Health Personal Essays Women

My Blind Therapist

I went to a blind therapist for nine years. Going to a blind therapist to help see yourself better is absurd. I can see that clearly now.

My friend Chris is a therapist. She actually has helped me more than the blind man did; and we split the check at the end of our sessions. I can’t get my insurance to pay for our dinner or lunch (actually it’s hard to get insurance to pay for anything these days, but that’s another posting). Nonetheless, she has such amazing insight into my life that I realize that sometimes listening to friends who know you really well is much smarter than listening to someone you pay and tend to not tell things to because you want them to think you are a good patient making progress that they can write about in their next paper. Damn, that is a run on sentence, but I think it’s worth it. Also, I get to feel good at the end of our times together because I think I help her too. You don’t get to help your therapist, it’s a one way street and that’s not good for curbing personal narcissism, nor your self esteem.

There is no shame in therapy when you are a New Yorker.  Most of my friends have been in some kind of therapy or other. When I mention it in circles from my midwest past, they think it’s odd indeed. Ok, maybe not odd, but rather pathetic or scary. It always surprises me that people think therapy is strange or shows something lacking in your personal make up. An old boyfriend of mine used to say, “An unexamined life is a life that didn’t go very far outside the box it started in.” I like examining my behavior and the behavior of those that have had an influence on me.

Presenting yourself to a blind therapist is not easy.

“You might not have noticed, but I’ve gained some weight over the past few months.”

“Really, how much?”

“Fifty pounds.”

I’m not telling you what he said next. But it was at that moment that I knew I needed to leave the therapy.

He also said some amazing things.

“Just when are you going to start behaving the way you want to be remembered?” comes to mind. How good is that? I wake up many a morning and decide that is the day I’m going to start acting the way I want to be remembered. Like the New Day, New Diet plan that after ten years I still believe is going to start each morning, (talk about self deception) by noon I’ve done something or other that is not how I want to be remembered. Alas.

An old boyfriend who died recently, Kenny, went to a therapist four days a week for twelve years. None of us who cared about Kenny  saw one bit of difference in his destructive behavior and finally talked him into quitting. We all met for dinner after his last session, and he sang the praises of his therapist. “You will not believe how honest he was in the last session. He said the only thing I could fault him for was not stopping the therapy sooner when it was clear it wasn’t going anywhere.” None of us said a word. Kenny was not a stupid man. He stood before the Supreme Court of the United States of America – twice. Blind is not just about seeing through your eyes.

I think women have a harder time in therapy then men. We tend to want people to like us and confronting the therapist can often be part of the treatment. I never did that really. Nor have many friends I have who are in therapy. Men don’t seem to care. “I’m paying him,” one guy friend said to me at dinner when I questioned the roughness of what he said to the therapist, “I don’t really care what he thinks.” I want to be that person, not just in therapy, but in life. “Hi, I’m Christine, and I care what I think, not what you think.” What freedom! I’m cured!

After I stopped seeing the blind therapist I found out he became a Rabbi. Does that make him a Rabid Therapist? Tee hee. I’m not Jewish, but my daughter is, and I wondered when I heard he became a Rabbi if I would have converted to Judaism if I was still seeing him when he had his ceremony or whatever right of passage makes you a Rabbi. After all I became a narcissist when he specialized in narcissism.

This next part may seem far fetched, but I assure you it’s true.

My ex husband emailed me last fall to say that the blind therapist turned Rabbi had been in touch and asked him for money for his campaign because he was running for Congress. I checked it out and sure enough, the blind therapist, turned Rabbi had turned candidate. I knew I’d made progress because I actually contacted the blind Rabbi Therapist Candidate to tell him I thought that was extremely tacky. He agreed and apologized profusely. Turns out my ex was on a list that he was given to solicit, and he didn’t catch it.

I realize that being in therapy is sort of like having a life preserver while bobbing up and down in the large ocean of one’s life. “I’m in therapy and will find out why I don’t tell you the truth.” As if the why makes it any better. It’s like the Catholic confession. Be a terrible person all week and no worries; say you are sorry in confession and poof, it’s gone and you are no longer responsible. Or, in Judaism, when God wipes the slate clean each year and you get a big do over the next. I love Judaism for that reason alone.

I’m still examining my life, but have found other ways to do it. I am going to stick with writing which is a form of therapy right? It’s much less expensive. You don’t need to rush to make the appointment time. You don’t have to wonder if you are the favorite patient or not. The list goes on and on.