It is not uncommon for people to start playing the blame game when they first start therapy. It may include blame directed at our family or parents, or the blame may be directed at the past and outside circumstances. This is a normal response and it’s all a part of the process.
I’m sure you’ve heard people say it before: it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.
If it does, that’s OK. To make it easier, let’s talk about what you can expect.
Why Things Get Worse Before They Get Better in Therapy
When you begin therapy, or go through the different stages of therapy, you have an opportunity to look at the cards you were dealt in life and it can be hard to face. This might mean approaching some uncomfortable realities.
For example, there might have been some unhealthy dynamics in your family growing up. This doesn’t mean anyone is bad. It just means we are all human, doing our best. But, it’s important to see the realities because those are often what contribute to the reason you started therapy in the first place.
Some people start to experience this and want to quit therapy because they think it’s not working. This is a normal part of the process and doesn’t mean you aren’t making progress; actually this is a sign of progress.
You might feel angry and want to blame all the bad things that have happened on someone or some circumstance; or you might blame yourself.
Think about if you were diagnosed with an illness. You are not to blame for the illness. However, you are responsible for your health. This means it’s your job to focus on understanding what’s going on, living a healthy lifestyle, following directions from your health care providers, etc.
It’s the same concept when you are dealing with your emotions. When you are given a clear vision of the cards you are holding you might feel angry about what you’ve had to deal with because it was out of your control. Totally understandable. And there is space for that in therapy. The good news is, you get to be in control now and work towards getting to a better place of health and wellness.
Coming to terms with what’s going on
Here’s the thing about the truth, when it first comes to light, it can be hard. But then it gets easier. You process the feelings, you come to terms with it and now that the information is here, you can actually deal with it head on. You might finally be able to see a family dynamic that impacted you in a negative way, or how there are unresolved emotions around a certain event. The truth has always been there, buried deep, and you have been dealing with it all along.
When you see things from your past with more clarity, you start to understand things that have happened in your life, how those things affected you (and still affect you) and why you reacted in the ways you did. Once it’s out in the open, you get to create a way to move forward.
Coming to terms with hurtful truths from your past is hard, but such a crucial piece to position you in a place where you have power over your life and your choices.
When Empowerment comes into play
Empowerment is the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in managing your life and claiming your rights.
Once you have a more clear view of things, you will start to see that you can’t control anything outside of yourself. Sometimes we know this but we talk ourselves into thinking that maybe we could have done something to change an outcome that we weren’t happy with or had a negative impact on us.
You might have to remind yourself, on a regular basis, that you can only be responsible for the things you actually have control of, because it’s easy to lose sight of that truth.
If you focus on things that are beyond your control then you will be stuck on a hamster wheel of trying to fix things that can’t be fixed or trying to change things that you don’t have the power to change.
‘As you begin to resolve the problem that brought you to psychotherapy, you’ll also be learning new skills that will help you see yourself and the world differently. You’ll learn how to distinguish between situations you can change and those you can’t and how to focus on improving the things within your control.’ American Psychological Association, Understanding psychotherapy and how it works Last updated: July 31, 2020 Date created: November 1, 201232 min read
It’s important to get clear about what you can manage inside of you, like your thoughts, perceptions, responses to what happens in the outside world.
When you reach this place, your healing and growth accelerate. This is empowerment.
Coming to terms with what you have been through is tough and necessary to start healing. Blaming others, blaming your circumstance or blaming yourself, while it is a natural reaction, is not the way you’ll be able to move forward.
When you put in the work in therapy you will come out on the other side empowered and ready to face what’s next in your life.
Let us help you take the first step and move towards a place of wellness. Contact us. This is why we are here.