This is the time of year when Jews reach out to their friends, associates, and family, asking that they be forgiven for any wrongdoing which they did, intentionally or unintentionally to them. It is obviously a virtue to forgive.
And yet, dear reader, I have said I am a woman who holds a grudge.
How does one square these two opposing traits.
I do not forgive my former psychologist, Littletree, who hurt me again and again in the last session I had with him. I harbor hard feelings to this day. He was egregiously cruel. He was deliberately cruel. I asked him to stop, and he refused, stated, "I'm almost done." I recognize that the best thing I could do is kiss it off and move on. I do not hold him to be a gold star psychologist. I am angry that there is nothing about my time with him that I could use for myself as a clinician, aside from the negatives of what not to do. Even Richard Nixon advised people to not harbor hate, as it destroys the one who holds the hate, and not he who inspired thereof.
How did we get there? I had been seeing him for over 2 1/2 years. I never grokked that he was capable of containing so much antipathy and negativity towards me.
It was right after the July 4th holiday. I had just finished jury service. I had received some bad news and felt extremely vulnerable, so vulnerable that I was temporarily stripped of my ability to talk. I just said, "You don't want to hear this."
And he replied, "I don't care. If you're thinking about killing yourself, just do it."
Well, that just stunned me. I wasn't suicidal and I don't usually think in terms of offing myself these days. When I want out, I mean out of NY--just leave. And I can. I can just abandon this town, buy a one way ticket to anywhere, and cool my jets for a while and just chillax. I sometimes feel extremely stressed. But all I want to do is get away. Hawaii. Baden-Baden (Ah, Friedrichbad). The problem is eventually I would have to come back and face the stressor. Or stressees. But, I wouldn't kill myself over these. Why should I? I can leave anytime I like. I have that level of control.
This cold-blooded, unempathic remark served the purpose of making me so angry, I was speechless. Redux. I tend to back off when I'm angry, because I'm not impulsive and I don't want to verbally massacre someone, just because I'm in the zone. I value relationships. I'm not a person who when provoked, starts shooting random verbal bullets, trying to hit anything and everything. I retreat. I'm a strike while the iron is cold sort of gal.
What I actually didn't want to tell him is that I was going to consult with naturapaths to see what kind of solutions they might offer that physicians didn't. He then accused me of just looking for better daddies because I didn't want to take action. Part of me felt just totally abandoned, part of me felt that it is my right to look for a better daddy if I wasn't satisfied with the information I had so far reaped. Why couldn't I look for a better daddy: I was not harming myself. It was not an emergency issue. I wanted more expert perspectives. I had only consulted one doctor, one second opinion, and a medical expert on this matter. The first said do it, the second said there would be no benefit, the third said do it, though there would be no benefit thereof.
He then entered into a vicious monologue, rendered no less upsetting by the fact that he is able to control his voice. Just because he can say the most awful things in dulcet tones does not make him a better psychologist. Or even any kind of psychologist.
I was weary of him at this point and would fain end the session (not my life). I said, "Are you finished? Because this isn't doing anything for me." He said, "Almost." Then, he launched into how I was only thinking of myself and my little troubles. And uttered the now famous, "Think of the children in the pediatric oncology ward at Memorial Sloan Kettering."
Yes reader, that sounds awfully specific for an imprecation. And though I was curious about what did he mean, or who could he mean, I could care less. All I knew is that I was very hurt and very angry. I wrote out my check and left, though I wanted to spit on him. Actually, I wanted to knee him in the balls. I control myself. I left like a lady.
I needed to think and regroup. Two days later, I called and left a message on his voicemail that I couldn't get past what had happened in session, that I didn't feel safe with him and would no longer request his services. I thanked him for his past help. Hardly half an hour passed when he texted—texted back—I understand. Feel free to call if you want help in future.
Texted reader! Texted!!! A patient! I'm pretty sure that besides boundary crushing obliviousness, that texting goodbye rates very poorly within the guild. Texting patients, aside from confirming appointments/addresses, etc., is not considered a good way to communicate with patients in general. And, if nothing else, it certainly violates HIPAAA
Well, it is well over a year and I am still angry at him. In the months following the ending, I would craft little Littletree figures out of wax candles, etch his name into the voodoo doll, and then burn it. As I burned it, I would sing (derisively) about how he was just a little tree who wouldn't know empathy from an epithet. I repeated this ritual several times over the next few months. But it failed to raise my spirits. What he doesn't know doesn't make him suffer. I want to see him suffering. Oh, for JRR Tolkien's palantir.
How do I forgive such a one as that, who hurt me and suffered not a day? I know he thinks he's done wrong, because two days after I received his insensitive text, he returned my check to me, uncashed. This was not about money. Returning my check because he was an everwidening asshole does not atone for his crime.
You can see why as an adolescent I empathized with Raskilnikov.
But I cannot forgive Littletree this year. I can live with my disdain for him. I am not a gold star Jew.
When he dies (and the sooner the better) I can forgive him. Let the dead bury the dead. Let it all be entombed.