Here we are. I am perched on the guest chair in Anne’s office while she fills me in on her visit yesterday.
It’s a 2-hour drive each way which meant she was away for nearly the whole day so she could have lunch with this young woman. (Anne does things like that to show how much she cares.)
“I don’t think I will do that again,” Anne said. I waited for her to go on.
“I worked around Anala’s schedule; she chose the time and the place. Of course, I was there a bit early – you just never know about the traffic. When I checked my mobile, there was a text saying that she was running a bit late – maybe 15 minutes.
“OK, I will wait. When 30 minutes had passed, I called her. She said she was nearly there shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes.
“Anala was a whole hour late. And while she apologized, you know I work on the ‘three times and you are out,’ system and this was the third time I had been kept waiting.
“She was hot and tired and hungry and ready to vent. I ate my lunch listening while her plate went untouched. Anala is angry about her own situation; her recent decision to give up her apartment and move hundreds of miles away to live with her mother and partner is not going well. Although he hasn't been physically violent, he yells and uses unbelievably crude language!
“At one point she stopped and said to me “Go ahead and say it.” Not sure what she meant, I asked “Say what?” “You told me not to do it and I didn’t listen,” was her answer.
“Of course, I am not in the habit of telling others what to do. I pointed out that I had not told her anything. She is an adult; her decisions are her own.”
“Anala looked me directly in the eye and said, “No, but you asked me at least three times whether that was really what I wanted to do. You gave me some suggestions about putting my furniture in storage and trying it for three months. I knew you thought I was making a mistake. So, it’s the same thing.”
“When I kept quiet, she let out a big sigh and acknowledged that she knew it was not ideal and she really hoped this time it would be different.
“I asked her gently, what’s your plan? Anala shook her head and said she was trapped; that she had moved all her possessions (furniture, appliances etc.) to her mom’s and she had no money left to move back again.
“Again, I asked her, “What will you do?”
“I will have to figure that out. I need to find a job and I need to get my driver’s license, so I don’t have to rely on my mom to drive me. Right now, I am totally dependent on her and that is why I was so late today.
“Anala recalled, “You rescued me the last time this happened, and don't worry, I won’t ask you.”
“Again, I asked her, “What is your plan, Anala?”
“I don’t have one right now” Anala replied.
I said to her, “I am confident you will figure this out. How about if you stop beating yourself up; stop telling yourself, “I told you so.”
“You are very resourceful, Anala. You are now clear about how unhealthy the situation is for you, and everyone involved. As long as you keep repeating the barrage of negative comments about yourself, your brain will believe you.
“If instead, you tell yourself, “I am moving towards independence; I am becoming more confident, I have job skills to employ, I have a solid work history to build on. I have supervisory and management skills to complement my training and nearly ten years of experience. I am an asset and any company I apply to will enjoy having me”, you will start to build new neural pathways …”
“Anala interrupted and said, “Yes! I just read a book about that. Thanks for reminding me!”
“You can make a plan for change, and you can take charge of your own life, Anala,” I said.
“I could see her mother’s car out the window, so we wrapped up our visit. I gave her a warm hug – heart-to-heart – kissed her cheek and wished her well.
“What do you think Anala will do?” I asked.
Anne answered, “I am not sure, I am going to be interested to see. As my brother so often says, 'The lesson will be repeated until it is learned' clearly rescuing her was not the answer.”
“So, you won’t rescue her?” I asked. “Not this time,” said Anne. She went on to say that next time, she will expect Anala to do the driving.
Do you ever hear that voice telling you, “I told you so?” I inquired.
“Not very often anymore,” said Anne. “And I do hope that Anala can forgive herself for the poor decision and create a better life for herself.”
What do you think dear reader?