“Be Who You Needed When You Were Younger.” – Lonerwolf
Jerry and Connie had been seeing each other for about six months. Jerry wanted to take their relationship to the next level. He wanted to move in with her.
In fact, he was so insistent that it made Connie wonder why he was pushing so hard. Jerry was nice enough, but maybe too nice. He seemed to dote on her by going to her apartment and cleaning the house and having dinner ready when she got home. Yes, she worked longer hours than he did, but he seemed to be brownnosing, but why? What does he want? Something didn’t feel right.
She talked to her mom who was a counselor but didn’t go into a lot of detail. She knew her mother had ethical issues about being her counselor and she didn’t want to put her mom in a hard spot.
“Mom, if I can’t come to a decision that I’m comfortable with soon, we’ll talk, okay? I think you’ve taught me how to listen to myself and God,” Connie said.
“Okay. If you need some help come to me. We can figure it out or I’ll put you in touch with another counselor.”
“Thank you, Mom. You’re the greatest,” Connie said as she gave her a goodbye hug.
“I’ll call you later. I have a new client coming in soon. I have to get things ready,” she said turning to walk into her office as Connie went out the front door.
Connie continued to think about Jerry’s insistence to move in with her. She liked him. Actually, she liked him a lot, so why was she so hesitant. She just couldn’t put her finger on the problem.
Jason’s Counseling Session
Darlene, Connie’s mom, got up from her desk when she heard the doorbell alerting her to someone entering her waiting room. Her house was arranged with a two-room office with an outside entrance, perfect for working at home.
She opened the door to the waiting room. A young man in his late 20s, about her daughter’s age, sat paging through a magazine.
He was clean-cut and had been very polite on the phone when he set up the appointment.
“Jason, come on into my office?”
He walked into the office handing her the paperwork she had asked for during his phone interview.
“Have a seat,” Darlene said as she paged through the sheets. “Thank you. Looks like you’ve been very thorough in answering the questions. Give me a moment to look at them.”
Jason picked up another magazine that was on the table and began thumbing through it. Darlene watched him for a few seconds. For the information he put on the worksheets, he seemed way too comfortable. His appearance was immaculate even to the pressed crease in his blue jeans – who presses their blue jeans?
Darlene looked up as she took her glasses off and laid them on her desk, “I see from you worksheets that you have ADHD and have not been on medication for a few weeks during childhood. How old were you?”
“I think I was about eight. It made me so dopey that my mother wouldn’t give it to me anymore.”
“How long did you take it?” Darlene asked.
“If I remember right a couple of weeks.”
“Did she take you back to the doctor; they could have adjusted the dosage?”
“Do you know why?”
Jason, began to squirm in his seat like he was becoming very uncomfortable. It took him several moments to answer.
“Now, we’re beginning to get to the heart of the matter,” she thought to herself.
“Well, yeah, I guess I do.”
“Could you please explain it to me?” Darlene asked.
“Well, my dad,” he paused staring down at the floor. “He said taking meds made me a sissy. He wouldn’t allow me to take them anymore. He said all I needed was a strong arm.”
“What did he mean by that?”
Jason hesitated for several more minutes, finally clearing his throat to continue, “He used to beat me and my brother really hard any time…any time we did…any time we did any little tiny thing. He would beat us so hard we’d have welts on our whole back. Everything had to be perfect according to him. And don’t ever…ever tell him ‘no’. I told him ‘no’ once and he almost killed me.”
“I’m so sorry Jason. Now, that I know a little more about you, let’s get started,” Darlene said as she pulled out some more information.
Jason sat very still almost like he was frozen.
“Is it okay to get started?” Darlene asked.
Jason continued to sit, finally shaking his head ‘no.’
“Can you explain, please?”
“I think I’ll go now,” Jason said starting to get out of his chair. “No, I better not. I have to tell you something you aren’t going to like.”
Darlene leaned forward in her chair a little.
“I’m not Jason,” he said.
Darlene frowned, “Please explain.”
Jason propped his head upon his knees, looking at the floor for what seemed like an eternity, “I’m Jerry, Connie’s boyfriend,” he said just barely loud enough to be heard.
‘Excuse me?” Darlene said leaning forward a little more.
“Why all the charades? Why not just tell me who you are? What did you hope to accomplish?”
Jerry’s Problem Revealed
“I have to win,” Jerry said hanging his head again.
“Connie and I have been arguing a lot about me moving in with her. I thought I could get some information from you that would help me convince her. Then I’d win.”
“So it’s all about winning. You need to win so badly that you’d fake who you are just to win?”
“I was sure I could give you just enough information and get you to back up my position then she’d give in. I thought maybe you’d tell her you had a similar client and you’d actually back me up and convince her to allow me to move in. But when you started talking about ADHD and my dad I couldn’t pull it off. I’ll go now,” Jerry said picking up his things.
“Sit down,” she ordered.
The Session Begins
Darlene moved around to the front of the desk, sitting on the edge. She thought for a few moments before commenting.
