Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sometimes I think I need a tune up

There are times when I really miss being in therapy. When I have a thought that I know isn't healthy or productive, but I don't know how to stop it.

Last week, when I was walking toward the ATM, it occurred to me how surprised I was that my friend Nancy really wants to see me. We haven't gotten together since before Christmas, and she misses me. For real?

I think about the role Henry wants me to play in his recovery, how John says it's been "too long" since we got together for drinks, and how determined my niece was to see my at Christmas, and I am surprised.

My aunt sends me a postcard whenever she goes on a road trip. Preferably one with glitter. She wants me to know I'm in her thoughts. Why me?

I know why this is. Within my nuclear family, I was the "difficult" one. The one no one wanted around. My Icky Grandma, matriarch and biggest personality, really didn't like me because I was too loud. I similarly got under my father's skin. While my mother always loved me, neither she nor my younger sister understood me in the least. In fact, they somehow viewed my life choices as a reflection on theirs. My kid sister feels, in fact, that I am so impossible she still wants little to do with me.

When I was molested by a family member, it was made clear to me that I should keep it to myself, not make waves. My physical safety and emotional well being were less important than the image we had of our dysfunctional family as "normal."

Meanwhile, my older sister -- the one who beat me from the time I was little until I moved out, and who actually once went after my mother with a broom handle; the one who broke my parents' hearts by leaving the receipt from her abortionist in her slacks in the laundry basket; who never helped my widowed mother financially, when money was needed so desperately -- was completely accepted. Was, in fact, Icky Grandma's favorite.

Never mind that, once I look beyond my immediate family, I did get love. My favorite grandfather was never shy about telling me (and anyone else who would listen) that I was clever and funny. His wife, the grandmother I remember most fondly, always had a special place for me in her heart, in part, I suspect, because I reminded her so of her husband. My uncle felt a special bond with me. I've never doubted my Cousin Rose's love.

So why is it love surprises me? It's not a realistic view of my life. But it's the one I have. When these thoughts come into my head, I examine them and try to dismiss them. But here I am, 61 years old, and these thoughts are still the ones who dominate.

Why do I cling to the negative to the detriment of the positive? Why do I let the critical voices (even from beyond the grave) drown out the love? How come "then" has an oversized impact on "now?"


  1. I was thinking about getting a tune up recently, and in talking about it was told that I have it all together and why would I waste my time? I almost choked.

  2. Trauma such as you (and I) have experienced messes up your brain. I don't think you ever get over it. I believe what you feel is perfectly natural and age has nothing to do with it. I am sorry, though, that you have had bad things happen that make you doubt your self-worth. I find you a very good person to read and you have a life that I sometimes envy. And there's nothing wrong with looking for a therapist if you think you need one. That's what health insurance is for.

  3. I do this sometimes, too. If I get a bunch of birthday cards, my mind will drift to who DIDN'T send one and wonder why. It think much of it is human and some of it is the trauma imprint you experienced.

    Did you know they have online therapy now? Talkspace and 7 Cups are two that I hear are quite good. I love therapy and would go for the rest of my life if I could.

  4. Thank you both for your responses. It's so nice to be heard and understood!