I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Being Right Has Not Been The Answer.

My comment on one post today reminded of one of the worst choices I ever made.

A few years ago, I made the decision to do an emotional overhaul and in taking steps to do so, I hired a therapist to help me tie the loose ends of my life.

Limited by insurance network and distance, I chose a woman who had all the right credentials and the necessary letters after her name.

My first session with her was “wasted” on listening to her rules which revolved around money and time. If I was 5 minutes late, if I had to reschedule, there would be a penalty. It didn’t matter to her that I commuted and my time was not always determined by me but by the mass transit operators. A clock was positioned next to me and in front of me so that she and I could be aware of the pass of time. When the 45 minutes were up, so was the session or….the sentence.

When my sessions started I shared the issues that were on my mind as openly and honestly as I could; they included the key people in my life. As she got to know the players in my show, she made an assessment of them much too quickly. At times it seemed that she confused the client and she was more interested in analyzing them than me. Her analysis and assessment were always negative. No matter the circumstances, no matter what my actions were, they were at fault, they had provoked me and I had simply reacted to their wrongdoing. Even when I tried to justify or understand someone’s actions, she would say “she/he will do it again, given them 3 weeks. You need to get out of that relationship”.

At first I felt validated and it showed in my progression. Every time I left her office I was angry “at them” and my fists were up. I had her to back me up. I was not learning how to curb my reactions, or how to understand my emotions. I was not learning how to better the relationship with these very important people in my life. The longer I saw her, the farther out of my reach my connection with them got.

I finally stopped seeing her. By then one relationship was completely lost. I don’t blame her for it but seeing her didn’t help me find a better way to save it. Maybe there was no way to save it.

I walked out of that damaging mistake with the conviction that I would never again seek validation for my mistakes. I guess after all it was not a total waste.

I have since started seeing a new professional. She is the epitome of positivism. Even at times when I recount an incident she can not understand, she’ll say “we don’t know what that person was feeling so let’s not try to analyze them, it is what you feel that we should focus on”. This woman is not my friend and I can’t say I look forward to seeing her. It is work when I am there. But I walk out of there feeling lighter, relieved, accepted. She does not validate me by telling me I am right or pointing out the perceived wrong of others, but she helps me understand the whys and hows of what I’ve done and what brought me there. She lets me know how my actions and reactions might have affected those I love. I can see my wrongs.

I am now surrounding myself with positive people who, like this professional, challenge me gently. I don’t need to be validated by being proven right. I don’t want my friends to “yes me” to death. I welcome their challenges. Maybe then, I’ll be able prevent my wrongs before I have to correct them.

And if not, at least I won’t think I’m right.