Posted by: Vicky | March 28, 2011

You’re really not helping here

This evening I broke up with my counsellor. That’s what it felt like anyway. I was tempted to trot out the old It’s not you, it’s me line. But I didn’t.

Actually, when I tried to explain why I felt it wasn’t working out, I choked. It’s just … and I gave up. But she knows the basic reason why. We’ve talked about the fact that I was struggling with her not asking me any questions and pretty much just having me talk without any direction from her.

I’ve talked through my issues. I have. Over and over. With other people and also in my head (I NEVER stop talking. If my mouth is shut, there’s almost guaranteed to be a conversation going on inside my head). Yes, talking helps. But I’ve got as far as it seems I’m going to just with talking about things. And while it’s true that I’ve come a very long way, it’s nowhere near far enough.

That’s the whole reason I want counselling. I know what my issues are. I know where they come from. What I haven’t a clue about is how to deal with them. How to learn to interact normally with people.

How to deal with normal, everyday interactions without feeling like they’re this huge confrontation. Like the world will end if I say the wrong thing. How to not analyse every single word over and over before it comes out of my mouth, so that by the time I say something I’m aware of all the different ways it could be misunderstood and what the odds are for each one. More often than not I will automatically add a disclaimer for the most likely misunderstanding. I’m constantly terrified of causing offense.

Humour is my defense mechanism. I make fun of myself before anyone else can, so that people are laughing with me rather than at me. I also poke fun at everyone and everything else. Or at least, I poke fun at everyone once I’m comfortable enough with them and have calculated the odds of them being offended to be low.

Sometimes I miscalculate. And then it feels like it’s the end of the world. When it really isn’t.

My reaction (after OMG it’s the end of the world) is to tell myself to judge things better next time. Get it right!

But that’s not what I want. It’s never going to be possible to get everything right every single time. What I need to work on is dealing with having got things wrong. IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!

Also, not needing the defense mechanism quite so desperately would be a good thing too.

Back to the break up with my counsellor. She’s a very nice girl. And in spite of the fact that it clearly wasn’t helping, I wouldn’t have managed to get up the courage to tell her I want a new counsellor (terrifying phone call if ever there was one!) if I hadn’t felt that she was actually managing to make things worse!

Last week, after we’d discussed the fact that I wanted her to ask me questions and follow up on things in the first two sessions, she had a stab at it. Honestly, I think I was one of her first clients. Poor girl.

But she picked up on the following three things:

  • First, the fact that I laugh when I’m saying something that makes me feel uncomfortable. Yes, I’m perfectly aware that I use humour and laughter as a defense mechanism. I’ve known that for years. I’m not stupid you know. At the latest I’d have picked it up from watching Friends! I’m a regular Chandler Bing, except not male, not quite as funny and I only have two nipples.

    The problem is, that now I feel uncomfortable talking to the counsellor because every time I laugh or make a that-was-kind-of-a-joke face (if you know what I mean) I feel like she’s judging me. Like I’m weak to be hiding behind humour.

    I’m happy with my defense mechanism. I know about it, it’s not doing any harm and I currently really, really need it. So don’t mess with it until you’ve started fixing the rest of me!!!

  • Secondly, she decided to pick up on the fact that I said The whole family always said my siblings and I were really sulky and I was the most sulky of the lot. I was going somewhere with it, namely to a story that illustrates that my sulking tendencies have improved dramatically.

    It must have really hurt to have your whole family criticise you like that. was my counsellor’s reaction. No, they were right. I was sulky. It was a coping mechanism. I had no other way of dealing with things. But it wasn’t a healthy or helpful way of dealing with things. I never considered them to be criticising me unfairly. But now that you’ve put it that way, NOW IT HURTS! So thank you for making me paranoid towards the whole lot of my family!
  • And finally when I said I was never really bullied physically at school (just once or twice), but I was always made fun of and often excluded from groups, she picked up on the once or twice I was bullied physically and made me tell her about the one time I remember. I must have been a somewhere between 7 and 11 years old and one day when I was walking home from school, two boys from my class came up alongside me and pretended to be nice to me. Then one of them held me in place while the other one whipped the back of my knees with a thin branch.

    The counsellor was horrified. I agree, it wasn’t a nice thing to have happened. But when I said something to the effect of it only having been that one time, her answer was not helpful. Once is all it takes. ALL IT TAKES FOR WHAT?! WHAT?!!! But she just shrugged. And I’m still chewing on that question. What was she implying?!

So now I’m proud of myself for having faced up to my counsellor, even though I felt extremely guilty for dumping her like that. Guilt, by the way, is also one of the issues I would like to learn to deal with. I know it’s something a lot of girls struggle with, but I can and do feel guilty about the tiniest things.

Anyway, as I was saying, I’m very proud of myself for having scraped together the courage to tell my counsellor I want to see someone else. But I’m also feeling horribly apprehensive about the fact that I’m going to have to start all over again with another counsellor. And worried that this one won’t work out either and then I’ll have to try again. I don’t want to have to talk about it all over and over again. I’ve had enough of talking about it. Please can it just be fixed now?!



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