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Florence Nightingale: Nursing the Wounded
Andy Bustanoby
(C) April 2, 2005

     This is not about battle casualties.  It's about a different kind of

   It's unfortunate that this famous nurse of the Crimean War and British
   nursing history should be associated with a problematic type of
   female.  As a marriage and family therapist for twenty-five years, I
   have counseled many females who often are called by counselors,
   "Florence Nightingales".

   This personality most often seeks counseling as a result of an
   impending divorce or the breakup of a long-term relationship--following
   a series of unsuccessful marriages or relationships.  Her history is
   one in which she is attracted to men who have trouble getting their act
   together.  They seem unable to control their spending, or hold a decent
   job, or have been through several marriages or unmarried relationships
   of their own.  Often they are alcoholics or drug users.  They tend to
   be withdrawn, perhaps hostile; or soft-spoken, quiet, and dependent or
   self-effacing.  They appear to be needy men.

   But what Florence has never come to terms with in her own life is that
   she needs to be needed, and how her need can result in destructive

   It may seem strange, but she is not attracted to a male who is
   competent and self-reliant.  Out of touch with her own need to be
   needed, she doesn't understand why relationships with this type of man
   don't work.  She doesn't understand that it's because he's not the
   needy type.

   Florence, if you are out there, the first clue that you are in danger
   is this.  When you see the kind of troubled man I described above, your
   big (but misguided) heart says, This man needs my help; he has never
   known a woman like me; I know exactly what he needs.

   I know--you feel his wounds in his battle for survival.  But believe
   me, even though your old wounds from previous relationships may have
   healed, you are due for more.  And the sad thing about it is this.  He
   won't even notice that you are bleeding.

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