Most of the time I don’t know what I am going to take about when I go to therapy, not specifically. I do have a general idea of things I want to tell Igor. A lot of the time when I get in there and get talking it isn’t on my way out the door that I think “oh, I was going to tell him about that.” Usually it is okay that I didn’t talk about what I planned on talking about as something else emerges and I have enough faith in the process that I am okay with it and I feel capable of containing the topic until the next week or whenever that issue comes up again.
Today, however, I knew exactly what I was going to talk about. I had some complaining to do today. There are somethings going on in my life that are making me angry. There are some familial issues that have me roaring. Only I am not real much of a roarer. When I get mad I get deadly quiet and I am, as of the last few days, more quiet than the dead. I have been Marcel Marceau in a black dress and Tory Burch pumps.
Igor’s office was the first time and place that I was going to off load the anger and rage and complain and generally bitch about all that is going on. I expected Igor to help me see why I am so upset about x and why y has me so mad and help me unpack the a-z of my anger.
Instead of making all that is going on about me, Igor said the following when I was done with my diatribe:
I don’t know how you managed not to kill x. ( He meant metaphorically, of course).
X needs therapy.
X really needs therapy.
Y has entitlement issues.
I can’t believe Y said that.
Y is a self-absorbed vampire.
I really am not a blamer. I feel like using my therapy to complain about others is a waste of time as they aren’t in the room and complaining about them isn’t going to improve my life in anyway. Truly, I am a HUGE believer in taking responsibility for my life and that includes taking responsibility for when things go awry in interpersonal dynamics. I am a person who takes personal responsibility to the extreme. If there is traffic on the freeway I try to find someway to blame myself for the back up. If I bump into the wall I say excuse me.
I tell you all that so you will understand how uncharacteristic my response to Igor’s not making someone else’s bad behavior my fault was. I was, for a few minutes, extremely happy. I felt incredibly validated and acknowledged and less alone in my outrage. But moments later I started feeling kind of crappy. A cloud of ennui and scattered despair came into the room. It took a minute or two for me to figure out why. You see, if I was at fault and if there was something I could do about it, since the other person has responsibility there isn’t as much for me to do about it. I would feel so much better if I could just change my side of the street and if this person were just acting out some unconscious expectations that I had of them then I would have more agency. However if the truth is that the other person was just objectively acting badly, and that the only way to expect real change the dynamic is if they get their ass into therapy, then I don’t have any agency to change it. Waaaaah!
I left the session feeling blah. I decided I would do a little shopping( I was conscious of my retail therapy and I was aware that I was trying to create some emotional space from that blah feeling). I set up some ground rules before I went into the store. The rules were that I could only buy something if I loved it, it fit perfectly, and it was on my shopping list. I knew I was unlikely to find anything that met all three of those requirements at a Marshall’s.
I spent an hour walking the store and found nothing that made me feel any better. yeah, the Lilly Pulitzer pajamas were cute but I didn’t need anymore pajamas. And, yeah, the grey Calvin Klein dress fit me and I could get a lot of use out of it but the truth is that I don’t need another grey Calvin Klein dress. I was about to leave the store when it occurred to me that I didn’t check the housewares section. A quick walk through and I found a necklace holder like the one I saw on Urban Outfitters web page. It was only $10. And it was something on my list.
It didn’t. But I do like my $9 necklace carousel.
I told myself that I didn’t have to do anything on my to-do list. I was hoping that giving myself the afternoon off might make my mood better. That didn’t work. I turned on Oprah( not sure why as I am not a fan). And O had the Crocodile Hunter family on. I hate snakes and am not that interested in the Crocodile Hunter’s surviving family. So I turned it off. Then an old voice that I haven’t heard from in a long time came to visit me. It is the voice of “you have had a hard day, you deserve brownies.” I told that voice to bugger off. I told that voice that sure it seemed all nice and concerned about me and that it seemed to be offering me something that might change my mood but tomorrow when I got on the scale and saw a two-pound weight gain that I would be feeling even worse than I did right now. I told that voice that in no uncertain terms that I would not be going to the Corner Bakery to buy a brownie and so that it needed to leave me alone. The voice quit nagging me about the brownies but then it went on to make several other more easily available foods that would have similar comfort food qualities that would make me feel like crap once I ate them.
The voice was relentless. I gave in, a little. I told the voice that I would have a caramel rice cake with two tablespoons of peanut butter on it. The voice seemed happy. I ate the rice cake VERY fast. I wanted another one, or the voice did. However I did not and will not have one. And I don’t care how much the voice keeps pointing out how hungry I am—there will be no more rice cakes and definitely no more peanut butter.
The voice would like to say for the record that he knows that I am hungry and that it is four hours until dinner time.
For the record I would like to tell the voice to shut the f*&k up.
And, in retrospect( four hours after the rice cake), I feel confident that PMS is likely to be responsible for much of the disharmony described in this post( except what x and y said, that is all on them).