I have finally found a therapist…they seem to check all the boxes for what I might consider to be a smart and well-rounded person who might be able to work with me. They even have at least a cursory understanding of meta-physical things and are not religious (I do not need to be saved or converted to anything – thank you anyway).
It’s taken so long I forgot why I wanted to go to one…oh yeah – insight into how to process any crap from the past still needing processing and insight into how to make better choices (I already figured out why I have been attracted to emotionally unavailable people – still working on fixing it – as it seems to be a mostly subconscious thing) – who knows…maybe there is something they can help me tune up I wasn’t even aware needed tuning up?
I’m not at all sure how you start therapy. If you read my old blog, you know I saw someone for a minute when I was about 14 – that did not go well… But I am an adult now… they can’t get me in trouble with my parents – LOL – Seriously, where do you start? Do you just dive in explaining what you want to figure out? Without them knowing your history? Or do you give them a Reader’s Digest condensed version of your life up until now, so they have some basis of where to go? Seriously – someone needs to tell me. I don’t want to make this some long drawn-out thing where it takes 10 years to get any real work done…I guess they will need a background.
So… I am going to try and write the RD condensed version, so I have it ready I guess…I’m going to practice it here.
My mom was raised in Texas by a creative, mostly absent father and a harsh, mostly overbearing mother. My mom was an empath and an artist. She married her high school sweetheart, promptly had me, and they moved to California so my bio dad could go to art school. They divorced when I was 2, he went into the Navy and she got an apartment and a job at a bank. She told me she married the first man she found who could get her out of Texas – the state was so big and the culture so oppressive she felt like she might never escape – and they “grew apart”. I only saw him twice after that (the last time at my mom’s funeral). She met my future stepdad -a software engineer- at a bookstore in Hollywood. They were together every day after that and moved in together within a few months. He was born and raised in Beverly Hills, was Jewish and grew up with an abusive father, abusive nanny and distant/detached mother. At that moment in time, he was a “beatnik”. She thought he was very worldly and smart. He was very calculating and manipulative and began a systematic breakdown and controlling of both my mom and me – new rules to live by…emotional, verbal and physical abuse. (I now know he was a narcissist and a sadist) They became “Hippies”… We moved many times during our California years, at one point living in the top half of a duplex in Topanga Canyon where the lower residents were members of the Charlie Manson “family”. They taught me to roll dime bags, weigh, and package hash, I often stepped over junkies to get to the bathroom and often people were up all night. It was not uncommon for me to see a threesome in progress or to wake up and find my parents gone and no one home but me – and no idea of when they might be back. When I was 6, we moved to Burbank and I walked myself to school. They held stacks and stacks of kilos of marijuana for someone from the mob. I made forts out of them in the family room. I made my own meals. I was told only the first 3 years are “free”, then you have to work around the house – as well as take care of yourself. My folks realized I had some sort of connection to people and things – when my mom drank alcohol, I would get tipsy. They thought this was amusing and often tested my sensitivity to things for fun. I accidentally took acid once and saw snakes whenever the lights were out for what seemed like a long time. I spent most of my time in my room reading – trying to stay out of trouble and had a TV in there to drown out their fighting. I often tried to anticipate what might go wrong and step in to fix it before it became an issue. I also started feeling the doorknob when I came home to feel the energy inside before opening the door. If it was bad, I would sit in the yard until it felt safer to go in (or until one of them called me in). When I did “get in trouble”, often the police were called by neighbors because they were concerned for my safety. This became fairly routine and I knew what I was supposed to say. Also what to do in the event of a drug raid… Just before I turned 7, my parents bought a farm in the Appalachian Mountains sight unseen. We were going to go and “live off the land” and “get away from the man” (You know – The Man – society/corporate America/Big Brother). They had ID and credit cards under an alias and told me I had to use a different name for our journey across the US to get to the farm (They burned these items one day on the farm and indicated we were having a “funeral” for those personas). We zig-zagged up and down the US along the way (not exactly sure why) and I learned to read a map. My mom was pregnant with my brother and very carsick. I also learned to drive on this extensive road trip (yeah – still 7 years old). My brother was born prematurely when we arrived in Tennessee. He had a collapsed lung and had to be airlifted to Nashville. My parents left me in a motel while they dealt with