Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Therapy Thursday: Learn How to Talk

pocket therapist front cover small.jpgI have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.

Most people speak their first word at about 8 months old. If you’re an adult child of an alcoholic, you said your first difficult word at about age 80. Because every time you opened your trap to voice your opinion growing up, you either got shot down or the silent treatment. I don’t know which I preferred. So my mouth didn’t really learn to say anything but “sorry” until I miraculously landed in therapy.


I suppose I could call my weekly counseling sessions “speech therapy,” because that’s where I learned how to articulate the hard stuff: to ever so tactfully (not a strong suit of mine) express my feelings, concerns, resentments, opinions … all the things I kept inside for the first quarter of my life.

Now I know how to use “I statements” (“I’m sorry that YOU CAN’T HEAR A BLOODY WORD I’M SAYING, IDIOT) and other tools taught in Communication 101 for Persons Raised in Dysfunctional Homes.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sam Gyura

    The ‘silent treatment’ was the most destructive force from my childhood. We were just KIDS!! How could a ‘parent’ dish out the silent treatment to their own child? How emotionly and intellectually retarded must they have been? The worst thing that anyone can impose on me is the ‘silent treatment’. Inbetween physical violence. It was either physical violence or mental torture.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nancy

    I can from a household were I was never allowed to voice an opinion…”keep you opinions to yourself” was my mother’s motto. If one happened to slip out, you can bet you’d be the one saying “I sorry”. My mother never apologized because she was ALWAYS right…not. I don’t know how to speak up and voice my needs, my feelings, or wants. I’m 56 years old, in therapy now for 7 years and it’s still hard.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment steve

    The 2 preceding posts are heart-breaking. I felt my own surge of rage at Sam’s, and my own tears at Nancy’s. And at 64, I am just beginning to learn, too, what I *really* think and believe. I — or we all here, if I can venture a guess (with apologies to any for whom this isn’t accurate) — … I have been a damned chameleon all my life. As a pastor, i “believed” what I was supposed to believe. That included the “right” political views I imagined were common in my congregations. It’s so hard, now, to go back and say: hmmmmm, let’s start unplugging a *lot* of Parents now (family-of-origin, school teachers, pastors, university and seminary professors, congregants) … and within realistic limits go back to “square 1,” whatever that may be at *my* age, and start it all over again. Once upon a time I thought “Who am I?” was a self-indulgent question only asked by people with nothing else to do with their time … now I realize it’s absolutely vital (with more apologies scattered backwards over the decades) … and I hope and pray to get *some* kind of answer to that before I am gone. Not sure I will.

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