I had my first session with my new therapist that one of my friends online hooked me up with and I just have to say wow! So that’s what a good therapist is like.
I can now quite confidently say that all the other therapists I’ve had really sucked and most of the progress I made was by using therapy techniques on myself (which may possibly mean that I would be a good therapist because I tend to be pretty insightful, which is apparently the difference between a good therapist and a mediocre one.)
Even though it was our first session, I wanted to talk about my mother-in-law. And the insights the therapist gave me just really blew me away.
For one thing, she said that if my MIL is a true narcissist (which she didn’t doubt), that stems from her feeling like no one ever loved her or paid attention to her.
She also asked about my MIL’s back story and I said that she got pregnant with her first child at 15. Her parents (J’s grandparents) wanted her to have an abortion but she said no, so they made her marry the child’s father, who was J’s biological dad and he turned out to be a total deadbeat.
I reluctantly guess that makes sense how she ended up with J’s stepdad. Sue was only 23 and had already been a single parent for 6 years. It’s fair to say she probably didn’t have the best judgment.
Even though his stepdad was so abusive to him and seriously glorified overwork, I can (again, reluctantly) see how she would have thought he was a “good provider,” which he was.
And my therapist said that the reason MIL is so hard on my kids and Kris’ kids for not growing up fast enough is probably because she can’t comprehend the idea of being loved and affirmed no matter what.
In fact, she probably subconsciously avoids thinking about that because if she were to do so, it would require her to look at the truth about how she grew up herself and realize that she never received that kind of complete affirmation and validation.
Then, I told my mom how well my therapy had gone and she mentioned that maybe my MIL didn’t know how to respond to my olive branch because maybe no one had ever offered one to her before and she didn’t know how to react.
And—this is no small matter—it made my mom recognize that therapy could sometimes be beneficial. Maybe I planted a seed.
So I guess that even though I still honestly want to be mad at Sue, I can’t anymore. She’s a complicated person and I still don’t particularly like her but it’s not all black and white.
That said, I didn’t send Denny (J’s stepdad) a birthday card either, even though his birthday is the same as mine. I don’t know if I’ll ever send Sue a birthday card or Mother’s Day card etc but I can say for certain that I won’t for Denny. One because he gives us all the creeps (kids included) and two because he never apologized or showed any remorse for how abusive he was to J.
I’m not going to recognize him as a father figure to J because in my opinion, he wasn’t one and did a super shitty job.
But I’m also left with what remains now that I’m less angry at my MIL and I realize that my anger was sort of protective. Now I’m just left with the hurt of J being gone and that’s a lot harder to bear.