One of my very favorite people in the blogosphere is telling the story today of how she found her marbles. What I love about Lee is her no-holds-barred approach to both her writing and to life. Here is Lee’s story:
There are two things you should never ask a therapist. 1) “What do you think that means?” and 2) “How did you find your marbles?” However, since Jessica asked I will go ahead and answer the second one. But first, a little background.
I was born in 1965 to Cuban immigrant parents. My parents opened their first women’s apparel factory 2 weeks after I was born. To answer your question, yes, I was raised in a sweat shop. It is amazing I have any hearing left at all. My mother tells the story of putting me in a bundle basket next to her while she sewed. I remember being a small child working in the factory. One of my most precious memories was when I earned my own scissors to wear around my neck. Safety issues aside, I was entrusted at a very young age to perform a valuable act in the factory and that is one of those defining moments that makes a person… or it was terribly traumatic…I like to think of the glass as half full.
I was the middle child stuck between my sister who is 5 years 10 months 2 days older than me (in case she reads it, I usually round up) and my brother who is 8 years younger than me. This position allowed me to have an Adlerian wet dream- I experienced being the middle child, oldest child and youngest child in terms of birth order personalities. This caused rebelliousness with a need to care for everyone and a desire to be very independent. Sybil had nothing on me.
I had a propensity to depression. I would get moody and sometimes have thoughts that are not uttered unless you want to wear a huggy jacket and be in a padded room. My first and only experience with anti-depressants came after a trip to Europe. For some reason the depression that occurred during that time was so severe that I actually thought of hospitalizing myself. My great aunt, who was renowned for her intuition – read “she was a witch”- came to my home and prescribed a spiritual cleansing. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “but Lee, you were studying to be a Psychotherapist! That mumbo jumbo is stupid!” The thing is that I felt better after that. Whether it was a placebo affect or an actual spiritual intervention, I have always encouraged clients to seek and hold to a spiritual connection to facilitate healing.
Soon after, I was with Paul. My husband and I have been married for almost 24 years and we still hold hands, laugh together, talk, enjoy each other’s company and rarely argue. I have never again experienced depression even after years of infertility treatments, adopting a multiply handicapped child whose prognosis was death by 2 years of age or life’s curve balls. The only thing that brought me to my knees was my miscarriage. I had miraculously gotten pregnant with my 8 year old when my daughter was already 10. I believed that there was no way that I could get pregnant. It took 6 tests, a blood test to convince me of the possibility that I had finally gotten pregnant. I was already 37 and I had him the day before I turned 38.
The miscarriage happened 2 years later. It shattered my relationship with God. No, I wouldn’t outwardly shake my fist in the air but secretly I felt He was punishing me. Paul was braver than me and immediately went to therapy where he could express is anger in a healthier way. I finally agreed to go to therapy and chose to enter a Personal Transformation Intensive that used hypnotherapy, breath work and encouraged a spiritual connection (no religious affiliation). 2 years of that and I found myself again. I began not trusting God and ended the program just 2 weeks before my youngest was born. Yes, my youngest is my zen baby. I was meditating daily, chanting and living a life of purpose not from ego but vision.
If there is anything my nearly 47 years have taught me is that being connected is very important in life. Having a partner that supports, loves and cares for you is tantamount to holding on to those marbles and living a life of vision and meaning brings everything into perspective. I try to live my life by these for agreements (The Four Agreements- Don Miguel Ruiz) 1. Be Impeccable with your Word 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally 3. Don’t Make Assumptions 4. Always Do Your Best. I try to impart these teachings in everything that I write on CoupleDumb. My vision is to share what has worked for my marriage and what I have learned as a psychotherapist for over 20 years. My goal is to see people happy and healthy in their relationships or, in other words, I hope everybody can find their marbles.
Lee Fournier is half of the duo behind the popular relationship blog, CoupleDumb. She is a professional psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience working with marriages, families and addiction. Lee and her husband Paul started writing CoupleDumb after having friends ask them for years about their secret to a happy marriage, though they also address topics such as: emotional health, addiction, infidelity, mindfulness, spirituality and techniques for a happier existence. In May of 2010, Lee and Paul published their book ‘Dysaffirmation: Because this kind of stupid takes work.’