I spent my last session with my therapist, J, discussing the incident in my previous post.
After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that, regardless of the incident, I blame myself for everything.
She asked me at the time what would be different if I stopped blaming myself. And I came up with:
- I would feel more equal to others. I wouldn't feel so small all the time, and
- I would feel more confident to have my own opinions.
To follow on from this J gave me some writing prompts to work on between then and our next session - and I've been thinking very hard about these. I really think this is something that could help move me forward.
How does thinking you are to blame serve you?This has been a learned behaviour for me. A protective behaviour. I learned a long time ago that I could draw his anger and criticism away from my siblings. I was strong enough to take it, so I would. If I took the blame then he was satisfied and we could all just move on.
I also use it to avoid confrontation with friends and colleagues. I'm terrible at confrontation. And I know will lose in the end and give-in, so it's just quicker and saves my humiliation if I just apologise at the outset of an altercation.
Am I getting anything that brings positivity to me by blaming myself?Avoiding confrontation is helpful in that I am not left in a heap, but I would like to be stronger in myself to be able to standup for myself better. So I'm going to have to go with no. It is a cop out at best, and really just delaying the inevitable.
When are the times in your life when you genuinely did not feel to blame?I really struggled with this one. But I did manage to come up with one example: I rang Lifeline back in April. I had not eaten for quite some time and was genuinely scared for my safety, but couldn't see anyway out. It was late at night and I was alone - so I rang the helpline. The guy on the other end was clearly disappointed to get an hysterical girlie who didn't really have anything sensible wrong with her. "well how much do you weigh?" was one of his first questions... followed soon after with "well if you like food why don't you just eat?". I ended the conversation by informing him that he was not being helpful to which he replied something along the line of "whatever", but I had stopped listening.
None of this stupid lack of empathy was my fault. I don't even care if he didn't understand he could at least have been thoughtful or kind. His only role at Lifeline is to help people who feel their lives might be in danger and he did not even try to help me. He clearly thought I was wasting his time - and that was his fault not mine.
The only other time I have rung them the lady stayed on the phone with me for 45 mins until I was able to eat a mandarin. I was so relieved after this phone call and have actually been much better since and have had no other extended periods of restriction. She helped. He did not. And it was his fault not mine.
What are some ways to think about learning to let go of this blaming feeling and behavior?Um... this one will require more thought...
any suggestions?? Do you tend to blame yourself? Or have you been able to overcome this?