The past week, I’ve been frustrated with my progress in therapy. I’m still fairly new to the whole idea of therapy (I’ve seen my current therapist 4 times so far), and I don’t know if I’m “doing it right.” I know it’s a bizarre thing to think, but I’m wondering if I’m trying too hard or not trying hard enough. My therapist is trying to figure me out, but she barely knows me. She’s trying to make sure she doesn’t push me too hard (one of the first things we had discovered together in our first session together was that I tend to push myself too hard), and I’m trying to take advantage of our time together. It’s an interesting tango, to say the least. But it constantly leaves me wondering if I could be pushing myself more, thereby growing faster, healing faster, learning more, etc. This “slowing down” idea and not pushing myself too far goes against everything for which my body has been conditioned. But my brain knows that whatever my tendency to push things too far, slowing down will teach me many lessons.
After I was done blaming my therapist for not pushing me enough, I tried figuring out what was really motivating me to have these feelings. I came up with 2 theories:
I just had a revelation. While I have your average run-of-the-mill fear of failure, I also just realized I have an intense fear of success. Everything I’ve ever done in my life, I’ve done as well as I could without being “too good.” Even in things for which I’ve been passionate. I’ve ALWAYS stopped just short of achievement. Because of fear. Frantic fear.
Until now, this has been entirely subconscious.
Here’s an email I just sent my dad. He had expressed to me he thinks he’s a failure because of the way my brother and I have rejected his religious values. He often wonders where he “went wrong.” I’m posting this because we all sometimes think we’re failures, especially after we make a big mistake. We also all have a natural power within ourselves to get out from under that wet blanket.
I just watched a disturbing documentary on Netflix. It’s called “Jesus Camp,” and I had some rough reactions to it. I’m kind of late to the party;, apparently it was all the rage when it was released in 2006, and it even got an Oscar nod for best documentary.
Anyway, it basically showed how Evangelical children are
indoctrinated brainwashed taught ideas about how the world is basically pure evil, including other psychologically dysfunctional fundamentalist concepts. It’s nothing I haven’t read or learned about before, but seeing it was just disturbing. The scene that sucker-punched me in the kidneys was when this blond-hair 10 year old boy started crying because he knew he was a bad child for doubting God’s existence. For struggling with really difficult things.
I’ve never lost anyone particularly close to me. So when I read that people who leave their religion often go through the stages of grief, I thought it was interesting, but it wasn’t like I could relate. I don’t even think I know what grief is.
A couple Google search attempts (I definitely do this too much) led me to an article by Matt Oxley about the stages of grief, as applied to a loss of religion. It was the first time I realized I had already gone through some of the stages, and I was currently struggling with the rest. It felt wonderful to have someone almost perfectly describe some of the difficulties I’ve had in my recent life.
For those of you who are reading this thinking that it was fairly easy for you to accept that you no longer believe in the religion you grew up with, I ask that you understand that I wasn’t just a regular Jew who went to services on High Holidays or every once in a while on Saturday.