It’s not me, it’s you…

Adding to the “lessons I learned in therapy” category…

Setting the stage on this one is difficult. It actually spanned multiple therapists and took me…oh,7 years… to get through my thick skull.

This one first came up during what I lovingly call “the early years” of therapy in Texas, youngish male therapist, long hair, drove a red jaguar convertible – that type of therapist. Said something along the lines of “You are the one responsible for your own happiness, why do you expect other people to make you happy?”. It made sense but did not stick.

A few years later in California, male therapist, hippy-type, made me do yoga and meditate. Said something along the same lines only more…hippy-like. I recall having some sort of moment, but it obviously did not take.

Then, with the same therapist who did the whole “weaknesses” thing, I was complaining about a current relationship. The guy actually dared to put his needs above mine; to not immediately help me out of every single fit I threw. He did help sometimes, just not all of the time. And, in my mind, that was indicative of his lack of caring for me. Because it was so simple for him to make me happy. I mean, all he had to do was hug me or tell me he cared about me when I was acting like a complete ass towards him. If he would just do that simple little thing, then I would be fine. So, I am explaining this to my therapist and she pulls out something like,

“Did it ever occur to you that he might not want to be around you when you are treating him like ass? Do you like being around people who are treating you the way you treat him?”

Well…no…that had not occurred to me. In my mind he should have always done what I needed him to do in order to make me feel better when I was having an episode. If he cared about me at all he should totally let my needs trump his all the time, that is what caring for someone entails – right?

She follows that nugget of wisdom up with:

“Do you think it is healthy for you to give someone else the power to control your happiness? If you rely on him to ‘do something – anything’ in order for you to be happy, then that is what you are doing. You are giving someone else a significant amount of power over your self.”

I never thought about it that way and it changed things for me. She was not saying anything different than any other therapist, she just used different terminology.

From that point on, I started taking responsibility for my own happiness. Crazy words.

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~ by aikaterine on May 12, 2008.

One Response to “It’s not me, it’s you…”

  1. A wise man told me: my unhappiness = self-centeredness. That helped me put depression in perspective, even though I realize that applies to normal depression and it is not as relative to those suffering from bipolar, which I am; even so, it still helped me, as a pointer, to a way out.

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