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Questioning myself…

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This topic contains 49 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #300089

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I can’t find a sentence you wrote being wrong or untrue to my situation. I can definitely tell you, I look things now with bare eyes… Those family/boyfriend lenses are coming off like scales.

    Truth be told, my parents were not distant really. But they were there emotionally for the good parts. When bad things happened they wanted to repress them, be it anger, bitterness, anxiety, sadness etc… They always say, “other parents don’t have those situations, they don’t have to deal with them because their children are normal, happy, successful etc”. Top that off with being abnormally protective of us, you get a crazy, unsustainable and problematic cocktail. It’s paranoid.

    Although they always support us, financially and accommodate to our needs, spiritually or psychologically that satrted to happen only past me and my sister’s adolescence. For me even worst, that started only a year ago. Now they want to listen to us, they want us to be real friends, to connect etc. And, with my mom is easier, be it because she is a woman too, or because she is milder and a natural talker. My dad just recently started to realize he has lost valuable time with his daughters and that he needs to be a listener and a friend to us.

    They are sweet people and hard-working. They’ve been through a lot and they are caring. But not they way the should I guess.

    Spot on. My anger issues. I don’t have any. And when I do get angry it goes down this way: my sister is so explosive all the time, she gets the household’s tolerance levels to 99.9%. So that ONE time, literally, in months, that I get frustrated, boom! They suppress ME, they get all their anxiety that my sister caused on me. So, it’s like yoy said. I got trained to think anger – bad, obedience – good, in order to emotionally survive.

    My therapist thinks that too. She says I have complete lulack of identity. I’m literally an unknown person to myself. Because I was never allowed to experiment with my looks, tastes or hobbies even. Whenever I would even change my hair color, everyone at home would nag about how I was born blonde and should always be thus. Paranoid.

    My sister is a loooong story. She wanted to get therapy, but she happened to go to a scammer so now she is totally resentful about it. All my hard work convincing her, gone…

    I start to release my anger. Previously (like a month ago) I wouldn’t even stand up for myself, knowing I was wronged or mistreated. Even when a stranger pushed me on the street for example, I wouldn’t say anything, not wanting to be rude. Last week, I released some anger to a car driver that nearly got me injured  (I told him to go and f@ck himself) AND IT FELT SOOOOOOOOO GOOD! I’m still thinking about it and smile. Best moments of my life lol.

    My relationship taught me that however much you please someone doesn’t matter if they’re not ready to receive and give back. And that pleasing is not a healthy way of living. Nor is self sacrifice. Doormat mode starts to slowly get replaced. I just hope I can find myself.

    I will talk with my therapist about that “zoning off” situation. I’ll keep posting here my progress. I don’t want to merely survive another day. I don’t want to be an actress. I want to possess my body, my thoughts, my wants, even my looks!

     

     

     

    #300093

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Good morning Valora

    I know what you mean, yes – it is exactly so. And not just men, some people in general don’t see or are not worthy of having quality in their life. Because quality needs time and personal work… And for lazy self centered minds, that’s just not worth it.

    I had a big talk with myself. And I think I snapped out of it. Or at least that’s a start to reprogramming my self perspective. You and Anita helped me more than you can ever imagine… Truly it isn’t because you told me so and I agreed, it’s because things clicked and like, the fog has cleared. Not magically, but utterly realistically.

    Yes, that poor girl that had him all along, or the new one, are in it for a ride. But you know sometimes, men just click with a woman and change for her. Because some women are just what they need. A boss to them,  a mom. That b*tch archetype men with low emotional abilities need in order to have a guide in their lives.

    I have to start and accept. And I’m making some progress. The past can’t be retrieved for a reason. Because of evolution. Life can’t stop… I would say “I hope I’ll find someone etc…” but to be honest, I don’t give a crap about it any anymore. The constant preoccupation about the future has worn me off. It exhausted me, that’s enough… I’ll try and live. Not think about living.

    #300189

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sofioula:

    When your parents told you, your sister, “other parents don’t have those situations, they don’t have to deal with them because their children are normal, happy, successful etc.”, they communicated to their daughters the following: you are not normal, something is wrong with you and it is unfair to us to have such abnormal daughters, nothing we have done to bring this about!

    “They are sweet people and hard-working”- I am sure they are sweet except they were not at all sweet when they communicated the above message to their daughters!

