“I sent you the results of the test,” I said as I walked into the office, “you get ’em?”
My therapist nodded as I took my customary seat, “Yes, I got them. Thanks for doing your homework, let’s take a look at the results.”
The purpose of the examination was to identify the severity of emotional traps in my thinking to help guide our discussions. Basically, what my issues are, and how heavily they affect my life.
Patient: Greg Vandagriff, 30M
- Emotional Inhibition: STRONG
- Social Isolation: STRONG
- Failure: STRONG
- Abandonment: STRONG
- Defectiveness: STRONG
- Pessimism: STRONG
- Abuse: STRONG
- Emotional Deprivation: STRONG
- Insufficient Self-Control: STRONG
- Vulnerability: STRONG
- Unrelenting Standards: MEDIUM
- Punitiveness: MEDIUM
- Dependence: MEDIUM
- Self-Sacrifice: MEDIUM
- Subjugation: WEAK
- Enmeshment: WEAK
- Approval seeking: WEAK
- Entitlement: WEAK
“Oh, is that all?” I said jokingly as he read through the results.
At least I don’t have entitlement issues.
He immediately fixated on the first result, “It’s interesting that you would score so strongly on emotional inhibition and vulnerability. You’ve been very open with me about your emotions.”
Well, doc, that’s because I’m paying you $200 an hour to pretend to care about me.
I stared out the window. “I’m not like that with most people.”
The moment I am, they leave me. Dang, I should put that on tumblr.
“Well Greg, why do you think that is?” he asked, stowing the laptop away.
Here we go.
“I’m afraid if I talk about my feelings, they’ll lock me up again.”
He furrowed his brow. “Afraid that who’ll lock you up?”
“My family,” I replied, “… I don’t really talk to them about my problems anymore.”
Or anyone, for that matter.
Which is why I blog.
Readers may wonder why on earth I disclose so much of my personal life in a public place, and the short answer is that it helps me a great deal. It’s important for me to internalize that most people won’t think less of me for having problems. Most importantly, writing helps me to identify underlying issues and resolve problematic behaviors. It worked for my spending habits, after all.
Why don’t I just privately talk to people about my problems like how, you know, normal people deal with things? That’s a good question.
I’ve thought a lot about this, and I think it’s an unintended byproduct of how I was raised. I learned a lot of things growing up, most of them were really helpful, others, less so.