The Common Thread with All My Therapy Clients
By Z Zoccolante
As an associate psychotherapist I’ve seen many different therapy clients for many different reasons but I’ve noticed a common thread.
There seems to be an internal struggle. A part of us wants freedom and a part of us feels tied to old patterns and fears. We want something different but what we have feels familiar.
It’s the same way that kids often get attention. We’ve all seen kids throw tantrums in various ways. When they are “scolded” in some way for their behavior, the kids might cry or pout.
But the truth is that some attention, (even bad attention), is better than no attention at all.
I think about this a lot when I work with adults who have been sexually abused as kids. I find there can be a fierce loyalty to the abuser. Kids who need to survive in crappy situations will make themselves the bad person, or convince themselves that somehow, they needed to be punished.
We all have these parts of us. The part of us that makes ourselves bad so that people that did bad things to us can still be seen as good. The part of us that wants to recover from addiction and the opposite part that is terrified of that. The part of us, especially during COVID time, that can feel survival anxiety while having another part that believes that afterlife is peaceful and free.
The common thread is these seemingly opposite parts at war within us. The way that it might feel if two people were fighting over a ball of yarn in your chest, your stomach, or your head.
It doesn’t feel organized or clear. There can be lots of confusion. This can lead to us feeling exhausted physically and emotionally. It can lead to anxiety and depression all other forms of angst or disconnection from ourselves and others.
This weekend I was listening to a talk and the woman said something that struck me. She talked about a choice that she regretted from her earlier life. She spoke about being in an abusive relationship and how she’d made the choice to have an abortion. (and no, I’m not here to debate anything around that topic). What struck me about her words was that she said,
“I made that choice because of an absence of love.”
(she meant from the man, and from her family and support system)
She said that there was no part of that choice that felt like liberation, and I know this to be true from people I know who have made that choice and have felt the same. It doesn’t feel like liberation.
I know people who white knuckle stopping drugs or alcohol, white knuckle anger or porn addiction. I know people who white knuckle crippling anxiety.
What I’ve found is that at the core of it all there seems to be an intolerable thing – this unspeakable thing that is hard to put into words.
This intolerable thing is what holds us in flight, flight, freeze, collapse. It contracts our life energy. It is as one client told me, “unbridled terror”. It feels like the flavor of powerlessness.
If we have parts within us that are in this struggle, then on the opposite side of those terrors and fears is love, peace, joy, connection.
If we have one part that is afraid there is another part that is courageous. If there is one part that is scared of being whole, there is another that is rushing towards it like running arms open in a field full of tall grass the color sunshine.
I understand these parts and I realize that we can love them both. We can love the fear. We can put our arms around it and be with it. We can love the courage, the support, the protective of us. We can love them all. Because what I have learned is that things grow better with love. We can love our darkness because it’s there for a reason. It was created for a reason. We can love the parts of us that might have been hurt or scared. We can take care of them now.
The common therapy thread is this: We don’t realize that we are internally struggling with part of us. They are connected with the same string and they are trying to do their jobs.
The work that I do in psychotherapy, coaching, and hypnotherapy is to assist people in shinning love on their internal world and reorganizing in a way that works for the life they want to live now.
We all have an internal story. What if yours was listened to, loved, and re-organized in a way that brought you peace and freedom? How might your life be different in the best possible ways?
If you find yourself needing some support in loving and re-organizing, I’m currently opening a few spaces for new coaching and hypnotherapy clients. Contact me directly and leave a voicemail to inquire if we’d be a fit. (310)-853-3271.