I think it’s time to name the new therapist. I went from hating her, feeling like she was uncaring and unhelpful, to feeling like I might be able to trust her with the most secret of secrets, to feeling like she was really listening and understanding, to feeling like she was empathetic and even kind.
I hereby christen the new therapist as “Cognitive Distortion Whisperer.” Okay, that’s a mouthful, so I think I’ll just call her CG Whisperer. I like it, I think. Within the first four sessions, CG Whisperer pointed out things to me that I had not given serious consideration to before.
She let me know that previous relationships sometimes dictate current ones. That my fears of abandonment and tendency to enmesh with others around me began early in life and were compounded by negative reinforcing experiences over the course of my 32 years. She told me this was okay, and even to be expected, and that I should not be ashamed. She made me feel validated, even “normal,” in a way that I have not felt in a very long time.
We talked about my traumatic experiences with using the shower, and how more negative experiences and reinforcing events brought it to the tipping point it is at now. To be frank, I shower once, maybe twice per week. Yes, I know that is gross. No, it is not as simple as just getting up and doing it. I am learning more and more about this problem, and I believe that within months, maybe even several weeks, that I will have the problem at least somewhat conquered.
CG Whisperer and I talked about my relationship and how it is positive in many ways. Overall, we are very happy together. We have been together for coming on a year and a half and, in a lot of ways, it’s like it was when we first got together and we could lose track of hours worth of times, just talking. In other ways, it’s like we’ve been together for much longer in that we have been through more trials and tribulations than many young relationships and have persevered. Yes, we still fight sometimes, but it’s rare and short-lived.
We talked about the “enmeshment” issue and there were parts of that discussion that really hurt. I was made to think about early life experiences that were disheartening and even mildly traumatic, leading through to later life experiences that were more soul-crushing and extremely traumatic. The more I make sense of why I struggle with boundaries, enmeshment, and fear of abandonment, the more I feel like I might someday be able to rise above it.