Do I need therapy?

by mssinglemama on December 21, 2007

My best friend, who’s also a single mother, told me yesterday that I should probably be in therapy. I have no problems with therapy. I think it works wonders for people and has for me in the past. But how will I manage the time it will take to go – and let alone find a decent therapist?

So here’s my list of what I need therapy for.

  1. My father died of cancer when he was just 51, I was 21. My mother is still nuts over it and my siblings and I are constantly wracked with guilt over what we have or have not been doing to either help her to wellness or ease her pain. (She refuses to go to therapy).
  2. My now ex-husband failed Benjamin and I but still blames me to this day for the divorce.
  3. I am a bit of a chronic dater. Is this wrong? Why am I doing it? Why do I get bored with men so quickly? Is it really because I’m deathly afraid that my man will either die on me or leave me?
  4. I am trying to raise a child by myself. That’s enough to drive anyone over the edge. I have been alone for so long that I just don’t even know how to let anyone in.

Is it in my best interest to try to sort some of these things out with a professional? Probably. Could I find one who could make house calls?

No related posts.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim December 21, 2007 at 10:58 am

Hello,

How long since your father passed away? I would say from reading your comments that you haven’t really stopped in your life to ask yourself about yourself.

It might sound silly, and this won’t help anyone else with their issues, but taking ‘time out’ can help. For this to be beneficial you need to be alone. No kids, no relatives, friends etc. You also need some time. If a few days is out of the question then how about 1/2 – 1 an hour a day for a week. Ask yourself these questions? What do I fear? Who do I love? List your top 5 for both. But don’t post them. No one needs to see them. When you have done that, you will be ready for step two.

Good Luck.

Tim

Reply

mssinglemama December 21, 2007 at 7:51 pm

Thanks Tim. It’s been 8 years since my father passed away. And I have had quite a series of major life events since that have left me with little time to ask myself about myself – most recently becoming a mother and getting a divorce. A few months ago I had to take time for myself – by circumstance. I had to make an 8 hour drive to return my friend’s dog. So, I left Benjamin with a friend. It was my first 8 hours – completely alone since having him and it’s been nearly two years. I will definitely take your advice and try to get more alone time. I have to really try to let go of the guilt and just take time for myself. It’s so important. Thanks!

Reply

Tim December 22, 2007 at 5:25 am

Time heals all wounds… Have you ever heard that? Time is non-intereactive, therefore time doesn’t heal wounds. Understanding our emotions takes time and it is important to focus on emotions and not the time it takes to make progress.

Fear is one of the biggest contributors to mental exhaustion. e.g. Fear of not making enough money to survive, fear of not being able to achieve goals, fear of losing loved ones. Understanding our fears reveals so much about our emotional state that we can then take the steps to be emotionally in control.

It is never nice to hear someone has lost a family member, and so I feel for you greatly, but do you think your father would want you to carry on these feeling of guilt. I doubt it. So why not have a conversation with him. You don’t need to hear actual words to know the answers.

Love, (my def: The desire to please.) is the most important factor in being able to move ahead in life whether just get to tomorrow or to reach a goal in 5 years. Before you can please anyone else you must please yourself. If you do not love yourself you cannot love your son.

Obviously you must love your son and so you have love for yourself, but I believe that people in general don’t know enough about themselves in this crazy fast paced world to love enough.

If you only know 10 % of yourself, how can you expect to know more than 10 % of another person? Relationships of any kind are bound by rules. If a man was to try and get to know you and you only know a little about yourself, he can only have a relationship with the little he knows of you. If you turn that around, would you be interested in a having a relationship with anyone if you knew that you could only get to know 10% or even 50% of that person. It would not be wise. We often hide the worst till last.

Tim

Reply

mssinglemama December 22, 2007 at 7:17 am

How do you get to know yourself better? What can or should I do?

And you’re absolutely right – my father would not want me to be feeling this guilt. The guilt is largely felt for my mother.

My fears are deep. My fears about the future…about losing someone else. About how my son will judge our situation in the future. How do you come to terms with your fears?

I wrote the lists. The fears came quickly. The people I loved the most were harder. Does it matter if they’re not in a ranking order? Or is it just a list?

I love what you’ve written – it’s beautiful, thought provoking and comforting.

Reply

Tim December 22, 2007 at 8:45 am

Fears, (my def: a lack of knowledge) can be overcome by gaining knowledge. It is impossible to gain knowledge of the future but we can lay a very good foundation to enable us to control it.

If a car did not have a steering wheel we would not drive it – we like to be in control. In life we can’t stop living because we lack direction or goals, but we can gain control by getting to know yourself better. I could tell you that making goals is the answer, but what goals? If you say to me right now, OK, I want to be an Air Hostess for Airline A, easy lets set the goal. But, is that who you are? Is that what you want? Is that what you need?

