…should never possess.
Significant relationships are as sensitive as orchids, as precious and fragile as the thinnest porcelain and can be as life enhancing as air or water. And they are gifts to those involved. Love is the word that describes them, and rightly so.
The client sat across from me, looking desperate.
“I’m terrified. I don’t know what to do,” she said. “Rick is smothering me. He was so sweet at first, fun and sensitive. But then he locked on to me. I didn’t see it happening until he started picking apart my life, asking improper questions, making demands. I tried to talk to him about it over the weekend. He went ballistic. He wouldn’t listen. He just kept saying, ‘But I love you. You are my life. I can’t live without you.’ That kind of stuff. I told him I needed my space, that maybe we should cool it and break off for a while. That’s when he really lost it and threatened to kill himself.”
She caught her breath while I asked, “And you reacted how?”
“I yelled, ‘Rick, that’s just what I mean. I can’t handle stuff like that.’ And he said, ‘Well, I can’t live like this,’ and slammed out, screaming his frustration.” She said she hadn’t heard from Rick since and that she’d called and left messages.
“So,” I said, “What are you going to do next?”
She looked at me and said, “That’s why I am here.”
A moment passed. “Well” I said, “the good news is he isn’t stalking you. But I think your trying to reach him can only complicate the situation. You have already begun to solve the problem.”
“I don’t understand…”
“Rick is way off base. He’s become possessive. What he calls love, isn’t, by a long stretch. It’s need, control, ownership. And, congratulations, you have called him on that.”
“But what if he’s killed himself?”
“Be sad, terribly sad,” I said, holding her eyes with mine. “But do not feel guilty. Rick is the one who needs to be here. My guess is you’ll be hearing from him quite soon.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“Just don’t cave into his need; don’t lose what you’ve gained. Two becoming one in a relationship is poetry. In healthy relationships two stay two, with overlapping parts of each other; but also with differences that never merge but need to be accepted. Rick’s claim on you is sadly pathological. You’ve begun to see that. I hope he can, too. If not…”
“I know; I’ve got some hard choices to make.”
“So far, so good,” I said.
Later, as she was leaving, I cautioned her that possessiveness ultimately becomes a prison for the one possessed.