I’m A Mess – Will I Scare Away My Therapist?
I previously wrote a post about folks who tend to minimize their needs and now I want to talk to folks on the other end of the spectrum. Folks who feel like they have so much going on that it’s too much for therapy.
You’ve thought about calling a therapist, but all you picture is their look of horror when you tell them why you are seeking treatment. Maybe you’ve tried to share your woes with friends and they weren’t equipped to help. Maybe you’re worried that all the bottled up rage you have somehow managed to contain will explode all over your therapist. Or maybe you’re worried they’ll reject you. Maybe your symptoms progressed to the point that your work or school is suffering and you’re afraid of failure.
Therapists are trained to be with you during the worst of it. I’m not trying to minimize what you’ve gone through. I’m saying that it’s our job to be with you, even if what you’ve been through is horrible. I accept people where they are. Everyone deserves love and understanding, especially if they’ve been hurt. Even when you have scary thoughts, I still care about your existence. Even if you screw up, in major ways, I’m still going to accept you as you are.
You might think to yourself, “Yes, but I’m pretty messed up I don’t think it’s a good idea to share with anyone.” Or “Yes, that worked for other people but I’m on a whole different level.” Many people I see want to believe me but also think they are “too messed up” for certain aspects of therapy to work. And yet, a tiny part of them knows life can be better because they show up to see me. They tell me about their fears, the worst moments, the scary stuff. And over time, things do get better.
What might be going on here is that you believe that you are really the worst person ever, since exaggerating your flaws or mistakes helped you anticipate a horribly negative reaction from your parents (or maybe someone else). You kept that negative voice around, that puts you down regularly because it helped inoculate you against insult and rejection. Sort of like saying a horrible word over and over again, it loses its sting a bit. The only problem is that by putting yourself down regularly, you start to believe it to be true. The good news is that therapy can totally help with this. And no, I won’t run away, I’ll stick with you.