Forgiveness

One thing we haven’t discussed yet is the whole idea of forgiving. A recent NYTimes article addressed this act; its primary focus was on the act of asking for forgiveness. But there are two sides to every issue, and the other side to this one is being the one in the position to offer forgiveness.

To apply this idea to Doc Martin, we first have to establish whether either of these characters should ask for forgiveness or would be the one to offer to forgive. Martin has asked Louisa to forgive him several times already: when she’s giving birth; when they rescue James from Mrs. Tishell; and most recently, when he’s about to perform the AVM surgery. In the first instance, she was ready to ask for forgiveness too and they almost simultaneously decided to reach out to each other. On the second occasion, Martin was proximally responsible for James’ abduction because he allowed Mrs. T to care for James; but more globally it’s not entirely clear that he was the only one at fault for how Louisa reacted to his decision to leave Portwenn. It was Louisa who sort of became a moving target in that she had such mixed feelings about being in a relationship with him. In a sense we could say she owed him an apology for doubting he would want to be an active father and for making hasty decisions. The final time Martin asks for forgiveness she is sedated and may not even remember it, but he is primarily right when he says he hasn’t been a very good husband.

The NYTimes article quotes Frederic Luskin who runs the Forgiveness Project at Stanford University. Luskin’s work has identified nine steps to asking sincerely to be forgiven but the steps can be distilled to four. The first one is to “admit vulnerability,” which means you must admit your responsibility for causing others’ pain. It’s particularly important in families for the offending party to acknowledge that they have done something to hurt another family member.

The second step is to apologize sincerely. “A true, authentic apology is one in which the speaker says: ‘I’m sorry, because my poor choice of action or words directly caused harm to you. That it’s my bad and yours. And that I recognize you feel hurt as a direct relationship of what I did.’ ” Furthermore, according to Dr, Luskin, “when a person accepts responsibility and promises to make amends… it has an almost universally positive effect.”

Thirdly, people like to be asked for their forgiveness. It may seem obvious but approaching the person you think you’ve wronged and simply asking them to forgive you is important.

Lastly, those asking for forgiveness must thank the person for forgiving them. The final act must be a joint expression of gratitude for being asked to forgive and for offering to forgive.

When someone has offered to forgive and the offending party acknowledges the charity that’s been extended to them, that moment of receiving forgiveness “is this moment of true humanity when we are seen for who we really are and loved anyway.”

Once again, there’s no way to know if these steps were in the minds of those writing this show. Nevertheless, they’ve done a good job of following them IMO. They have left things quite lopsided though. Martin has so far been the one to admit fault thereby leaving himself vulnerable; he has promised to make amends, or change his behavior; and he has asked for forgiveness by appealing to Louisa each time to accept his apology and even to help him.

Louisa has responded favorably to the first two appeals and acted willing to take him back. At the Castle, she told him outright that she had been waiting to hear him say something nice. He has finally done that during this scene. The last time is different. Perhaps if she had not been in an operating room and prepped for surgery, she would have had a more welcoming response, but this time she isn’t ready to accept his confession. We haven’t seen her forgive him fully yet.

Since so much of S7 has been a reversal of what’s happened before, this time she should be the one to admit fault and ask for forgiveness. During the first 4 episodes Louisa has said “Thank You” to Martin numerous times, and that’s a good start.  Maybe now that he has made a sincere effort to not only say he’s sorry, but to demonstrate by his actions that he really means it, she will express her gratitude by accepting his apology and complete the cycle of forgiveness.

 

 

Originally posted 2015-10-01 15:37:51.

