Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Monte and Marla: The Cancellation

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 11, 2011

   Monte and Marla reconnect, yes, despite Monte’s better judgment. They agree to meet: in two weeks, Thursday at 3:00 pm. The Tuesday prior to the appointment, Marla calls, unapologetically and cancels the appointment. “I am going out-of-town,” Marla says in a flat tone to Monte, seemingly not mindful that Monte might have changed his schedule to make that appointment work and not mindful of Monte’s possible feelings of disappointment. Monte pauses, thinks to himself, whether he should call Marla out on her insensitivity or whether she should not it to himself and let it go.

      After an extended silence, Monte decides to say in a calm fashion, “gee, when I cancel appointments I feel very bad about it, but you seem to cancel with little regard for how I might be feeling right now, and with little regard for the effort I made in carving out that time.” Marla, as she often does, begins to get angry, and says “of course, I am upset I have to do this.” Monte, staying calm, although feeling aggressive says “well, it is so interesting that you cancel an appointment and now you are angry that you are not understood. That is messed up. Actually, that is narcissistic, since you manage to turn a situation in which you assault me with a cancellation, but now, you feel assaulted. It is amazing how every situation turns into a drama in which you are injured.” Marla is silent for a few seconds, but then she says “guilty, as charged.” “It is not about guilt,” Monte responds quickly, “it is about thinking about my feelings and not yours.” Monte responded that way because the word “guilt” struck him as a deeper narcissistic experience for Marla as now she is wrapped up with feeling bad about herself, and not trying to connect with Monte’s experience. “The problem,” Monte continues “is not the cancellation, but how you keep giving me examples of how you think about your own inner experience, but you are incapable, or uninterested, in considering mine.”  “I think about your experience all the time,” Marla responds with shock at Monte’s comment. “Well, you don’t express that very well, or rather, not at all,” Monte responds, feeling angst that on the one hand Marla says how important Monte is to her, but on the other hand, the conversation feels so one-sided.

    Monte begins to thinks to himself if the reason for the cancellation matters. He concludes in his head that Marla probably is taking time off to spend time with her grandchildren while they are on Spring break. Marla, according to Monte, is too arrogant to confess that, as such an admission would make Marla “too human” and it is Monte’s impression that Marla tries to brand herself as extremely devoted to her work, and in keeping that branding she would not state the reason for the cancellation. Monte is left where he began; understanding the destructive nature of this relationship on his sense of himself, and feeling let down, yet again, by Marla’s insensitivity.  As in Sartre’s play ‘No Exit’ with his most famous line “hell is other people,” Monte’s desire from Marla for validation parallels Garcin’s persistence with Ines. The bind continues.

4 Responses to “Monte and Marla: The Cancellation”

  1. Jon said

    As stated before in this blog in response to the Monte and Marla soap opera, “Monte is far better off without Marla.” It may be “despite Monte’s better judgment” that they agreed to meet, but it is definitely better for Monte in the long run that the meeting was cancelled. Hopefully, Monte can “grok” the lessons to be learned here, as painful as they may be, to avoid the much more insidious pain that will continue as long as the Monte and Marla soap opera continues. Sigh…..

    • Yes,and thank you again for your comments. I would hope that you, the reader, would miss the Monte and Marla drama if Monte ever got “well”. Maybe I have put you, the reader, in an awkward position, as Monte feels he is in. By that I mean if he separates from Marla, there will be no more posts on their relationship and that would be a loss to the blogosphere (maybe).
      My hope is that there is something very illustrative in relationships which persist despite a great deal of pain.

  2. Shelly said

    I’m so sorry to hear that Monte still cares about Marla’s opinion and feelings and that Marla still doesn’t consider Monte’s. What would Dr. Vollmer say about this situation?

    • Thanks on behalf of fictional Monte. I say to Monte that it is curious how the mind and heart are so divided in this relationship. I would encourage hims to explore that more.

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