I’ve never been a true believer in Freudian psychology, especially his premise that all behavior goes back to sex. If that’s the case, and everything revolves around sex, I’m in really big trouble, because in that regard I am extremely low mileage- as in barely driven off the dealership lot. That vehicle’s been sitting on the lot so long the tires are dry-rotted and the battery’s dead and the upholstery smells like locker room funk, if my sex life could be compared to a used car.
But it only has 200 miles on it!
I also have problems with the touchy-feely approach that some psychologists take where it’s all about “embracing your inner child.” When I was a child I didn’t want anyone touching me for any reason. “Touching” usually involved getting my ass kicked in some sort of way. I was the geek kid that nobody associated with unless it involved me getting an ass kicking, or it involved someone trying to bribe me to let him/her cheat on a test. If you’re trying to improve my self-esteem, then why do you want me to “embrace” the geek kid? I have to wonder about that approach. I have to wonder about all the hoo-hah about self-esteem. Today’s kids are all about self-esteem, even if they suck. I would rather know I suck than have some lying ass pilot fill me full of crap about how great I am.
I was the butt-ugly geek kid.
My childhood was not nice. It was mostly hell. There were good moments- but they were few and far between. I won’t blame my parents. They did the best they could with what they had, and in their defense, they got dropped a raw deal. There are no child development manuals that could have offered them any help. No parent asks for a child with physical deficits, and no parent asks for a child whose intellectual, emotional and social development can only be categorized as highly abnormal. There was no option of specialists or special schools, especially when it was a struggle for them to afford the bare necessities. Hell, Mom was at the zoo herself most of the time, being bi-polar and untreated- and unpredictable. Dad was at work just about all of his waking hours- partially out of necessity and partially because he didn’t know if he’d come home to Jekyll or Hyde. When I say that my grandmother (actually both of them, but more so my Dad’s Mom, who was within running distance) saved my life many times, that is an understatement. I know Mom probably didn’t appreciate Grandma’s interference (when she was aware of it) but it was Grandma who stormed the principal’s office and kept me from getting the hell beat out of me waiting on the bus. It was Grandma who took me to the Dr. and stayed with me when I was sick with rheumatic fever. It was Grandma who gave me a safe place to go when my sisters and/or the neighborhood kids were looking for someone to pummel again.
I will say that Mom’s unpredictability set me up to deal with future coke-head bosses pretty well though.
Given what they had to work with, it’s a miracle that I am vertical, gainfully employed, and not a serial killer.
Needless to say, I have spent several years in various types of counseling- some more effective than others. The first counselor I went to, when I was 13-16 was tolerable. Better yet, it didn’t cost my parents anything for me to see her because she was a family friend. I learned fairly quickly the answers she wanted to hear- no, I’m not going to kill myself, yes, I am thinking positive today (retch,) but truth be told more than anything I appreciated getting out of school early every other Tuesday to sit and pretty much just shoot the shit. Because she was a family friend, I don’t think she believed me when I told her that my oldest sister was a sadist and a psychopath, but by that time my oldest sister was so much more interested in whatever money and assorted favors she could extort from the boys that she didn’t have much time to waste torturing me.
The second counselor I went to truly wasted my time and money. About a year after Steve-o was born I was having panic attacks and full-blown PTSD, as well as I was going through a rather nasty separation and divorce. I thought it a good idea to seek counseling because I truly was freaking out. The only thing she did after a couple of sessions was to tell me to buy a copy of the book Codependent No More and wished me happy trails. In hindsight I think it was because I had shitty insurance and she was afraid she wouldn’t get paid. I got really cynical about the whole counseling thing after that, and figured that mental health must just be too lofty a goal. So I decided to just deal with life the way I’d always had since I’d become an adult: chain smoking, binge drinking whenever I could, obsessive overwork, and indiscriminate liaisons when I could get away with it. I was a Ruthless Bitch, and that worked for about seven years- until my physical health really started to go south.
Thankfully my path necessarily changed because of my health failing. By the grace of God I got back into a relationship with Him and got involved in a church. Also by the grace of God I gave up smoking. I went to a counselor for a couple of years who wasn’t in it to either bullshit me or rip off my insurance company, and learned some helpful ways to navigate the way I’m wired and to deal with my past (which is an ongoing project.) I also acknowledged that I have inherited and organic tendencies toward anxiety and depression that require medical treatment and medication as well, which has helped me deal with PTSD and work beyond it. It’s a journey, not so much a destination, but I would have to say I am mentally healthier now than at any point in my life, which is almost scary.
I registered to vote on my 18th birthday- for what it’s worth.
This year is another year in which I not only have to be careful not to get caught up in the rhetoric (which is easy for me to do) but I feel as if I have to stand back and look at the election with a pragmatic eye. Voting for a third party or a write-in, i.e. Ron Paul, Mickey Mouse, Ron Jeremy, Dennis Kucinich or even posthumously, Ronald Reagan, effectively is a vote for Obama. Staying home and not voting is also effectively a vote for Obama, and it would also take away my right to bitch about him should he be re-elected. And I am going to bitch about him, re-elected or (hopefully) not- believe it. I would rather have fire ants poured down my underwear than to be complicit in re-electing the worst president ever, and I state for the record that Obama is The Worst Ever. Even if I include Pierce, Buchanan, Wilson, Harding, Nixon, Carter and Clinton, Obama takes the Worst Ever prize hands down.
