My first therapist had his head up his ass for lot of stuff.
He was first “treating” my brother. And by “treating” i mean, would talk about himself to my brother. Who was 12 or 13. It was a total role reversal; he would tell my brother things like how sad he was that he hadn’t gone to his own father’s funeral.
I ended up seeing him, too. I don’t remember why exactly. I think my mom was tired of me moping around the house. I was tired of my mother not believing that I actually could be clinically depressed; it’s genetic, the brain’s chemical imbalance. She herself had been struggling with it her whole life.
The therapist’s goal in our sessions, seemingly, was to make me cry. I’d go in, we’d exchange pleasantries, then he’d hand me a box of tissues and throw out something incendiary and I’d cry for 50 minutes, then we’d shake hands and agree to meet again next week. My mother accused me of getting off on it.
Shortly after that, my parents started seeing him for “couple’s counseling.” It struck me as wrong, somehow, like there might be some sort of conflict of interests in him seeing us all separately… but I was naïve enough to still believe that adults and authority figures would always do the right thing, so I didn’t question it as much as I should have.
One session, I was lamenting the fact that only one of the 20 or so friends I’d invited to my high school graduation party had actually come, and how hurt I was by that and that as if to add insult to injury, my mom’s closest friend had driven over 3 hours to be there and that she and my mom drank a bunch of beer and had a rip snortin’ good time. I didn’t care that they were drinking, really. My family and extended family is a beer drinking bunch. What made me angry is that they were having a hysterically good time, and me and Tom Knox just kind of sat there, awkwardly talking about band camp and hockey. I was pissed that they were having a party and I wasn’t. I think what I said was something along the lines of “…and they got drunk and had a great time and it’s not fair.” Which he decided meant, “My mother is an alcoholic and she’s ruining my life.” Granted, I had no idea that that’s what he decided until my parents came home from one of their sessions and my mother started screaming at me, things like, “What the fuck do you mean, ‘my mother is an alcoholic and is ruining my life?'”I was shocked on a number of levels, firstly, being screamed at with no warning, i.e. without having actively done something to warrant it, i.e. I was sitting on the couch reading a book, and she walked in the door, saw me and started yelling at me. Secondly, because my sentiment had been completely twisted. It was beyond being taken out of context. I mean if he had repeated verbatim what I’d said about them getting drunk and having a great time, even out of context, it’s really not all that incendiary. If anything, she probably would have been embarrassed and not said anything at all. But he just straight up lied. And thirdly, he lied to me, to my face, because he had told me that anything I said, anything at all, would be held in the strictest confidence and that by law, he couldn’t tell anyone anything I said, unless I was being physically harmed. (I was still a minor at the time.) And I think that that was what made me the angriest. I mean my mother yelling at me, that I could get over. But the therapist lying, that… that complete and utter sense of betrayal… that I didn’t know how to deal with. I right then and there decided that I wasn’t going to be seeing this guy anymore.
I had another therapist, a woman, at the same office for two or three weeks, but stopped going shortly thereafter. I don’t remember why.
But there was a point to this, one that I’ll get to now. My first therapist said to me, “Do you know what your problem is?” (Which, seriously. What a shitty thing for a professional–and I use that term lightly in his case–to say.) But he said, “Do you know what your problem is? You expect adults to act like adults.”
To which I think I replied, “Erm, duh?”
He wasn’t wrong, though. To this day it amazes me when educated, seemingly evolved adults behave like spoiled children, throwing temper tantrums in whatever form that may take. And whenever it happens, I always regress to a child myself… small and quiet and invisible.