    “Spot on. My anger issues. I don’t have any… They (parents) suppress ME… So, it’s like you said. I got trained to think anger- bad, obedience- good… I’m literally an unknown person to myself. Because I was never allowed to experiment with my looks, tastes or hobbies even… I want to possess my body, my thoughts, my wants, even my looks!”-

    – you are in for exciting discoveries about yourself, but do accept the distress that will be part of it, that voice in your head (termed “inner critic”) that will rain on your discovery parade, make something that would have been joyful, sometimes uncomfortable and distressing.

    I hope to read from you again and again, read about the answers you discover for all the questions you now have.

    anita

    #300391

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I’m sorry for my late reply. I did a mini internet detox because honestly, I’m wasting so much time online.

    Yep, one hundred percent true. My parents are really lousy at communicating stuff to us. I blame it partially to the age gap, partially to them having us at a young age (my mom being 24 and dad 27) and partially to their own upbringing and influence from their parents.

    The happy part is that even as late as they’ve been to catch up on their flaws and on the reality that we are not robots, they want and try to change! So I’ll be posting for any improvements here.

    Starting this exploration of myself, I decided to do something I wanted ever since I was a kid, a navel piercing. As stupid as it might sound, small changes are a big deal for me. And for the first time in my life, I don’t really give a crap if anyone is displeased.

    Secondly is that for the past 3 days, I detached sooooo much from my anxiety about the future. I have been giving no thought to it and it’s amazingly satisfying :-D. As for the present moment, I try and think with my own perspective and release those thought patterns, ideas and taboos my parents and grandparents embedded on my brain. I always wanted to live a life that would make my parents and grandparents proud. Now I want to make ME happy. That’s my priority.

    With the ex situation, I’ve been highly progressing and letting go. I even saw a dream about how he wanted a second change and I was so apathetic about it, in the dream and after I woke up as well. I don’t think about him any more, nor do I get panic attacks. So I’m letting him go.

    On another note, do you have any advice on how to communicate better with my therapist on our sessions? I feel I drift and don’t focus on what’s important. I go there to find myself yet, I go on talking and she doesn’t much. Any ideas?

    #300399

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sofioula:

    “I always wanted to live a life that would make my parents and grandparents proud. Now I want to make ME happy. That’s my priority”- excellent shift of priorities !

    Regarding your therapist, you should ask her the question, “how to communicate better with my therapist on our sessions?”- it is her job to answer such a question and suggest and then implement ways to better communicate.

    My experience with psychotherapists is that not all therapists are created equal, far from it. Many therapists are not good at it. Many therapists are not quality therapists and they just sit there, maybe smiling at times, maybe nodding, not saying much except “our time is up” when the 50 minutes are over. Or if they say something.. it is something they  shouldn’t say. Lots of therapists did not resolve their own childhood issues, still holding on to false core beliefs.

    If you want, tell me more about your sessions with her, how many sessions did you have so far, what did she tell you in the first session about what therapy will be like or about? As sessions progressed, when you share something with her, how did she respond (example or two)?

    anita

     

    always wanted to live a life that would make my parents and grandparents proud. Now I want to make ME happy. That’s my priority.

    On another note, do you have any advice on how to communicate better with my therapist on our sessions? I feel I drift and don’t focus on what’s important. I go there to find myself yet, I go on talking and she doesn’t much. Any ideas?

    #300489

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Good evening Anita,

    I had approximately 8 to 9 sessions with her. I found her through google, she is near where I live and happens to be on of the most famous psychotherapists in the country (been on tv, magazines etc).

    To be honest I didn’t make much of that aspect. I chose her because of the proximity and gender factor. I felt I could open up better to a fellow woman about such intimate stuff.

    She is down to earth, literally a woman next door, just like an aunt or your mom’s best friend, that type of thing. So she is familiar and that’s comforting. She engages in conversations with me, asks me about seemingly random things about me and then ties them together to make a case. I don’t know if I make any sense right now lol.

    But I feel she focuses too much on my family and history and less on actually worhking with me to help me find myself. Because she was the one who said that we should work together to help me find who I truly am.

    Another thing is she gives me examples about patients she has (of course without any names) and from her own lofe as well. It helps but, I need the heavy stuff. My fear is that I give money to talk, which helps, but doesn’t solve my issues at core. I want to see changes. It comes with time and consistency and effort but nevertheless, it has to start happening.

    Do you make anything of it? 🙂

     

    #300507

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sofioula:

    Given you had more than a few sessions,  8-9, reads to me that you are paying her money so to have the privilege of talking to and having conversations with a woman who feels like an aunt, who down to earth and yet a famous woman who has been on TV and magazines.