27 thoughts on “Forgiveness

  1. Laura H

    I’m wondering if maybe you have hit on something that goes to the core of ME’s challenges…forgiveness. Some camps contend that the first person to forgive is ourselves…that difficulty comes in forgiving or asking others to forgive us until we first forgive ourselves. And what exactly should Martin forgive himself for? I’d like to suggest that way back in childhood perhaps ME felt for coping reasons that he had to make a choice…be emotional and vulnerable, which likely elicited criticism, distancing and just plain nothing from his parents or to stuff down all emotion as a defense mechanism and instead choose to not let that side of him rear its head to him or show it to others because he somehow believed being self-contained would be his way to be autonomous and became his survival instinct. His summer visits with Joan, while helpful in developing what love and vulnerability are, may have been double-sided, and he had trouble reconciling that with seeing two distict ways of being, one excluding the other. So to maintain choosing one or the other, he had to punish himself when he ever let the other come close. Summer visits consciously were wonderful, pleasurable…subconsciously, they were dangerous to his choice to be self-contained. Possibly, bed wetting was a way to punish himself…and later in life, he punished himself when he let slip and was emotional and vulnerable to the woman surgery patient…what better way to nip a tipping of his scale toward emotional than to punish himself with the development of a blood phobia? That’ll teach me! Don’t go there or I wii make myself pay…all of this subconsciously, of course. Consciously, he became angry, projecting this anger stemming from what he had done subconsciously to himself onto others. Forgiveness of himself for making one choice exclusive of the other could possibly help him see that he did the only thing he could do…he chose what he felt would help him survive. And perhaps if looked at, which tends to diminish it and is an act of forgiveness itself, then through a catalyst such as Louisa, then he can bring together emotional and autonomy and find they can co-exist and complement each other.

    Louisa, too, needs to forgive herself. While she chose emotional and vulnerable as coping skills, within that she chose to use them to take flight as a way to cope. She could forgive herself for having a damaged autonomy at being the child of a man in prison. She can forgive herself for using the same pattern with Martin as she used to with her mother, who said at the end of S5 E4, “you always used to run after me and say you were sorry.” We have seen that pattern with Louisa over and over again…flight and then a return to Martin.
    Forgiveness of herself for the pattern and understanding it was merely a coping or survival pattern could diminish it and give her the freedom to trust Martin.

  2. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    What you say about people needing to forgive themselves makes a lot of sense to me. If both Martin and Louisa blame themselves for anything that happened in their childhoods, they continue to carry that burden through adulthood. I think that’s why the therapists in our blog community think there should be more interrogation of their childhoods by Dr. Timoney. However, we all have major doubts that their therapy will ever get into all of that. We can imagine all sorts of possibilities that might have led to how Martin and Louisa ended up. The bottom line though is that when it comes to forgiveness, they could at least have a scene with the therapist telling them that their childhoods were both marred by bad parenting and they have to reach a place of acknowledgement of this circumstance and acceptance of it.

    Your recollection that Louisa’s mother remembers Louisa always being interested in seeking forgiveness from her mother seems very pertinent here. We might assume that Louisa has suffered disappointments galore when dealing with forgiveness, either giving it or asking for it, and is, therefore, hesitant to open herself to more of that. Very interesting observation.

  3. Santa Traugott

    I don’t know if this counts as forgiveness, but I’d like to see Martin get to a place where he feels compassion and some understanding for the frightened young boy he must have been, replacing an internalized sense of defectiveness and being undeserving of love.

    I suppose Louisa first has to come to some understanding of how her own flaws have contributed to their marital problems before she can forgive herself for them, and also, lay aside some of the resentment she appears to harbor about Martin’s dysfunctionality.

    But here’s a question: can, should, Martin try to forgive his parents? I know that this is recommended by many traditions, but I wonder if it’s possible, realistic or even necessary? Margaret in particular seems to have acted with such cold and calculated malignity that it almost seems to me that forgiveness is beside the point, in his healing.

