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Excerpted from Loving What Is by Byron Katie. Copyright © 2002 by Byron Katie. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
"So what does your husband have to do with your unhappiness? We're just noticing here."
Loving What Is, Part 6
Katie: That's a very courageous answer. If we answer it that way, with what's really true for ourselves, we think that there may be no way out. "Is it true?" is just a question! We're terrified to answer the simplest question honestly, because we project what that may mean in the imagined future. We think we have to do something about it. How do you react when you believe the thought that you don't love him?
Mary: It makes my whole life a stupid charade.
Katie: Can you see a reason to drop this thought that you don't love him? And I'm not asking you to drop the thought.
Mary: Yes, I can see a reason to drop it.
Katie: Can you think of one stress-free reason to keep the thought?
Mary [after a long pause]: I think if I keep my story, then I can keep him from wanting to have sex all the time.
Katie: Is that a stress-free reason? It seems stressful to me.
Mary: I guess it is.
Katie: Can you find one stress-free reason to keep that thought?
Mary: Oh, I see. No. There aren't any stress-free reasons to keep the story.
Katie: Fascinating. Who would you be, standing with your husband, without the thought that you don't love him?
Mary: It would be great. It would be fabulous. That's what I want.
Katie: I'm hearing that with the thought, it's stressful. And without the thought, it's fabulous. So what does your husband have to do with your unhappiness? We're just noticing here. So, "I don't love my husband" -- turn it around. [After the four questions comes the turnaround.]
Mary: I do love my husband.
Katie: Feel it. It has nothing to do with him, does it?
Mary: No. It really doesn't. I do love my husband, and you're right, it doesn't have anything to do with him.
Katie: And sometimes you think you hate him, and that doesn't have anything to do with him, either. The man's just breathing. You tell the story that you love him, or you tell the story that you hate him. It doesn't take two people to have a happy marriage. It only takes one: you! There's another turnaround.
Mary: I don't love myself. I can relate to that one.
Katie: And you may think that if you divorce him, then you'll feel good. But if you haven't investigated your thinking, you'll attach these same concepts onto whoever comes into your life next. We don't attach to people or to things; we attach to uninvestigated concepts that we believe to be true in the moment. Let's look at the next statement on your Worksheet.
Mary: I want my husband not to be needy, not to be dependent on me, to be more successful, to not want to have sex with me, to get in shape, to get a life outside of me and the children, and to be more powerful. Those are just a few.
Katie: Let's turn that whole statement around.
Mary: I want me not to be needy. I want me not to be dependent on him. I want me to be more successful. I want me to want to have sex with him. I want me to get in shape. I want me to get a life outside of him and the children. I want me to be more powerful.
Katie: So, "He shouldn't be needy" -- is it true? What's the reality of it? Is he?
Mary: He's needy.
Katie: "He shouldn't be needy" is a lie, because the guy is needy, according to you. So, how do you react when you think the thought "He shouldn't be needy," and in your reality he is needy?
Mary: I just want to run away all the time.
Katie: Who would you be in his presence without the thought "He shouldn't be needy"?
Mary: What I just understood is that I could be with him in a space of love, instead of just having my defenses up. It's like if I notice any bit of neediness, I'm out of there. I've got to run. That's what I do with my life.
Katie: When he's acting needy, in your opinion, you don't say no honestly. You run away or want to run away instead of being honest with yourself and him.
Mary: That's true.
Katie: Well, it would have to be. You have to call him needy until you can get some clarity and honest communication going with yourself. So let's be clear. You be him and be very needy. I'll take the role of clarity.
Mary: Mr. Needy comes in and says, "I just had the best phone call. You've got to hear about it. It was this guy, and he's going to be fabulous in the business. And I had another call. . . ." You know, he just goes on and on. Meanwhile, I'm busy. I've got a deadline.
Katie: "Sweetheart, I hear that you had a wonderful phone call. I love that, and I would also like you to leave the room now. I have a deadline to meet."
Mary: "We have to talk about our plans. When are we going to Hawaii? We have to figure out what airlines . . ."
Katie: "I hear that you want to talk about our plans for Hawaii, so let's discuss this at dinner tonight. I really want you to leave the room now. I have a deadline to meet."
Mary: "If one of your girlfriends called, you would talk to her for an hour. Now you can't listen to me for two minutes?"
Katie: "You could be right, and I want you to leave the room now. It may sound cold, but it's not. I just have a deadline to meet."
Mary: I don't do it like that. Usually I'm mean to him. I just seethe.
Katie: You have to be mean, because you're afraid to tell the truth and say no. You don't say, "Sweetheart, I would like you to leave. I have a deadline," because you want something from him. What scam are you running on yourself and on him? What do you want from him?
Mary: I am never straightforward with anybody.
Katie: Because you want something from us. What is it?
Mary: I can't stand when somebody doesn't like me. I don't want disharmony.
Katie: So you want our approval.
Mary: Yes, and I want to maintain harmony.
Katie: Sweetheart, "If your husband approves of what you say and what you do, then there is harmony in your home" -- is that true? Does it work? Is there harmony in your home?