Thursday November 20, 2003
Dear Dr. Irene:
Hi itís Faith again. (The Doc Answers 18)
Hi Faith. I want to thank God for leading me to your website and I want to start by thanking you for leading me in the right direction.
Thank you! (And that God for helping me
put this site up!) Iíve been to your website for the past 8 months numerous times.
I'm glad it's been helpful!
I'm trying to get more information on abusive partners, and am learning so much from the victims who have the courage and strength to tell their stories.
They have helped me in more ways than one, so: Thanks.
There's nothing like finding that you are not the
only one in the world. You had stated that I needed to get my head together, and to find out what is good for me as to what is not good for me.
Getting Therapy, I have tried Therapy with 5 different counselors. I have told them the same story that I told you and none them came up with the conclusion that I have intimacy issues.
Different therapists will describe your problem
differently depending on their training and your presentation. Doesn't mean
a thing. We'll all eventually get to what the issues are. More on that
Another thing you mentioned was maybe I had a parental figure that teased me growing up: I love My Mom and Dad very muchÖ.
Of course. I do remember my Dad being abusive towards my Mom. He demanded my Mom serve him dinner every night! I remember him putting her down a lot (belittling), and cursed at her a lot. I remember one day we were all eating (My Mom and Dad have 6 kids
Which also tells me there wasn't enough time and
attention for each and every one of you guys.) and my Mom had said something that was obviously displeasing to my Dad; he threw a glass of soda in her face.
Well, that's certainly disrespect. (In dad's defense,
how stressed would you feel if you had 6 kids to support?)
I remember all of ďusĒ kids wouldnít talk to my Dad after that incident.
Good for you guys! That also tells me the family
pathology wasn't too too awful. If it was, nobody would dare imply
dissatisfaction towards Dad. I also, remember my Dad feeling bad for doing that to her. I remember my Mom being a little negative growing up, she would say that I was too skinny(I was very thin), she would also always call me stupid.
Ooops! (I got left back in the fourth grade.
Still a destructive comment to make to a child.) I brought this up to her one time, and she said that she didnít mean it.
I'm glad you brought it up. What your mom basically
told you is that she was stressed out and saying things she didn't really
believe (i.e., acting out). I believe your mom was doing the best she could.
But it wasn't too good. It's
hurtful for a child who is likely to take parental utterances to heart.
What that means is that Mom was in over her head, and it's not your fault
that she was. It's a kid's job to be a kid.
That she thought that I was just as beautiful and smart as her other kids.
:) My Mom favored the boys in my family, the boys ruled!
Just like Dad ruled. That's the case in many
cultures. The girls had to clean do laundry learn how to cook and the boys didnít have any chores.
The message being that males have more entitlements
than females. Training the girls to be co-dependent. Do you see that?
(And training the boys to be self-indulgent and entitled.)
Growing up my sister and I have always liked the same guys. The guys always ended up liking my sister because they thought that I was too skinny. They would always that I was too skinny to go out with.
(Giggle! Though I know what you mean, I'd have loved
to have had your "problem!") I remember my brothers and sisters teasing me, saying that I was skin and bones, and that I had a big nose. I got a nose operation, fixed that problem and Iím no longer skin and bones.
I was always told how pretty I was, but never accepted the compliment.
Sure. Why would you have a good body image if you
were told you were so skinny, etc.? (You lucky thing you!) I also remember being molested by one of my brothers. I remember the first incident was when I was 7 years old. The 2nd time was when I was 12 years old. I use to wake up from my sleep and find him standing over my bed.
Hmmm. So, why would you trust any guy now? At the time, my sister and I shared a bed. One night, I had not fallen asleep yet, and I felt him touching me! I just started crying, waking my sister up. She asked me what was wrong! I told her and she confronted my brother and said if he ever touched me again, she would kill him. He stopped!
Good! The bad part is it taught you to rely on others
for protection. My brother and I have talked about what he did. He says that heís really sorry for doing those terrible things to me. I accept his apology. I donít hate him for what he did, because I truly believe he is sorry!
Good for you. Sexual abuse is never right, but it's a
little less wrong when the abuse occurs to a child from another child.
(You can't trust your environment, but at least those you rely on for
protection aren't doing it to you. But neither are they protecting you.)
Good for you for bringing it up, and good for him for apologizing. Now it's
up to you to eventually let all these things go. I searched the website for counselors that deal with intimacy issues, and I came across Robert Burney, whoís
website has something to do with the Inner Child healing Ė and choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment, and Dr. Irene, he had you as one of his referrals. I feel like God lead me back to you.
Yes! I've "known" Robert Burney and his wonderful web
site for several years. I love his work and how he helps guides other
people's journey by talking about his own journey. Each of us is a fan of
the other. Small world, isn't it? I know that I need counseling, but I canít just go to anyone, do you have any suggestions.
For providers? Only in the Rockland County, NY area.
You can't just go to "anyone," I agree. You have
to find a clinician you feel comfortable with. I don't care that
you've been to five or to ten. You are the consumer and you just keep on
looking. Time consuming? Yes. Expensive? Well, it's starting over and over,
but, it's well worth it. Don't get all bent out of shape that you haven't
found the person you want to work with yet.
Ask some friends who are in therapy who they
recommend. Therapists are often best found by word of mouth. 20% of the
therapists get 80% of the business.
Don't worry if providers don't refer to "intimacy
problems." Intimacy problems are not a diagnostic category, and are words
associated with providers who follow certain orientations, especially
self-help/co-dependency, like Robert Burney. Your issues are pretty common
(Yes, common!), so please don't assume the therapist next door can't handle
your issue. Any licensed or certified can.
I would be equally comfortable referring to your
issues as "low self esteem", lack of "personal power", mild post
traumatic stress disorder, lack of "assertion skills" and the like.
One more big one:
"Trust". You don't trust that a therapist is "the"
therapist who is capable of knowing all they need to know to deal with you,
and you are terrified that (Oh my Gosh!) - what if they don't! You are
looking for a Rock of Gibraltar because you are not your own rock (yet).
Why should you trust? You couldn't trust that your mom and dad would
protect you and fully nurture you. You couldn't trust your brother. And now
there's a history of boyfriends who have demonstrated they are not
trustworthy. Rest assured: the tendency to distrust is not unusual in
individuals with a history similar to yours.
I'm asking you to understand that your reluctance
to trust in the competency of a therapist is part of the problem you are
having with men. By (unwittingly) not taking care of yourSelf, you entrust
yourself to other (as in codependency). Nobody can take care of you like
you can. Nobody! So your job becomes to learn how to do just that.
And you can.
When you write in, tell me about what the other
therapists have said to you. I'll see if I can explain where I think
they're coming from. OK? Dr. Irene
Anybody else had a real problem beginning therapy?
Getting to trust a therapist? Let us know! Please hit "Submit" just
once. And wait... Doc
I just want to