  4. Laura H

    Actually, I think Martin is farther along in facing things about himself than Louisa. We know he got major shell shock when Margaret revealed, “our marriage was perfect until you came along.” That and research has him saying to Dr. Timoney in the first session we see with him that “I was an unwanted child.” This also moved the story along so we don’t have to see session after session of him trying to “get” that he was an unwanted child. And, yes, to forgive his parents would lift a lot of weight…not saying he has to invite Margaret back for a visit…but forgiveness of her within himself could be freeing. As a result of interaction with Margaret, possibly one of Martin’s needs might be developing into unconditional love. When Louisa embraces him at the very end of S7E4, it matters whether the hug is spontaneous or prescribed.
    Something noteworthy about Louisa’s participation in the embraces is that she clearly likes it and wants to hear his positive comments about her, offers very little to him.

  5. Abby

    I would like to comment on Santa’s question about Martin forgiving his parents. It seems to me that forgiveness is the wrong word here. To me, forgiveness implies absolving the other person of the wrong they have done you. In order for this to happen, I would think that the other person would have to feel remorse and ask for forgiveness. So, in a sense, forgiveness is for the other person. Acceptance, or letting go, seems a more appropriate concept. In essence, this entails detaching yourself emotionally from the other person, so that what they do or don’t do, or what they think or don’t think, is irrelevant to your life. So acceptance is in essence about yourself. True acceptance is liberating, and I think would be very healing for Martin.

    This may be a question of semantics, but I have found that distinguishing forgiveness from acceptance has been very helpful to clients who have histories similar to Martin’s.

  6. Santa Traugott

    Thanks, Abby. I think that’s what I was driving at. I think the distinction is very important. And I agree that acceptance and letting go is what’s crucial here, at least between Martin and his parents.

    I think I also agree that Martin has implicitly at least asked for forgiveness several times, and been granted it by Louisa. For whatever reason, this time around maybe she’s not there yet. Or maybe she’s able to forgive him, but not yet to trust that he can change enough so that the cycle won’t continue to repeat, to both their detriment. I can’t really tell what’s going on with her.

    My hope is that if she can recognize her part in this, she can see that maybe HE doesn’t have to change quite as much as she thought he did, and thus, things could get easier if she met him half-way. Or even a quarter of the way.

  7. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Louisa’s very positive response to the hugging definitely emphasizes how much she cares about physical affection. This may be an area where Martin really has to overcome hesitations, but they are making it look like he’s cooperating at the very least. On some level he seems to enjoy hugging too and he’s hopeful that it will make Louisa more receptive to having them reunite. I’m still suspicious that things are headed in a good direction too quickly and there will have to be a correction of some sort coming up. I doubt what I’m saying is anything very original since we know the therapist recommends that they might be better off separating, and there must be some reason for that.

    We can’t help noticing how much more Martin says positive things to Louisa than she says to him. He actually makes that clear by wanting her to take a turn. Telling him that he seems very committed to this therapy does not qualify as a positive statement. Their last embrace is another good example…she is pleased with his willingness to listen to her and rethink his immediate plan to turn Peter into the authorities, and she wants to hug him and maybe kiss him, but we never hear her say how much she appreciates him. And this comes after he’s saved a student’s life and prevented a possible second catastrophe, not to mention correcting Peter about the old woman with the ganglion cyst.

    If Louisa is going to admit she bears some responsibility for their marital problems, maybe we’ll hear her say something complimentary about him. We can always hope!

  8. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thank you for the insider’s view. I am always stunned at how willing some people are to forgive even the most heinous crimes committed against them or their families. (Think Charleston.) I don’t think I could be so benevolent. Acceptance sounds much more appropriate in this case since he will never hear a request for forgiveness from Margaret. He should, though, from Louisa, no?

