Posts tagged with "therapy"

Damaged Goods

I have to write this so I can admit it to myself.

I have to write this because I can’t think of anything else nowadays, except for how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning.

I’ve been reading a book my therapist recommended to me a long time ago, the one that deals with lifetraps. In one of the first chapters, it goes through each lifetrap by first explaining a “core need”, which is something a child should have in order to thrive. It goes through examples on how we should have been raised, and how a healthy mind will grow from that. Then it explains how the lifetrap may develop if that core need isn’t met, by giving examples of destructive childhood environments.

And for almost every lifetrap in the book, I saw my own childhood in those examples of destructive environments, such as the one about “Self-esteem”:

Self-esteem is the feeling that we are worthwhile in our personal, social, and work lives. It comes from feeling loved and respected as a child in our family, by friends, and at school.

Ideally we would all have had childhoods that support our self-esteem. We would have felt loved and appreciated by our family, accepted by peers, and successful at school. We would have received praise and encouragement without excessive criticism or rejection.

But this may not have happened to you. Perhaps you had a parent or sibling who constantly criticized you, so that nothing you did was acceptable. You felt unlovable.

As an adult, you may feel insecure about certain aspects of your life.

When I was reading that, all I could think of was one specific incident from my childhood. I was young enough that my mom would bathe me, and she would do it in the en suite bathroom of the master bedroom. One day, she came to dry me off with a towel, and both the bathroom door and the bedroom curtains were open. I told her to close the door, because I was self-conscious about being seen naked by the neighbours across the street. I was really upset about it, and instead of walking two feet to close the door, she laughed and said, “You’re no Tom Cruise”, and left it open. From that point, I’ve had this irrepressible feeling that I’m never attractive enough for someone to even be interested in seeing me naked.

And that was just one example. My childhood was filled with so many such memories, each one branching into other lifetraps.

I’ve never wondered why I have self-esteem issues. I fucking hate how self-conscious I am, because I know the extent of that self-consciousness isn’t normal. I’ve struggled with issues like that my entire life, and I can trace everything back to my parents. It fills me with rage to know that they damaged me to the point where I feel so overwhelmed by my flaws that sometimes I’d rather be dead.

If I were ever to commit suicide — and at this point I feel like I can’t rule out the possibility of this anymore — I’d say that my parents would be 55% responsible1, with my mom sharing more of that blame than my dad.

I hope she reads this one day. I hope my entire family reads this. I hope all my cousin’s moms read this, because they usually try to defend her. I want everyone to know that if I die by my own hand one day, I blame my mom more than anything else in the world. I want parents to know that they have a responsibility to their kids because they’re people too, that they have to treat them properly, and that I was an example of what happens when you don’t.

This is starting to sound like a suicide note, and it’s scaring me. Good thing I’ve always been a rational person, and I still recognize that suicide is an irrational decision for me at this moment. Sometimes, I watch suicide videos just to shock myself into realizing how final, irreversible, and horrible that decision is.

I’m at a lot better than where I was two years ago, before I went to therapy, but I’m still far from being fixed. I can admit that to myself now.

  1. The other 45% being my own inability to deal with these things, but I attribute that to temperament, which is inborn and hence not their fault. []

On The Mend

My therapist has the curious habit of pushing his lower lip into his upper gums when thinking. He also has a very particular way of talking, and sometimes I wonder if I could imitate him.

I went into my session feeling great, and left with a little more modesty than when I started. I may pride myself on my self-awareness, but he’s always there to remind me that some problems are rooted in my subconscious. While my feeling of emptiness has disappeared, there are still a few underlying issues, such as why I started to feel that emptiness in the first place. He said that when we meet again that it should be on a regular basis, and I shouldn’t wait for a crisis to begin fixing issues. I agreed, but wanted to give things a chance on my own first, armed with this new-found enlightenment.

He approaches my situation from such a perpendicular perspective. It’s always a view I’ve never considered before. When I first went to see him, it was for my anxiety attacks. Not for the other deep-rooted emotional problems I had (and was unaware of). Sometimes, I wonder if we’ll ever get to the point where he’ll say to me, “You know what, Jeff, I don’t think you need to come here anymore.”

My Therapist is a Rockstar

As I was writing notes for therapy tomorrow1, I was doing some research on lifetraps and came across a short paragraph that cleared up everything for me to the point where I didn’t feel like I needed to keep my appointment. It was the answer I didn’t even know I was looking for.

Now the feeling of emptiness that’s followed me for so long is gone, and everything makes sense. I feel stable again, though there’s still a hint of doubt because I’ve been here before but it’s never been anything permanent.

I’m still going tomorrow so I can solidify my new-found understanding. I don’t think it’s going to be a regular thing again, I just need the bit of guidance he gives me that lets me fix myself. I can’t explain how good it felt to make the appointment, knowing I had someone with a professional education and years of experience in this to give me an objective view. My friends are always there to support me, but they don’t make sense of the world for me the way my therapist does.

  1. This is the first time I’ll be bringing notes, only because I’m trying to cover such a complex topic that I want to be sure I’m not missing anything. []

Fishing Without A Hook

I’ve been living the strangest existence lately. It’s been a life without structure or meaning. I wonder what I’ll think of this phase of my life when I look back in five years.

Some days are easier than others. Sometimes, it’s a struggle just to find a reason to exist.

I have to admit that every pain, every sadness is inspiring. It may make my fingers bleed and my lungs ache, but the pure emotion that comes out of it is worth it, because that means I’m feeling something, instead of the numbness that scares me most.

My one mistake was trying to forget someone, when instead I should have been trying to forget life in general. I’ve always had the habit of thinking too much, and not doing enough. I’ve been trying to set goals to get somewhere, when it’s working toward those goals that’s the important part.

I made an appointment with my therapist again1, because something is definitely wrong with me right now. It feels like I have the world at my fingertips. I have so much time and opportunity on my side. I laugh at the right jokes. I dance at the right songs. It’s all staring me in the face, but everything still feels empty.

I’m not looking for answers. I just want to stop asking questions.

  1. I haven’t been back since last October []