Today I had my second appointment with my new therapist.
Let me start by saying that my attitude going into my first one with her a week ago was not one of excitement. My favorite phrase was "You do Not mess with a depressed (or otherwise emotionally/mentally disturbed) person's therapist!" However, due to some changes in insurance, I was forced to say good-bye to Deb--my favorite therapist thus far.
Surprisingly enough, my first appointment with Jeanine was "ok," while I was a bit disappointed in the outcome of the session (as in, I felt worse than when I went in), I was not directing my annoyance toward Jeanine. I was able to see that she is competent at her job and will suffice as replacement for Deb.
I did make another appointment with Jeanine for today, and I wasn't sure I was going to keep it, but I did. And, I say this grudgingly, I'm glad I did.
We touched on something at the very end of the session that I think will be incredibly hard to deal with and work through, but I'm confident that I will be a happier person on the other side. So, not only am I now going to group therapy next week (which I was ADAMANTLY against in the beginning), but I have a third appointment with her next Friday.
That brings me to the title of my post.
Thanks to Jeanine (and I say that with appreciation, not bitterness) I was able to see that perhaps I have a "core belief" that was instilled in me as a child and it's going to be a process to overcome it, but it is possible. As Jeanine put it, I am on a precipice. Not one I'm going to fall off of in a depressed stupor, but one that I will be able to spread my wings and eventually fly away from.
I have a suspicion I know what my negative (and for some, it's a positive one) core belief is, however, that will be material for another post.
My focus for now is that it boils down to the way my mom cared for me. Something I was conditioned to believe through implicit behaviors/actions on her part, as well as explicit words that were spoken.
While I feel that I have truly forgiven Mom for the things that happened in my childhood, and harbor no more bitterness towards her, I was reminded that damage was done. And, now I get to work hard to overcome all that garbage.
On my drive home, I realized there is a fine line between blaming someone and making excuses for them. It's called Acceptance.
I found myself not wanting to blame Mom for the money and tears I am spending on fixing all this--that just makes room for bitterness to creep back in. But then I started thinking "she couldn't help it" and that just irritated me. People used to say that to me all the time when I was growing up and it made me so mad! She could help it if she wanted--there were doctors and therapists who could have helped her, but she never sought them out. And there I went back to blaming her for the consequences of her actions/inaction.
So, which end should I lean toward? Which was "healthiest"? Neither, of course.
I realized I needed to accept the fact that yes, the things Mom said and did (or didn't do or say) affect me now. And, while she could have done things different, she didn't--whether she couldn't or just wouldn't doesn't really matter.
However, as I demonstrated above, that line called Acceptance that separates blame and excusing is a very thin one and will be easy to find myself trying to cross it as I work on this next step to bettering my mental health.
Wish me luck! I will be going to my appointments next week with mixed feelings: excitement, relief, and dread.
I'm also happy to say that Jeanine will be a good addition to my support team.