Therapist: “You realize you’re describing domestic abuse”
Me: “Oh no, he’s never hit me.”
Therapist proceeds to explain emotional, psychological and financial abuse.
“Is that going to matter 5 years from now? How about 5 months? 5 day? Will it even matter 5 hours from now? Then why are you wasting more than 5 minutes worrying about it?”
Therapist: “I don’t think you’re happy or know what makes you happy. You’ve spent your whole life trying to make others happy and have never focused on yourself. You’ve worked so hard for a life you can put on a post card (wife, great house and career, etc) but I don’t think you want any of it.”
Me: You’re crazy. Of course I know what makes me happy!
Therapist: Name 5 things.
This conversation made me significantly change my ways and has probably been the single most impactful statement in my entire life.
She was right.
“Why do you keep referring to yourself as having anger issues and emotional issues?”
It was the first time I had even considered that the ‘anger’ issues I was told I had from when I was a small child were just my family not wanting to deal with my emotional needs. I’d been gaslit my whole life to think that all of my emotions were unreasonable and ‘extreme’, when they actually weren’t.
I recently ‘graduated’ from therapy (my choice, with the door always open to go back). It took me 1.5 years to relearn emotions, how to express myself, and not ‘protect’ people from my emotions. I do feel emotions strongly (was diagnosed with ADHD), but none of my reactions are extreme.
“Why do you always seek their approval, when you’ve never approved of their choices?”
This was an eye opener when discussing my parents with her.
If you weren’t related to your relatives, would you be friends with them?….if no, then why does it matter so much to you what they think?
in regards to negative self-talk: “the things that you say about yourself…if your closest friends were depressed and going through a hard time, would you say the same things to them?”
“Whose voice is saying those things?”
She recently told me at the beginning of our sessions I made a lot of negative statements about myself and she asked me that question. I said it’s my voice saying that to me. It’s 16 sessions later and I said something negative and she asked the same question. This time I said the voice is my mum’s. It really helped me realise that all the negative thoughts I have about myself are a product of what I’ve been brought up with. It was completely eye-opening.
Do you think your grief is about the relationship ending or is your grief about what you think could have been and how you thought it was going to be? It was the latter
‘If you had a child, would you let them be around this person?’
‘Why do you feel you don’t deserve to be protected from this kind of person and abuse?’
‘Who is taking care of the child in you that never feels safe?’