Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Punching Out

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.

4 Responses to “Punching Out”

  1. Shelly said

    Jorge reminds me of myself: he wants very much to trust everyone and to believe that everyone is good. People are shallow, people use, and people just aren’t there for one another. When one finds lasting friends, those who are there through the good and the bad, he should definitely hold onto them for they are the keepers. What does Jorge look for in friends? Why does he get close too quickly?

    • Yes, I want to write more about how many of us are in denial about the evil in the world, and hence we are caught up short when we get betrayed or feel used. Yes, holding on to the “good apples” as I like to call them is so important as they both give you a sense of history and a sense of warmth in an otherwise cold world.
      Jorge looks for a lot of qualities in friends, which sometimes works in his favor, and at other times, leads him to feelings of resentment and despair. He values smart articulate people, sometimes to his detriment, because he does not tune into their mean or judgmental qualities. Jorge gets close quickly because his curiosity about people in general, sometimes get confused both in his friends and in himself, with intimacy, such that he gets to vulnerable conversations before trust has been established, thereby opening himself up to feelings of deep betrayal. Thanks.

  2. Jon said

    “Punching out” has a different, but related, meaning in aerospace. To punch out of an aircraft is to set in motion the emergency evacuation system and hence to eject from a (usually catastrophic failing) vehicle. Punching out also can refer to punch a time clock at a workplace that requires time of attendance to be monitored by an official time clock. However, in modern times Nintendo’s video games give (or perhaps give back) a more pugilistic meaning to the phrase. Whichever nuance we care to take of “punching out,” Jorge will probably have a life long battle to build and keep those relationships that give his life positive meaning.

    • Interesting. The aerospace definition fits perfectly. Jorge is leaving in an emergency evacuation, as he feels that if he does not exit his family system, he will die on the vine. Thanks.

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