Family, Friends and all that Jazz, Rants & Reflections

Awkward Conversations

Not sure what was more shocking, the fact that I still logged on to my 11am counselling slot, like a glutton for punishment; or that this time I was actually joined by my counsellor. 

“I was off sick, everyone should have been notified”.  Well as touching as this shoulda coulda woulda was, I was still left hanging for a week thinking I’d been dropped like a stone!  Annoying and unprofessional springs to mind.

It’s hard to build trust in a situation like this.  Almost farcical when I’m trying to regroup and mid session, Zoom does what it does best – drops out.  First the screen goes black so I can no longer see her, then connection is lost so I’m left looking at myself again.  We then do a little digital dance, where I watch her enter and leave the chat on repeat; in and out like some bizarre hokey-cokey.   Seriously, how can productive therapy arise from this shitshow?

Annoyingly she is rather good, which makes me determined to stick with it but the challenging method of delivery is tough.  Can’t deny that our session wasn’t awkward to start.  I’m sadly used to being let down and my mood towards her at first wasn’t exactly enthusiastic.  In fact it was icy at best.

The whole Zoom thing worked in her favour.  I would have been much more abrupt and salty, had she been physically sat across from me.  It did segway nicely into me telling her about all the other times I’ve been let down, left, ghosted and abandoned; dating back to childhood.  Saying it out loud was cathartic but also shocking.   How do I actually trust anyone?  I actually have no idea how I have enough positive mental attitude left to start or encourage a new or fledgling relationship these days.

When we reflected on the loss of previous friendships, patterns started to emerge.  We touched on how family members had treated me both past and present.  How becoming the people pleaser that I am, in an effort to hold on to those relationships that have stuck around, was almost inevitable.  I find myself putting up with bad behaviour or being placed at the bottom of the pile all the time.  Part of me feels I should be grateful to those who still wish to call me their friend.  Every time I have stuck up for myself and said no, I will not accept this, I am worthy and deserve better – the result has been the same.  I end up losing that friend or family member. 

Therapy has really opened up the can and worms are flying everywhere!

Core beliefs are a person’s most central ideas about themselves, others, and the world. These beliefs act like a lens through which every situation and life experience is seen.

My core beliefs are shockingly sad:

  • I believe that I’m not enough
  • I believe no one will help me
  • I believe I am destined to be let down and abandoned 
  • I believe something bad is always around the corner.  It’s never a case of if, it’s a case of when. 

Core beliefs exist because of repeat experiences.  These are not beliefs I have told myself out of thin air.  These beliefs I hold about myself as a result of how I have been treated time and time again. 

“If you’re struggling and your people are just sitting there watching you struggle…they’re not your people.”

I put up with a lot while constantly being told how brave and lovely I am.  If I was to step out and say “enough”, as I have done on a handful of occasions, I would no longer be brave and lovely.  I would also be missing a friend or family member for daring to challenge the status quo.  The payment I have to make on a daily basis, to keep the friends and family I have, is to be consistently patient and kind no matter what.  To be grateful for whatever time and care they choose to put into our relationship and smile.  If I’m bullied, threatened, let down, overlooked or just on the receiving end of passive aggressive zingers for sport – I have one choice.   Accept it or lose it.

Now you might say that “they’re not really your friends if they treat you like that.”  Or “that’s not how a family should treat family members.”  I completely agree with this but what if this is the reality of the situation?

Over the years, I have become an expert in making myself smaller, more understanding, easier to like or work around, always pleasant and patient.  I have ended up in a position where I feel so worthless, that I regularly accept the little I get because deep down, I feel that I should be grateful I get that at all.  I’m now so easy going that I’m easy to let down, easy to take advantage of and easy to forget.  Whatever my goal was when I maintained my determination to be kind and patient in the face of adversity…this wasn’t it.

I live knowing that I’m always one unanswered text or missed call away from losing another friend.  Therefore I’m always switched on.  Ready to serve, solve a problem, give advice, smooth over a situation, proofread an email or CV.  Talk through a relationship or health related issue.  Also and most importantly, I must be completely understanding and 100% supportive, every time I get cancelled on or just forgotten.  After all, my friends and family are important and have full and busy lives.  I’m never on the receiving end of such grace and favour, I must have missed the memo as to why. 

Ok, so I have learned what I do and why I do it.  I’m hoping that in the upcoming sessions, I will learn how to be a better friend and family member; not to everyone else but to myself. 

The joys of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).  I’ve just identified the mother of all vicious circles and I just need to learn how to break it.  

Beverley Knight – Gold

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