Boggle the Owl is brilliant. I’ve been meaning to post this for a while.
Ok, I could talk all day about how great a therapist I think Sid is.
I do think I’ve finally gotten over the transference “speed bump,” as I was able to tell him the other day, “y’know what? I don’t actually want to sleep with you!” Not that he’d offered, in any way shape or form, but I think it was a pivotal moment for me to be able to admit that. It came with my revelation about my family of origin, and why I offer dessert first. (See my post: Blinded By the Light) Any thoughts down that road come from my addict side.
Well, one of my recent revelations was also to figure out why in the world I would want to get my therapist a Christmas present? Oh. Right. Mom threw a temper tantrum because she didn’t like her Christmas presents, and made a huge fuss over any gift giving occasion–especially if it centered on her (birthday or Mother’s Day). So of course I wanted to give him a present… how else would he know how much I appreciate his help? Certainly not by saying thank you all the time (which I do), or continuing to pay my bill, and continuing to come back (both of which he pointed out when I told him all this).
This is also why I feel like I’ve become a great gift-giver, even with limited information. I pretty much had to be able to pick out thoughtful gifts. For example, I know very little about Sid, but my first thought for a gift was: a coffee mug (because he often drinks tea or coffee in sessions) with his favorite therapy joke on it (which I know from the slideshow in the waiting room, “Get to know your therapist”)
How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change.
I searched, and the closest I found said Psychiatrist. Which I don’t think is as accurate. And I guess that joke is pretty applicable to where I’m eventually going with this post. 😛
And then, in my anxiety around interpersonal relationships (especially with attractive men) I Googled: “should you give your therapist a gift?” There wasn’t a clear answer. Ultimately, I settled on printing out Boggle and giving it to him saying: Thanks for the sticks! I figured it was thoughtful, but didn’t require a lot of effort, or any money. Even if he is averse to gifts, he probably wouldn’t say no to that.
Ok, so first I printed it out, but then left it on my dresser for that last session before Christmas. So I Emailed it to him, instead. And I then explained it (probably sounding crazy) in a frantic Email a little while later, where I was super anxious about something else. The response was: “What poster?” *facepalm* And then the perfectionist in me wouldn’t let myself give him the one that sat in my purse and got all bent out of shape, so I printed a new one, and ghetto-laminated it with contact paper. I finally gave it to him like a week ago (after explaining to him the mom-related revelation).
ANYway, I really got off on a tangent here.
So, that poster up there is pretty much how I view therapy in general. And I guess, in a way, how I view asking for help in general. It’s really freaking hard to ask for help. But every time I’ve done it since discovering my husband’s addiction, I’ve not regretted it, and been grateful for the results. 12-step (and even just outreach calls!), therapist, lawyer, career counselor, personal trainer! (Man I need to stop procrastinating and get back to the gym)
To that end, Sid asked me why I want to go into counseling.
I want to help people.
Ok, but why that manner of helping people?
I want to help people… who want help. You can’t give a stick to someone who doesn’t want it (or change a light bulb). I spent the better part of the last year and a half trying to change, or “fix” my husband. He’s seen the help he needs, and openly rejected it. I did not cause his addiction, I can’t control it, and I cannot cure it.
My co-addict side has tried every method to get him back into recovery, most recently arguing. If I argue hard enough, and my logic is sound enough, he’ll totally see the light! Yeah, that just ended in a giant pile of frustration for both of us. I can not work someone else’s recovery… not for a lack of trying! When we went to the international convention together over the summer, I wanted to look at the schedule for his side, and tell him which meetings to go to! I didn’t, but oh so codependent.
I can’t fix him, I can’t change him. I can’t fix or change my narcissistic mother.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
I want to help people.
I want to people who want help.
People who show up for counseling are asking for a stick. I want to hand them out.
Even now, I recognize that I will not be able to help everyone who knocks on my door (assuming I succeed in becoming a counselor)… that was one of the hardest parts of working in an animal shelter, knowing that we just could not help them all.
But I know I’d be infinitely worse for wear without all the sticks I’ve put in my arsenal.