Feminist and Narrative Theory Topic: After viewing the session on Narrative Therapy and reading Jim's Letter to Helen, choose 1 of the questions below to discuss. Your thread must indicate which quest

COUC 510 Page 1 of 2 JIM ’S LETTER TO H ELEN 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 meeting. 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. It is clear that the old story where Nagging Dissatisfaction had trapped you, so that you couldn’t move forw ard 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 l ooking 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 r ole 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 passi onate 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 conside r 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 satisfyin g for your COUC 510 Page 2 of 2 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 th e 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 Dissatisfactio n 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. On the other hand, the “hope” you mentioned, which brought tears to your eyes at the end of our meeting, suggests to me that you are indeed staying awake and already beginning to rewrite this story with more possibilities than Nagging Dissatisfaction could write for you. Having heard the beginning of this new story that is so different than the one Nagging Dissatisfaction had in mind, I have been wondering who in your life would not be surprised that you’ve been able to break Nagging Dissatisfaction’s spell and instead remember what really matters most to you. I mentioned how I thought catching on to Nagging Dissatisfaction’s tricks may help you move forward; I have also been wondering how this change is likely to benefit your children’s futures as well. Something I wish I’d asked you during our meeting was how our conversation was going for you. In particular, I wondered if the conversation was going in a useful direction, and if there was anything I could have done that would have been more useful for yo u. I welcome any thoughts you have about this question, because my best guesses about what may be helpful may or may not really fit for you. You understand your life story as only a woman and a mother can; being a man, I only can understand your story as a n outsider. I would very much appreciate your guidance in how I can be most helpful to you as you learn how to keep Nagging Dissatisfaction from interfering with this new story that you are writing for yourself and for your children. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts about these ideas I’ve offered, as well as any ideas you have had about your changing story. I look forward to seeing you next week to dialogue with you further. Warm regards, Jim