April 26, 2009
I don’t understand why I need therapy. My parents get into one pesky argument, yell at my sister for no reason at all, I have a mental breakdown, they start loving each other again over concern for me, and then I have a whole epiphany about how much my family sucks. The voices inside my head have already talked me through this. Now I need an overweight, fake-sympathetic therapist? It seems more like sympatherapy to me. Definition: the therapist is really good with facial expressions, but really only cares about money. Honestly, he doesn’t do anything.

What’s worse is that I see a spider cross the floor. I’m scared of those rascals, and my look of worry gives my therapist a smug look. It passes his face for a second, until he realizes what he went to college for. The fake-sympathetic smile returns. I know what he’s thinking. He thinks that I’ll be back. Fat chance. Just as fat as his pot-belly.

“So, Mary. Tell me. What happened?” He asks.

I groan. So many people have asked me that. Still, there is one thing I like about therapists. I can take out all my anger on him. I even practiced what I was going to say. It definitely beat hanging out with Mom and Dad.

“I finished my homework. My sister, Leah, was anxious to watch a movie. She wanted to watch Horton Hears a Who, and I’m fine with that. But then my parents come in. We’re half-way through the movie, and they make us turn it off.

“I’m a teenager. I get mad. It’s what the stereotypical half of us do. Anyway, I conceal my anger, and show no emotion as my parents ask me about this project I have for school. I answer all there questions, anxious o get back to the movie.

“We start the movie again when they stop talking. But even after they’ve watched it for a few minutes, they make us turn it back off. Leah yells wait because we’re seeing her favorite part, and they yell at her, telling her not to talk to them like that. I’m a little angrier. Then they start complaining about how Leah and I don’t talk to them enough. They say they don’t know what’s going on in our lives. They say they want to be a real family.

“At that point, I’m done. I know I get over-emotional all the time, but this was really the last straw. I walk out of the room, crying, because I realize that we aren’t a family. You know, they complain about how we never talk to them, but there is no way in h—l! Dad is working his butt off so much that I feel like he forgets he has a family. I try to talk to him a lot, actually, but he says he’s working. I’ll complain, but he just says he’s trying to make money for the family. Yeah, right. What family? He doesn’t even eat dinner with us. I get so jealous when I sleep over at friends’ because we’ll all have a nice family dinner. But then again, I don’t get jealous because I’ve been raised that way!

“My mom is always complaining about how Dad is always blaming her and arguing her, too. I get enough of that already, but the sad thing is that it’s true! He blames her so much and when we try to blame him and each other, he says, ‘Let’s not point fingers!’”

The therapist interrupts me then, trying to do his job. Even though it ruins my speech. I’ve been trying to build up my voice, just like I practiced. Practice makes permanent, not perfect.

“So, Mary, who do you point fingers at?” He asks.

“All of them! Even my sister. She’ll be sitting, watching this whacked out TV show. I’ll come in, ask her why she’s watching it, and she says, ‘There’s nothing else on.’ There’s nothing else on! Does that mean she has to watch TV? NO! I feel like she’s going to grow up to be a couch potato. What’s worse is my parents don’t do a single thing about it! They’ve raised us like this! It’s hard to know that I’m like this, too!

“And then my mom, well, she’s kind of crazy. She focuses so much on our activities. She pushes us and pushes us, supports us too much, tries to do everything for us, and it drives me mad! And she does it so much that it sucks the fun out of things. I used to love playing piano. Well, she makes me go to so many recitals and practice so much, almost like she wants me to be Beethoven or someone. And now, I hate piano. And I tell her this, but she just doesn’t listen.

“My seventh grade Social Studies teacher would yell at us whenever we forgot our homework. He’d say, ‘You didn’t forget. You just didn’t care enough to remember.’ This is what it’s like for my mom. And she wants me to do so many things that she loves, like soccer. I hate soccer! It was fun at first, but with all her ‘support,’”

I break off to breath. I’m building up my voice, practically standing out of the comfy, over-priced chair. The rain patters the windows with a force matching my anger. It seems so lonely, like me. I trn my attention back to the therapist and I continue.

“You know, we have a Wii. And it’s a lot of fun. My sister got Family Game Night for her birthday. The sad thing is that, on that gaming device that wants you to think you’re being active when you’re not really, Leah and I are the only ones who play it. Even though it says Family Game Night. Honestly, I get so sick of this ‘family’ because it’s not a family. And I get so upset—”

My voice caught. I began again. “I get so upset because I’m so over-emotional. We’re all so disconnected. And I know both my parents love me and Leah, but do they love each other? I’m surprised Mom hasn’t left, or Dad hasn’t slept on the couch. But the thing is, it’s not just my parents. It’s all of us. Even me.”

I slow down, breathing heavily. I’m crying, too. I think it’s because I don’t have a family. Or because the sympatherapy office smells like onions. Either way, I’m upset. And the therapist isn’t helping. I just want a family.

And the therapist just sits there, open-mouthed, unable to speak. Unable to help.

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