By Paula Bianchi –
The most important psychological tool I learned to use from therapy was: acceptance. Without it, I never would have moved on from my tortured past. I say tortured in the sense of dealing with my own thoughts and emotions about being molested when I was a kid.
It’s indescribable the thoughts, feelings, and emotions I carried with me throughout my life because of how a sick minded adult treated me. What makes it even more twisted is his statement that he was doing it out of love for me. It meant (to him) that we had a “special” relationship. If it was so special, then, why did I hate him so much.
To be a kid dealing with adult issues, is overwhelming, and just because I grew up, it didn’t make it any easier to deal with. At the time, the tool I used was avoidance. I tried working a few times, but my fight or flight instinct would kick in if any man took “special” notice of me. If I got the same feeling in my gut that I got when I was a kid, I quit my job. This was my defense for life after I graduated high school. Avoidance.
It worked well for me, until I was 43, and a panic attack sent me to the ER. Next, my doctor sent me to a psychologist. In all my years, I never considered myself in the need of psychological care. Boy, was I wrong.
Upon my first visit, I was given an intake form to fill out. When I reached the question about being molested as a kid, I had the biggest light bulb moment. This was why I was there. It was because of my past and what happened to me when I was young. I answered everything truthfully. I knew it was the key to making me better. Without even knowing it, I hit my first hurdle of acceptance, and I jumped over it knowing it would lead me to getting better.
Sitting in my therapist’s office for my second visit, I was mentally hit with all of the metaphysical knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years, which left me with the sense that this doctor was the first, and most important, piece in my puzzle to healing myself. Before she had walked into the room, I had accepted the reason why I was there, and I had a strong desire to get better.
Now, acceptance isn’t easy. It tests me mentally, physically, and spiritually. For stubborn people, this can be very challenging. I had a deep understanding about how my attitude would play heavily with the outcome of my therapy, so when my therapist took her seat, and began to gingerly ask questions, which I knew where leading to my problem, I said to her, “I know I’m here because I was molested as a child.”
Her surprised response, “You have no idea how much time you just saved on your therapy.”
I learned quickly that therapy led to acceptance. I unpacked my baggage and laid myself bare, so she could help me accept what I was carrying around with me for all these years. Until I accepted what happen to me, and the fact that it was out of my control, it would continue to have power over me, my thoughts, and my life. That was the easy part.
The hardest part of my therapy was getting my molester out of my head especially when it came to sex. My poor husband had to deal with the fact that there had always been 3 people in our bed. Even if the third person was unseen, he was still there in my head.
It took six months, but I did it. I was liberated. I had never felt so free in my life. I honestly had no lingering thoughts of the person who mistreated me so badly. I was also fortunate that my molester was dead, so I never had to confront him, but I would have if my therapist wanted me to. I still wrote him a letter, and I said everything to him that I always wanted to say, then, I burned it. Talk about feeling lighter! All the weight that I had been carrying on my shoulders, instantly lifted.
At the end of my first round of therapy, I had the tools for life, and I tried to apply them to any problems that may arise. I learned to accept others for who they are, and I was very much aware I could only control myself, not them, which made me understand that I’m the orchestra leader of my life. I choose who’s going to be in my life or not. I’m taking care of me.
My friends and family started to see a change in me. I spoke up more for myself. When Alan and I would attend family functions, I was no longer glued to his hip. I’m sure he found it odd the first time he had to go and look for me at a party. I even sang karaoke with one of Alan’s cousins. (Well, it took a couple shots of tequila to get me up there, but I did it.)
So, I’m cruising along feeling really confident in my ability to accept things, when bam, I find out I have colon cancer. I think I might have dealt with it better if it weren’t for the ordeal I went through in the hospital for nine days because of my surgeon. When he led me to believe the problem I was experiencing, post-surgery, was all in my head, of course that sent me back into therapy. In my mind, he was telling me I was crazy, but it turned out it was all on him.
My Psychologist helped me accept all the changes happening to my body, and how what was happening to me was out of my control. I felt helpless to what was going on with me. Losing my hair and weight was very difficult to swallow. Feeling run down and tired became my new norm.
It was during this period in my life where I learned to take things one day at a time. The hardest part was keeping my mind from going to dark places. Did I think about my mortality? You bet. How could I not think about it? I didn’t want to leave my family and friends yet. Needless to say, I was extremely excited on the last day of chemo, when the doctor said I was cured, but I was left with trying to accept the last gift from chemo; neuropathy. The thought of having to take medication for the rest of my life just kills me. If I don’t take it though, my feet hurt and tingle every day.
After going through my second round of therapy, I was well prepared to tackle any future mind games I may encounter. I taught my husband how to use acceptance to control his mind games, and it makes me so happy when I see him consciously choose to use it.
If my family or friends come to me with their problems, I try to point out the things that are out of their control, and I try to get them to accept and think about the positive choices they can make as a solution, so they can happily move on.
Something or someone may try to hurt you like: getting you fired, stealing your mate, taking you to court over a false claim, spreading rumors about you, harassing you, or anything else that can be wrongly done to you, the solution lies within your reaction to the perceived negative action towards you. Remember, you can only control how you’re going to react, and that’s by not exerting your energy in trying to make them be any different. It is what it is.
Here’s my challenge to you: pick something, anything, from your life that you’ve been dealing with that’s out of your control and just choose to accept it and let it go. Especially, if it’s something that’s been draining your energy. This may entail walking away from certain people in your life. Each time you do this, you’ll feel lighter and lighter. Give it a go.
In my next mind games article, I’ll talk about being stubborn. Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Hope to see you again. Bye for now.