The Work is Hella Real — Conversations with therapists

Me: I think something is wrong with me. I feel this obsession to connect with people. I don’t know how to be alone. I’ve never been alone. I need to do a better job at not wanting.

Therapist: Have you thought about how your heart may be desiring connection and rather than closing yourself off to that you could follow what your heart desires?

Me: No. My heart must be confused. What it should want — is to be fine by itself. Are you sure I am not crazy?

Therapist: Let me try this. What do you do when you are hungry?

Me: (Eye-roll) Eat.

Therapist: Then why starve yourself?

Me: I see what you are saying. But how can I be sure I’m not crazy?

Therapist: It could be that your psyche is preparing you for connection. Remember when we distinguished that sometimes anticipation can be confused as anxiety? Your intuition always seems to be right. Maybe you could just trust yourself.

Me: I’m not sure I’m that trustworthy. Plus, then I have to admit that I have this need to meet people and I have to put myself out there. And what if people see me or I look desperate, or needy, or obsessive or worse — crazy?

Therapist: Because you want to meet people?

Lets try it this way, remember when we first met you were craving a bigger life and you wanted to have more meaningful connections? Your heart was longing for connection. Remember what happened when you listened?

Me: Yes, I found out my husband had an affair and I got a divorce. See what happens when I listen. Everything I don’t want to happen comes true! My intuition is that powerful! How do I turn it off so I don’t become crazy?

Therapist: It makes sense you would want to connect to others. You are figuring out what you like and who you are now in relationships and what you want.

What you could do is create more opportunities for you to be around people to connect with.

Me: Like go to the bars? I don’t even drink.

Therapist: A lot of people meet online now.

Me: I can’t even…

(Conversation thematically repeats 6.75 more times until I almost get it).

(Later that night with best friend who happens to be a therapist)

Best Friend Therapist: What do you think your problem is with not wanting to meet people online?

Me: I don’t know. I feel like I shouldn’t have to do that to meet people. I’ve never had to do that. I’ve met plenty of people.

Best Friend Therapist: (Enter silence only therapists understand how to manufacture in such a way that you must to think about yourself. Deeply and uncomfortably. And then, they wait until you not only think it — you admit it).

Me: Maybe I’m afraid that it will mean I am just like everybody else.

Best Friend Therapist: Well, what will happen if you are?

Me: It will mean that there is nothing special about me.

Best Friend Therapist: So if you go online to meet people to date it means that you are the average person. Like everybody else?

Me: (Ego shouts: “Don’t fucking answer that, whatever you do, say nothing”).

Best Friend Therapist: (Enter silence only therapists understand how to manufacture in such a way that you must to think about yourself. Deeply and uncomfortably. And then, they wait until you not only think it — you admit it).

Me: Yeah. It will mean I’m just average. Like everybody else. What do I have when I am like everybody else? I don’t have a fallback plan. And if I’m like everybody else that means that I need people like everybody else. My fallback plan is not to have need. Needs are the issue. I must not be ready to date.

Best Friend Therapist: (Before having entered this conversation anticipated my ever so expanding needs and gave me this book, “The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self”).

Book: These people have developed the art of not experiencing feelings…She cannot even experience them secretly, ‘just for herself’; she will fail to experience them at all. But they will nevertheless stay in her body, in her cells, stored up as information that can be triggered by a later event.
Throughout their later life, these people will have to deal with situations in which these rudimentary feelings may awaken, but without the original connection ever becoming clear. The connection can be deciphered only when the intense emotions have been experienced in therapy and successfully linked with the original situation.

My most favorite:

At first it will be mortifying to see that she is not always good, understanding, tolerant, controlled and, above all, without needs, for these have been the basis of her self-respect.

(A few days later in self-discovery)

Me to Myself: Dating not only mortifies me because it expresses needs that I have preserved myself with by never having - it chizzels at the core of my self-respect.

Damn. The work is hella real.

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