I’m still not a huge fan of Mitt Romney. The last truly good president this country has seen is Ronald Reagan, and sadly, he’s been in his grave for eight years. But even though Mitt is no Reagan, I can think of FAR better choices to be sitting in the Oval Office than Obama.
Sheena, the mentally challenged Husky. Bonus: her birth certificate is just as contrived as Obama’s, but it’s a little more creative.
Karl Pilkington (yes, he’s a Brit, but hey, BO didn’t have to be a citizen!)
Just remember, folks. The people who voted for Ross Perot bought us 8 years of Bill Clinton. That was bad, but Obama’s a million times worse. As much as I hate the adage, “choose the lesser of the two evils,” what do you do when one of the choices is overwhelmingly odious, the other one is less odious, but still not quite good? <Sigh…>
2 thoughts on “Nothing That Years of Psychotherapy Won’t Fix, Pragmatic Politics and Obscure History”
Well, to continue our discussion from your last post (or the one before that) the dude on the Quaker Oats box IS a Quaker, which makes him a pacifist.
Ugh! That childhood sounds rough. Like you, I was woefully unpopular in high school. In my case, though, it really was my fault–my mouth. Looking back on it now, I wouldn’t have it any other way, because if I’d had it easier, college might not have seemed like such a lifeline. It was though. From about the tenth grade on, all I could think about was getting out, out, out. One difference in our upbringing (and I think this is a big one) is that, although I was raised by a single parent in modest (and modest is bragging), but I had a very happy homelife. That makes a difference (as I suspect you know better than I do), because as shitty as school got (and it got very shitty–I would try to think of reasons not to go), I could always go home.
You registered to vote on your 18th birthday? Nerd. I did too.
I believe in counselling, but like you had a couple horrid experiences with it. In high school I was made to go because of my behavior. The shrink would ask me to tell her about why I was getting in trouble at school, and every time I mentioned a woman or girl, she would ask “And did you want to sleep with her?” I was a virginal 15 year old–I wanted to sleep with anything between 14-60 that looked remotely female. But I couldn’t tell her that, so I said “no” about half the time.
The next counselor I had to see was when I got kicked out of college.(I didn’t HAVE to go to the counselor, but it was part of a bid–successful–to get readmitted). She was a fucking idiot. The thing was, I felt totally bad about getting kicked out of school (LSD), and was determined to change my ways. The counselor determined that my problems stemmed from alcohol.
Being helpful, I told her that I thought I had a much bigger problem with marijuana, and that I’d been kicked out for LSD.
Alcohol was at the root of everything.
“I haven’t had a drink in a few weeks,” I told her, “But I smoke pot pretty much every day.”
Needless to say, no one was helped. Unless you count me. I was helped to get over wanting to quit smoking weed.
Again, better a pacifist than an appeaser, just sayin’. Neither choice is good, but appeasement generally is the worst choice. Kissing the Saudi king’s ring, are you shitting me? Notice I also believe that Satan would be preferable to Obama. At least with Satan, we all pretty much know where he stands. My loathing for Obama, increases by the day- not just because he is so wrong, but he is also so pompous and self-righteous about being wrong. I know my shit stinks, and I’d like to think that if I’m effing up everything I touch that I’d change my approach. Not so, BO. This is what the American people get when we stop caring. Mitt has to be at least a nominal improvement, but only because being a nominal improvement over our current occupier (squatter?) of the Oval Office wouldn’t take much. Shutting up and refraining from kissing up to terrorists would be a start. Sheena the Husky could do that very well. 🙂
I was one of the very first kids in my school district who was permitted (heavily encouraged, if only to get me the hell out of their hair) to take college classes while still in high school. During my senior year that got me out for half a day which was sweet. It was also sweet that in college my instructors actually appreciated my questions and insights, and I didn’t have to watch my back so closely.
Yeah, my homelife pretty much sucked major ass until I was about 13 or so- again thank God for my Grandma’s interventions- when my oldest sister discovered that boys were good for something in addition to extorting money from them. Both of my sisters were pretty much out and about with friends, sports, etc. especially after Mom was down for several months with a back injury. (The good thing about the back injury was she was also diagnosed as bi-polar and started on medication at that time- but even with medication, dealing with a bi-polar person is an adventure.) They didn’t want anything to do with her or the household chores, so (not being able to play sports, and not having many friends,) I was stuck home with the cooking and cleaning and helping with my Dad’s business, which I didn’t mind, because I wasn’t getting my ass kicked and I was hanging around the cool motorhead people. I still had time for music and the library, so there were bright spots. Dysfunction isn’t all bad. It requires creativity, and whatever doesn’t kill ya, doesn’t kill ya!