We nodded and informed him that, yes, we were heading to be becoming a member of about 50 neighbours on a bus visit to Canyon Lake for a paddle boat ride and lunch later this week. We asked if he and his wife Barbara were heading as well. He shook his mind. He trailed off with a shrug. And I had been asked by him, once again, if I ever planned to get certified as a therapist in Arizona.
I informed him, once more, that while I was keeping my California permit and malpractice insurance to do occasional phone follow-ups or emergency periods with a few long-time clients in Los Angeles, No plans were experienced by me to practice in Az. I thought — but didn’t say — that even easily were to see patients here, Barbara would be a nightmare to treat.
Yes, she actually is stressed out and stressed and I have a great deal of experience treating those conditions. But I also know that Barbara is set never to feel better, not to quit one iota of the misery she feels and makes quite clear to everyone in this community. Her continual unhappiness is a weapon in the daily punishment of her husband for his role in deciding to draw up stakes in Seattle and move to Arizona in the past. Actually, the decision to go was mutual.
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But they had completely different motives. Barbara dreamed being close and involved on a regular basis with their newly married thirty-something little girl, their only child, that has been living and working in Phoenix for a few years. Frank envisioned a relaxed retirement with time to play, to go on little trips, to get in shape for the first time ever and also to enjoy this new phase of their lives with nearly non-stop sunshine. Reality has been harsh for both. Their daughter, while glad to see them perhaps once or twice a month, is active with her profession and new relationship.
The young few loves to travel, to socialize with friends, to relax in each other’s company during time not claimed by their active professions and her part-time night classes for an MBA. Therefore she boycotts most of the fun occasions or activities here and demands that he do the same. Her major depression and anger together rule their life. And she won’t be helped — when he drives her to just one more psychologist or psychiatrist even.
Frank’s long-awaited relaxing, fun pension has become a stressful round of doctors’ appointments and emotional stand-offs over fun he would like to have. Barbara has made it abundantly clear that there is no way she will ever experience a moment of pleasure — or allow Frank to — until they are back Seattle. Frank and Barbara are infamous in this community, but, of course, there are countless other couples world-wide who struggle with tension, regret and distress.