Besides weekly therapy, she paints, plays piano, is active in the peace movement, attends a support group and wonders why she’s still depressed and anxious.
I tell her it’s because she goes home every night to a loveless marriage to a alcoholic husband.
Another woman comes to individual sessions every Monday and group every Wednesday and can’t understand why her self-esteem and her confidence aren’t improving.
I tell her it’s because she spends every Tuesday and Thursday with her narcissistic parents who abuse her emotionally and drain her psychologically.
A man who divorced his wife eighteen months ago sits on my sofa and rages endlessly at his ex for her selfishness and for not loving him adequately.
I tell him he may be divorced legally, but emotionally he’s as married as ever.
All three live in prisons of their own creation.
Because hanging onto an invalidating or abusive or toxic relationship while telling yourself you’re “handling it” is an exercise in denial.
It’s like handcuffing yourself to the bumper of a truck, then telling yourself you’re actually free because only one hand is handcuffed.
One handcuff is enough to keep you trapped.
More than enough.