I’ve just sat here for the last 5 minutes, fingers poised on the keyboard trying to find a way to start this post. I had my 2nd therapy session this morning and I’m feeling… odd. I would describe it as a ‘good’ session I suppose, we covered a lot of ground although it felt a little like a rollercoaster ride. I think I need to slow it down in the next session – it seemed that no sooner had I mentioned one major issue, than I was off on a tangent and talking about another one. It was my fault – my mind was jumping all over the place so it’s going to be hard to write this one down but I’ll try…
I got into the therapists office and sat down. Exactly the same as last time, we sat and stared at each other in a slightly awkward silence, until I said ‘so you want me to start again then?’. He did. You see, call me cynical, but I think he thinks this makes him look like he knows exactly what he’s doing, but actually he’s probably thinking: ‘I’m just going to sit here and wait for him to start talking because I can’t remember who the hell he is, or anything about him but hopefully once he starts talking it’ll come back to me’. Ok so that is probably not true, but you can’t help wondering sometimes…
Anyway, I started by saying I’d had a pretty good week all in all, and had been in a good mood – until yesterday afternoon. Yesterday had started in a great mood, but it slipped down in the afternoon and stayed that way for the rest of the day. I have no idea what triggered it – I was aware the moment it happened and tried to identify the trigger straight away, but couldn’t. I said it was often my boss being a cow that triggered my sudden mood changes, but that she hadn’t done anything particularly bad yesterday so it couldn’t be that. He suggested that it was possibly just a natural change of mood not necessarily caused by anything in particular. Fair enough.
He then led me on to talk about my work and in particular my boss. I explained that of every person I’ve ever met in my life, she is the person who most needs therapy! I talked about her behaviour and her own special breed of nasty psychological bullying and he acknowledged that after more than 8 years of working for her, it was not surprising that my confidence had been gradually chipped away. He asked why I was still working for her if it was that bad and I explained that I have tried several times in the past to look for a new job but with no success. That it was getting harder and harder to even find the resolve to think about looking, but that it was absolutely vital that I find myself a new job if I ever want to get out of this hole. I felt that unfortunately the reality was I was getting no younger and it was becoming ever more difficult to find something suitable. He asked what my friends and family did for jobs and whether any of their career choices appealed to me – we discussed that for a while but in a nutshell, none of them appeal at all for various reasons. He got a bit hooked on my career for a while – I think he felt he wanted to help me find a new career path… I was happy to let him try for a while.
We then talked about the vicious circle of a poisonous work environment where more than anything you need to get out because it’s destroying your confidence, but conversely, you need the confidence to be able to be pro-active and find yourself a new job. I told him that the other problem for me was that whenever I looked at the job adverts in the newspaper or on the internet, I would always feel that I wasn’t capable or qualified enough, nor had enough relevant experience to do any of the jobs as described. This I know is largely a confidence issue, and it is one which has had my hands quite firmly bound for some time. It is however a real problem too – people want experience in their industry, so if you don’t have it, your cv goes in the bin. I did manage a couple of weeks ago to spruce up my cv and apply for about 20 jobs. I thought realistically about it and decided to go for other PA/EA roles in other industries as at least my skills are transferable to any industry (presumeably), so that at least was a big step forward, to decide what types of job to go for – not exactly my ideal role in life, but at least I know I can do that job and at least it gives me something to aim at. No big surprise that I didn’t hear back from a single one of them – not even a rejection letter. I knew that would happen though so it wasn’t a big deal.
The therapist asked why I wanted to get out of the industry I’m in. I said it was because I had gone as far as I could in my particular niche of the industry, that it held no interest for me any more and that I generally loathe the kind of person who works in this industry – the amount of over-inflated egos, displays of self-importance, and selfish, revolting behaviour from so many people is quite unbelievable. He challenged me on this sweeping statement, saying that this was perhaps another barrier I had put up and that perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I was saying… I agreed that I have put up many barriers over the years in many aspects of my life, but this particular opinion was born of 15 years in the industry, working for various different companies and meeting an awful lot of deeply unpleasant, shallow people. I’m sure the same can probably be said of many industries. Perhaps it’s just a fact of life that you have to deal with these people in your working environment… god I hope that isn’t true.
