(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)
I hate people and want everyone to die.
(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)
Dr. Kenner: Here is a question that's going to get very heavy very quickly. See what you think about it. I'll pause a little bit in between to answer some parts of it and then continue, but be ready to go from a woman who sounds like she is very happily married to a woman, Suzanne, who is really, really struggling and it will make sense after her first comment. "Dear Dr. Kenner. I'm about to lose everything in my life. I'm married to the most wonderful man I've ever known. Everyone loves him. He is unselfish and thinks of everyone before himself. He does everything in his power to make my life happy and rich. I want for nothing. He would do anything for me."
I want to pause right there, and right now, when someone does everything for me, I may think that they are a nice person, but what I'm robbed of is my own self esteem. I need to do for myself. When we do too much for our kids, when we tie their shoes, when we cook all their food and they never learn to cook on their own, never learn to wash the dishes, never learn to do the laundry, they never learn to live, to make choices. We are robbing them of discovering their own ability to survive in life. We're robbing them of their motor, their mind, their choice-making apparatus. And we need to let kids make choices. Obviously, within their age range, whatever is appropriate.
But if your husband is doing everything for you, you may partly be feeling like I should love him but I don't, because I don't feel good about myself. When you don't feel good about yourself, you're not going to be able to love other people. My favorite author, Ayn Rand, said, "To say I love, you first need to say the '�I'. I love myself." But you need to earn that self love. You can't fake it. The author I just mentioned is Ayn Rand. You can go to my website, DrKenner.com and read one of her books. It totally changed my life, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
Continuing with the email: "The problem is, I hate the people he associates with. I don't like their kids. I don't like their manners. I don't like that they smoke or eat unhealthy. But, when I'm around them, I fake that I like them and then later I complain to my husband and we argue." I'm scratching my head - you guys are arguing? This isn't the most wonderful man. So you're arguing with him, and you're not liking the people he chooses. Let's continue. "We've both been married before. It's a second marriage for both of us. We're in our 50s and 60s. I don't have and have never wanted children. He has a 15-year-old son, and everything this son does irritates me. Whether it's his bad eating habits, his bad manners, he dresses poorly, it sends me into a rage. And then I sulk and I go off on his dad later."
Okay, so we've got a lot of anger. Something is unfair in your life - you need to get to the core of this. What is driving you buggy? Here's the problem: "In the relationship, my husband is walking on eggshells. He's waiting for the bomb to drop. I will yell, '�The dishes are dirty in the sink. You're tracking dirt into the house!' I pick on everything he does. When he drinks coffee or when he eats near the computer. I pick on everything and it's getting worse. I've got to tell you that I got giddy when Katrina hit. I hope for disasters that will kill many people. I was happy when the tsunami killed many people. The planet is overcrowded and I hate people who litter, pollute, kill or abuse or mistreat animals. I would rather spend time with animals than people."
Oh, man. This is really different now. Suzanne, you really want to figure out what type of ideas you bought into about people being evil, people being bad, that are driving you to hate people because you are a person! And you're going to hate yourself. That's exactly what you say next, that you're feeling suicidal and that you'd like to run off to Montana and live with cats and you would suicide except no one would take care of your cats the way you would.
I would get the book Choosing to Live by Cory Newman and Tom Ellis. Got to the website AcadmeyofCT.org. That's Academy of Cognitive Therapy and try to find a therapist asap. A cognitive therapist because you need to deal with your premises. Later on in the letter you say that you were abused when you were 4-years-old by a teenager. I'm not surprised that you're real angry with this teenager now, but you don't want to carry your hatred toward really good people in life, and you want to discover there are good people and make yourself into one.
Female: Can you come here? I don't care what you did for me.
Male: What's wrong?
Female: I don't think I want to know you anymore. All you do is make me feel bad about myself.
Dr. Kenner: And we all have people in our lives who it feels like they make us feel badly about ourselves. But is that the case, or if we really feel good about ourselves, and someone makes a comment - like if someone came up to me and said, "Ellen, you're the worst dancer I ever saw," I would look and say, "I'm not the greatest by far, but I'm certainly not the worst," and the criticism wouldn't fit and so I would still feel good about myself, but I would be real puzzled about them. Like why are they saying this? I would want to know their motives. Are they saying this because they just caught me in a moment when I tripped up? Are they saying this because they think it's funny? But they didn't have a joking tone. Why are they saying this? Are they saying this because they want to put me down? Which would not be a great motive and it would make me feel more distant from them.
We all go through a process of evaluation. When someone says something badly about us, we need to put it into context. Is it true or not? Sometimes we get really angry with people who name a truth about us. "Mom, I don't like it when I feel picked on all the time." "I'm not picking on you. Why are you saying I'm picking on you? You're always complaining and just go do the dishes. Get them done and go clean your room." "Mom, I'm feeling picked on." "I'm not doing it." That mom needs to take a look at herself. She is picking on the person. And she needs to figure out what's going on and sometimes we reject that sort of criticism when the shoe fits too well, and that's the stuff we do need to take a look at. Maybe in private, maybe we're not ready at that moment and we say things we regret. We can always apologize later properly. But you do want to feel good about yourself fundamentally and sometimes it's a gift when people name something to you that you're doing that is irritating that person or maybe many people in your life.