I know that I pay for each session. And I know my therapist is trained to help lift me up. But that doesn’t change my belief that therapy has been life-saving for me.
My story of therapy in response to X’s abandonment didn’t start out so happy. I walked into therapy with a different therapist thinking I was the one with all the problems. I walked in hoping that he could help me fix these problems so I could save my marriage. Of course, I have come to understand that some of these problems were just normal, human struggles. Some, like the idea that I have an anger problem, were just made up by X as a way to lay blame at my feet. I don’t actually have an anger problem.
But as I worked through my sessions with my first therapist, the sessions got more and more troubling. I would walk away feeling uncomfortable with what was discussed. I would walk away unclear whether or not my therapist even believed what X did was wrong. When, at my last session with this man and he seemed to get angry with me, I chose to cancel our sessions together. He returned my call by yelling at me and then proceeding to hang up on me. It was actually quite traumatic.
I then sought recommendations from friends and found my current therapist. It has been a much different experience. She holds me up, validates my feelings, says things like, “Good for you.” Even when I’m struggling with being less than my ideal self, she’ll say, “Good for you for acknowledging that.” That’s powerful. She talks about my wings, that I’m starting to stretch them wide and having not opened them in a while, it’s a little hard to get them flapping. I LOVE this image. It makes me feel awesome, powerful, graceful and strong, even as I struggle. When I struggle with guilt over something with X, she reminds me of the context of what he did, that I don’t have to be both sides of the marriage any more, that he’s a grown-ass man (those are my words, not hers) and he can speak up for what he needs or not. That he made his decissions and now, what happens next in his life isn’t my business. She helps me set boundaries. She is a place I can be totally honest, even with the things that I’m embarrassed about. I can bring her stuff that I don’t want to ask my friends to carry, and she helps me carry it myself.
Therapy has been a gift through this whole process, and finding the right therapist has been worth the effort. I won’t see her again until Thursday, but I already have a running list of things I want to talk with her about. I’ll be sad to have to stop my work with her and try to find someone else back east. But regardless, my time with her has been healing and for that, I am grateful.