No Se

"Self-awareness or self-consciousness can lead to the enlarging of consciousness. It can lead to the expansion of control of one’s life. Self-awareness involves the capacity of not only looking back, but also looking ahead. Self-awareness is not only a gift, but it is a responsibility." ~ Mufid James Hannush

A commenter in a previous post of mine indicated that no matter how good, or how compassionate my therapist may be, he "still doesn’t know".

I agree.

I don’t expect my therapist to know how I feel.

How could he?

He did not live my experience.

His knowledge, his view comes from an academic, clinical perspective as well as interaction with me.

I don’t expect him to know exactly how I feel.

I do expect him to respect how I feel. I expect him to respect my feelings and help me process them. While many will argue that only a person who has lived the experience can be of any value to me, I disagree. I disagree largely because even if you have lived similar experience you still don’t know MY experience. Furthermore, my problems are not necessarily the experience but my reactions to them and how I allow it to affect me. But talking it through with him, by having him echo back what he hears, by offering validation and understanding and books and other resources along with his clinical knowledge, I am able to process feelings I could not handle on my own.

He is a helper, a guide, a facilitator. He is not the cure. 

I am.

I choose my thoughts and my reactions to them.

On my list, we have mothers from all different walks of life. We have religious moms (and they put up with my agnostic views quite nicely). We have college educated. We have members with doctorates and we have members without a high school education. We have members who live in the South, in the North, in the midwest. Some had additional children. Others did not. Some even surrendered more than one child. Several of the moms confidently state they are fine with having surrendered their child. They feel they did the right thing, the only thing. They were being abused or living with drug addicted men or families. They chose adoption as a way to keep their children safe. They, in their views, were saving their children the only way they knew how (and since live in a society that does not value the mother-child bond they had no support to do anything but that). They clearly don’t feel the type of pain I do because my situation and what lead me to surrendering my daughter to adoption was an entirely different situation than what lead them. What binds us is the mutual pain over the loss of our children. Even if a mom feels she did the best thing, she still lives in agony over the fate of her child and the loss of her child.

Do we feel the same? No way.

Do we respect each others pain? Yes.

Too often I see friends of mine stuck between what I call a rock and an insane place. They insist that people don’t understand. They insist this through tears and agony and imply in their statements that they WANT others to understand, that we should understand, that if we really loved them we would understand. In the same conversation they will insist there is NO WAY anyone else can understand.


If you want me to understand, but you believe there is no way I can, there is it. Rock and an insane place.

So yes, it is true that my therapist doesn’t and cannot know. But I don’t pay him to know my experience. I pay him to help me to process it.

2 Thoughts.

  1. Very well said Suz! We each have pain and the reasons that we made the decisions that we did don’t lessen or heighten our pain any. Our EHBabes group is wonderful for that reason…we respect the thoughts and feelings of each. Now if only the rest of the world would do the same! Keep writing…I may not always agree with you, nor you with me…but I love ya anyways! BTW…I’ll keep praying for you! 🙂

  2. Well said. It’s impossible, to find a therapist who truly knows our experience — even though mine was a b-mom, hers was different from mine. That they have the skill and understanding to help us process, to help any patient process whatever their issues are, is the point.

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