Summer, 1956

One summer, 1956, I was interning in the Counseling Service at BYU I went to the University of Utah because there were two nationally known professors of psychology who were teaching there at the time and I wanted to take classes from them. And they were both excellent.

Mother was living on Indiana Avenue in the little home she had bought after Dad died, and I would stay with her sometimes overnight and go to school the next day. One day I came home and she was crying. She said that Harold, my brother, had yelled at her because she had said something about his going fishing or something. She made his and Dorothy’s life miserable for years. She really hated Dorothy, whom the rest of us loved, and was always calling them and demanding to know where Harold was and when Dorothy said he wasn’t there she would slam down the receiver. I have never understood why my Mother was this way. She deprived herself of many good relationships she could have had. Between Mother and my mother-in-law’s actions, I decided that I would love my children’s spouses, if it killed me. I stayed friendly with son’s-in-laws who I sometimes wanted to beat over the head, but it turned out it was better to stay friendly. And I am so thankful for Cheryl who is very loving toward me, and whom I love very much.

Anyway, this day with Mother, she went on and on about how awful Harold had been to her, so I decided to sit her down and go over some of her history that probably led up to the state she was in this day. She had lived in this little Mormon community of Redmesa and Durango, Colorado all her married life, until they moved to Utah. She had felt inferior to two or three of the families there, who she felt were the ‘ups’ of the poor little community. She developed a terrible inferiority complex about them and her own personality. I pointed out to her that most of what she felt was of her own making and that I was sure that they had none of the feelings she imagined. I then went on with her life and told her how she didn’t trust people and she declared that ‘you can’t trust anyone.’ So, I asked her to give me an example of when anyone had cheated her or been untrustworthy. She thought for a few minutes and told of an incident back years and years when she felt they had been cheated; something about a store in Redmesa that they had taken their turn at running.

I asked her if it wasn’t possible that the people involved hadn’t actually felt so and so or had done such and such a thing unknowingly. She said that yes, this was possible but she didn’t believe it was so. I said that it might have been different from how she perceived it. But, I would grant that the people involved might have been a little untrustworthy, but now I wanted her to tell me another example. She thought and thought and couldn’t think of any time. I then pointed out that she probably had missed dozens of times when people had been trustworthy that she hadn’t felt they were, and she admitted that it could be so. I went on and got her to talk about her feelings. Also I pointed out that Harold’s yelling at her that morning wasn’t the result of what she had said that morning, necessarily, but was the result of all the times she had been upset with him and made him feel bad about what he was doing. I talked with her for hours, and afterwards, she said she felt better than she had in years and could see the possibilities of many things we had talked about. She finally said, “If this is how you help those students at BYU, it is wonderful.” But, I pointed out that most of the time I didn’t say much when I was helping them, but let them talk and help themselves.

From the time I started working on my Master’s I was happy with the classes and loved writing papers, etc., but all the time dreading the time I would have to go for my Orals. Even my Master’s thesis I knew would be a pleasure. More about this later.