I saw my new therapist again yesterday. I’m getting a little better about not comparing her with my rose-colored memories of C*, but I’m still not clear on why I’m remembering him in such soft focus. I didn’t like him so well when I was seeing him every week! In fact, I was extremely frustrated with my sessions with him and grumbled about him constantly, including on this blog. Maybe it’s that the last time I spoke with him I was in a really, really good place. Maybe I’m just o’n’ry** and am predisposed to gritch and moan about whatever therapist I’m currently seeing.
My sessions with S are really different from the sessions I had with C. I cry a LOT more now and we talk about completely different things. It’s kind of strange because I’m certainly not trying to behave any differently in my sessions, and I’m not consciously directing the conversation any differently, but we’re just going to totally different*** places than before. I guess the Story of My Dysfunction runs a little deeper than I had suspected.
Yesterday S asked me if I ever get angry. I had to think about that for a minute. I think there are two kinds of anger: there’s Righteous Political Anger on Behalf of the Downtrodden, which I have in spades, and there’s the actual emotion of anger that people feel when something happens in their lives. That’s the one I think I’m missing.
S thinks I’m angry whether I know it or not. She thinks I reflexively take any anger I might feel, legitimate or not, and direct it right back at myself.
She does have a point.
Yesterday she called my self-talk “abusive.” More than once. And she only knows about the parts I’m willing to say out loud.
That woke me up. Abusive? Really? If anyone else was saying to me what I regularly say to myself, I would call it abuse without a second thought. Am I my own abuser? There are no shelters for that. But I don’t want to trivialize real abuse, what so many people (most of them women and children) face at the hands of people who are supposed to love and care for them, by using that fraught and powerful word for something that’s going on inside my own head.
So what do I call it instead? And even if the word is off-limits, is S right? And more importantly, how do I stop?
*Who understood me perfectly and always knew exactly what to say. All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Ah, there’s nothing like a little revisionist history to get the blood flowing!
**How do you spell that, anyway? “Ornery,” with its three distinct syllables, doesn’t really convey the tone I want but I don’t think randomly sprinkling apostrophes through the word really does it either.
***Evidently my mental thesaurus is out to lunch. That was a lot of “different.” Sorry folks!