too late. You already know you need to dump him or you wouldn’t be at the psychic. So you convince yourself not to dump him because you’re afraid of being alone. A client named Amanda told me, Why would I choose such a fellow out of all the bright, reasonable guys out there? You realize you are operating from a skewed vision of what relationships look like based on your own family web. Not everyone has to be cold, distant and critical for things to be real. I often say, if it’s difficult in the beginning it’s not going to get easier later on. The beginning is the easy part. As the well-regarded relationship guru John Gottman likes to say,
- What is the story I’m telling myself?
- Does my fear of loss and abandonment cloud my perspective and cause me to overreact to my partner’s actions?
- Is my mistrust coming from something that is actually happening in the present, or is it related to my past?
- Do I feel comfortable asking for what I need and allowing myself to be vulnerable?
- Do I bring my best self to my interactions with my partner?
- Do I possess self-love and allow myself to be loved and respected?
You must love yourself enough to uncover deeply held turmoil and then allow it to melt so that it doesn’t control you and your partner as much. This takes time, talk and patience most of all.
So next time you visit the psychic ask her this – once I know my future, then what?!