J painted his waiting room green. When I got there he pointed at the wall and I said it was pretty. He said, “No more beige.”
I had some questions for J after he told me last week that he is taking over the first floor of the building for the people who work for him.
How many people work for you?
You need a whole floor for one person?
Well I plan to hire more.
Are they all psychologists?
What else are they – accountants, plumbers?
No, not exactly. They are all in the mental health field.
Why would someone work for another person rather than start their own practice?
Some people just want to work part time, or don’t want to worry about overhead and insurance billing, and I would handle all of that.
Doesn’t that take a lot of time?
No, I might have to see a few less clients.
Do you talk to them about their clients?
Do you talk to them about your clients?
J wanted to know how it went with family psychologist #2, so we spent the rest of the time talking about that session, which led to talking about my husband and me and why I don’t talk to my husband about how he is so lenient with my son in regards to buying him things. J thinks I should talk to him, to not only let him know how I feel about it, but to discuss other ways we can handle the situations that come up with my son. He thinks that my husband doesn’t see the big picture – that by giving my son money and things it is preventing him from being motivated to do things himself. J thinks I am better at big picture things than my husband.
He also thinks I need to train my husband, that he is not getting that what he is doing is detrimental. I said that I don’t want to train my husband, does he train his wife? He said that we all train people about how we need to be treated, and I said that this isn’t like that, it’s not about how I need to be treated. I said that I trained my dog, I trained my kids, I don’t want to train my husband. I also said that I’m not sure he isn’t seeing the big picture, I think he just hates conflict so much that he gives in to whatever my son asks.
Of course J gave me lots of things to say to my husband, none of which I remember. I mentioned the word “lecture” in regard to speaking to my husband, and J said it wouldn’t be a lecture if I was discussing things. I told him that I prefer not to get into arguments, to just let the resentment keep building up. (Not really of course, but that is what I do.)
J came up with some totally convoluted theory about why I don’t want to talk to my husband about this issue, which I didn’t understand at all, and I have no memory of so I can’t write it out here. I told him I thought the reason I don’t discuss this stuff with my husband is because I don’t want to have a fight. But maybe it is deeper than that. For once J is going deep and I don’t understand it. I’ll bring it up again next week.
That was about it, a lot about how my husband and I relate to our son and to each other. I saw pdoc yesterday too, and we kind of talked about this also. I told her that I don’t want to waste my individual sessions talking about my family therapy, and she said it wouldn’t be a waste. Maybe not.
Last night my husband and I met with family therapist #2 – Dr. S. He only wanted to meet with us, not with my son. He is a very nice guy, and the session went exactly how I thought it would, but not how I wanted it to go. I did 99% of the talking. I tried not to answer questions so that my husband would be forced to say something, but whenever Dr. S asked us a question and I would be silent my husband would just look at me. Finally I blurted out “Why do you keep looking at me? Why do I have to do all the talking?”
Dr. S didn’t do a good job of getting my husband to talk, maybe he didn’t even try. We got on the subject of us giving our son money, and I said that my son knows not to even ask me. So Dr. S asked if my husband gave him money, and my husband said that my son doesn’t need money because he doesn’t do anything. And it may be true that my husband doesn’t give him money, but he buys him concert tickets, pays $100 entry fees for poker tournaments for him, and is paying all of his expenses for the Coachella festival which is on the other side of the country. Dr. S didn’t ask if my husband buys my son anything, just if he gives him money.
I also brought up the fact that the children were always my domain and responsibility – health, education, activities, etc. I was the stay at home mom, and I didn’t really know what the job entailed until I was doing it. Even now, for example, my husband has no idea what courses our kids are taking at school. I know all of my daughter’s courses, her schedule, her current gpa, how many credits she has, etc. All he knows is that she goes to Tulane and is in her second year. He doesn’t know what medications they take, or their friends’ names.
I said that I work now. Neither my husband nor Dr. S responded. So I said “Well, I don’t really make much money, so I guess the kids are still my responsibility.” Neither of them said anything to that either.
Dr. S looked at me the whole time he was talking, so finally I stopped looking at him. Then I noticed he looked at me most of the time, with glances at my husband.
I wish that he had wanted to meet with all three of us. I like when the focus is on my son, and not on me. Dr. S asked if my husband and I are on the same page, he said he gets the feeling that we aren’t, and I said I agreed with that. My husband didn’t say anything.
