This post is a response to a few of the comments received from Part 2 and Part 3 of my series The Midlife Journey: Understanding, Accepting & Embracing the Outcome.

The original series referenced the book Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. In it the author spoke briefly of her affair and the end of her marriage.

Lesser shies away from acting within the realm of Responsibleness. “…my psychic told me…”

I believe in refraining from applying shoulds to other people’s lives. I have my opinion—such as my opinion that No Fault divorce is harmful and thus my advocacy for divorce reform. But life is not as simple as data. Something may be true for 99% of a group, but there is still the 1% anomaly. Without being the person within the experience, I really cannot know or understand their situation and the irony is that being the person within the experience has its own set of biases. I am not privy to the details and dynamics of Elizabeth Lesser’s first marriage. All I really know is that she had an affair and after ending her affair the book implies that she and her husband separated while they each gave time to make a decision as to what to do next.

To many it will not matter if Lesser came to her decision on her own since her actions matched what her psychic said to do. But the psychic’s advice does not mean that Lesser did what she did because the psychic said to do it. She may have taken the counsel into consideration when making her choice, but the choice was hers. I saw a hypnotherapist starting a few weeks after Bomb Drop. I asked for peace and the strength to withstand Standing. I got those things, but did I get them because of the hypnotherapy or would I have brought them forth anyway? We will never know. The answer is probably both. I had them within me and hypnotherapy helped enable me by giving me a direction and focus.

I am saddened when any marriage ends—even if it is necessary (such as if there is physical abuse). Because I feel something may be necessary does not mean I wish it were so. I am saddened even as I advise an abused spouse to get out.

Do I wish Elizabeth Lesser had made a different choice. Well, yes I do. Do I think she could have returned to her marriage and they could have rebuilt? Absolutely. Do I think she should have made a different choice? I don’t think I have a right to that opinion because I don’t have sufficient data; I don’t know the circumstances in detail or how her husband felt and because I am wary of applying shoulds to other people’s actions. All I know is that she had children and she had an affair, when she ended her affair she separated from her husband and was uncertain about her next step—reconcile or divorce—and then she saw a psychic whose message was to divorce.

You hear what you want to hear. I’m guessing Lesser had more folks telling her she was an ass than she had encouraging her to look to new horizons, but she chose to listen to the psychic telling her what she wanted to hear.

The book gives no information about the support or lack of support of her circle of influence. Lesser’s affair was not public during the affair and she does not discuss who knew later, though from what I have seen people usually reserve the label ass for men.

She doesn’t let us know what others were saying and yet I doubt she had people telling her she was an ass. My guess is that the people she worked with were a compassionate group—but that is my stereotype of the compassion of people working in Spirituality. She was also going through her infidelity and subsequent divorce in the mid 1980’s when divorce was it it’s high and a common reason was about seeking personal happiness—omitting the part that it was often at the expense of others, of course (barf).

I also don’t think she chose to listen to and take the psychic’s advice simply because the psychic said so. I think it was more about determining if what the psychic said fit what she felt was true—did it ring true for her. I think the psychic led her to an answer which she felt was her necessary path—or rather confirmed she was on it. I once met a man who said he took a pendulum everywhere with him. He said he used it grocery shopping to determine what type of whatever to buy! I don’t know what was more weird—the guy himself (and he seemed a narcissistic jerk to me) or the way the other people fawned over him, buying into his every word. He gave up his power to a pendulum. He could have used it to give a vote to a choice, but he instead he let it choose for him. Is that what Lesser did? Did she pay the psychic to choose for her, or did the psychic’s words ring true?

Do I agree with what the psychic said?
Actually I’m neutral. That doesn’t mean I like it, but I think sometimes there are truths and there are other ways of seeing truths than many of us either do not see or accept in a situation. I have friends who are psychics and though we all must be careful of bringing in our own biases and agendas, when stripped of those biases and agendas (as much as is possible) a psychic is not offering her or his own opinion and advice on a situation. The psychic I went to was not there to tell me what I wanted to hear and because she did confirm for me some things I wanted to hear does not mean she was a fraud who was trying to get my money. On an occasion when I asked for something predictive (I asked what was it I was not asking, with the idea of getting information on what to expect in the coming weeks), she told me I was not asking for peace and that was what I needed to be doing and seeking.

I don’t think Lesser knew what she wanted. She countered the psychic’s directions with excuses that left alone may have kept her in her marriage. She was worried for her children and the damage of divorce. And when it comes to that, I really do not like the psychic’s comments.

“What about my children? I don’t want to ruin their lives. Don’t kids need a stable family and a safe—”
The psychic interrupted me with a wave of her hand and said, “Phooey. You’re not listening. Your children are fine. They are telling me that if you are strong, then they are safe. If you are sure-footed, they are stable. That is all. We’re moving on now.” (page 12)

I don’t like how she treated Lesser’s question as an unimportant waste of time. Sure, there are stupid questions, but this is not one of them. I don’t like how she dismissed the children; resilience does not mean impermeable to damage.


Realm of Responsibility2 Comments

  1. I totally agree with you regarding the psychic! A good psychic will not give an advice-and when they see a bad prediction, they explain twhat they “see” but temind her clienys that everyone one is always the master of one’s destiny! Bad predictions are taken to prevent situations from happening while the good prediction has to be pursued! The psychic was a PRO-DIVORCE!

    I see Lesser as somebody with zero “confidence..was not sure of what she wanted !, not even what to do anout her marriage and husband.She is obviously so guilty for having an affair, and no humility at all towards
    her husband – wrote more about the psychic
    instead of her husband !
    I think her husband got so mad at her that he must have been the one who divorced her.
    I can understand her husband, she must be a very disturbed person after commiting adultery, after all she was training people about attaining peace tru spirituality and what a mess she did!

  2. RCR – as for refraining from applying "shoulds" – I clearly distinguish between saying "Lesser shouldn't have had an affair" and "Lesser shouldn't have left the husband". There is a definite yes to the former while the latter cannot be decided without inside knowledge, you're righ there. None of us has sufficient data to judge if Lesser did the right thing in leaving the marriage; but neither did Lesser herself; she couldn't possibly have known what a trial reconciliation might have brought on as she never tried. This information you only have if you do try…and I can see only very few reasons not to try and none if the husband repented for any transgressions

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