Yes, at one point in time, I turned my nose up at the thought I should need therapy. I am not sure where this philosophy originated from but I believe it was familial. I remember my grandparents on both sides, frowning upon the notion anyone in our family needing to see a therapist or psychologist. Recently a family member expressed the same view I once shared about therapy and it all came rushing back to me how I was once a non-believer.
Now to be honest it was a slow process of understanding the benefits of therapy. In my early 20‘s, I did experience a slight setback. An ex was going to a therapist and the practitioner requested a joint session with he and I (at the time we were still living together but sleeping in seperate rooms). My ex and I were only in the room 10 minutes together, when the therapist asked him to leave the room. The second question out her mouth was, “how would you describe your relationship with your mother?”. Every question that followed was connected with my mother, in my head I was saying “that is it, this session is over”. I answered her questions for another half hour and left the session presenting a numb exterior to my ex.
As my ex and I exited the office building, I turned to him and said, “listen, I love my mother, yes she’s controlling but what catholic raised mother isn’t, I’ll probably do the same thing to my kids (yup, working on that one today) but she did not cause of all the problems I have today or our problems when we were together.” My ex explained how the therapist made him realize that all “his” problems stem from his mother and how that was normal for everyone. To which I replied something along the lines of “Listen, our upbringings are complete opposites, we are two different people and for you and that therapist to naively believe we are all one in the same just because we are gay, your both greatly wrong, never again ask me to go to that quack.”
I was scared from that experience but after several years of talking to other friends who were going through life’s challenges and sharing their experiences in therapy, I finally softened up. Now I will admit I do believe a little in the notion that our parent’s screwed us up just like their parents screwed them up, and yup you guessed it, we will screw up our kids. We might not make all the same mistakes but some habits are hard to break. I believe that is there is a lot more crap around us that causes us so more stress or pain than our parents.
During the 4 years of trying to have the twins, the negative transfers were taking a great toll on me emotionally. I began to notice that the prospect of not having a biological child was emotionally handicapping me and effecting me in my daily life. I decided it was time to talk to someone about it.
One dear friend who lived near us had praised her therapist several times before, so I took a chance. From the first session she and I connected immediately. In the first couple of months I saw her about twice a month. Then it was about once a month. The sessions were extremely helpful and she never brought up my mother directly. Well maybe I brought her up but eventually I was able to work through my concern with not having a biological child. Of coarse as soon as I had resolved myself to that fate, we decided to take another crack at a fresh IVF transfer with Clem and I being the donors. Needless to say I headed back to my therapist a few more times.
In the end therapy helped me at a time when I was really needed someone outside of my life or head to talk to. Whether it was the IVF process or even after my father’s passing, I felt I was able to move forward with life. Therapy may not be for everyone but it never hurts to just explore. Talk to your friends or even family if you want to find a good therapist. I would just walk out if your mother comes up in the first 10 minutes of the session, there is always another therapist out there. I promise not all therapist prescribe to the whole blame your mother diagnosis.