Is This Normal: Melissa

Melissa writes:

Dear Dr. Phil,

I love to skydive. I started jumping a year ago, and I already have 10 jumps under my belt. Unfortunately, on my last jump, I hit the ground too hard and ended up in the hospital for three days with a lower back fracture. My husband has never liked the idea of me skydiving, and now he's refusing to let me return to the sport. If it were up to me, I'd literally take the plunge again. Dr. Phil, is it normal for me to go against my husband's wishes and skydive again, or should I get out while I'm still alive?

Thank you,

Melissa joins the show via Web cam because she can't travel while she's recovering from her injury.

"What happened? Did your chute not open?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, the equipment worked fine. It was operator error on my part," she says, explaining that she didn't execute her landing correctly.

"So you actually threw the brakes on at 20 feet instead of 10, right?"

"Right, and then I proceeded to land on my butt, which isn't really recommended," Melissa says.

"Are you afraid you would hurt yourself again?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Well, there's always that risk," she says, "but at the same time, I feel that I've learned some valuable lessons in a technical sense, and I could carry that through and incorporate that into my skydiving. Whereas my husband, he literally uses language that he's terrified and that just makes me sad to think he's so scared."


"Look, here's the deal: What you're talking about is a negotiation," Dr. Phil tells her. "In order to negotiate, you've got to do two things. Number one, you've got to see things through his eyes. If you want to win this negotiation, you've got to figure out what's bothering him, and it doesn't sound to me like he's trying to hold you back, or doesn't want you to have fun or anything of the sort. It probably is a genuine fear for your safety. So you've got to speak to the fear. You've got to convince him that you now have the competence to do this, that you're now going to do tandem jumps, or whatever the case is going to be so he says, ‘OK, this is a reasonable risk. I looked at the risk/reward ratio. Her joy level is really high, and the risk level is really low.' I bet you can talk him into it. Let me know if you do."

"OK, I certainly will," she says.