    You wrote this about your therapist: “My therapist thinks that too. She says I have complete lack of identity. I’m literally an unknown person to myself… she was the one who said that we should work together to help me find who I truly am”-

    – if she told you these words, that you “have a complete lack of identity”, she was completely wrong. It is not true that you are “literally an unknown person to (yourself)”. I will point to you in this very post a lot of your identity, who you truly are, all to follow is based on what you posted:

    You know in great detail what kind of boyfriend/ partner you want: a man who will text you often and see you a few times a week, being on time to every date and give you a ride home following every date, and if you have trouble at home, offer that you stay with him in his place; a man who will compliment and praise you, tell you that he loves you and that you are very important in his life (“the best person he ever had… someone valuable you don’t want to lose from your life”), care about your feelings, be sad when you are sad, will communicate during conflict (not give you the silent treatment),  and apologize when he is wrong;  a man who will introduce you to his parents, friends (go on double dates, attend parties and gatherings) and colleagues, and post about you on social media; a man who will hold your hand, kiss, touch and hug you a lot, and give you occasional gifts, particularly flowers.

    You value and take pride in being strong and capable, independent financially and otherwise, having and presenting an attractive face and body, being in good physical shape, having lots of formal higher education, speaking different languages, and being sweet to others : “I’m strong and capable of working and doing things on my own.. the survivor, the fighter, the logical one and the sweetness… ‘hot’ body.. I workout, I’m bond, have green eyes, wear makeup and take care of myself… I have graduated from Greece’s best university, speak 6 foreign languages (with diplomas), have a job on my own, never asked for money.. or any favors”.

    You want to be sweet to others but not “a people’s pleaser, a yes girl and non assertive at all”. You want to express all of your emotions, including your repressed emotions, “be it anger, bitterness, anxiety, sadness etc.”.

    So you see, you are far from being a complete unknown to yourself or to me. Now, question: did your therapist point to you any of these things about yourself, and if she did, did she suggest how you and her can work together so to help you become more of who you are (strong, capable, independent, attractive, etc. and needing to be treated well in relationships)… and less of who you are not (an emotionally repressed, obedient people pleaser, and accepting bad treatment from a man)?

    anita

     

    #300631

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    This past week has been a bliss. Total silence in my head, Tranquility and peace. Never felt so awake or relieved. I hope it lasts. Living in the present moment is amazing. I can’t believe I do it! It’s emotional to think about how I no longer think about the future. Sounds silly, but it means the world to me.

    I read your response yesterday but wanted to deeply think about it, process it and meditate on it. Turns out, it makes sense. I know who I am, but I guess I mistake my “lack of self awareness” with “fluidity of tastes”. And I guess that’s fine by me. My therapist insists that the root of all my problems, anxiety, failed relationships in life and oppression by others is that I am not fixed on my ideas, tastes even the fact that as kid had no set professional goals (for example I want to be a teacher growing up). So she claims that lack of identity creates lack of goals which creates openness to susceptibility and exploitation by others. She goes on saying that almost all kids create a standart identity at the age of 14 and onward and that I skipped that process (adolescence) because I had the repression and molding from my family.

    It makes sense but for the most part, I don’t know anyone that has their sh*t together 100% of the time. Some people have set tastes and other like me are more fluid. But on the core aspects of my life as you pointed out, I know what I want and need. And that’s a strong indicator of my identity.

    She only said that I need a loooot of work and that she would give me exercises and “homework” to better myself but still no sign of that… She is against group therapy, self improvement books, articles and magazines saying, not one duet is suitable for all people. One thing that concerns me is that once I overheard (unintentionally) her session with another client whilst on the waiting room. That woman was being cheated from her husband,he had no respect or care for her, causing her immense pain, and because she has 2 kids and no job, my therapist said that she should try and fix her marriage. That it would be a loss on her part financially, that she should not let that other woman win and that women with no income can’t divorce and should stay even if the couple lives totally different lives. That made me sick to my stomach…

    Truthfully, I got so much help from Tiny Buddhas than I did with my therapist, books, videos etc. I don’t know if I should change therapist or completely abandon the practice.

     

    #300671

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sofioula:

    The past week being “a bliss. Total silence in my head, tranquility and peace. Never felt so awake or relieved”- enjoy this emotional state and remember it, commit it to your emotional memory so that you can return to it in the future when you need to.

