“Not knowing is a good place to start,” he says, and this feels like a revelation. I spend so much time trying to figure things out, chasing the answer, but it’s okay to not know.

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

So I found a new psychotherapist, and we had our first session today. Thankfully, they’re only a 20 minute commute away rather than a 100 minute commute away. (We’re currently doing sessions remotely.)

One of the things I tend to struggle with in therapy is where to start. (I recognize I probably struggle with this in a plethora of other areas of my life as well.)

I think it’s because I feel like there’s some “correct” path that will lead to the most insights. I feel like my therapist knows what direction that path leads. And I feel like I have no clue which direction I’m meant to go.

So we talked a bit about childhood (because, y’know, therapy). Surprisingly (perhaps? Then again, perhaps not), COVID19 didn’t come up at all. And because it was still top of mind since my last blog post, we talked about relationships.

I try to wrap my mind around this paradox: self-sabotage as a form of control. If I screw up my life, I can engineer my own death rather than have it happen to me. If I stay in a doomed relationship, if I mess up my career, if I hide in fear instead of facing what’s wrong with my body, I can create a living death—but one where I call the shots.

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

So we talked about the six month curse, and my intentional attempts to break that. (Reflecting on this quote, I’m curious if it really is a case of “I’ll leave you so you can’t leave me.” I’ve never really thought about that in terms of leaving before, but I guess leaving is the down-the-road consequences of other fears that are usually front of mind for me.)

We talked about some of the more recent examples of struggles in the relationship realm. Examples like arguing about different things, and me not trusting my intuition. And also me not always presenting my thoughts in a way where they would be more likely to be openly received.

We also talked about some of the tools and vocabulary I use, and how that compares and relates to things that they are familiar with. I got the chance to reflect on areas where I need to practice certain tools in my toolkit more often (such as sharing my experience in a way that leaves less room for interpretation). I also got the chance to reflect on areas where I’ve grown over the years (such as being able to identify body sensations).

Anywho, I’m looking forward to seeing how this journey unravels. It sounds like we’re on the same page on some of the goals of this journey.

“There’s a difference between pain and suffering,” Wendell says. “You’re going to have to feel pain—everyone feels pain at times—but you don’t have to suffer so much. You’re not choosing the pain, but you’re choosing the suffering.” He goes on to explain that all of this perseverating I’m doing, all of this endless rumination and speculation about Boyfriend’s life, is adding to the pain and causing me to suffer. So, he suggests, if I’m clinging to the suffering so tightly, I must be getting something out of it. It must be serving some purpose for me.

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb

I’m familiar with this idea, but it was interesting reviewing it in light of some of my recent reflections.

There are some thoughts I have that I tend to suffer about quite often. I’m curious about what I’m getting out of them.

One of those areas is definitely how I’ve fucked up previous relationships. At first I couldn’t think of what I’m getting out of this. But then…

Another one of those areas is hook-up culture. It took me a while to think of something for this. I wonder if this gives me an excuse to avoid the responsibility of creating a relationship–because it gives me a reason to not look around and not put in the emotional work and to not trust people.

That would actually fit with both of those areas.

That’s horrible. Talk about self-sabotage.

Guess I know which path I’m taking with my therapist next time.

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