Goals can only be set by evaluating ourselves and knowing what we really want and need in life. In your situation as a single mother you have many variables to deal with that a single or even married person does not, but that is not a reason to say it is too hard. Having a blog and putting your heart on line to find answers, tells me that ‘too hard’ is not a word that you use very often, so that is good.

The reason you need lists is for evaluation. Each time you write a list it will change. Note these changes to yourself. Recognizing yours fears is the first step to addressing them, by gaining knowledge. A dark room is scarey until we turn the light on.

Your son will judge your situation based on how you handle it. While no one is in a position to tell you how to deal with it, being objective in handling it is a good place to start. Having empathy for your son will reveal many answers also, and do not be afraid to ask for his input. Just make sure that your questions are not baited. He will see through the insincerity and it will come back to bite you.

A good indicator of how your son sees you, your situation and how you deal with it, is in your relationship.

Don’t be quick to lay blame. All good relationships should be 50/50. In any relationship that fails we must be prepared to take some of the responsibility, even if it is just for your son. This is not a judgement against you, but if all your responses to your sons questions are ‘It was Dad’s fault.’ he will lose respect for you over time. A better answer would be ‘At that time I thought that was the best way to deal with the situation.’

You see, as your son gets older and begins making choices of his own, he will remember ways that you dealt with situations and he will replicate those. So remember that blaming another is a good excuse for not taking responsibility.

As far as the love list, If you were not at the top of that list, then it would be diffcult to love others. Write your list again and put yourself at the top. After writing that list, write another with all the reasons why you love yourself.

Also another thing to think about. What is your opinion of yourself?

On your mother, I have often wondered about how marriage vows affect people. I am guessing that your mother would be at least 5o if not older. Those generations were very literal in all things. Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.

In the marriage vows it says ‘ Do you, ‘Name’, take ‘Name’ to love and to cherish, through sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer till death do you part? ‘ YES

I have found that partners of your mothers and previous generations find it very difficult when their partner passes. So I ask these questions, ‘Why should your love stop at death?’ ‘Why should you stop cherishing your partner when they have passed? ‘ You see they may only be words, but older generations believed those words with all their heart. They just didn’t stop to think about how they might be affected by them.

Tim

Reply

mssinglemama December 23, 2007 at 7:16 am

Wow. You are amazing. Do you have a book or a blog? You don’t have to answer that …

It’s funny that you mention responsibility because I do realize my failed marriage was definitely a 50/50 situation. We were in love, he needed a green card and we married in a rush. Very impulsive, I know. And that experience in itself has had me questioning my own judgement ever since. I don’t blame him. I actually blame both of us…for being two adults (very young adults) who committed to something and then couldn’t make it work. But I credit both of us for remaining friends and for realizing that we were two completely different people who just made a mistake. It’s been hard since leaving him to see his life deteriorate. But he presses on and continues to see his son.

On my goals – Having been married and having had a child my goals in life have changed. They used to be career, career, career and money, money, money. Now my goal is to create a loving, happy and comfortable home for myself and my son. My career is still up there as it always will be. But because I’ve got such an amazing job right now I feel like that goal is already checked off (although it will always be a goal of mine to succeed and continue to excell at work.)

Now I’m just focusing on creating a happy life for both of us that will ideally include his future step-father and my future-husband. It’s why I’ve been asking myself all of these questions over the past year – realizing that I need to work on myself before I can really make this happen. That I do have a lot of dark closets to explore before I can really have a successful relationship. Nothing is too hard. I have to figure this out. It’s not an option. I want to be the best mother I can be and the best wife I can be and most importantly, the best person to myself that I can be.

I wasn’t on my own list – on my list of who I love. I think that going from a single career woman to a single mother in the course of two years knocked me off course. I have been lost to myself for a while but recently, in just the past six months I have been waking up again. Remembering who I am, who I was and who I will become. It’s why I have this blog. I do want to give other single mothers hope. Granted we are all different and every situation is unique – but this particular life situation is definitely hard to explain to others.

My parents were madly in love with each other and fortunately I witnessed that as a child. But, that has also left me with some unrealistic expectations of how a relationship should be (as my mother reminds me I saw the easy part – the end of their relationship – not the years of molding before I came along.)

I love what you said about continuing to love someone even after they’ve died. For me it’s easy, he was my father. I still feel like he’s around. I still feel him with me. I still love him so much. I actually put him on my list. Didn’t know if they had to be alive or not.

Reply

Tim December 23, 2007 at 9:46 am

Your positive response will only lead to more posts. I love people interested in improving themselves.

Just a quick (its quite long actually – lol) note on your mother and what I said about love after death. Sometimes people can have feelings of guilt after a partner passes and not know why. These feelings of guilt appear to be very deep and unreachable. These feeling of guilt can be transferred onto other people as blame or even rejection. This can make those who are close have feelings of guilt.

Guilt, My Def: is a misunderstanding of intention.

