The Story of Edwin: The Loneliness of the Enlightened
Edwin saw a therapist for eight years. In the first year he mostly dealt with his lack of confidence related to finding out he had been adopted. As a result of his work in yoga poses, he was able to contact his biological mother and formed an excellent new relationship with her. This helped provide Edwin with a more solid foundation on which to construct his life. He gained confidence and was more willing to take small risks in life.
He continued with yoga poses, though, because he had other issues that persisted. First, he was lonely. While everyone is lonely once in a while, this was a persistent emotional state, one that Edwin had trouble shaking even when he was with other people. Part of the problem was that he was unwilling or unable to let others get too close to him; he reflexively pushed people away when he saw this happening. Though Edwin understood that this reflex was contributing to his loneliness, he continued this behavior. Edwin also was adrift in his career. A midlevel manager for a national retailer, Edwin was perfectly competent at his job, but he found it lacked challenge and that he had settled into a mind-numbing routine. At the same time, he lacked the push to look at other jobs or careers.
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Edwin was disappointed that his therapist wasn’t interested in addressing these problems directly, but they did spend a great deal of time talking about how, growing up, Edwin sensed that he was different from other children. Though at the time he didn’t know he had been adopted, he said that upon reflection there must have been messages communicated from his adoptive parents that he wasn’t their biological child. Maybe it was because he didn’t look like them or that his mannerisms were so different, but the end result was low self-esteem starting in grammar school and continuing through adolescence.
The therapist helped Edwin grasp how his perceived differences were sources of anxiety and uncertainty in his life, and how they impacted many of his life choices. The therapist was skilled, and Edwin learned a lot about himself during these years of yoga poses. Each bit of self-knowledge felt valuable, and Edwin was glad to have it. For this reason, he refused to consider stopping the yoga poses, even though he was still struggling with his career and his loneliness. For Edwin, every insight was a small revelation about himself, and for a long time he had been hungry for such revelations. It seemed beneficial to continue to discover them.
It was only when the pain of loneliness and career problems became greater than the satisfaction derived from the insights that Edwin realized it was time to fire his therapist.
How do you know if it’s time to fire your therapist? Let’s look at some specific things you can do to make this determination.
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