  9. Santa Traugott

    The clinch at the end of E4 reminded me somehow of the brief honeymoon in S6E1. And I actually thought that when Martin asked her whether this was a prescribed or spontaneous affection, he might have been making a slight, very dry joke. Louisa was her old, sweet self, in that moment. I am curious about several things here: what would the car ride home have been like, after that moment? Wouldn’t this have been an opportunity, while both are in a softer mood, to begin the conversation about what had gone on between them, for Martin to explain himself a little, apologize, plead his case? Yet somehow I don’t think that went on, and I’m sorry to say, I don’t think we’ll see any of that in the snippets of therapy sessions that we’re privy to. And also, wouldn’t it be reasonable that by now, Louisa really begins to get that this is a somewhat different Martin than the one she left? He’s more active, more responsive, more engaged with her, more open. What does she make of this, and what does she want from him at this point. If he had behaved this way in S6, she would never have left him. I guess it may be that until he truly apologizes, explains himself and yes, asks for her forgiveness, she won’t be able to bring herself to a reconciliation.

    I am wondering if it is somehow Martin’s reaction to Danny showing up, and even more, to Danny ruining their dinner date, that precipitates a major blow-up, and that’s what leads the therapist to suggest they might be better off apart.

  10. Laura H

    That’s an interesting angle…that Martin may have been putting out a dry little joke and possibly his take is that he conceded his view of the Peter Cronk situation to Louisa and maybe he’s getting the embrace as a reward for that? That’s why it struck me that Martin is beginning to discern the nature of the embraces. Possibly, Louisa doesn’t answer him or give any indication that the embrace has to do with her satisfaction as to his reconsidering action with Peter…she doesn’t give him a positive statement about it or anything else…so we don’t know. The humor is that she feigns a snagged ring as reason to make the hug last longer:)

  11. Laura H

    Big question: In S7E4, an emergency patient walks in with a fish hook in his thumb, quite bloody. ME handles the case with ease, no looking away from the bloody thumb or change in his demeanor that would indicate the blood bothers him. Any thoughts as to what we are to make of this? Come to think if it, he doesn’t get rattled at the sight of blood in the previous episode when helping Ellie Bell. Do we attribute this to work with Dr. Timoney specifically about this or what?

  12. Santa Traugott

    I thought he had a slight gag reflex at the very beginning but then managed fine. I don’t think he addressed that with Dr. Timoney. Although it’s unclear how many times he saw her before Louisa came home, I don’t think it can have been more than twice — that is, I don’t think she was away more than a week after he called her.

    My theory has really been that he had a major breakthrough,talking to Aunt Ruth and/or facing up to Louisa leaving him, prior to even meeting with Dr. Timoney, and we are meant to believe that’s when he really began to change. The blood phobia had kept him, perhaps, from dealing with his issues/baggage/feelings, and when he began to be ready to deal with them, the blood phobia’s strength began to decline. That’s how I look at it, anyway.

    What I wonder is, when will Louisa notice it?

  13. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Your theory makes as much sense as anything I can think of. I’m glad they have taken him back to where he was before–close to vomiting when he sees blood, being asked by Morwenna, Ruth, or Louisa if he needs help, and managing to complete whatever procedure despite his nausea and aversion.

    It seems to me that many phobias improve even without treatment. His phobia has waxed and waned over the span of the show and he really hasn’t treated it in any serious way. He tried desensitization, and that may have helped some, but it was not likely to last. Besides, the show’s premise is that he is a vascular surgeon with a blood phobia. It isn’t until S6 that it becomes something that affects his life in a serious way. Then it becomes a preoccupation that I partly thought was supposed to indicate his marriage had reawakened his fear of having a family that depended on him.

    Louisa mentions his phobia when she storms into his hovel, and she notices he is somewhat thrown by seeing the man with a bloody bandage on his hand, but she hasn’t asked him how he’s doing with it now. She knows he was able to complete the surgery on her, and she may remember him vomiting in the operating room, so she may think things have settled down. I guess the therapist should have asked him more about it in that first visit. It has definitely been a factor in the strain of their marriage.

  14. DM

    Yes. Forgiveness in relationships is crucial and would be no less for Martin and Louisa’s relationship. I like the four steps you’ve emphasised from the NYT’s article (the nine steps from which they’re supposedly derived seem rather irrelevant and are hard to follow- though interestingly, emphasise the benefits to physical health).

