Thursday, September 27, 2012

Zingers for the Neurotic



I went to see a counselor last week. I was lunching with a friend who mentioned 'My therapist said' and my eyes got all wide and I said, "Ooooooooooo! I WANT TO SEE A THERAPIST! Do you love her? Tell me her name!"  and she did and I immediately called and was positively giddy with anticipation for two weeks until I could get to my appointment.

I know that to some of you, that may sound all Woody Allen and weird but I am convinced that this world would be a much better place if, well, everyone in it just had some sitdown-and-talks with a good counselor. What if your mother-in-law had worked through her junk with her mom? Different Thanksgiving dinners. What if Hitler had worked through his dad issues? Different world.

The last time I was in counseling was when I was pregnant with Maggie, when I had my Early Thirties Breakdown. I can't tell you how many women I know who've gone through the ETB. At some point between the ages of 30-35, in many of us, any un-dealt-with childhood junk will bubble up like lava until it eventually explodes. During this period, any husband who fails to buy the right brand of milk and child who dares leave Legos on the floor are in deep danger of finding themselves covered from head to toe in molten mom lava. I'm not sure why the early 30s is prime eruption season. Maybe because we are having kids and viewing our childhoods through parent eyes? I'm sure hormones are also partially to blame because, sheesh, aren't they always?
During the ETB, my therapy was a long, painful open heart surgery, examining shabbily bandaged wounds, lancing them, and healing them. Not fun, but so very necessary. One of the main reasons I did it was to avoid generational sin. I did not want to pass down my insecurities to my daughters, and I knew I was headed down that path. My goal was for my babies' sin to be original, not inherited from me with the crystal and silver. I shudder to think what kind of wife and mom I'd be now if I hadn't had Cindy's help.

This time is not so rough, thank goodness. This time I just have some stuff. Mainly dealing with friendship. The past few years in Houston were not super fun ones for me from a social perspective, and they did a number on my self-esteem. I feel like Austin is a fresh start, so I want to unpack that junk, slam the door on it and kick it to the curb. Which means the thought of walking into an office with a comfy couch and saying, "Oh objective stranger! Let me catalog all my neuroses so that you can FIX ME!" sounded positively delightsome.

The way my psychology works is that, once someone points out the way in which I am acting irrationally, I usually have a V8 moment and can stop. That's what therapists do - they go to school to learn to facilitate V8 moments. (And lots of other stuff but for Missy-time, that's their money maker.) The way they do this is with Zingers. (I'm sure any therapists out there are loving how I'm summing up their eleventy thousand hours of training with these technical phrases.) A Zinger is the basic element of the V8 Moment  where the therapist says something so profound and applicable that I have a response called the Stop and Stare. Then I write them a check, and drive home pondering the Zinger, chew on the Zinger for weeks, and ultimately apply it. With their help, they have application techniques and stuff. Cindy was the Zinger Queen, and it appears that Leslie also has Mad Zinger Skilz.

Now is where I have to warn you that, if you get a Zinger, it might be/probably will be new to you and only you. During my ETB I'd be so excited over my latest zinger, eg, "I have rejection issues!" and my husband would look at me and go, "Um, so how much are we paying her to state the blatantly obvious?" Whatever, it works, go with it.

So why did Missy get all personal and share-y on this sunny Thursday morning?

Because yesterday my friend Megan wrote a post called I'm a Praise Junkie and I Hate It and my neurotic self and her neurotic self cyber-hugged and cyber-patted each other's hair and then cyber-smiled and cyber-nodded with tears in our cyber-eyes.
 
I, too, place way, way too much value on other people's opinions. I know this is stupid and sick and immature and I also know God's word, hel-lo, I wrote a whole blog called God Thinks You Rock the Casbah. I know all this in my head. But sometimes, especially when I feel vulnerable (which is at least half the time, stupid hormones), I have trouble getting it into my heart.

I spilled all the details of my sad life with the mean girls in the Scaryburbs. Leslie took it all in and then she let loose with her Zinger du Jour. Y'all ready for this? She said:


"At some point in your life, you gave power to other people to deem you worthy or not."

DAY-ANG, huh? Stop. And. Stare.


