Ronni... December 10, 2020
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
I just spoke to my new therapist, Ronni, for the first time. Wow that was eye opening. We discussed a lot of things. We dove into my past - my family history, my parents, my mom and dad, my sister, Colby, Dana Hall, Evan... everything.
I told her the story of when my dad up and left my mom one day after she was visiting her dad in NH for the weekend. He cleaned out his closet, dresser drawers, took paintings off the walls, and left a note on her dresser. She came home to an empty house. This was after months of him coming and going, years of fighting. Ronni asked why I felt sorry for her, made excuses for her drinking? I said she shouldered his burden for so many years. She kept his secret for twenty-five years of their marriage and tried to help him work through his "struggle" of coming to terms with being gay. How did he repay her? He up and walks out on her one day, when he finds someone to replace her. I talked about how we made excuses for her drinking after that, we tried to encourage AA and attempted Al Anon, but realized she had been dealt a tough hand, and decided it was time to just let it go. Let her drink. She has had a tough life. Ronni wondered why we let that go? Maybe I didn't want to deal with it...
She asked about my relationship with everyone in my family. I explained about my dad, and how he came out to us eventually, after years of torment. Going back and forth, lying to us and not being able to come clean. Eventually, he admitted to us that he was gay, and he lied for so long for fear of shame and that we wouldn't accept him. It took years of denial on his part though, years of pretending the truth wasn't there. Now, my relationship is strained with most of my family. I talked about how I shut out all of them for most of my years at Colby, and I focused on my friends - most of whom I am closer with now. We all don't talk much anymore, and I try to have a relationship with each of them, but it's just never going
to be like it is for most people around here in Needham, with family close by.
Ronni seemed to think that my drinking has been a way of avoiding dealing with my feelings over the years, much like my parents did for most of their marriage and my life. That is all I have for role models. Or rather - I have a lack of role models in my mom and dad. They never dealt with their emotions or conflict, never addressed or admitted to the truth, which in turn showed me that I haven't been able to do the same. Until now, perhaps?
She says the way I have described my mom is that I have made excuses for her and made a victim out of her. In turn, perhaps that is maybe the role I have given myself? Made excuses for my own behavior, forged a path just like her own? I don't know. Need to talk that one through more with her.
But, she told me - I am in a place of empowerment now. She said that for years I have been suffering in silence, letting alcohol control me. Not being honest with myself. But I have taken control and I have taken the right to decide my own feelings. She doesn't want me to lose this sense of empowerment. She thinks I have made tremendous growth over these last 11 days, with all that I have done and felt, emotionally and mentally.
Conflict is the point of growth. You don't get anywhere without addressing the conflict in your life. Which I guess is what I am doing. She is proud of me with how much I have done in such little time. She asked how Evan and I deal with conflict? I started to talk about how well we talk to each other, we have such a great relationship... but then, I began to explain how we skirted around the issue of my drinking for so long, never really addressing it head on. Never really confronting the truth. So maybe we aren't as honest with one another as I had thought. Or maybe I just wasn't as honest, and he just was oblivious. I don't know.
Ultimately, after she listened to me talk about my past - she told me I have a lot of anger. She thinks I don't seem to know how to deal with it well, and possibly that is why I have turned to alcohol. To mask the anger, the pain, the frustrations. I laughed at first and then thought for a minute. Maybe she is right. Maybe this is why I blow up at the kids so easily, lose my shit. I don't know, but that is definitely making me take a step back and think.
She asked about work. Dana Hall. I told her about how they manipulated me into working there the first year, only to practically rip my job out from under me after working there for only a few months. I didn't even realize that I harbored so much resentment from working at that school. My one real job I ever had. The one real thing that ever defined me as an adult...
So, that is a lot. Need to process...