Pretty early on in life I knew there was something wrong with me. I was always being picked on and laughed at and the neighborhood kids bullied me. I always felt incapable of performing physical tasks with expertise. I always felt incompetent and knew that everyone else thought of me that way as well. I expected people to fuck with me all the time. I always felt “less than” but pretty much accepted that as a fact of life until I graduated from high school.
But even within this prison my shame constructed and reinforced there existed an inner spark that sought liberation. I think this is why, even though it made me uncomfortable, I felt compelled to psychotherapy. I had no idea what therapy meant at first and even resisted it on the surface. But again and again I found myself in a therapist’s office throughout my life.
I remember my parents taking me to a group session with some therapist that my sister was seeing because she was having difficulty with my father. I think I was in middle school at the time. I felt really embarrassed to answer any questions. I remember feeling very self-conscious and looking into my lap when I answered questions. I remember my father being defensive when the woman asked questions about situations where he and my sister interacted. I remember my mother describing how frustrated I would get playing a computer game called Karatika (not that she knew the name) especially when the bird “ate me.” I felt humiliated to my core. The therapist responded, “oh, so you are a computer freak?” which increased my humiliation by a factor of ten. Looking back on it I can only conclude she was a shitty therapist incapable of recognizing shame issues or helping someone who suffered from them. I do not think I went there too many times. I did not feel like I had anything to do with my sister’s problems at the time.
In high school my girlfriend’s mother suggested I see a therapist she worked with. I do not remember the exact circumstances but at the time I am sure I was frustrated and depressed about a lot of things. My mother investigated her before I went to see her or said she did anyway. I am guessing she did not trust her mother because she let my girlfriend do whatever she wanted to do. I remember this therapist had a “new age” altar in her office. I do not remember much about what happened in the sessions. I only went a couple of times. I remember talking about my girlfriend as if that would ingratiate myself to the therapist. She responded with something like, “well we’re here to discuss you not her.” I suppose that is a point in favor of the therapist, not that I appreciated it at the time. I also remember her telling me to close my eyes and picture an animal. I do not recall what I pictured or where she was going with that. I remember when I told her that I was ending the therapy. She gave me a hug and asked me if what she did was helpful. I lied and told her it was helpful to be polite.