Isn't that so messed up?!?? To give other people - sometimes people I don't even know, often people I don't even like - the power to deem me worthy?? IS THAT JACKED UP OR WHAT??

I used to do this with boyfriends during my tumultuous 20s. Then I married an awesome man who gives me no cause to be untrusting (thank you Jesus). So instead of just being nice and normal and sane, now I give this power to other women. {Oh, gag me with a insecurity complex!!)


I've been chewing on this for two weeks now.  Still chewing on it. Still reminding myself daily that the only person I need to be worried about pleasing is the Lord, and He is already very, very pleased with me, He's so into me that He, you know, DIED FOR ME AND ALL, and as for the sin in my life that could use some work (like giving other people the power to deem me worthy, for instance) He sent the Holy Spirit, aka THE COUNSELOR, whose job it is to help me get over that insanity. 

Did that zinger reach out and touch you today too?



26 comments:

  1. We may have had the exact same counseling session at one point. ; )

    Isn't it refreshing to hear your insecurities unfolded in a healthy way? Loved the tools I got for dealing with this mud!!! Glad you are, too!

    XO!

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  2. I had my ETB when I was in my late 20's. (I'm an early bloomer like that.) I was in a knot about something from my childhood and my husband said, "Why are you letting something that happened 15 years ago affect your life now?" I yelled back, "It hasn't been 15 years!" and then had a V-8 moment and said, "It's been 20." Realizing that I let something control who I was for 20 years was sobering. I now have a firm 10 year rule. If it didn't happen in the last 10 years then it is not allowed to have a negative impact on my life now. When I hit 35 last year I considered lowering it to a 5 year rule, but I realized that since I gotten in the habit of dropping old crap, I really didn't have much that fell into that any way.
    It's not that I don't still have total emotional meltdowns, but now it is all for new stuff that I deal with and move on.
    One friend of my mom's said that if you lay your troubles at the alter of God, then who are you to try and pick it back up and take it with you when you leave. That thought has helped, too.

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  3. Do you somehow secretly spy on my life and then write about it? :-) Healing abounds in my life since my recent ETB.

    I thank God daily for the blessings that come in the ugliest of packages because, no matter how we may see it at the time, it is still a gift. A gift from the One who loves us more than we will ever understand but try daily to emulate.

    Cyber high five for you lady!

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  4. I love when God confirms His whispers like this....He was showing me your zinger this summer...and still is. I confess it has caused.me to pull back a bit in online friendships and blogging. To think and pause. Love you, Missy. Thankful for you and praying for godly sisters there in Austin.

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  5. I like that. A Zinger. That really is a GREAT one. Now I just need you to share with me the application techniques for fixing it. :) I'll gladly pay for your next session if you will. xo

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  6. I like that you stop, stare, and have a V8 moment. I tend to sit with the zinger in my lap, staring at it and drooling on it until it finally sinks in.

    I'm having my crisis now because OHMYGOSH I'm 26 and married with four kids and I've never done ANYTHING with my life and what if I never DO anything with my life and...

    Long story short, I'll be looking for a therapist now. Thanks.

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  7. I love your blog. I don't always comment, but I absolutely love it. Love the honesty, the sense of humor and conviction. Thank you so much for writing - your blog represents so much about what I love about blogging, how we're able to make these connections with people who, on the surface could not be more different, but are actually so incredibly similar to us.

    And FWIW, I totally had the EBT as well :-)

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  8. Great post - and thanks for the link to your cyber-friend's post as well. :) And I hope you feel better to know that I - a therapist, no less - have issues of my own with praise as oxygen near the top of my list. I took a passive-aggressive stance with myself and deactivated FB b/c I realized that I used it primarily as a means of affirmation which just ain't cool. Thanks again.

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  9. Missy, I am 38 and have three (nearly) grown children and my main insecurities are in my friendships. Thank you for that zinger and for reminding me that I only need to worry about pleasing the Lord!!

    And I totally agree that everybody needs some sort of therapy.

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  10. I've been in therapy for a year and it is the most positive thing I've done for myself. I can't imagine not having Jennifer there to had out the zingers every three weeks or so. Even though when she does I get a little snippy and "do as I say not as I do" for a few days. (Normally she brings home her point with, "well if you were Cady [my daughter] what would you tell her?")

