Assignment: Explain Nagging Dissatisfaction

Assignment: Explain Nagging Dissatisfaction
Assignment: Explain Nagging Dissatisfaction
Dear Helen,
As I mentioned at the end of our meeting yesterday, I often write letters to people after
meeting with them to offer additional ideas. Because one idea often leads to another,
these letters can help people form their own thoughts for further discussion at our next
First of all, I want to say how very much I enjoyed meeting you and learning about this
new story you are writing for your life.Assignment: Explain Nagging Dissatisfaction
It is clear that the old story where Nagging
Dissatisfaction had trapped you, so that you couldn’t move forward or backward, is a
story you are no longer willing to put up with. I suspect that Nagging Dissatisfaction
may have to find a different job than stirring up those disquieting feelings for you, or
pushing you to the point that you feel out of control and behave toward your children in
ways that don’t reflect what you love most about being a mother.
When you asked if I thought you’d need to be in therapy for the rest of your life, I said I
doubted it because most people in this country find what they are looking for in six or
fewer therapy sessions. After talking with you, I am even more confident that you are
unlikely to be in therapy for a long time. I base my opinion on how you have already
started realizing how passionate you are about the significant role you play in your
children’s lives as a “stay-at-home-mom,” and how much you love that role. You
beautifully described the great importance of your role in shaping their lives: you are
dedicated to helping them discover who they are, what they are passionate about, and
what dreams they have for their futures. As a parent myself, I can think of no job that is
more significant than this one, in which you have clearly invested so much of yourself.
I am very impressed that your dedication to your children’s current and future lives has
made it possible to prevent Nagging Dissatisfaction’s scare tactics and lies from further
intimidating and confusing you. As I thought about this dedication, I realized how
remarkable this feat is, given three things that you mentioned:
1. You were not “seen” in your family as you grew up, which can plant the seeds of doubt about one’s abilities and worth.
2. Your marriage “is not life giving” in terms of recognizing what is fulfilling for you, creating doubts about how much you can hope for in life.
3. Your mother appeared to be happy with her life story, which made it seem as if you should also be happy with your life story, despite your dissatisfaction.
Not giving in to Nagging Dissatisfaction seems even more remarkable when I consider
how our culture insinuates that being a stay-at-home-mom is never enough: “you should
be more.” It looks to me like Nagging Dissatisfaction used these three sensitive areas in
your life, teamed up with society’s message, to try to deceive and discourage you. It
appears that Nagging Dissatisfaction almost had you bullied into believing that “whatever
I do, it is never enough.” But you took away one of Nagging Dissatisfaction’s most
important tricks when you correctly noted that what may have been satisfying for your
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mother as a woman born in 1929, is not necessarily going to be satisfying for you as a
woman facing today’s challenges and opportunities.
Now that you have stalled Nagging Dissatisfaction’s initiative, I can’t help but wonder
how your realization about the significance of your role in helping your children move
forward in their own lives is likely to also help you rediscover your own passions and
dreams. I’m also wondering how this realization in turn is likely to help you move
forward in your life as well. However, doing so may stir up more of those disquieting
feelings like the troubling anger, fear, and longing you mentioned. As a mother, you
know that stirred emotions are to be expected with any transition. But I am concerned
that Nagging Dissatisfaction may try to use these feelings as a way of frightening you
into “going asleep” again, as it had in the past, so you won’t pay attention to what really
matters in your life.

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