Friday, July 17, 2009

Stuck

It's been the oddest summer. For 21 days April showers drenched June and the stream behind my house took to imagining it was a river with rapids and a muffled roar. It's the middle of July and I'm still not certain whether the earth's revolution around the sun has gotten stuck at the Vernal Equinox.

Br'er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby, drawing by E.W.


The idea of being stuck comes up a lot in therapy. You're in a situation where moving one way is as complicated or hazardous as moving the other. At first you struggle, attempting to loosen whatever is hanging onto you and then it seems the harder you try, the more stuck you get. It's like Br'r Rabbit in Song of the South: first one paw, then another, and finally all four are in the grip of Tar Baby.

Getting unstuck is harder than it looks. For one thing, there's learned helplessness to contend with. You start out capable and independent but over time the nature of the situation takes over and even breathing seems to take an effort.

Those of us on the outside want to jump up and down, shouting, "Do something, anything!!" But on the inside, there seems like nothing you can do. At times like this, struggle may not be the best thing. Maybe we're better off waiting for the noon sun to soften Tar Baby so that, one by one, we can pull our paws free. I don't know for sure, I'm just thinking out loud this morning.

(Image from
Wikipedia)

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