We then talked about why I took this job in the first place rather than another job I was being offered at the same time in a different industry (believe it or not I was looking to get out of the industry 10 years ago and nearly succeeded. I told him that I took this one because it paid better and was going to be more fun (glass of wine at 6pm, awards ceremonies, lunches etc etc.) He was quite surprised when I said that I knew back then when I took this job, that the day would come I would look ruefully back at my decision and wish I’d gone with the other one. I took the decision to live for today rather than tomorrow. However, now it is tomorrow and I have to live with the consequences of my decision…. Taking my current job was never a progressive career move – it was convenient, quite well paid and the more fun option, but ultimately I knew the other job had a ladder to climb and opportunities further down the line, but it was undoubtedly the more boring job. I still don’t really regret the decision, despite suffering for it now. I knew what I was letting myself in for and that I would ultimately be stuck in a rut. What I didn’t realise was the psychological abuse I was going to be subjected to.
I described my relationship with my boss, and the fact that I do stand up to her bad behaviour quite regularly, which ultimately has probably helped because I think she thinks twice before being a complete unreasonable cow to me. The other people in the office suffer the same as me at her hands, but most of them do not bite back. My therapist likened it to a bad / abusive relationship. That thought had occurred to me many times before.
We moved onto the way I behave in certain situations, so I told him about my addictive/obsessive tendencies (which I had recently blogged about so I suppose it was quite fresh in my mind). I told him that I thought I had an addictive personality, that everything I did was almost obsessive – my alcohol habits, my cocaine habits a few years ago, my tv watching habits, music… well everything really. He asked if there was something that happened in my childhood that I thought might explain this pattern of behaviour. He said that he got the feeling that I had some sort of an internal split as a person – that I obsessed about things, but then told myself that I was obsessing and tried to change it. I’d create rules for myself (not allowed to smoke a cigarette before midday, not allowed to drink until after 6pm for example). I agreed. He suggested these were just more barriers that I was building for myself. I surprised myself by saying that perhaps I created these rules for myself so I could feel like I was somehow in control.
He asked whether there was anything in my past that might explain this pattern of behaviour – I said that the only thing that I could think of that I knew had caused me many problems in later life, so could be at the root of this behaviour too, was the ‘crush’ I had on my teacher when I was at school (see my post ‘Just A Schoolboy Crush (Can scar for life)’. I gave him a basic rundown of what happened and what I felt this experience had done to me. He asked if I felt that I still loved him which totally stumped me for a moment – I answered ‘no’. I said that I was very aware of the scar that had been created, but that I didn’t believe that I still loved him. He still fleetingly crosses my mind on probably a daily basis, but I rarely ‘think’ about him. Of course I have been thinking about him a lot more since I started this blog as I’m dredging up all sorts of crap from my past. But after a pause for thought, my answer was most definitely ‘no’. I explained that I have never loved another human being since (other than my family of course). I have never had a relationship, and seem incapable of forming one.
The session pretty much ended on that happy note – I felt like I needed at least another 3 hours to even make a dent, it just felt like we had skirted around several issues but not got to the heart of any of them – we hadn’t even picked up on the conversation about my relationship with my mother from the first session. At the end, the therapist asked me how I felt, and I said honestly that I felt pretty crap. He said that was to be expected. I’ve been in a pretty low mood all day since (it’s 3pm now), the only thing that’s cheered me up a bit is the thunderstorm that is going on at the moment… I love thunderstorms (see I do still love something!!!). The session today was draining and by the end I was verging on emotional which is something I haven’t really felt for a while. I certainly didn’t feel like going into work for the rest of the day.
So, is this doing me any good? Honestly? I still don’t know, but I’ll at least continue with the sessions and see where they lead. At least this guy talks back & offers thoughts and opinions – I need that. A silent therapist would be of no use to me. I don’t know if I should mention to him that I’m writing this blog… probably not.
Sorry if this has been difficult to read – it’s been really difficult to write so probably feels a bit disjointed.