The Skeptic’s Voice

In the therapist’s office the other day, he categorized me as a skeptic.  See, I told him I was still concerned this whole therapy thing might not work.  I’m worried I’m going to spend all this time, and money and journal like 5,000 pages working through that Dr. Phil book for no damn reason…  come out feeling just the same.

“You’re a skeptic,” he said “and I’m willing to bet there’s someone in your life like that.”

I thought about it for a minute, then another minute… and no joke, I couldn’t think of anyone.  My Mom crossed my mind for a minute but I quickly dismissed it.  She couldn’t be the skeptic.  She dove in to one marriage after the next, one move across the country after the next.  How could she be a skeptic?

I shrugged, scoffed and replied “maybe it’s just from being lied to for so many years.”  (as a child).  Then I walked out of the therapy session.

I knew he was right.  I didn’t argue.  I had been working through my self talk and I have been literally SHOCKED at how incredibly negative it is.  When I walked in to this therapy stuff, I just thought I needed some help with my anxiety.  I was looking at it like tune up on a car…  Not a total engine rebuild.

I thought, for the most part, I was fine.  Once all the negativity started pouring out of me on to the page though… I thought “My God, I don’t know how I even function.”  I do my best to ignore it, but it’s always there.  I couldn’t believe there was so much toxic diseased self talk.  I was really frustrated with myself.

Despite my skepticism, I continued working through the Self Matters book when I had an epiphany.  I vividly remembered a conversation I had with my mother when I was about 17.  I was telling her I wanted to go to college…  the community college where my grandmother worked.

She squashed that dream without even blinking.  She told me I would never finish.  I’d just get caught up in working some crappy minimum wage job and never finish.  She said at least in The Marines you know you’ll have three hots and a cot.

I didn’t realize at the time how ludicrous those remarks were.  When I remembered it, I saw it in a whole new light.

The thought that I would simply fizzle out was not realistic at all.  I was a committed student with excellent follow through.  Even at 17 I was already living on my own and working a decent full-time job with benefits that would have been ideal to hang on to while attending college. There was even promotion potential there and I was very good at it.   So… I was already earning my own three hots and a cot.  Why would I feel like I needed someone else to provide it for me?

My grandmother could have helped me register and get all kinds of financial aid.  In fact, I would have gotten more financial aid than my G.I. bill was worth.  AND I had like 10 different family members I could have lived with if I wanted to.

I racked my brain trying to decipher why the hell she would have some crap like that…  then it hit me.  It wasn’t about me.  It was about her.  It was all about what she felt she could accomplish or what she’d do.

After that, my head began to spin with all the millions of time I’d heard my mother say negative skeptical things… predict failure or some other painful outcome.  In that moment, it was like that Patty Labelle song that says “Somehow the wires uncrossed, the tables were turned!”

I felt a HUGE relief.  It was a giant break through!  All those negative words…  they’re not even mine!  It was a tape of my mother’s talk running in my head.  Further more, the things she said really weren’t even about me… they were about her.

I can’t even explain to you how much lighter I felt.  I can’t tell you how I know that realization is going to make an enormous difference in my life, but I DO.  I still have much work to do but I think after that day…  I stopped questioning whether or not the therapy was going to work.  I can feel it working.

Published in: on September 25, 2012 at 9:00 am  Comments (10)  
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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Your mother trained you to feel this way. It was her protection mechanism and now she gifted it to you.

    When you predict failure you either won’t try or you will be right when you do.

    You dropped therapy?

    • Yes.. my mother has many issues… I didn’t drop therapy. Doing that in conjunction with working my way thru this book.

      • oh you said you walked out but in my head, it was all dramatic. You dropped the mic and left!

      • Oh.. hahaha.. i didn’t realize it came across that way. Lol. No… It just happened to be the remark I made as I was leaving the session that day.

  2. You’re amazing. Like, I Twittered this Amazing. You’re an inspiration to me to realize how much negative speak I give to myself as well. Like you know, maybe no one will hire me, I’ll end up homeless, living in a box and smiling a toothless grin at children screaming by. Yeah. It’s soooo tough to fight. It killed my marriage. Self-confidence. Belief and trust in my instincts. Pretty much anything that has mattered to me.

    Thank you for reminding me to take stock of who I am…. and that not experience has to be traumatizing. It can be triumphant too….


    • Thanks Pink. It was brutal journaling thru all that negative stuff. All my life I’ve been trying to ignore it.. push it out of my head but Dr. Phil says u cant change it if u don’t acknowledge it & he’s right.

      • oh yea, totally. 600 blog posts later, and I’m like feeling much lighter than I did carrying it around all the time. I’m definitely feeling better prepared to deal with stuff now that I have unloaded the other stuff. Otherwise, that’s what nervous breakdowns are for….

  3. a courageous and soft post. Thanks for share…insights too.

  4. Somehow for awhile the Spam monster ate up all my good blogs. Catching up now, and I know how it feels to deal with that negativity. I was told to ditch art, music, anything creative and focus on being a lawyer and for a few years I really believed I wanted to be a lawyer. Problem is, I don’t like lawyers! No one ever bothered to say I could use my talents and my creativity. There are millions of jobs that look for those qualities. I guess that’s why I tell my daughter to “sing it like no one is listening and hope that someone hears you!”

    • I’m so glad ur back here! 🙂 Thanks so much for the comments. Very true, and there is no joy like doing what u love!

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