    “My therapist insists that… I am not fixed on my ideas, tastes even the fact that as a kid had no set professional goals (for example I want to be a teacher growing up). So she claims that lack of identity creates lack of goals which creates openness to susceptibility to the exploitation by others”-

    – you wrote that “It makes sense”, I disagree. It makes no sense. All the identity a child needs so to grow up to be a healthy, content adult is to know she is lovable. The child doesn’t need to know what profession she will have in the future (that idea is quite idiotic, really). She needs to know she is safe and loved. Add to it guidance such as how to behave assertively, and the child is golden. Your therapist has a nonsensical theory that doesn’t fit reality and she is trying to understand you according to her nonsensical theory.

    She told you, “she would give me exercises and ‘homework’ to better myself but still no sign of that”- so she doesn’t follow through with what she says.

    When she told another client, a woman in a bad marriage to fix the marriage because “it would be a loss on her part financially… that women with no income can’t divorce”- well, women without income can’t pay a therapist, can they. Maybe that was her concern.

    “I don’t know if I should change therapist or completely abandon the practice”- what do you mean by “abandon the practice”?

    anita

    #300719

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Good evening first of all! I talked about this with myself (internally of course). It does seem stupid and non logical as you point out. When she actually told me that, I told her the truth: my first dream was to study law and become a judge, but I was talked out of it, as I am not a person to memorize easily and law school is 80% memorizing, well, laws. My second, biggest dream and the one that gives me pain to the gut for not achieving, was to become an opera singer. I was successful at passing the audition for the conservatory and got in, but my parents couldn’t afford it so that flopped. Add in my parents disregard of it as an actual job, it died. Her answer to all of this was that I’m wrong, that those were never my goals because if they were, I would have done everything to achieve them. They were an illusion of having it all together in my mind. Simply, not true. I disagreed then and still do now.

    So, I told her I was considering studying for law school. Now at age 25, having a stable job with a good income, having been done with my studies, single and with ample free time (plus I work at a law firm and the people there want to support me on this), I can give it a shot. After all if it doesn’t work, or it does and I change my mind, I’ll not be on the loosing side. She said that it would be a waste of tume and of the finest of my years trying to achieve the impossible and that I would end up marriage-less and childless. Go figure…

    What I meant with abandoning the practice is that I’m considering not going to a therapist again. True I make a good income for the standards of my country but, I don’t want to lose more time or money to gain nothing and just chat. Is there hope in therapy?

    #300735

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sofioula:

    “Is there hope in therapy?”- yes, but not in the “therapy” you are receiving. What you are getting for your money seeing this particular person is not therapy: it does not and cannot lead you toward better mental health.

    This woman is one of many who are certified as a practicing therapist but she is not competent.  I saw quite a few therapists, all certified, before I came across the first competent, professional therapist (2011), who is not perfect  (no one is) but he made sense (unlike the woman you have been seeing), said he will give me homework following every session.. and he did (He took his time emailing me homework assignments after each session). He gave his job all that he had and I appreciate him a whole lot.

    I know of certified therapists who are mentally unhealthy, even dysfunctional ( I still remember a therapist I saw who wore two shoes from two different pairs.. and it was not a fashion statement). Anyway, I digress. My suggestion: no longer see this woman.  Better see none than this particular person. She is significantly … harmful, too bad for all the people she is hurting!

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  anita.
    #300787

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Good morning Anita,

    Oh that’s so considering of him! I’m glad this therapist was such a professional. It’s really rare nowadays to get the quality work you pay for.

    On the contrary my therapist doesn’t even pick up the phone when I call her. She would only receive sms texts through her “receptionist” which I never laid eyes on… I think she’s a ghost lol.

    And correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t this unprofessional for therapy? I mean I know you can’t nag your therapist outside your sessions but, uf for example I’m desperate, something happened: panic attack, suicudal thought etc, aren’t they obligated to pick up the phone and help you, as any other doctor would in case of an emergency? Well, she clearly doesn’t. Nor has she ever said that she’s here for me whatever should happen.

    I want to confess something, I don’t have friends. As in real friends.  Friendly acquaintances that’s all I have. People who don’t even care to call for a coffee or stand by side when times are rough. True I talk with many people but if I suddenly fo missing, they wouldn’t call or text. They didn’t help me through my breakup or anything ever. So I have cut tues with ALL those people for over a month now. Sometimes it gets too lonely but, it’s better than faking bliss.

    I give everything to people who I consider friends. In return I get nothing. Not in material stuff (which even then there’s no equal give and take) but emotionally. I told my therapist that I don’t know who other people do it, how do they make lasting friendships? She told me she doesn’t trust her friends either and that even if I did have friends , I shouldn’t trust them and ask for their advice because that’s what psychologist are for, not friends. Sad.

