Posted by Dr. Vollmer on November 21, 2014
Jorge, from my previous post, likes to use the expression “punching out” to describe his sensation of leaving where he came from and starting new. By “new” he means creating a new set of values which differs from focusing on material gain. It is not that money is not important to Jorge, but rather, he would hate to think that financial gain and prestige rules his life. This tension between the reality of financial responsibilities versus enjoying his life is a constant struggle for him. His family of origin led him to believe that financial gain was the route to great happiness, but as he has matured he has felt that dictum to be empty and shallow. Relationships yield great happiness, he says in a matter of fact way, but relationships can also yield great pain. It is about finding good relationships that matter, relationships which nurture and promote growth, rather than relationships which are dominated by competition and envy. Jorge almost begins to sound like a self-help book, but I can see that he is struggling with how to “punch out”. He has not just been hurt by his family, but by many romantic and platonic relationships as well. Jorge gets intimate quickly, only to discover, at times, that his chosen “friends” are “just as bad as my family. Actually, not that bad, but close,” he says, expressing massive disappointment. “I guess that sometimes I am so desperate for connection that I pick people who let me down,” Jorge says, struggling with what went wrong. “Punching out is not easy,” he says, as if he is talking to himself, because he knows I am aware of that. “Thinking and learning from your mistakes will help you,” I say, trying to encourage his continual reflection on his behavior. “Yes, it already has, but I still pick people who hurt me,” he says, acknowledging growth, but frustrated at the slow pace. “Humans have a long incubation period, so I am afraid that slow growth is inevitable,” I say, venturing a guess that our long development to adulthood means that change in adulthood is often painfully slow. “You can punch out,” I say, but you need to build a lot of muscles first to make those punches mean something.” I say, using his metaphor to expand his idea.