Truthbombs: 25 Times A Therapist Gave Their Clients A Reality Check
Though at one time, going for therapy had a bad rep times have changed. Mental health has become an important aspect of our lives and folks consider spending a lot on therapy sessions as a worthy investment of their time and money.
However, while paying a therapist to listen to all your life problems has become all the rage, it also comes with a mixed bag of truth bombs. This was really highlighted in a recent Reddit thread when one user, AnonyMiss0018 asked, “What is a little bombshell your therapist dropped in one of your sessions that completely changed your outlook?”
#1 “Stop trying to get everyone to agree – when you need everyone to agree the least agreeable person has all the power” Really changed my outlook on planning family events.
#2 “Don’t think of the relationship as over. Think of it as complete.” Fundamentally changed how I was processing a tough breakup. So helpful.
#3 For context I had a major TBI, seizures, strokes, and all around not a fun brain time when I was 28. “you have to grieve the loss of yourself” Most people wanted me to go back to how I was. The f***ed up truth is that part of my brain is dead. The person everyone (including myself) knew died. I needed to grieve the loss of myself.
#4 “Is it your anxiety, or hers?” ? drop!
Background: I have an overbearing mother who needs to know as much as she can about what I’m doing on my own time to sleep well at night (according to her). She basically treats me like a rebellious kid in a teen movie from the 90s, when I’m an independent, grown ass woman approaching my mid-30s.
At the time my therapist said this, I was 28ish and panicking about an upcoming business trip. Not the trip itself, but her reaction to me leaving the state for a few days. As I was going down the list of texts I knew she’d bombard me with, my therapist dropped this ? .
She gave me permission to opt-out of managing her fears like I had been doing for years.
End result: I went on the trip without telling her a thing and have established a few more sanity-preserving boundaries since : )
#5 After I beat up my middle school bully, my therapist congratulated me for standing up for myself. I thought she would chastise me like every other adult in my life, but she was encouraging. Obviously, she told me that violence like that wasn’t the best way to handle it, but that making a stand was important either way. No one had ever told me that it was okay. I always got a lecture about not acknowledging bullies and telling the teacher instead, but we all know that never works. Having an adult validate me, even if I wasn’t entirely right, was a huge boost.
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“You always talk about not wanting to do to your daughters what your mom did to you. You worry about it so much in every interaction you have ever had with them. But your children are 19 and 21 now. They are happy and healthy and they trust you because you’ve never abused them in any way. So I just want to validate for you that you really have broken that cycle of violence. You did that. And you should be proud of it. I’m proud of you for it.”
#7 He said, “Claim the right to your space in the world.” My self-esteem and self-worth was nonexistent. I didn’t believe I deserved the oxygen I was breathing. He was saying that being a person, being born, gives you the right to exist. You don’t have to earn it. You’re here; claim your space.
#8 Also, “Your partner should enhance what you like most about yourself”. It made dating so much easier! No need to settle for less than that.
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#9 You are not responsible for your parents’ emotional wellbeing. They are independent adults who have been on this earth for many more years than you.
#10 Emotions are not bad, even the unpleasant ones. They all have an appropriate place.
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#11 I don’t work as a therapist. I’m an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Japan. But my classes are one-on-one, so I do spend a lot of time on consultation and personal conversations. Something I said to a client once seemed to really change his outlook.
A lot of my company’s clients are focused on learning English for international business, and this man, as many of them are, was concerned about making mistakes and looking like a fool. I asked him if the English-speakers he works with sometimes try to speak Japanese, and he said that they do. I asked him if they ever make mistakes, and he said that they do. I asked him to name one, and he couldn’t. And I told him that his mistakes will be forgotten, too.
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#12 “Your mom is never going to be the parent you want or need, so stop expecting her to be and being mad that she isn’t.”
“People who are addicts tend to get frozen at the time they started abusing drugs or alcohol, because their focus is their addiction and not developing as a person. So a person who started drinking heavily at 13 and quit at 30 would behave a lot like a 13-year old.”
#13 You can’t control other people’s crazy, but you can control your proximity to their circus.
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#14 “How was anger expressed in your household growing up? Were you allowed to show anger?” At which point I realized I wasn’t allowed to show any negative emotions whatsoever, especially not in reaction to negative emotions from my parents.
#15 My therapist traced me on a big piece of paper, so I could see how big/small I was. I thought him and I were about the same size. I got him to lay on top of the paper, and “I” disappeared. Seeing my size that way made my brain begin to think differently. It helped me realize I was not fat. At 5’2 and 110 pds…I needed to realize that! Years of bullying f***s with ones brain!
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#16 If you literally laid down and let people walk all over you, someone would complain that you’re not flat enough.
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#17 “Will worrying about it change the outcome? If the answer is yes, go ahead and worry about it.” I suddenly realized that I couldn’t think of a situation where the answer to that question was ever yes. Really short circuited the worry cycle for me.
#18 “You know too much to go back, you’re too scared to go forward, and you’re in too much pain to stand still”
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I’ve never really had friends. I’ve had colleagues and classmates and housemates and people who have hung out with me, but I never really felt close to any of them. And I did that thing you see on here sometimes – I stopped reaching out to see if I would be reached out to, and I wasn’t, which I took as confirmation that they didn’t really want me around, or at the very least, that they wouldn’t mind my absence. I was talking to my therapist about people I’d been close to in college, and she told me to pick one and talk about him. So I did. And after I shared some basic stuff like his name and his major etc., and a couple anecdotes, she asked me what else I knew about him. And I couldn’t answer. It wasn’t really a broadly-applicable bombshell, but she said “what else” and I started crying because I realized that for as simple as the question was, my inability to answer spoke volumes. I’ve never had good friends because I’ve never been a good friend. I’m withdrawn and reserved and I always made others do the work to drag me out, without ever extending my own friendship in a meaningful way in return. If I wanted to have meaningful relationships with other people, I would have to build them. I’m still working on this, but I’m trying to make more offers and extend more friendliness to others in my daily life.
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#20 “Your urge to self harm is perhaps a desire to tell those around you something that you don’t know how to articulate.”
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#21 My counselor said to imagine myself as an orange. Then, consider that not all people like oranges. That doesn’t mean that the orange is flawed in any way, not rotten, just that everyone has preferences. That helped ease my insecurities and need for people pleasing dramatically.
#22 “You are not special”
I was having some very strong anxiety at the time, specially in regards to other people, I felt like I was judged everywhere, like, I couldn’t go to the store, take the bus or even go to a walk because I felt people were judging my every move, how I dressed, how was my hair, how I talked, even how I walked.
Every stranger was thinking bad of me. It was scary as hell.
I was telling her about this, and how I started avoiding going out, which was a problem because I had to go to college soon. And she looked me straight in the eyes and told me “(name), I’m telling you this with all the care of the world, but you are not special, there is nothing that would make me think twice if we crossed in the street”
Is harsh, and is exactly what I needed, all the anxiety didn’t let me see that until she said it, ofc she helped me some other ways but this really really changed my life when she said it, I could go to college and be out because of it.
#23 We judge ourselves by our intentions, and everyone else by their actions.
#24 Your mother was an absentee mother, so why would you think she would be anything other than an absentee grandmother to your child?
It made me lower expectations of the type of relationship my child would have with my mom. So now she’s the fun grandma on FaceTime who sends presents but never shows up, and I’m perfectly okay with that.
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