Do you have something, or someone, in your life who makes your head explode?
As a therapist, I am supposed to like everyone, right? No, I don’t. I’m human too. Most days I feel that I am a likable, open person and not surprisingly, I tend to like others and I feel more empathy. Some days, my mind is a less-friendly place. I try to do my therapist-magic and stay present. I try to just get over it and be ‘professional.’ But honestly, I am pissed off and moody. On those days, I don’t like myself and I have to work harder to connect with empathy for others.
Last week, I had an ‘ah ha’ moment. An epiphany, a ‘Holy Sh!t’ moment (for more on this, see James Fell).
I found an article that was exactly what I needed (see link below). I am a spiritual person and in a way, I wonder if the article found me… but that’s for another day. The article changed how I think about the situations, the moods, and the people who seem to ‘torment’ us. It took the word ‘torment’ apart and asks you and I to consider how these things are our ‘Tor_Mentors.’
A ‘Tor_Mentor‘ is anything that takes you to the edge… I’m sure you know it too. The place, relationship, issue in your life that makes you feel so done, so finished, so ready to walk. Issues seem to come in waves and you react. And in an instant you are back to those familiar, unhelpful and even unhealthy behaviors that numb your mind and your emotions.
The Tor_Mentor task: If you don’t have time right now, make an appointment in your calendar to come back to this. I promise you, thought, life, your mind, and being ‘too busy’ will conspire against you. Paying attention to our Tor_Mentors is tough work.
I invite you to use your movie-mind and think about a Tor_Mentors in your life. Take a breath. Sit with that feeling, memory, idea, or person for a bit. Once you have it in mind, introduce this thought: How can this thing be a gift to you? What is it trying to teach you?
You probably think, ‘this is not a new idea.’ Yup. You are right.
We know that we should learn from things that push us to the limit. But then we slip back into the trap of avoidance. Sometimes we feel desperate to put our Tor_Mentors out of our mind… we may drink, use drugs, eat, sink into depression or anxious fretting, self-hate, or blaming the world. Tor_Mentors won’t go away because life is just hard sometimes. We can choose to avoid, numb, escape. Or, we can take a pause. We can be willing. We may not like what is happening, but we can find a way to make room for what our Tor_Mentors can teach us.
Welcoming this growth does not mean that we put up with abuse, physical pain or life-threatening addiction or mental illnesses. Often one of the greatest lessons from a Tor_Mentor is that we accept what choices we do have and we do what we can to change ourselves and our situations.
I’ve tried to let my most disturbing clients become my best teachers. They’re my tormentors – by tormenting they mentor me because they trigger key wounds and defenses that I need to heal. Also, they present ample opportunities for me to see what happens when I don’t take the bait and, instead, remain Self-led… patiently being with clients from the deepest core of ourselves is the most important resource we have to offer… When that happens, we both heal. Richard C. Schwartz, PhD. “The Larger Self.”
For a related article, see “Trying to Get Your Life Together will Just Make You More Stuck.” I invite you to sign up for my blog by clicking “Follow Getting High on Recovery.” When you enter your email, you will get free access to the blog. I do not send spam or share your email with anyone.
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Geek Therapy: Getting High with Geek Therapy
In the new year, I will be offering Geek Therapy using popular culture and superheroes. My specialties include addiction and mental health recovery, parent-teen relationships, emotions and communication skill-building, family counseling, trauma support and spirituality in counseling. If you would like to experiment with Geek Therapy and how it can benefit you, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.