The other day I watched the episode of the office titled ‘The Michael Scott Paper Company.’ In this episode, Pam and Michael have started the Michael Scott Paper Company and it gets off to a shaky start.
At first Michael is delusional, delaying work at all costs until he has a major freak out. Despite the fact that Pam is scared to, she says that when Michael is weak she becomes strong. She also says that this happens in her marriage to Jim as well. When one person in the partnership has a freak out and becomes weak, they other one becomes stronger. She said it was one of those strange yet lovely parts of partnerships.
Later in the episode, the reverse happens. Pam starts to question if she has made the biggest mistake of her life in leaving her receptionist role at Dunder Mifflin, in which never really made her happy, but was a dependable role that covered her bills. When she has her freak out, Michael puts his issues aside and states ‘that they both have made the decision together and that they have each other and they will work on it together.’ Michael therefore takes on the role of the stronger character, to reassure Pam.
I noticed in my own previous relationship that this happened for me to an extent. Well at least it happened one-sided. Every time my ex boyfriend freaked out, I became strong. Even if I was freaked out and scared to, I took on the role of the strong person. However this wasn’t reciprocated. I did become weak and scared, however I don’t feel my ex partner managed to become strong when I became weak. I got very depressed at one stage, and he would get mad at me for being depressed. He would get upset that I was upset. I needed reassurance and for someone to be strong for me, but instead he turned it around and made it about him. The way I was treated, only made matters worse and it became a vicious cycle.
I remember distinctly when we arrived in Beijing for a stop over. He got freaked out, he has never been in a non english speaking country before. We needed to change flights and only had so much time to do it. I get it, it was pretty stressful. I was stressed too, but he was more stressed, so I became pro active and figured it out. Asked someone and we got there. We then got to Beijing late at night and he got freaked out again. 2 freaks out in day one of the big trip. It made me slighty nervous, but at the end of the day, I was worried and cared and gave him a big pep talk about how it would be fine and really the worst case scenarios weren’t so bad and if we just stuck together we would figure it out. Truth was I was a bit worried myself.
However when it came to my inevitable freak outs, this never happened. I either got yelled at for being weak or was made to feel like there was something wrong with me for this. Was told I wasn’t strong enough etc. I really started to believe this and I have always known that I was a strong person, so hearing that I wasn’t all the time, had a profound impact on me. I guess the more your told something, the more you start to believe it.
After watching this episode of the Michael Scott Paper Company and being a student of Social Psychology, I spent a little time looking up whether this was a psychological phenomenon. Some fancy name that I can put to it. Lately I have been trying to figure things out with psychology rather than my emotions. Become a bit more logical and to think with my head more than my heart. But after a bit of research, turns out this phenomenon might just be love and selflessness and no fancy psychological term that I could put a long and educated name to. Just plain old love. It’s revelations like this where I realise just how blind I was.