LoveMovies! Empowerment Review of the Time Traveler’s Wife

August 27, 2009

Henry is an ordinary boy living an ordinary life until one day at age six a tragic event totally changes his life. In a car with his mother, a marvelous singer who is busy teaching Henry how to do the same, a tragic accident suddenly takes his mother away. And, in many ways, Henry is taken away as well. In response to the trauma of seeing his mother die, Henry becomes a time traveler. Randomly, throughout the next forty years of his life he leaps through time, primarily to interact with the various stages
of the life of his one great love, Claire.

On the surface time travel seems absurd. Yet, if we really look at it millions of people are time traveling every single day. Trauma victims are especially susceptible to doing this. Whenever something triggers a memory of their trauma, they simply disappear. Perhaps they disappear mentally causing them to lose track of the present moment as they drift into the past. Never fully at home, the loved ones around them are frequently left to inquire as to where they are going, since though they may be right in front of them, no one seems at home.

Or, they may disappear into various addictive behaviors. Sex, drugs, alcohol and other addictive “medications” are typical choices used to help time travelers avoid the present moment. That’s because they would rather numb out memories of the past, then face them head on. Then, there are those who disappear entirely. They simply run away from those they love, only to appear and disappear over and over again at the most inexplicable times. Some on the run do take their loved ones with them, unwittingly causing the suffering of those they love, who struggle to cope with the constant feeling
of being uprooted and having to abandon too many times the people and places they are coming to care for and enjoy.

Watched carefully it is easy to see how Henry’s constant disappearances are triggered by feelings of anxiety, fear, and memories of past pain. His greatest fear and pain is of course the loss of someone he loves. Perhaps that is why he constantly tests Claire to see, if like his mother, she will one day abandon him. Fortunately, for Henry, Claire chooses to remain a constant part of his life. But, to do so without becoming a “time traveler” herself (through escapist behaviors), she has to learn a significant lesson. She faces her traumas and losses head on. And, in doing so, she does not abandon herself.  An example of this happens when Henry returns to her after disappearing for over two weeks. Bravely, Claire refuses to cancel her plans to spend time with him. She has learned something Henry never fully seems to comprehend, to fully love another, you have to love yourself. Unlike Henry, she refuses to put the present moment on hold.

Wiser on matters of the heart and no longer codependent, Claire lives as she must.  She is no longer worried if Henry will go on the run. He has run away too many times already. So, when Henry insists that Claire refrain from having children and attempts to manipulate time to stop her from doing so, she manages to make her dream come true anyhow. Living life, not running from life, is Claire’s major priority now.

In that way, the Time Traveler’s Wife, is a love story. Though it is Claire (and later her daughter) who are the main ones who really know how to love. Henry is too chained to his early trauma, and to fear, to let much of their love enter his life. Though Henry goes to a geneticist to fix his condition, what he really needs is a good trauma therapist. In many ways that is the role his daughter attempts to take on. She too suffers loss, even the tragic and sudden loss of someone she loves. Yet, she copes in a different way. Though young, she deals with her traumas head on, processing her emotions surrounding her traumas in a more conscious and loving manner.

That’s why when Henry asks her how he can learn, as she has, to travel consciously throughout time, she tells him to sing. Why sing? Because his mother was teaching him to sing at the very moment she died triggering Henry’s trauma in the first place. Sadly, Henry let’s his fear and trauma dominate him to the very end. Though he is learning more about love, he is unable to love himself, his wife, or his daughter enough to work through his trauma in a conscious way, so he no longer feels compelled to run away.

But, as I have already said, Henry is not the only time traveler. They are all around us. Let’s pray then that with enough love and courage we can help them all live more fully in the present moment. Then, they will finally find their way back to themselves, their hearts, their homes, and those who love them.

LoveMovies! Resource Match.

Learn some great tips for coping with trauma here.

Time Traveler’s Wife Movie Trailer


Dr. Lisa Love

Copyright © 2009 by Lisa Love & LoveMovies!. All Rights Reserved.

