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 []