     

    #300805

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sofioula:

    It is almost unbelievable, the things she told you. Let’s see… if you do listen to her and do not trust anyone’s advice but hers, I suppose you will not trust my advice to drop her as your therapist. I suppose you will ask her if she thinks that you should drop her, and her answer will be: I am glad you asked. No, you shouldn’t drop me, not as long as you are paying me.

    Regarding my therapist at the time (2011-2013, saw him last before I moved states), I called and emailed him any time I needed to and he returned my call or email every time, not immediately but the moment he received my message and had the time to do so. He spent quite a bit of time on emails, composing my homework and otherwise and didn’t charge for that time. As a matter of fact, he went over the session time if he didn’t have a client scheduled many times, no extra charge.

    Regarding your question about emergencies, psychotherapists are not required to be available to the client 24/7, not at all. No rule (here, US, at least) requiring a therapist to be available to a client more than those 50 minutes per session. In emergencies, the instruction of all health care professionals is to call Emergency (911)

    You wrote: “I give everything to people who I consider friends. In return I get nothing”- I want to ask a question that I think is relevant to giving everything and receiving nothing. It is regarding the ex boyfriend- you were in his place, had a fever, and although he had a fancy, expensive car, he didn’t give you a ride home. Instead, you took three buses home, while having a fever. Question is- how did that happen… it is almost unbelievable that he would do that, send you out with a fever, how did it come about, was there a conversation, or a fight, an argument… were you angry at him, was there a break in the relationship because of that night or did you resume the relationship as if nothing happened?

    anita

    #300817

    Sofioula
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank God I’m not the only one to think this way. I knew what she was saying to me was controversial at least. And as a matter of fact everyone in my family and some of my “friends” told me to drop her. But I wanted to explore this route.

    Your therapist sounds like a proper professional and honest person! No, I mean, here in Greece it is obligatory to answer all your patients calls or text etc in case of an emergency. Because you care for their emotional health, you carry the responsibility if they live another day let’s say. And of course, I would never misuse this to gain more free time of therapy. I’m too decent for that hehehe.

    Regarding what you asked, there are 2 separate times that happened. First time I was miserably sick and almost unable to speak, I was Giving him hints of how unwell I am, how much in pain I am (you know when you want to make someone do a favor to you but without asking, just “prompting them, not in their face type of thing). Well he did get the” message” and he said : “maybe you shouldn’t have come here sweetie if you were that unwell”, “I feel so bad putting you throught this”, “why don’t you call your dad to come pick you up?”. No fights no arguments nothing. I was stupid coward and facking shy. So he dropped me casually like any other day to the metro station, getting off immediately, not even waiting with me for the train to arrive. As usual.

    The second time was when again I was in tge worst condition ever, where the same scenario played out, but instead, because I was also with fever as you mentioned, I found the courage and asked him to his face. He said : “swetie I would, but I fear the paint on the car is not yet dried”. His car was painted on Friday and it was Sunday morning. At that time I didn’t know that when cars get painted go to a furnace type of thing and when the come out are COMPLETELY dry and ready to go. So he insisted he couldn’t and that I should call my dad. I told him my papa couldn’t. Then he offered to drop me with the motorcycle to another metro station, so that I could take 2 trains instead of the usual 3. I declined because the point was to get protected for the wind and the cold. Getting on a motorcycle AND having to go through the trouble made no sense. At last he gave up, took the car and dropped me at my place whilst all fhe way being frustrated and pissed he had to endure the traffic ( the roads were basically empty).

    After both those incidents I texted him how I thank him so very much and how I appreciate all that he does for me and our relationship. That he is my blessing and that i am proud of him. He would say the same things sometimes but never that long of a text. Usually he would sent emotional emojis, hearts etc.

    And now dear Anita, laugh with me please as we realize how naive (to say the least) I’ve been.

     

    #300825

    Sofioula
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Oh and I forgot to say, yes we continued our relationship as usual. There was no break and not even a thought about it. When I was to think about it, it was either in the form of fear of losing him or in a form of a nightmare. I would say I was utterly blind to all his mistreatment and flaws but see, with zero experience I thought all of this was normal, my brain didn’t have that information to make the connection. Plus he used to say whenever I shyly “challenged” him (and that I think was my instinct trying to protect me/wake me up) that all men are like that. Imagine, even until this very post “Questioning myself” I still thought I could have made a mistake leaving him and that he maybe had true feelings for me!!! I used to picture him getting sad and teary, missing me…. Pathetically oblivious.</p>

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