Last week, one of the commenters on my Facebook page opined that, while she more or less dug where I was coming from, man, she didn’t see why I needed to use so much ffffffrigging profanity in my blog posts. She said it made me come off as, well, angry. And why should I be angry?
I mean, first of all, certainly, my long-term patients can tell you: profanity isn’t necessarily an indication of, like, anger on my part. I’m just a fan of the colorful metaphors profanity makes possible. See, I got into psychology because of Tony Robbins, and one of Tony’s main shticks is how we have to somehow interrupt all these negative patterns we’ve gotten ourselves into. I’ve found that dropping a good F-bomb every now and then in therapy is an effective way to do that, because, well, you just don’t fucking expect your therapist to drop the F-bomb.
(Unless your therapist is Albert Ellis, and he’s, well, fucking dead. So.)
I will say, though, that commenter who opined that I sounded angry to her? Wasn’t entirely wrong.
The truth is, I am angry.
Some might say the more applicable term is “passionate,” I suppose. But, you know what? I think “angry” is actually more apt.
You bet I’m angry.
I’m angry because, in my career as a therapist, I’ve met people who have been brainwashed into thinking they are somehow not enough, just on their own, without, say, losing ten pounds. Or making more money. Or being more successful with potential romantic partners.
I’ve met people who have been betrayed, abandoned, and belittled by the people who should have supported them most.
I’ve met people who have been convinced that because they feel hopeless, there is in fact no hope for them.
I’ve met people who have become convinced that life is literally not worth living because they’ve not lived up to some arbitrary standard someone else has taught them is important.
I’ve met people who honestly believe their past is more important than their future.
I’ve met people who have come to believe that God has “given up on them” because they’ve somehow failed to live a perfect life.
I’ve met people who have been bullied into imagining their responsibilities to abusive relationship partners are more important than their responsibilities to their self-respect, self-safety, and self-esteem.
I’ve met people who have not only bought into, but been sold the idea that they’re too broken to be anything but a professional patient. And I’ve met therapists who have actively enabled this delusion, whether through incompetence, arrogance, indifference, or greed.
I’ve met people who have come to believe that because they’ve been betrayed in relationships before, they can never trust anyone enough to be in a relationship again.
I’ve met people who have come to believe that they’re too old to do something meaningful with their lives. Or too tired. Or too unintelligent. Or too untalented.
All of which is to say, in my career as a therapist, I’ve met literally hundreds of people who have come to feel imprisoned in their own heads, in their own souls. And the thing that makes me angriest about it? The people and institutions who should have taught them that they don’t need to exist in those prisons have utterly failed them. People have been left feeling alone, unwanted, unloved, unvalued– and they think it’s their own fault.
In therapy, we spend hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months and years undoing the damage done when people have spent years developing false beliefs about their inferiority. These are people who are smart; people who are warm; people who are kind; people who are creative; people who are generous. These are people who were created to make a difference in the world– and instead they’ve become convinced that they’re powerless, useless, purposeless.
Yes. This makes me angry.
Sorry, not sorry.
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