To Do:

Ask your mother to think about her vows. Ask her if she thinks she should stop loving her husband just because of his passing. If not then sit with her and write up a new vow. A vow to love her husband forever as she actually intended to. This love will be for all the times they shared together, both physical and emotional. You yourself are the very embodiment of the love they shared. Is it not logical then that her love for her husband has finished? Loving a partner who has passed does not mean that the person is not moving on with their life.

Recognizing our emotions and acknowledging them is the best way to overcome fear. When we overcome our fears, we can love. Love is the breath of life in all of us. Without love in our life, there is no reason to breath. But what is love? Love is the desire to please. As we grow more emotionally attached to another person we will want to please them more. So your mother can still be very much in love with you father by doing things that she knows would please him.

Now to you…

Sometimes in life we look at what we do, we think about the things we say, we look at the people who surround us and we ask ourselves, why? Why do we do what we do, why do we say the things we say, why are the people who surround us there? And we realise sometimes that things must change. We realise we don’t like the things we do. We don’t like the things we say. And the people who surround us are just…growing invisible. All of these things are symptoms. Symptoms of our emotional state.

If we are ill, the doctor does not treat the symptoms but treats the cause. Treating the symptom may make the illness go away for awhile but when it comes back it will be worse.

If we treat our emotional symptoms, we are not fixing the cause of the symptoms. As an instance, If we have a husband who is mistreating us and so we end the relationship. We are only treating the symptom. (I believe in such a case that this needs to be done, for the safety of those involved). So now we seek another partner. All goes well until the symptoms reappear. The mistreating begins again and so we treat the symptoms by ending the relationship once more.

When a relationship has ended because of problems symptomatic of an incorrect emotional state, we must alter that state so as not to induce the same symptoms. Do not read this as me blaming the women for inviting the mistreatment. No, what it is, is the women taking responsibility for her emotional state and being aware that her emotional set was in need of alteration.

An example. If the captain of a ship was given a map to take his ship through a particular channel and he ran aground, it would not make sense to dredge the channel floor so the ship could pass. It would make better sense for the captain to redraw his charts so that in future he was able to take a better route and thus bypassing the obstruction. He could blame the rocks, he could blame the map maker, but in the end he has to take responsibility for his actions and be big enoughto say ‘well if they can’t get it right then I will.’

I hope this makes a little sense. I will post again soon with more bits and bobs. I am in the process of putting together a website for my thoughts. So will let you know. For now though, be safe.

Tim

Reply

Tim December 23, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Woops, sorry amendment needed in last post.

Old: Is it not logical then that her love for her husband has finished?

New: Is it not logical then that her love for her husband has not finished?

Sorry,

Your objectivety will go a long way to help with your emotional development. To fast track your emotional self, research Empathy and apply it. To be able to have empathy we must first understand ourselves. Yet to have empathy indicates that we already know ourselves. You must give yourself much credit. To be able to be objective indicates to me that you are developing empathy. I am sure you will be fine. In fact, you are already laying great foundations for your own path. I just wonder how long it be before you can see that and be emotionally free.

Tim

Reply

mssinglemama December 23, 2007 at 9:52 pm

Thanks Tim! I’m glad this is out there for any other single mothers who find my blog. And for anyone – great advice not matter who you are or what your situation.

It’s funny because since my divorce I’ve met so many men who just don’t know who they are or lacked a sense of reality. These are men I dated – only briefly – because it was just boring. Takes me back to the 10% idea…makes total sense to me.

Since reading your first few responses I’ve been making a conscious effort to love and get to know myself better…so far, so good.

Thanks again and Happy Holidays!!!

Reply

Tim December 24, 2007 at 9:30 am

I wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

And to anyone who is reading this wondering if there is hope, of course there is.

You can mail me at timbochard@gmail.com.

You asked about my blog, and as yet I don’t have one. Although my website http://www.timchard.com is up. It is still a work in progress though.

Tim

Reply

mssinglemama December 24, 2007 at 7:36 pm

Nice start to your site Tim… can’t wait until the emotion page is up and running…please let me know.

Reply

Myrna L. June 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Not sure whom I should address this to but I guess it would be for the both of you….Thankyou for your many words of wisdom….I am a widow (it will be 10years next month) we were married for 39 years we raised two beautiful daughters and my husband had the brief pleasure of seeing his 2 grandsons born… My girls and I miss him more as time goes by mainly because we know how much he would have loved seeing these boys grow up…They know their grandfather through us and we refer to him daily whether it's a food comment, a historic or political view, or a cozy bedtime real story…..I love the fact that you have validated my on going love and I will share your blog with my girls. Thankyou again, I truly believe it was no coincidence that I found you this morning. You were just what I needed…..

Reply

Torn October 2, 2011 at 12:27 am

Felt so hopeless looking for answers to my quetnsios…until now.

Reply

Leave a Comment