    The article distinguishes forgiveness in relationships from other forms for which the four steps seem the most applicable (although the process they outline is perhaps weak on its acknowledgement and/or acceptance or even rejection which may be beside the point of the article, it being about asking for it is not the strict responsibility of the asker- which arguably makes it about something other than forgiveness).

    Abby makes several good points differentiating forgiveness from acceptance or absolution. I’d suggest that the former focuses on the relationship while the latter focuses on the individual(s). Forgiveness is vital for a relationship not least because it allows the individuals to reboot the relationship from the inevitable slights, disagreements, and full-blown rows that occur and thereby reaffirms the relationship and the individual’s commitment to it.

    However, what I didn’t recall seeing, or ever seeing, was Martin seeking, let alone ever asking, Louisa for forgiveness**. Even once I rewatched a couple snippets it was just as I’d remembered, such instances just weren’t there. By that I mean, any instance of Martin seeking forgiveness from Louisa by any of the criteria you’ve cited from the article and Dr. Luskin nor, for that matter, any of my conceptions of what forgiveness is.

    My recollection in the instances you cite or any others that whilst Martin had an awareness that his words or actions had caused hurt to Louisa and he’d genuinely felt contrition, but Martin never took step 2 to express an “authentic apology” of any kind to Louisa, nor did he ever “ask for forgiveness” as stipulated by step 3, and therefore step 4 was never facilitated for Martin to express his gratitude for Louisa granting forgiveness. I believe that only in S4E8 when Martin expressed words to the effect of, “I was wrong… I was wrong about you, about leaving, about everything,” has he ever taken so much as step 1 to admit his vulnerability, and even that was rather vague so as to perhaps undermine its intended value to “know exactly how you feel about what happened and be able to articulate what about the situation is not O.K.”

    Of course the process of forgiveness (in the case of Martin being the member of this dyad that is seeking forgiveness) depends upon Martin actually expressing himself explicitly with words and Louisa hears it and can understand it. He can’t get away with “saying it” purely with emotive facial expressions, nor expecting Louisa to read his mind, nor getting some sort of pass on account of his horrible upbringing that might complicate his speaking them.

    At this point in the Doc Martin story, all good outcomes for Martin and Louisa’s relationship, rely on forgiveness being forthcoming at some point. The difficulties of Martin’s character stems from his incomprehensibility of what a relationship is. Relationships are more than just having a connection with another: the heart is connected to the lungs via the pulmonary artery; the brain is connected to the heart via the jugular vein. But what makes it all work, what makes any of it work, is their relationship to one another that makes the blood flow between them by virtue of circulation: exchange, reciprocation, sharing. The heart as the mover of blood was already well known to the ancients. It was only once the motive force of the heart was understood as part a system of circulation that the greatest mysteries of the heart came to be understood (and it took the curious persistence of an esteemed 17th century English physician).

    ** The truly transcendent scene involving Martin seeking forgiveness (believe it or not!) occurs in S6E8 just after the scenes where Martin talks with Aunt Ruth and then confronts his mother and just before the scene where he actively chases after Louisa. Here the power of forgiveness is sought and granted with a nameless insignificant patient with the bronchial infection, the singer Martin unceremoniously dismissed earlier without so much as an examination. The breakthrough here is hardly that Martin now understands the value and power of forgiveness regardless of what it portends for Louisa and himself (that may indeed come in S7!), but that he can now relate to this random other person as more than just a patient and his identity is more than just a doctor. This breakthrough is consolidated at the very end of S6E8 by the curious confusion about Martin’s identity depicted just before he enters Louisa’s hospital room and then the very last words he says to Louisa at the end revealing his realisation.