it all. They called once a day to check on me. Once that was over and they were able to get me, we moved into the farm. No running water or electricity at first. Neighboring farmers and their wives stopped in to greet the new people – crazy California hippies with a baby – and told them what they needed to know to survive. Yeah – we had shown up in a Cadillac with a waterbed and a microwave. Pretty obvious they had no clue. The stress and strain of this new environment and way of life escalated my stepdad’s abuse and the culture of the area was very clearly accepting of treating women and children like property – which sure wasn’t helpful. He decided to get a job again after a while and we moved to town for his commute, planning to return to the farm when he could afford to make it less harsh of a living existence. My mom attempted suicide. I took care of my brother and myself while she was in the hospital and during her extended stay at a mental health facility. When she was feeling better, we moved back to the farm but this time both of them worked outside jobs. My mom started her own business, I was to take care of my brother, the house, the animals, get myself to school, etc. I had to get up at 5am to feed the chickens, pigs and horses before getting ready for school and catching the bus while they slept. When I got home, it was expected I would clean the house and make dinner. I read Ram Das, Thoreau and Gibran for “fun” -I was 8. If it was decided I didn’t care for the animals well enough, I was not allowed to eat as one of my punishments –my stepdad would decide for how many days. We sold the farm when I was about 11 and moved to a different town, closer to mom’s business and stepdad’s work. I was still responsible for the house and my brother, but at least I didn’t have livestock to take care of. Now they had more friends again since they weren’t in the middle of 200 acres. One of whom I figured out was sleeping with my mom (they had an “open” marriage) and he started molesting me. I had woken up one day with boobs – seriously – they came out of nowhere and needed a bra that my stepdad would not let me have. It started out with him just being nice and buying me things kids my age wanted that my parents refused to buy (like running shoes – my parents didn’t see the need…saddle shoes or Keds were just fine). He told me I was pretty and that I was “going to be such a fox”. On my 12th birthday I was almost abducted. At 13, I started a business offering cleaning services to neighbors. I had already been hired as a babysitter for a couple years – I felt I could make more offering cleaning services. When I was 14, we moved to New Hampshire… a fancy contemporary house on a river in a neighborhood. New culture – new rules. I was still responsible for the house and my brother. I made friends in the neighborhood – they were all older than me – but I was really careful about having them over. I never really knew when things might get volatile with my stepdad and I was so embarrassed by the punishment rituals I could not even stand to think someone might get an inkling of what went on. Plus, my parents were not like the “Leave it to Beaver” parents in the neighborhood… mine smoked pot, were swingers and into BDSM. So instead, I often hung out with my friends at a local cemetery and channeled information to them about the people buried there for my own entertainment. One day I accidentally lost my virginity (I guess today one would call it “rape”)…then figured I was “ruined” so started having sex with boys I thought might know what it was about and why people liked it. I became very depressed and overwhelmed. I started taking my brother to school and then going back home instead of school. I had housework to do, and I felt like there wasn’t enough time after school. It became a routine. Then one day I came back home and although there was no car in the driveway, my stepdad was there waiting for me. It was a very bad day. We moved to Massachusetts for a year. I used to go to the guidance counselor’s office and cry hysterically but wouldn’t tell him why…I just couldn’t cry at home, and he had said his office was a safe place to let out any emotions. I used to walk the train tracks while smoking pot with friends and think about either getting hit by a train or tragically falling off the tracks that spanned sections of river. I skipped any classes that didn’t seem useful to my future life, but made A’s everywhere else. Then we moved back to New Hampshire – a different town…was taken to see a counselor for depression. Shared one tiny bit of what was bothering me after refusing to even speak to them the first half dozen visits, it blew up in my face when she tried to take action and I thought I might really end up dead. I worked very hard at being invisible until it all blew over. I dropped out of high school because I found out legally I could… and got a job across the street from the school in case I couldn’t get a ride to work so I could take the school bus. I had turned 16 and completed driver’s ed, but wasn’t allowed to get a license until I learned to drive a standard transmission “to my stepdad’s standards”. The movie “The Shining” came out – I left the movie in shock…The Jack Nicholson character reminded me of my stepdad’s behavior and mannerisms in many ways…I hid all the axes in the woods behind the house in case he got any ideas from the movie. I