One common theme
Each client of mine has a unique story to tell. I present fresh clean slate of my mind for each one of them. I receive them and their mails as they are. I prepare report of each individual. I arrange, rearrange, read and reread compiled notes (which I prepare over a period of time) of each individual. I can see data of more than 15-20 pages sometimes up to 35-40 pages depending upon the size of unfinished businesses. As a person grows in age, his/her baggage of unfinished conflicts and thereby weight of painful memories also goes on becoming heavy. Some clients have traumatic childhood, but have a fairly less stressful adolescence and adulthood. Some have their adolescence very stressful in spite of having a happy childhood. Few clients have traumatic childhood, very challenging adolescence, and frustrating adulthood as well. Their current life appears very stressful for them to handle, all by themselves. Most of these clients have a parental family or have their own families. Some have large number of siblings and, friends. Some have a long list of sex partners /relationships. In spite of so many persons around, clients sometimes appears to feel very lonely or helpless. Few of these persons are highly successful in their career. Some are not so happy in their current profession and they wish to get a break from it and try to search for a suitable job profile. Some handle multiple careers. Some travel a lot. Some are college going students. Some are unemployed. Me and my clients work on their painful memories and uncomfortable feelings about the significant people in their life. The significant people could be alive and staying at her home or are alive and staying in different homes in same nation or are alive and staying in different countries. They could be untraceable or dead. They could be some characters in her dream/s. I segregate people in my client's life in two lists. One list consists of those people who were in good books of my client. Another list contains a list of those people, who were directly or indirectly responsible for my client's suffering. I rearrange persons in my second list, as per intensity of my client's pain-frustration. I also work on my client's negative emotions about her own self. Client feels bad about some of her deeds, failures, wrong decisions. I rearrange causes of her shame/guilt/anger as per her intensity of her suffering.
While working so much, on the compiled data of one client, a part of my brain gets a click about a theme that is a common underlying feeling to all conflicts of that client. And, I get an Aha! feeling. Its a break through for me!!
I choose my time to disclose this theme to my client, who could be tired of answering my seemingly tough questions, who could be feeling desolate and, unhappy and could be desperately waiting to see some light, some hope, finding some cause behind all her agony. Which are these themes? Who creates such themes? When are these themes created?Why does one produce such self-defeating themes? - All human beings without any exception, have to face real life full of injustice-pain-insults-discrimination-unfairness- sickness-alienation-hurt-loneliness-dependence-helplessness-grief-bereavement- adjustments. Life is never a bed of roses in spite of having best of the outer conditions. Its not always full of thorns, as well. The path of life has a mixed and unpredictable texture under our feet with unexpected twists and turns and weather. A small child in us tries to understand his/her world in her way. He/she tries to relate herself to the world around. The experience, concept and contents of a world vary with each person. Our world contains people-objects-memories-imaginations- impressions-impacts-convictions-notions-ideas-illusions-idealism-fear of death and dying, anxiety about failure and alienation- unfulfilled wishes etc. Each one of us perceives-thinks-responds and stores data coming from the inner and outer world, in a unique way. We all are thus unique individuals. I therefore never feel bored or get tired while working with my clients. I grow while working with them.
The themes I have come across are -
- I am really unfortunate!
- I am a bad person!
- I do not deserve happiness and comfort and rest!
- Wish I was a boy!
- Nobody loves me!
- Its all my fault!
- All seem to be happy and I am not!
- Others have no issues, and I am overwhelmed with issues!
- Something is wrong with me!
- I am a bad looker!
- Boys/Girls won't find me attractive!
- I can sell myself to get anything I want!
- I am nobody!
- Life is not worth living!
- If my mother/father would have been more mature/caring/strong/ impartial....!
- I miss my mother/father!
- I am not good enough!
- Unhappiness-loneliness-sadness is my destiny!
- I belong to the world of unfortunates!
- I have failed to please my parents!
- I am dirty / sinful----!
- I have missed something!
- Why I am not sought after by people?
- Why can't I be perfect?
- I wish this world to be perfect and cool place to live!
- I wish to be unique/special/on top of the world.
- Why can't these people understand me?
- Making parents/spouse/kids happy is my responsibility!
- I am helpless!
- I need people!
- Tell me I am OK!
Persons have a wave pattern of living. They have intermittent patches of cool controlled life. They feel good about life and about themselves. Suddenly something goes wrong and they are back to square 1. They sustain with that frustration somehow. They try to find a way out and start walking vouching that "I will never repeat that mistake again". After a while, unknowingly they get into the same trap and slip in that ditch again. A stage comes, when either they become afraid of making mistakes, or they become very careless and continue flowing passively, not thinking about consequences. In therapy, it is termed as game playing. We all play psychological games unknowingly. The motto of the game is to be in good books of all the people. We cry/plead/yell/argue/discuss/defend/manipulate/lie/gossip/distort/sulk to be influential and try to get what we want. All games end in inevitable frustration for all those who are involved in it. Nobody understands why this happens. We all continue to live in the same unhealthy way year after year. We don't know how to undo it. In therapy, we have a chance to be aware, accept and undo game playing. It requires solid determination and patience to cooperate with your therapist and come out of the self made golden prison.