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The Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife


Forgiving, Forgetting, & Boundary Setting

August 24, 2009

Is it really possible, or practical, to forgive and forget if someone is only going to repeat abusive and harmful behaviors? It is, but it requires a little more clarity on the entire process of boundary setting in conjunction with forgiveness.

In the past several years I have become even more savvy on the dynamics of abuse. I have also become aware of how abusers pretty much count on people forgiving them and forgetting about the harm they cause as a way to escape from the consequences of their destructive behaviors.

Which is why I want to draw upon the Christian teachings I was raised on. Because to me Jesus is a major example of forgiveness. Yet, when Jesus famously forgave those around him, at one point he also proclaimed, “Go and sin no more.” In other words, all of us, when we are given the blessing of forgiveness, have at the same time a responsibility to become more conscious of our destructive patterns. And, once aware of them, we need to actively move to change our behaviors so we sin (or harm ourselves and others) no more.

What about forgetting then? Though I have no idea what the roots are of the words forgiving and forgetting, it has not passed by me that the words can easily be broken into “for – giving” and “for – getting.” Looked at this way I can almost imagine acient folks looking at two people who have harmed each other, and then telling them to both step into the center of the room for the purpose of “giving” and “getting.” Or, to put it more simply for the sake of apologizing and making restitution with each other so the scales of justice (or karma) are set right.

Yet, sadly forgiving and forgetting has often turned into, “Ok, I’ll be a nice person and let you off the hook entirely. You don’t have to get conscious. You don’t have to change your behaviors. I’ll just let the whole thing go. And, you can go on being hurtful like you were before.” Quite frankly this is the fundamental reason why abusive relationships continue. Abusive people never have to suffer any consequences for their destructive behaviors. And, their forgiving spouses (who continue to ignore the abuse) end up getting hurt again and again and again.

So, what is the better way to forgive? First, it is true, when you don’t forgive you remain stuck in the past. Your thoughts spin negative. You are not able to create a more positive future for yourself. In many respects you continue the abuse cycle. Only this time instead of the other person harming you, you are harming yourself. That is why forgiveness primarily helps YOU. It helps you let go, move on, and move forward in your life free from the negative impact of the person who wounded you in the first place.

But, it is also true that forgiveness requires being able to stand in a place of spiritual power. As Jesus conveyed, now that the other person has been given a second chance, they now have a responsibility with that chance to become a better person. I am reminded of the famous play and film Les Miserables, which is a major story of forgiveness. In this tale Jean val jon steals silver from the home of the priest and is caught. Though the priest could have easily sent Jean val Jon back to the labor camps, he did not. Instead, he forgave Jean val jon. But, in forgiving him he also requested what he now wanted from Jean val jon (which was the priest’s way of saying what he would be “getting” in return). He said, “With this silver I have bought your soul for God.” Meaning he now held Jean val jon responsible for waking up, setting things right, and becoming a better human being from now on. Thank God, Jean val jon did.

As I see it then real forgiveness requires a great deal of spiritual power and spiritual perspective. To get to this point you do need to use forgiveness to heal enough to embrace more your own value and dignity as a human being. Letting go of your pain will help you get there, which is why forgiveness is a tool that mostly helps you. Once healed and free from the wounds of the past as a powerful and dignified human being, you then have the responsibility to learn about how to better protect yourself from such hurtful behavior. Then, you need to develop the capacity to set boundaries so you prevent that person from wounding you anymore. And, if you can manage it, you can even learn to develop enough spiritual power that with dignity and grace you are able to convey to the person who has harmed you, that in being forgiven, they have a responsibilty to wake up and become a better person.

With these steps everyone gives, everyone gets, and balance is restored for the good of all.


Dr. Lisa Love

Dr. Lisa Love Website

Copyright © 2009 by Lisa Love. All Rights Reserved.

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The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. — Ghandi