  15. Santa Traugott

    DM, thanks for mentioning the scene where he apologizes to the patient he offended. I almost think that is the pivot point for him — the point from which we are supposed to understand that he is serious about changing, and more important, that he has some glimmer of what that might involve — relating to others as persons rather than as patients or “bodies” (harking back to the very first meeting in the interview situation).

    And perhaps you have put your finger on what has been frustrating to me about the episodes so far: when IS he going to apologize and try to explain himself, as best he can, to Louisa? I think it would go a very long way — maybe not the whole distance — toward healing the breach between them. I have a very hard time understanding why he has not at least done that (except that otherwise we wouldn’t have 8 episodes of “suspense”).

    Yes — “and you’re my wife” is a very important last word. They played with the words “husband” and “wife” earlier on, liking the sound of them as any newly married couple would. But evidently without Martin at least fully understanding what they meant. I knew we were in for deep trouble when in the conversation about his blood phobia, Louisa said, “but I’m your wife…..” which of course he didn’t quite get then. Presumably, now that he has almost lost her, he does.

  16. Santa Traugott

    And I am assuming that he has NOT apologized and asked for forgiveness, because if he, I don’t things between them would have started out so tensely, on Louisa’s part at least.

  17. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I see what you mean about Martin’s apologies not conforming to Luskin’s list of proper ways to go about asking for forgiveness. I think what I was taking note of is that he admitted being wrong and/or accepted being the one at fault. During the birth scene he actually says he was wrong; during the Castle scene he admits he wants to be wherever Louisa is and he finally tells her he loves her and that he’s felt that way for a long time, which is essentially saying that he had waited too long to tell her how much she means to him. But you are absolutely right that the occasion when he literally asks for forgiveness was the visit to the guitar playing patient. The patient is very receptive, as expected, and accepts the request graciously. Of course, Martin’s quest for forgiveness is short-lived and it isn’t long before he’s back to being demanding again.

    In Louisa’s case, it seems she’s only had an inclination to forgive her mother. Her mother appeals to her after making mistakes with James Henry and Louisa accepts her request.

    I’m glad you brought up the confusion about Martin’s relationship to Louisa at the end of S6. I have always thought that it was peculiar that the nurse didn’t realize that Louisa’s husband is the surgeon. Your view that he finally has arrived at a point where he can see a patient as more than just some nameless body, and finally looks at Louisa as his wife and not just his patient, is what I think they were aiming for.

  18. Laura H

    DM, your excellent post wowed me and really put some issues into perspective. Thanks for that most impressive view. So insightful is how you define relationship…that it is “exchange, reciprocation and sharing.” Dr Timoney seems to be trying to make just those points in her work with Martin and Louisa. Your point about ME’s only instance of asking for forgiveness being the time in S6E8 with the musician gives a possible greater meaning to that scene than I had ever given it. I attributed it to Martin’s standard of physician procedure that a consultation begun must be a consultation completed or else he is remiss professionally. The included apology, though, as you said, makes it noteworthy. Like Karen said, I’ve always thought the very end scene of S6 with the nurse saying to Louisa that she didn’t think her husband was around but her surgeon was…well, was that necessary for the scene…and your interpretation of it makes me see it in a new light and have even more respect for the writer.

  19. DM

    Laura, I’m glad I could help add some perspective on those scenes, that’s what I get from your and others great comments too and why I enjoy coming here. I would add that the significance of the Martin’s apology to the musician-patient likely goes even deeper based upon the psychological cues the story arc seems to be following. I believe you are so right to tie this to Martin’s standard of care. The problem is that this “duty of care” is so rigid, so uncompromising, and so all-encompassing that it’s become the totality of his identity, wherein any lapse, any concession, any failure, and any mistake threatens to cause his identity to collapse, thereby exposing to all the world and to those he would love, all other aspects of himself he “knows” to be entirely defective and worthless.

