Shame on Me
Sarah Mohan

I always judge the shit out of my own feelings, and my therapist always tells me there’s nothing wrong with having feelings, it’s what you do with the feelings that matters. In other words, judge your actions, not your feelings.

So it’s okay to feel angry but not to beat the shit out of the person you’re angry with. That’s what my therapist tells me, anyway.

There’s a part of me that doesn’t care about anyone else too. To borrow something Irvin Yalom’s psychoanalyst, Olive Smith, told him once, “I think that’s just how we’re built.”

As for your therapist, for what it’s worth, I think your anger is normal and healthy, and you should most certainly express it. I’m of the opinion that feelings, doubts, fears, concerns, etc. not expressed in therapy will get in the way of progress. Disclosure is probably the most important thing in successful therapy.

I understand your feeling frustrated that your therapist isn’t better able to help you and that you now have to tell her what to do, to help her help you, essentially. After all, she’s the professional, and aren’t you paying her good money to know what to do?

I’m pretty much in the same boat. For this sort of thing, I think it’s helpful to keep in mind that therapists are human. They’re not omniscient, and they’re not omnipotent. They may be better at dealing with certain problems than they are at dealing with other problems. And, sometimes, what we want, what we know we need, isn’t what they’re trained to do. But if the therapist is competent and if they really care about doing the right thing, I think it is is possible to get what you need from them, even if it’s not what they’re trained to do. You just have to help them a little. It can be frustrating, but it’s also okay, in the sense that we’re all just fellow travelers on this crazy road called life. No one is perfect. Everyone is confused. And maybe it’s okay to help each other along.

I think it helps to keep things in perspective, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express your anger towards your therapist. Feelings, especially negative feelings, need to be expressed. The parts of you that are angry need to be heard, and they deserve to be heard.

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