Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Feel Better Now, Ya Hear?

I walked into therapy, flopped on the couch and announced I had a big problem I needed to solve. Liz has the background on Kyd already so I didn't need to go into much. After I told her about events of the last few months she said, "he's really making all of this your problem, isn't he?". 

"YES!", I cried. 

Then we did the exploration thing. How does this or that make me feel, what do I get out of it - and as happens in the company of a good therapist, details came into focus. I won't bore you with every piece of it. The upshot is that I can't handle the anxiety and guilt over Kyd's situation so I pull out the "helping" toolkit and even when it looks like I'm not getting in his business, I'm getting in his business.

Not because I WANT to be in his business. In fact I feel resentful about it all. the. time. As I do with Roi, or with Lexie at times. They all expect that I'll fix the problems, even when they don't think they are. And I don't get a rush out of helping, I feel angry about it, but I do it anyway. I'm not a helper, I'm a martyr. Forever sacrificing myself expecting this will lead to love and respect. It almost never does.

Liz gave me a line to chew on, practice, and apply as needed. "That's not my problem to solve, but I'll help if you'll allow me to." The line between enabling and supporting stays elusive, but this approach helps keep it exposed to the light. I will help (support) if he allows me to -- meaning he becomes amenable to help, has the right attitude for help, and so on. 

Of course there were other tools given. Visualizations, thoughts to contemplate, other lines to use. 

At the end of the hour my anger and frustration had dissipated. I felt softer but firmer, like I could stay connected to Kyd while still keeping distance.

Again I am struck by how lucky I am to have Liz. Finding the right therapist is such a crapshoot and I just got damn lucky for once. She is always gentle, but not so sympathetic and washed out that I want to spit in her eye. She offers clear guidance without making me feel like I'm being given unsolicited orders. She is a master at balancing sympathy with stepping in before I can get fused to a particular emotion or past event.  She helps me see the good in myself without insulting my intelligence and making me forever after distrust her. She is human with me, allowing appropriate glimpses now and again into her life but without drawing me into it.

It makes me want to be her best patient ever. To come home with straight A's in therapy. I imagine my magical future filled with good fortune and rainbows and glitter, all because I was the best patient ever of the best therapist ever, and together we polish my life until it shines, never a blemish again. 

It's a childish wish, but I don't scold myself too harshly. I simply observe that childish hope as it arises and then let it float out the window.


  1. Oh yes, I love her advice. Much better than mine! I knew there was a reason I didn't make $150/hr talking to people..LOL

  2. Oh, your advice was good too. Not really all that different from Liz. Just that she has a way with me that allows me to get in the place I need to be, which is soft and connected and loving, but without losing myself. When I try the tough love technique it always backfires on me. It's just not something that is workable for me given who I am.

    On the flip side, the anxiety driven need to fix doesn't work either. So finding a middle ground that works for me is going to take practice. I do appreciate your advice though! It helps me to remember that I have a right to call the shots in my life. :)