“You come in here looking like you have the world by the tail, a winner, thriving in life. But in reality, down deep inside, you feel scared, fragile, and defensive. Am I right?”
“Right now, you’re feeling very scared that I am going to reject and dislike you. You are afraid I’m going to treat you similar to your dad. Right?”
Jerry nodded again.
“Your dad was or is very narcissist or maybe a perfectionist.”
“Yeah. Probably both,” Jerry said.
“You’ve watched him manipulate people to get exactly what he wanted all of your life, correct?”
“You’ve watched him over the years, so you thought you could make it to work,” Darlene said.
“It’s always looked easy. He always looks the part. Everybody always did or gave him what he wanted, but I can’t seem to do it. I haven’t been able to do it with Connie. I guess I blew it.”
“Would you like to know why it hasn’t worked?” she said.
“You’re not a narcissist. Inside you’re a wounded child who has been badly abused by your dad. But because of your dad’s abuse, you have emotional injuries that have been caused over the years that need to be healed.”
“Because of the abuse, you have repressed emotions, which are emotions you were not allowed to have as a child. For example, because of the abuse, you may have learned to hide your pain. You may also be afraid that you won’t survive. You may have been told that “big boys don’t cry,” or “you better not say what you are really thinking.”
The Wounded Inner Child
“Yes, I have talked to Connie a little,” Darlene continues. “One thing she’s mentioned is that you get very angry and blow up. Because she doesn’t back down, she pushes your button that says you have to win. As a child you were humiliated and made fun of. When she doesn’t back down it’s like you’re reliving the shame and humiliation all over again. That’s when you get angry and go into a rage, which is Little Jerry trying to protect you. Does that sound about right?”
Jerry nodded, “At least the first part. I don’t know about Little Jerry trying to protect me. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
“He’s trying to protect you from the pain you suffered as a child, the pain that hasn’t been dealt with yet. It doesn’t help to try to fight the anger or suppress it or judge it or berate yourself because of it. He is really trying to help and protect you in his own way, the only way he can at this stage in your life.”
“Is it all because of the abuse from my dad?” Jerry asked.
“Probably. When a child feels unsafe or endangered or abused it leaves a huge gaping wound in his/her psyche. A wound that needs to be healed in order to move on.
“Let me ask a question,” Darlene said. “Do you have time periods where you can’t remember anything? Or areas where you feel there’s something there back you can’t pull it up?”
“Actually, yes. Something happened about the time I started taking the medicine. I overheard a terrible fight between my parents over me taking the medicine then there’s a blank. It’s about a year, I think. I have no idea what happened then,” Jerry said.
“That’s a repressed memory. A memory that’s so painful that you unknowingly repressed it. You have unconsciously blocked it because the memory was associated with a high level of stress or trauma. It’s a way of protecting yourself.”
“Will it come back?”
“It might,” Darlene answered. “But, even though the memory is repressed, your wounded child still reaches into your adult life when he feels you are in danger. That’s why you get so angry. Much of your behavior, aversions, and neuroses in the present are caused by your wounded child trying to protect you from the pain it still remembers.”
“Will it ever go away?” Jerry asked.
“Not without some work,” Darlene said. “I have clients that are in their 70s and are still dealing with their wounded inner child. But, you can ease his fears, insecurities, and lack of love so he will stop. Are you ready to do this?”
“What about Connie?” Jerry asked with the look on his face like he was about to cry.
The Road To Recovery
Darlene smiled, “Connie’s not going anyplace. My thought is that you are pushing so hard because Little Jerry thinks that moving in with Connie will give him the love and security that he craves. But, it wouldn’t work that way. Once you moved in and get comfortable it will be the same arguments only worse. Connie can’t heal Little Jerry, you have to. You don’t have to end the relationship, just do this first.”
“But, I have to move out at the end of the month. I have no place to go. I’m scared.”
“Now, we get to the bottom line,” Darlene stated. “Why do you have to move out?”
“Well, I quit my job and I haven’t paid my rent.”
“I was always getting angry with the boss.”
“Did you get fired?”
“No. I quit before he fired me.”
“Do you know for sure he was going to fire you? Well, no, but I was scared. He came at me really hard.”
“So the same thing, right? It felt like your dad again and Little Jerry was trying to protect you.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
Darlene thought for a few minutes and looked up something on her computer, “Okay, I think I can get the funds to pay your rent and maybe get your job back. Write down your address and landlord’s phone number, if you know it, your place of employment, and your supervisor’s name.”
“But, I don’t want to go back.”
“I thought you wanted my help with Connie. Well, this is the way we do it.”
“Okay,” he said hesitantly.
“I want you to go online and take this quiz. I’ll set you up for another appointment in two days. That’ll give me time to look into the job and apartment. Have the quiz completed for our next appointment,” she said handing him a posit-it with a link.
Step #1: Your Critical Inner Voice Quiz
Step #2: Do The Opposite