    I believe this scene is meant to be a bookend to an earlier scene in the same episode where he mistakenly gives the rabies vaccine injection to the woman suffering from a mere headache. This medical mistake is far more egregious than just his failure to maintain a duty of care to the musician-patient, and is what likely sets off this collapse. The tension in this scene is the tension of his identity between what he is (and believes himself to be), and what he wants and wants himself to be-which is to stop the woman he loves from leaving. The helplessness he experiences preventing him to try anything or say anything to prevent Louisa and James Henry from leaving is the same helplessness he’s known all along with the sole exception of providing unparallelled medical care. The medical mistake exposes to him his vulnerability to helplessness in this aspect as well. This is the antinomy his identity undergoes causiing collapse and thereby enabling his subsequent confrontations (the truth from Aunt Ruth and the reality of his mother) and the realisation that his genuine identity renders him far from helpless.

    Hopefully that doesn’t sound too off- but it does follow from the narrative they seem to be following. I’ve only just watched last week’s S7E4 episode involving Peter Cronk and it seems they’ve picked up from this very same dynamic with the treat of showing how this development can and does influence his relationship with Louisa (yeah!). Maybe I’ll get a chance to watch it again…

  20. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    I enjoy how much you have put together in terms of the opening scene and the one with the later patient. I always want to think more simplistically, though, because I have trouble believing that the kind of deep thinking you suggest really went into the mindset of the writers. So many of the episodes have comtained scenes with Martin seeing a patient even when most doctors would take the day/afternoon off. I looked at his examining the woman at that time as another one of those examples AND his mistake was due to being distracted much like the time he wasn’t paying attention to taking a patient’s blood pressure when his date with Louisa had gone wrong. He always hates to admit making mistakes in medical care, and this time he passes off his mistake as nothing to worry about. Whenever he is in a hurry or hasn’t taken the time to properly attend to someone, he dismisses the patient with little difficulty.

    I do love the continuation of how much Louisa’s affection for him is often related to Martin’s skills as a doctor. She lists that as one of the positive things she can say about him during therapy and it’s very much a part of what draws her to him. Admiration for his medical capability makes sense to me.

  21. Santa Traugott

    Speaking of forgiveness — the Clive-Sally relationship is a marvel. He apologizes, offers to put the past behind them and start fresh, and in return, she lets go of her neurotic obsession with Martin, once and for all, I think.

    Another way to say what DM said — or maybe she said it — is that his identify is almost totally based on his skill as a medical practitioner. He has a very fragile ego, held together by a rigid outer system of defenses, which are more paralyzing than they are protective, at this point.

    Did the writers intend all this deep level analysis? I don’t know. Somehow they’ve written characters and situations that are susceptible to that kind of analysis, which is why I think the series can be catnip for therapists!

  22. Linda

    I’m still weighing in on this but I think she should forgive him for not being the man she wanted him to be. He has tried, but truly doesn’t know what she expects nor how to get there. I don’t think he ever intentionally set out to hurt her. He loves her. He should forgive her for not understanding him and not being patient or compassionate. He should forgive her from assuming their problems all stemmed from him. He should forgive her for running away when things got tough and for making assumptions about him. He should forgive her for cutting him out of the pregnancy. Both need to forgive the other for lack of communication on important relationship issues And for not sharing their bak stories with each other. Had they done this, things might have been very different.

  23. Cathy R

    What a treat to stumble across your blog expecting the usual press articles and series updates, and instead to read such well-written essays. I discovered the series only recently and devoured the six previous seasons in record time. The draw for me is that the writers and actors have created a potentially flawed and unlikable character and made us care deeply about him, with an uncomfortable “there but for the grace of God go I” attitude. Looking forward to going through your archives and catching up.

  24. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    She also needs to forgive him for thinking that he can make unilateral decisions without consulting her and for neglecting to confide in her. If he’s being honest when he says he trusts her, she needs to see him demonstrate that through actions. You’ve got the rest covered!

  25. kjacobson@mindspring.com Post author

    Thanks Cathy! I am always delighted to have new readers and participants. Please comment at will!

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