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The Guys You'll Meet on Earth, But Not in Heaven: The Crying Game

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"He's got an emotional problem."

OMG!  He's crying again!

What is up with this guy? America has been asking this question since the 2010 elections.  Leslie Stahl has asked the question on "60 Minutes."  Barbara Walters asked and answered the question on the "View"--------"He's got an emotional problem."

So, exactly what is going on with this guy? John Boehner becomes the most powerful Republican in the country and the country is focused on his tears! Well, America--- that is very much the point:  Diversion!

Or as Sarah McLachlan sang-------"I Need Some Distraction."

Why? Well, as Mr. Boehner takes power and assures us that our children can attain the same American Dream that he did-----he certainly needs to distract us from his voting record that has made the American Dream much more difficult for all of us to realize.

He has consistently voted—No-- to legislation that would bring the dream closer.

He voted against the Unemployment Compensation Act.

He voted against Eliminating Corporate Loopholes.

He voted against Improving Air Traffic Safety.

He voted against the American Worker, State & Business Relief Act.

And------He voted against the 9/11 Health Compensation Act. No wonder he tears up whenever he visits a school!  But, thanks to his flood of tears no one has been critically assessing Mr. Boehner's qualifications to lead Congress.

No, instead the discussion has switched to -----  "Look how much he cares."

Or------"What a modern guy he is." Fox newscasters spent so much air time defending him that I thought I heard them humming REM's song—"Everybody Hurts," which was voted one of the top 10 songs most likely to make men cry!  Yes, Mr. Boehner's "Crying Game" has distracted America and altered our reaction to him.

As I watched Mr. Boehner cry, my mind flashed back to another guy who cried. Over 20 years ago I was psychiatric consultant to Naval Family Services and often treated military spouses. One of those spouses was Jennifer, a 21 year old woman with 2 kids and a husband who was in the middle of a 9 month tour of duty in a far away place.  Jennifer was an intelligent, attractive and significantly depressed woman who had never been alone for such an extended period of time. Feeling overwhelmed, she had gradually become clinically depressed.  She came in for treatment because she didn't want to end up drinking and partying her sadness away as many naval spouses do.

After several weeks of therapy and antidepressant medications Jennifer started to feel better and happily looked forward to her husband's return on the day before Christmas. She even went to "Victoria's Secret" to purchase some sexy lingerie to make the long awaited reunion a special one.

On her husband's first night back Jennifer arranged for a babysitter and set the stage for a romantic evening. After some kisses and caresses, Jennifer left her husband in the living room and went into the bedroom to change into her seductive outfit. Suddenly, she was startled by loud and persistent sobbing sounds. She rushed into the living room and found her husband on the sofa—tremulous, agitated and crying nonstop.

"What's wrong?" Jennifer asked over and over again. Several minutes passed before she could make out her husband's words through the tears.

"I… I… I, can't do this-----I've got a venereal disease!" With that the sobs increased in volume. A little later her husband further explained that he had entered into an affair during a visit to a port of call.

Jennifer froze. She felt like she had been taken hostage. As her anger came to a boil there was nothing she could do with it because her husband looked so distraught. She would have preferred him to hit her so at least she could respond in kind. But no---only tears and more tears long into the night.

Whether the "Crying  Game" is played by Jennifer's husband or by John Boehner it holds us hostage by not letting us act on our feelings. It diverts us from our intended response to the person and makes us act differently. That's why the "Crying Game" can be a "Passive-Aggressive Game." The object of the game is to manipulate us by covertly abusing us emotionally. A passive-aggressive behavioral style is usually learned in childhood. It is a way of coping that gets people what they want while avoiding conflict.

Interestingly, it is often the oldest child in a family who will adopt a passive-aggressive coping style in order to get out of all the responsibilities usually placed on the eldest. When these kids become adults they frequently display the classic passive-aggressive behaviors of:

1. Intentional Lateness-----"Sorry, I'm late, I was watching the game."

2. Intentional Forgetfulness-----"Sorry, I forgot to get the groceries."

3. Intentional Inefficiency-----"Sorry, I can't figure out that dishwasher."

Eventually, the eldest kid's parents get the idea and lessen their demands on the kid because they have no other option. Well, isn't it interesting that John Boehner was the second oldest of 12 children. But, get this-------his older brother joined the military soon after high school leaving John Boehner as the most relied upon sibling to help out with the many demands of a huge family.

Antoine de Saint Exupery wrote in the "Little Prince"-----

"It is such a secret place, the land of tears." Because crying, much like classic passive-aggressive behavior often makes us take a step back and give the crier a break----it is clear that the land of tears can be a passive-aggressive place.

And so, like Jennifer, Leslie Stahl and Barbara Walters, we too, have had enough of the "Crying Game."

 

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