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  11. I don't know many women who don't struggle with this on at least some level. My zinger that I recently ran across was from The Hiding Place, and Corrie Ten Boom gets disappointed because someone 'fails' her and she immediately prays to God to ask for forgiveness for "turning to another human when You are all I need." Wow. That really opened my eyes. I hope I can learn to really feel that EVERYTHING I need comes from God.

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  12. So THAT's what's wrong with me???? ETB. Who knew!At least now I can tell my poor hubby why I'm half crazy. I agree: everyone can benefit from talking to a trained professional in listening. I just may make me an appointment today. Thanks! :)

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  13. I'll be chewing on that statement, too. Cyber hug to you for sharing.

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  14. Wow! It took me moving 13 hours away and reading your blog post to finally figure out what's wrong with me! What a zinger....

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  15. Wow! It took me moving 13 hours away and reading your blog post to finally figure out what's wrong with me! What a zinger....

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  16. OK, you're so right about the ETB, and I wish I had gotten some therapy then, but I'm sure the forties will bring their own neuroses, so there's that to look forward to.

    This was right on, and even though I have told my girls this very thing, I find myself sometimes still giving power to others over me. Great reminder, and great post. (Especially loved your husband's "blatantly obvious" comment.)

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  17. I am certain I could use some insightful Zingers right about now and not just these kind http://www.hostesscakes.com/products/zingers although my mind goes there for a split second each time you mention it ;).

    I too have recently decided that some "friends" are quite unfriendly and NOT worth the value/power I have let them have over me. Thanks for a very insightful post and kudos for you for working on this area and not getting "stuck."

    Hugs!

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  18. That thing about giving away your power was really . . . well, powerful! And I love the way you think forward about the legacy you're giving your daughters. Go, Mis!
    Nancy

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  19. The title of your friend's post sure resonates with me! And I think there's something about blogging that amps up the addiction, because strangers **will** come along and leave compliments, and then you feel like, ooh, these are delicious, want-more!

    ... But that's not what it's all about. *gah*

    I like the way God works. If there's a message he wants us to have, he gives it to us in interesting ways. I had one of those week or so ago: the message came *twice* because I'm so dense I wouldn't get it otherwise. (Entry is here if you're curious, but no worries if you don't get a chance.)

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  20. Oh.my.word! I am 37, and have been going through this for the past year and a half. I've been seeing a counselor for about a year. I, too, do not want to pass down the generations of undealt-with cycles to my children. You have so candidly (pardon the cliche') hit the nail on the head!

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  21. I'm the mother of 5 girls, ranging in age from 11 months to 18 years. I also have a son who is 20, but he didn't have to deal with the "friendship" issues that my girls deal with. I wrote this blog last year - http://www.canyousaychaos.blogspot.com/2011/09/mean-girls.html as a how-to guide to my daughters on dealing with mean girls. (the 5th daughter didn't arrive until after the post, but I'll add her one day). :)

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  22. Thank you. That is all.

    I have some chewing to do.

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  23. OH, Missy, I can SO relate to this post. Insecurities? I am the QUEEN-BEE! I wake up at night (satan's BEST time to jab me) re-playing over and over in my head some VERY minor thing I said or did during the day that the other person probably didn't even notice. Worse yet, I constantly fight the feeling that God is mad at me. I know in my head that it's not true (just like you), but my heart has trouble believing it. I have no idea where (in my earthly relationships) all this comes from. My parents were loving and affirming. I had no horrible boyfriend relationships. I didn't marry until I was 33 and my husband is a wonderful, godly, gentle, loving man. I do NOT want to give the enemy this power in my life. I cling to Romans 8:1 (Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...), but still I fight this battle. I guess it's a blessing I have no kids to pass this on to.
    Thanks for sharing your struggles - I guess we all fight something on this earth. Praise God for His mercy and grace - now if I could just GET that!

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  24. I don't know how I missed this post. Yeah...um. You and me. Lunch, please? I not only give this power to other women, but I give it to women who don't even know me. Women who have no clue they are declaring me worthy or not. I don't even know how that works, but it just does.

    I pray about it all the time. Sometimes, I think God won't give me one more good thing until I allow Him to define me and release these women from their grip.

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