My Therapist Dumped Me ("It's Not Me, It's You")
So my therapist dumped me. Is that even a thing? Don't they have to take some Hippocratic oath to never give up on a patient? Talk about a hit on someone's self-esteem! If my therapist can't deal with me, what does that say about everyone else in my life?
Just to be clear, I'm fine. I mean, yes, it stung a little. It was out of the blue and I wasn't expecting it. We were about halfway into our last appointment when she just said she didn't think this was working. I was caught off guard and not exactly sure what to say. What DO you say when someone wants to break up with you?
First, let me just say it is humbling to even admit I was seeing a therapist. And honestly, it shouldn't be. But I come from a long line of stubborn, independent, and self-sufficient survivors. The thought always ran through my head that a strong will, squared shoulders and a can-do attitude will get you through anything. (That and a daily dose of Jesus.)
But sometimes you just need a different perspective from a trained eye. To help steer you back into a healthy and productive lane of travel. Like going to the doctor. However, the key to a successful doctor/patient relationship is following the doctor's advice. And there, my friends is probably the main reason for my now current therapist-less condition.
Clearly Defined Goals
In order for most relationships to thrive, there must be a clearly defined goal. In the dating world someone who wants a casual relationship with one weekly dinner should not get into bed (literal or otherwise) with someone looking for a trip down the altar. They don't have the same goal and the relationship is sure to fail.
It is fair to say my therapist and I had different goals. She was/is extremely well-intentioned. She listened to me, asked questions, took notes. She ultimately came up with a plan to change something in my life. But the problem was, I wasn't looking for a change.
I don't wish to go into personal detail, but the bottom line is my goal was to find sort of a guide map to help me on my current journey. She wanted me to completely change the destination. I wasn't ready for that. My resistance to her strategy confused and stymied her. She was sure the new destination would be wonderful for me and she couldn't understand my refusal to budge.
When We Get In Our Own Way
I don't completely understand my refusal to budge either. Let's go back to the doctor analogy. If I go to the doctor with a severe respiratory condition and I smoke (which I don't), they are going to tell me to stop smoking.
If I then refuse to stop smoking, they will become frustrated. Why would I not do the one thing that could help my situation? Why would I not get out of my own way?
You know when you are in the grocery store and you are walking ahead of someone pushing the cart. Only they aren't paying attention to you and you aren't paying attention to them and BANG, they run into your heel and ankles? Is there anything more startling and painful? That's what I'm talking about.
We sometimes push our own grocery cart while still trying to stay ahead of it. We want to prepare for the future while still controlling the present. But then we get tripped up. We don't get out of our way soon enough and a collision occurs.
My therapist could sense a pending collision and was trying to steer me in a different direction. But I'm stubborn, strong-willed and believe I am in full control of my grocery cart. Until I'm not.
So Who's Right and Who's Wrong?
When a romantic relationship ends the blame game usually begins. He/she did that. She/he said this. They didn't/don't/wouldn't/couldn't. The list is long and wide. The truth is there are times when someone did make a mistake and is at fault. More often than not, it just simply didn't work out.
Not having someone to blame doesn't make it easier. Truth be told (don't tell her I told you this), but I was considering breaking it off with her too. Not because I didn't value her advice, I did! I thought she was great. But I also felt like I was disappointing her. I wasn't following the advice that I just said I valued.
In reality, no one was wrong. She was doing her job to the best of her ability. And I was trying to be true to myself and to the reasons I chose to continue traveling down my current path. It became clear those two sentiments didn't align. And she was aware and kind enough to do the hard part.
So What's Next
She asked if I wanted a referral. I declined. I'm not ready to move on yet. I need time to reflect. Honestly, maybe I'm therapist-resistant. You know, like some people who are medicine resistant.
Maybe I'm too set in my ways.
Maybe I have too high of an opinion of my decision making abilities to actually try something different.
Maybe I'm just too scared.
My Hopefuls, I shared this with you for two reasons. First, because I want you all to know it is OK to seek help/guidance from a trained/experienced therapist or counselor. There is no shame in needing an extra set of emotional eyes. And sometimes we do need help getting out of our own way.
Second, it's also OK to trust yourself. Every relationship you are in, whether it's personal or professional, requires you to be comfortable and honest. If you ever lose sight of yourself or your goals it is OK to reevaluate.
And last, but not least, I completely understand we all have struggles. Everyone has a battle to fight. Some days we win the skirmishes and some days we lose. The key is we get back up, take a deep breath, and start over again the next day.
I do not have all the answers. Shoot, some days I can't even push my own grocery cart. And I have the dubious honor of being dumped by her therapist. BUT I believe this life is good. And full of love. And that we all should...
Hope With Abandon