Too Much

The more I think about the way things ended with Zooey, the more I can connect it to a troubling pattern in my life.

I don’t know that I believe she intended to hurt me, but she didn’t go out of her way to ensure therapy ended in a better way, either. As I continue to reflect on that, I realize that this has been a fairly common theme within the relationships in my life, particularly with individuals that were in an authoritative or caregiver role. Ultimately, Zooey couldn’t be better because she didn’t want to be. She must have been so wrapped up in burnout and clinical shame that she literally ran out of steam. She couldn’t push herself out of her comfort zone one final time, even for the benefit of me and my treatment.

And that’s the pattern.

This is not the first time this has happened. In fact, I seem to have a knack for attracting caregivers that inevitably fall short of taking doing just that. I’m trying so hard to be okay with her and with this mess…to believe she is good and was somehow just incapable of being better in those final moments. But I am not so sure that’s true.

She had a choice. She had so many choices. She could have referred me out sooner and spent ample time helping me through that transition. She could have engaged in better self-care. She could have set clearer clinical boundaries when my treatment with her began to be overwhelming. She could have worked with me to develop a plan to supplement my treatment so that she wasn’t shouldering it alone (all of these being things my wife or I suggested to her at one point or another, by the way).

But she didn’t. And her lack of ability to handle the therapy appropriately and efficiently really sucks. It pulls me right back into this dark place of shame where I reminded that I am not enough. I wasn’t enough for her to fight for me in the end. I know, logically, that that fault lies with her, not me. But what I hear in my head is the voice of my abusive parents, telling me how worthless and stupid and crazy I am.

I’m reminded of the many times they told me that only they could truly love someone like me: that I was too much, that no one else would put up with my “bullshit” or “make the kind of sacrifices” they made to “fight for me.” When I finally cut off my parents, my mother left eleven scathing messages. All of them focused on what an ungrateful asshole I am and to lament about all the wasted hours and energy and money they spent on me. Her final words were “What have you ever…EVER done for us?” I guess I didn’t realize I owed my parents back for, you know, birthing me? Providing basic necessities of life? Who knows?

But this situation with Zooey does make me wonder – were they right? Not in terms of ALL relationships. I certainly have friends in my life that know my story and accept me unconditionally for that. But in terms of people that symbolize or represent a parent or caregiver. Can anyone who is in that role ever truly be present with me? Can they really step in and sit with me long enough to allow me to do the work I need to heal from all the trauma inflicted on me by my actual parents? Can they endure the necessary emotional discomfort to process all of that ugliness?

Or is my story just too much? Am I just too much?

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11 thoughts on “Too Much

  1. kat says:

    no, you are not ‘too much’. you just seem to have happened on a few therapists who really should be better at their job. unfortunately, it is always trial and error with them. i have been diagnosed since 1999, but it took me until 2 yrs ago to find the therapist who really could do all, because it was her job. and because of having her now, i can function with my run of the mill psychiatrist. without my therapist, i don’t know what would become of me with only a random kind of psych doc. i’d probably be a lot sicker and not improve much. good luck to you with your new therapist, hoping this one is the ‘one’ who can actually do her job, and will. but remember, it is NOT you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Zoe says:

    I understand this post on so many levels and I am hurting with and for you. You are not too much and you ARE worth it. I don’t know why she did the things she did, perhaps she believed she could handle it, perhaps she believed she knew better than you… and I know that nothing I say will help that nagging voice (I have it too) so all I can do is offer you a hug. I am hoping that you can find someone who is worthy of YOU. So many caregivers are in it just for money and glory, but I hope to everything you can find someone who truly has a passion for their job and truly looks at you and says: I am going to stick with you until the end.

    Just know you are WORTH EVERYTHING. I mean it. You are a beautiful soul; I can see it through your writing. Hoping for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ambivalencegirl says:

    I just wrote about feeling as if I am too much of everything in a very bad way. My mom told me I was too talkative, too whiney, I cried too much, I was too antsy. I was just too much of everything she didn’t like. When I began treatment last year I was told that it would be unethical for any one clinician to see me on an individual basis. Basically I heard that I was too much…too much self harm, too much eating disordered, too much diagnostically of everything. But I found a therapist willing to treat me individually and set boundaries that are healthy and not pathologize me to death. I don’t think she feels I am too much despite my feeling that I am.

    You are right that Zooey was ultimately responsible for her own care as well as yours. She should have listened and had a better conceptualization of you feeling like too much and how this related to past abuse. Transference is crazy stuff. But she didn’t and we are all human and not every therapist figures us out as we wish they would even when we get attached and wish they would stay with us forever. It’s complicated and we move on despite often wishing things were different. And hopefully we attach again and heal some more and keep a bit of each person in our heart and realize we are better for have knowing them.

    I don’t know if that makes any sense or not. I think I just rambled but I wanted you to know that I get it. Well at least sort of.

    Liked by 2 people

      • ambivalencegirl says:

        Yes, that’s a great way to think about it. Even when I had that terrible treatment team it was most likely one person who felt overwhelmed by me and my behavior and then everyone joined in because they were a team. But it was that person’s own transference issues and her inability to deal with me. But when someone stays calm and listens I do much better and stay calm as well. So yes, you are not too much! You are just right.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Heathers Helpers says:

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. I could have written much of this blog myself and I have been dealt with the same way in the past and sadly the not so distant past either (months ago). Please keep asking thos crappy voices of your parents and others whom have hurt you to take a back seat and allow anyone or anything positive in your life now to sit up front. You DO deserve better. You are not too much. You are worthy of all the love and attention you can find.

    Liked by 1 person

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