was still having sex with any older boy who seemed like he might know what sex was about (or who might “love” me)… I ended up getting pregnant by a 22-year-old guy who promptly left town afraid there might be a statutory rape charge coming his way. My parents whisked me off for an abortion – no discussion – didn’t even have an opportunity to think about what I might want to do. The minute I got a driver’s license, I expanded my cleaning business and started making plans to move out. Before I could, we moved back to Massachusetts –an even fancier house with a pool and tennis courts. I still needed to get away from the crazy dysfunction going on at home and my mom had become a full-blown alcoholic and stepdad was raging even more. We had moved 18 times in 11 years. I got a better job – one in tech – and announced my independence and that I was leaving one night when I heard my stepdad talking about all the ways I was a disappointment and needed to be “handled and dealt with”. I left the next morning and had an apartment by noon (I did have to come back and get my mom to co-sign since I was 17, but I convinced her). I expanded my cleaning business into an “Executive Home Management” business, and I also started another side business as a software trainer while working for a software company. I kept being promoted at work to new roles. I started as a secretary, then went to R&D testing, then was asked to help write a software manual, then was sent to train the company’s salespeople about the software the company sold and eventually flown to Fortune 500 companies with the salespeople to be the ”technical expert” answering questions and teaching classes for the employees of the companies who bought the software. I was not old enough to join my co-workers at the bar at the end of the day. I spent time alone in my hotel rooms…reading or designing new ways to present the information I was teaching. I took college classes for a while at night. When I was 20, my parents were moving to Seattle for my stepdad’s new job at a now well-known tech firm. My mom really wanted me to come with them. I decided I should go. Instead of getting a job in tech though (I felt kind of burned out), I decided to go into real estate (which I knew absolutely nothing about). I also decided, since I was 20 already, that I was getting old and would need to find someone to marry pretty soon or I would end up an “old maid” in a condo full of cats. I met my future husband on a blind date. I was never “in love” with him really…. I just thought he had “potential” and he had a large family – which was something I had always wished I had. I had decided it was better to “choose to learn to love” someone based on who they were – what qualities they possessed as well as their potential to become an even better version of themselves. (Yeah – I know) This became a 24-year marriage. My parents moved away, I stayed. Later they separated and began the divorce process after my stepdad abandoned her during a health crisis and hospitalization. My mom was murdered by an abusive boyfriend she met in rehab in California. He followed her back to Texas where she had gone to stay with her mom during the divorce. Anyway – After my husband and I got married, we promptly had 3 children. I worked really hard to be a good wife… good mother… read so many books about those things to try and come up with healthy ways to “be” those things. Turned out he was bi-polar (I now also see he was a narcissist). I started having “fibromyalgia” symptoms but had to push through and take care of everything anyway ( it took doctors years before someone came up with a name for it to give me…most doctors acted like I was just nuts). It was 24 years of marriage and life struggles. I ended up becoming the primary breadwinner, having multiple businesses and being best co-dependent for a bi-polar person ever!… all while volunteering at school, cooking, cleaning and meeting every little request or demand of my husband. I was extremely unhappy in my marriage but determined to fix it…but he became so controlling and overbearing that I reached a point where I knew if I didn’t leave, the essence of “me” would cease to exist. The divorce process was ugly…really ugly – for a time he turned my children against me as well as all friends and his entire family. I got really depressed for a while. I finally just offered to give him all the assets, take all the debt and pay him support for three years just to have my freedom. He became a burden to the kids after the divorce and they began to understand what I had mostly shielded them from. He died of a massive heart attack about 2 1/2 years after the divorce – I am sure many in his family blame me. Two days after my divorce was final, I met someone. We met and spent about 12 hours together talking… he decided he wanted to date me. I told him I was not in a healthy place just having gone through this ugly divorce – not ready to date. He said that was okay, he would wait – meanwhile we could have lunches and dinners…not “dates” – just meals together. We moved in together 6 weeks later. We traveled up and down the west coast for 9 months because I needed to get away for a while. We had a shared history of abuse and neglect and understood each other at a deep level. He understood that I may need to have a fully stocked, highly organized pantry – but may not eat. I found out he lied to me about some