I had one of my hardest therapy sessions last night, and I have to write about it. We talked about my visit with my mother this weekend, and although it went well, it was so uncomfortable at times during the visit. I don’t feel like when I’m with my mother that I’m myself, as she’s not really warm, and we don’t really know each other very well. Honestly when I showed up to my friend’s house after my time with my mom, I felt such a relief to be at my friend’s – it’s just so much easier! So my therapist asked me why I felt this way, and I talked about how I feel like I have to be so polite, don’t rock the boat, don’t make anyone mad. And I tried to talk to my mom, but she kept interrupting me and changing the subject.
I talked about how I would ask a question of my step-dad, who is a doctor, about medical stuff, and what doctors think of patients with self-diagnosis and asking for tests, and mom would change the subject. My therapist asked how my mom deals with grief and loss, and if maybe she doesn’t want to talk about stuff like that. I really don’t think that’s it, as she talks a lot about people that she’s lost. She talked for 30 minutes about her cat that she lost! Laura asked me yesterday if mom doesn’t like to talk about it since she was infertile too. Maybe. It’s interesting – I once asked her about her own infertility, and she’s very against fertility treatments. She thinks it’s against God. That if God doesn’t want you to have children, that you shouldn’t. I had to remind her that she couldn’t have children either… Then she changed her story and said that God was telling me to adopt. Maybe all this is why she doesn’t want to talk about it.
Anyway, my therapist said that I really didn’t need to worry about why my mom kept changing the subject. Instead, I need to be assertive and ask for what I want. When my mom changes the subject, I need to say, “Mom, I would really like to hear what step-dad has to say about this. I’m going through a lot of medical stuff right now, and I respect his opinion. So please, I’d like to ask again about what he thinks as a doctor.” And persist until I get what I want. My therapist said this is a recurring theme for me. I don’t insist on getting what I want. If someone says no, it disappoints me so much that I back down, and just stay with the disappointment. I don’t stand up for myself. She said that I do this with my husband, and my mom. She thinks this relates to my abandonment issues. I was abandoned as a child – I was in 18 foster homes before my parents adopted me. So I was abandoned by my birth parents as well as the different foster parents. All this before age 4. And then I was adopted, but by two people who didn’t understand how to “re-parent” a child like me.
She talks about re-parenting quite a bit. She says when you adopt a child older than a newborn, you have to re-parent them. Basically reprogram them with the things that they didn’t get, like in my case, feeling secure, asking and getting what I need, and simple things like assuming I’m going to eat again, and not having to binge food (I could tell you stories…). My parents didn’t know how to do this, and there weren’t a lot of programs in the 70’s and early 80’s that taught people these skills. And even if there were, I wasn’t adopted through a traditional adoption agency or anything, so I don’t think my parents went through any training, counseling or anything!
My therapist kept saying that since I didn’t get what I needed as a young child, and then didn’t get what I needed from my mother, and my parents emotionally abandoned me and physically abandoned me at times as well, that now I need to work on my skills of being assertive and asking for what I want. And if someone says no, I need to calmly ask again, and explain my needs. It’s all about the delivery. I’m just so afraid of being disappointed. What if I ask – calmly – for what I want and never get it? I was so distraught last night in therapy with this conversation. I’m so afraid of being disappointed that I tend to not put myself in positions that will make me even more disappointed. She kept pushing me to come up with scenarios when I’ve been disappointed by my mom, and walking through how I could have handled it differently. I kept getting more and more upset. At one point I said, “I’m not very comfortable with doing this.” And she said, “Therapy’s not supposed to be comfortable.”
I’ve been going to this lady since December, and I’ve been so wrapped up in letting her know what’s going on with my fertility stuff, or with my husband, or other stuff. We really haven’t started working on the big issues, like character stuff. I guess we’re starting that. And I have a lot to work on. She told me that I need to start being more assertive, and if people say no to something I really want, I’m supposed to calmly explain why I want something, and push it. I’m supposed to realize that sometimes I’ll be disappointed, but that’s ok.
Last night I tried to have sex with the hubs. It’s that pre-ovulation time of the month… He said no, but he said to wake him this morning for a little action. I said ok. I woke him this morning at the agreed upon time, and he said he was sleepy – the dogs had been up all night, and he couldn’t sleep (no kidding – I was the one up with them!!!). So he wanted to keep sleeping. I calmly said that he agreed to have sex this morning, and I was really looking forward to it. And he said no – he was tired – how about tonight. And I was disappointed, and I didn’t push it. BUT – I didn’t get upset, and we’re still in a good place, I’m just disappointed. I don’t think I did what my therapist said to do. This is hard.