Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Therapy Thursday: Don’t Go to a Hardware Store for Tomatoes

pocket therapist front cover small.jpgI have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.
I don’t think I’ve ever left a bakery infuriated that they didn’t have any hamburger meat, or left a butcher shop disappointed they didn’t stock any cucumbers.
But I have done exactly that in so many of my relationships.
I invested my heart over and over again into a friendship that couldn’t nurture me in the way I needed. I was determined to find unconditional love with a relative who was more interested in his golf game than in my report cards. Continually, I’d walk to the well, hoping that I might draw a few spoonfuls of water, only to retract a parched bucket.
“Love me, please, just love me,” I’d beg the person who was incapable of loving me back.
Now I’m getting smarter. For a confidence boost I don’t write to a gal who delights in belittling me. To feel safe and loved, I don’t call up my former boss who hated me or the ex-boyfriend who fancied my friends more than me.
I try my best to go to the bakery for bread.


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  • Elizabeth

    Ugh…amen! I have done this SO MUCH in my life.
    Last year when I read your book “The Pocket Therapist,” I tagged this page and highlighted every word because it is so right on!
    I still find myself doing this with people despite the fact that I not only understand the dynamics at play but I also know that I shouldn’t go to the hardware store for tomatoes. Yet, I just seem to fall into it before I know what is happening. Then later when I discover that all my co-dependent symptoms have intensified, I can usually trace it back to “going to the hardware store for tomatoes” in my relationships. In fact, I’ll often tell my Mom, “well, I went to the hardware store for tomatoes again with ____”(fill in a name of a friend or an acquaintance).
    Thanks for explaining it all so well,

  • clare

    “But I will call on God, and the LORD will rescue me.”
    –Psalm 55:16

  • Belleo

    Love me, please, just love me,” I’d beg the person who was incapable of loving me back
    Read more:
    I hear you Therese . I have done it . Now that the focus is off me , I’ve taken it off me and I go to the other meaning I give instead of wanting love . And as we both know love means than personal fulfilment .Agape showing the love of God is important to me . It has heavenly rewards I read somewhere that one who searches for love is lost . That explained to me why I kept dreaming I was lost . Now that I have learned to forget my needs whatever they may be I find myself so much closer to our good Lord . My mental health is so much better

  • Anne Costa

    Reminds me of the woman at the well. She went looking for the counterfeit, second rate kind of living water and found the real thing… I’ve come to discover the well is within me and I have, with God’s help and grace found a way to love myself by receiving His love
    I am the bakery, He is the Bread of my life.

  • klwm

    I never really thought about my need for approval (from EVERYONE) in this way…thank you so much for this insight.

  • Dunamus3

    Although many hardware store carry tomato plants, they need to be cultivated and nurtured in order to flourish. It has been my experience to find disappointment each time I have expected something from someone who was incapable of giving it. Regardless to good intentions.
    Thanks for the article.

  • Deb

    Thanks for posting this…I’ve had to remind myself of this NUMEROUS times in my life.
    I first learned that phrase at a Codependency retreat at Caron in 1993…they phrased it as “Don’t go to the hardware store for bread”….but basically the same idea.
    It took me YEARS to finally “get” the empty well concept. I can’t (and won’t) get what I need and desire from my narcissist mother and/or narcisist ex-boyfriend (does anybody see a pattern here)? LOL

  • Donna

    Therese & Anne hit it on the nail. Why do we accept second best, like the woman at the well, when we are all 1st rate in God’s eyes. I also need to stop beating myself up about things that maybe I can’t change right now, because I have to wait until it’s God’s time for me. Thank you all. I got something out of all of you.

  • Bridge

    Thanks for posting that statement; because I needed to hear that. I am just starting to practice not contacting people who wants to use their words to cut me down. Thank you for that comment/confirmation; because I am working at it. Life is much more peaceful–without me shopping for love on the wrong isle. This lines up with the word my Pastor taught in Bible Study Wed. night.

  • Felicia

    I truly enjoyed this article because I am and having always struggled with the thought of someone loving me just anybody reach out give me a hug. This article helped me open my eyes to one of the many issues in my life, and I will try to take heed in the advice.

  • S

    Therese this is a post that is meant for people like me. I keep hoping that the most good looking and dashingly handsome guy loves me more than he loves his own reflection in the mirror and pay no attention to the guy behind thick glasses who calls me or texts me when I am feeling really low…Dunno how he does that.. It is true that we keep looking for love where the person is just incapabale of giving.And when he turns out to be a jerk (Surprise???) do we realize that we have done the exact same thing to so many people who did like us and had genuine interest in us. So next time look closely the love of your life maybe nearer than u think. Stop lookin out for a knight in shining armour to come galloping down the street and carry u to his castle high atop the mountain and make crazy passionate love all night. For all u knw he may not even leave behind his number behind by the time u wake up and perform the world’s best vanishing act…
    PS:Never happened to me…ahem !!

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