By Anna Snapp
We’ve all sat across a mental health professional who is gently (but firmly) guiding us to think about the drama (we caused) in our lives in a different light. We’ve all been low-key told our reactions were disproportionate or dare I say...an unhealthy way to cope.
Come on doc, isn’t sending that passive aggressive text message to my best friend better than being clear and direct face-to-face? Won’t downing that entire bottle of wine wipe away me loudly accusing my boyfriend (in public) of cheating with his coworker without any proof to back it up? Isn’t bottling my feelings up inside and showing up to work every day with a no-can-do attitude better than asking my boss for the raise I deserve?
But you know, deep down, you have to hear your therapist out, because you are, after all, paying the big bucks to have someone alert you when you’ve been led astray…even if it was by your own inner demons.
Not even halfway into your Thursday morning session does she push her glasses up, take a deep breath, and say, “Well, let’s talk about that; about what you just said. What about your mother’s behavior has caused this issue in your life now?”
Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god. Did I let the mom bomb slip? How is this woman reading me like a book? She’s opening up a can of worms…a can of MOM. I really can’t do this today. If she wants to talk about my relationship with my mother, we are going to need to go on a month-long retreat to unpack all of that. The thirty-seven minutes left in this session isn’t nearly long enough to explain the correlation between my mother and my current reckless behavior. Think. THINK. What’s something short and simple you can say to eloquently change the subject?
“Oh, I was just being dramatic. My mom and I are fine," I say with awkward, forced confidence.
“I think there’s always truth in things we decided to share in this room," she replies. “Over the next week, I’d like you to write down moments where you feel your relationship with your mother has influenced your present behavior, coping mechanisms, or relationships," she adds.
Kill me now. I have to…reflect? Be self-aware? Confront my past? Tackle the most complicated, messed up part of me? It’s time for damage control, and QUICK.
“Wow, that sounds like a great idea. I never thought to do that before, but I think that could really help. Thanks, doc," I say with a fake smile to hide my vulnerability and fear.
I leave the session, open up my phone to see two text messages: one from Mike, the guy who I’m not really into but is so, so nice to me, and one from Tom, the fuckboy who’s been stringing me along for six months. I immediately head to buy a bottle of wine to bring to Fuckboy Tom’s apartment. I guess it’s just material for next week’s session, right?
Image: Crazy Ex Girlfriend, CW