So now my son is going to meet with Dr. S and then we’ll decide who we want to see – Dr. C or Dr. S. I don’t think we need to interview anymore psychologists. As of now I don’t have a preference for one or the other. But I hope whichever one we pick will be able to get my husband and my son to talk, because I don’t want to be the only one talking
The construction on J’s office is done, the waiting room is smaller but his office is bigger. I could see things that I had not seen before because of the way they were positioned, like his diplomas and the bookcase. He said that he is getting some new furniture – a new couch and tables, and will be painting and getting new carpet. I asked what prompted him to do this and he said he is actually taking over the first floor of the building as well. I asked why he needed the first floor and he said it will be for the people who work for him.
“the people who work for you? You have people who work for you?”
“where do they work now?”
“in my office when I’m not here, or in the other two offices on this floor.”
“do the people who work in those two offices work for you?”
“no they sublet.”
“so you are becoming a conglomerate.” (kidding?)
I didn’t want to talk about problems. I did say that I noticed that the six month anniversary of my cancer diagnosis is January 28 which is also the day my dad died. Nothing much to pursue in that topic.
I had a list of recent changes I have made and we talked about those. I started hiking with groups of strangers, signed up for a yoga class, created a “personal” first aid kit (I’ll write more about that later), am considering doing a mind/body cancer workshop (stuff about nutrition/fitness/mental stuff/etc) and I plan to take a nutrition/wellness course that I have been wanting to do for a couple of years. We talked about how people make changes when it is a new year, but I had actually started these in December. He said that every January he makes 15 or so goals, and I said “I used to do that when I was your age.”
Then I mentioned my frustration about my vitamin b12 deficiency because I had gotten a call from my doctor’s office that morning saying that after 3 months of shots my level has only gone up 11 points, from 147 to 158. She wants me to do 3 more months of shots and get tested again, but I am ready to get a second opinion. There is a naturopathic doctor that I had researched last summer but never called, and I plan to call her now.
I think I will spend the rest of week processing why I feel upset that people work for J, so many that he needs to take over a whole other level of the building.
After having missed a week of therapy because I was away on vacation, it was hard to get started of course. I spent a bit of time looking around the room to see if anything was different. J did his best to not try to lead the conversation, he asked me how the vacation was and I said it was very good. He mentioned that he knows nothing is new with our interviews with family therapists since we are meeting our second one next week.
I told him that when I was on vacation I talked to my husband about how Dr. C said that my son can’t be honest when “mom” is in the room, but didn’t say anything about dad. My husband said I was overreacting. I also told J that Dr. C asked me about my job, and I wasn’t sure how to answer without looking like I am to blame for my son’s problems (which is what his vice principal did at a meeting we had at school in 11th grade). I tried to explain that although my job is full time, it really doesn’t require any skills and I have flexible hours. I tried to middle of the road about the job, and we talked about that, how possibly Dr. C just wanted to know what I did at work, and wasn’t “out to get me”.
J and I talked more about how I think it will go with the family therapy, and my concerns.
Then I mentioned that I have been moody, possibly because my medication dosage was changed. My pdoc was concerned about the wellbutrin affecting my kidneys, so now I am on alternating days of 300mg and 150mg. I have been having some mood issues, and I talked to J about those. Some of the mood problem is anger, and this is very frightening to me because it is how I used to be until I went on medication, and I have a terrible fear of being that way again. J was very supportive and said that my anger in these few situations lately was justified, and I was able to control myself. I agreed, but I also said that I felt that horrible feeling like I would be getting out of control at any moment, and I don’t like the feeling first of all, and I’m afraid of it getting worse. J said I should monitor these mood changes and report back to my pdoc. He said we will also talk about it in sessions to keep tabs on it.
At the end of the session he said that he noticed me looking around the room when I came in, to see if anything changed. He said that next week I will notice a big change, because he is knocking down a wall and combining his office with the little room next door. I was surprised that it would all be done in a week, but he said that just the construction will be done, he will still have to do something about the carpet. I asked if he would be painting the room beige, and he said no! He said that he was going to add some color to the room and I congratulated him. He said it would be earthtones, and I said that I like earthtones.
It will be strange to have the office be different, but nice not to have to be beiged out all the time.
This was a good session, I felt very supported and validated in my concerns both about the family therapy, and the mood issues. I did feel bad the rest of the day, I think talking and thinking about the anger made me upset, but I did a smart thing and called a friend to go out to dinner. That was very nice, and we spent some time talking about my son and how it is going to go with the family therapy. She has some experience in this area, so it was nice to talk to her.