Not a Laughing Matter

The events, I recorded relatively accurately in Surviving the Doomsday, are serious enough to discuss them further.

1. I said, “Relatively”, because I omitted a few details.  For instance, Amanda made a short comic strip with pictures related to the disappearance of the wallet.  I hoped that seeing someone else taking the wallet would let Robert understand what had happened.  I believed that any explanation would be better than none.

2. It is interesting that having a strong daily routine (studying together with the help of  already prepared worksheets)  helped, at least  temporarily, to deal with the break of another routine/or routine attachment.

3.The fact that Robert accepted so easily  dad’s departure for work seemed to indicate, that it was a calming and reassuring for Robert to know that other routines (and other people routines) remained unbroken.

4. For almost a year before the wallet was gone, I had been concerned about Robert’s attachment to the wallet.  A few times I suggested to him that he should get a new wallet. Robert reacted with a forceful indignation.  So I delayed the time of unavoidable confrontation until the time I would feel calm and strong enough to face it.  I postponed for too long.

5. Had I replaced Robert’s wallet  sooner, a few things might be different:

a.I would be emotionally prepared for the outcome. When the wallet disappeared, I was in a state of panic. That is not a good state when you have to handle unpredictable consequences. I was stressed and it showed.

b. The wallet would not disappear, but be replaced by another one with Robert’s  full knowledge.  Although Robert would still protest vehemently, he would at least know where the old wallet was.  Consequently, Robert’s anxiety would be lower, although his resolve not to give up might be even stronger. I would reduce Robert’s anxiety even at the cost of stronger protests.

c. Having his cards transferred from one wallet to another would make it easier to understand the fact that the new wallet is assigned the same function the yellow wallet had.  Robert would, probably, remove the cards a few times, but the idea that the cards should be in a new wallet would slowly sink in. Placing entirely new card (McDonald’s gift card instead of a bank card and an  ID card which were gone with the yellow wallet) was more like a symbolic gesture than a real transfer.

d. I would give Robert an option of either attending a preferable activity (skiing, eating in favorite restaurant) WITH a NEW WALLET or staying at home.  Given my prior experiences, including the one which I described in Negotiations , it would take a lot of convincing but no more than two hours of time.  After going outside even once with a new wallet, Robert would not have problems taking it again.

e.  Knowing, from experience, that one wallet can be replaced by another, would make Robert’s reaction   to its sudden disappearance weaker and more flexible.

The yellow wallet was an eye sore.  It was also very uncomfortable.  It was difficult to squeeze the cards in or take them out; the money kept falling out.  I should have the courage to convince (?) Robert to replace it sooner. It would not be easy, but it would be much less stressful for all of us than dealing with an unplanned crisis.

The good rule is to intervene as soon as too strong, unhealthy habit is forming.

It is a very good rule indeed. However,  not an easy one to follow.