really big things…on-going lies for 18 months. When I found out – after initially wanting to kick him out of the house and my life, I decided to take a week to think about it – asking him questions to understand his mindset and reasons – then I decided to forgive him. I told him this is what unconditional love looks like – I accept and love who you truly are at your core, and I understand why you did what you did, and I choose to love you – but from here on out full transparency always – no lies ever. The next 4 ½ years were amazing. We had a deep, loving, wonderful relationship. We understood each other, fully accepted each other for who we were, and loved each other without condition. He died unexpectedly. It was shocking and horrific. I missed him so much. I went through a depression and lots of interior work and healing. I grieved almost as many years as we were in relationship. I took care of my grandmother the last few years of her life – there was no one else to do it and she deserved to be cared for by someone loving. She died at 95 years of age. My stepdad is dead now too… All my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles are dead. Ex-husband and fiancé are dead…. It’s weird to feel so alone and unsupported (not that I ever was truly “supported”). I tried to date a year after my fiancé’s death and realized I wasn’t healed enough yet – both from his death and from earlier life things – and was attracting the wrong kind of people. I withdrew and went back to doing interior work. I have learned to see everything as a learning and growth opportunity. I have started trying to date again this year (2021) and I would say it hasn’t gone particularly well. I have learned a lot, but it hasn’t been very much fun. And here we are…today… any clue why I might have challenges dating? LOL – Oh and also I can’t cry – is that something that needs fixed? I did a few times randomly with this one guy – which was just weird, but really other than that I haven’t cried since 2017 and that time was after my fiancé died… Prior to that I am pretty sure I hadn’t cried for decades… I’m not a crier.
That seems way too long… I need to find a way to pare it down more and condense it further. Elevator pitch length… I left out so much already, but you can get the basic idea…I need to research how to get the most from therapy in the shortest amount of time. I don’t want to commit decades and tons of money. I have already done so much work on my own – I just need to refine things and maybe become aware of things I don’t see.
5 thoughts on “Prepping…”
What an amazing and wonderful person you are. Thank you for sharing yourself so deeply. It is incredible.
Therapy can be great. It can also be worthless or worse…but thankfully, largely, this is up to you. Take the time to find the right therapist, and you might consider speaking to several, but also understanding what kind of therapy they offer and what your real needs are, and then see how you respond to them.
My benchmark in therapy after we had established basic professional competence was whether I felt okay to just let go…that I could cry, be totally open, say anything, just be, and that the therapist would hold space for that–was the most important thing for me. You will know what is right for you and what you need.
I love how much of a fighter you are. It is wonderful. The only person who is going to look out for old you is now you. That takes a fighter.
Bless you and be good.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you. How do you do therapy? Do you take the lead or let the therapist do it? Do you give them your history up front? Or is that not necessary? I don’t know how to do this… do they always have valuable insight? I hope this one will work out…you make finding a therapist sound kind of like dating… that’s scary – we all know I’m not good at that!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Gosh. Where to start? There are so many different kinds of therapy, it helps to know what the different types are. If you have someone you know who is a therapist or could go into a Reddit forum and say “this is what I want to work on, what kind of therapy is the best for that?” And you will get some good feedback. Psychology today has a very good referenced listing system for therapists which you can search. Read their bios and find a few that you like and contact them. Ask for a preliminary chat and be completely open at the worst bits and see how you feel and h oh w they respond. Some will refer you away or say they aren’t qualified, others will say yes and you won’t like them, and pretty soon you will have two or three. Do a real session with each and see. Usually the first session is just them getting to know you. When you discuss the things you put in your blog. Very little work. Again see how you feel. Trust your gut. And be totally open. That’s what you are there for. With one, I kept thinking , “I want my mommy,” she was triggering me big time, and I told her and we talked about it and it was great. Another just got me into a place and I started crying and it felt okay. Thus is what you need—to trust and to feel safe that you can be completely vulnerable. All the others made me feel uncomfortable on some level so I cut them loose.
Hope that helps. You can DM me if you want.
LikeLiked by 1 person
LikeLiked by 1 person
Fascinating story. So much to unpack, and how brave of you to do so.