I’m 34, Chinese-German woman who just moved to Prague with my husband and two sons (age 2 and 4). We moved after my nervous breakdown of sorts. My husband got a good job here so i dont have to work and can focus on getting better. I had been working full-time in an extremely stressful job as well as looking after the children. I returned to work within a few months of each birth, despite being complicated and difficult birth of 2nd son and the sudden death of my mother when he was only a few months old. My husband was away traveling and I didn’t get to grieve properly.
I grew up in Germany, the daughter of Chinese immigrants who ran a restaurant. I have one younger sister. My mom was a typical Chinese wife; passive and obedient, and never standing up to dad who was difficult and unpredictable- he rarely expressed positive emotions and had an explosive temper; he also had high expectations that his we would excel in school and help the family business. He had an affair with my mom’s sister when I was a teenager. I was angry at mom for being so weak when she found out. she cried a lot but never confronted my dad. I put all my energy into being the perfect daughter and student. I suppressed my emotions and now as an adult ive very little awareness of my own emotional feelings and still puts pressure on myself to be perfect at everything. Becoming a mother brought back my anger towards mom so i was mean and cold towards her before she died, without explaining why. Now i feel so guilty
Husband is generally supportive However, he can also be unpredictable and display angry outbursts under stress, like my father and makes me feel powerless child again. I take full care of my dad whos in Germany and very dependent on me. my sister is unreliable and even though im angry at him its my duty.
I have gastritis, skin rashes, back pain (no physical cause), tearfulness, emotional instability, restlessness, and feel sad and guilty. Im scared im going crazy. ive never seen a therapist and im rather private. my husband wants me to get help and i dont have financial or work pressures. Can someone tell me what type of therapy would help me the most/why?
A. Generally, what you are saying is that you do not feel well emotionally. You suggest that the cause may be how you were treated as a child, how your mother was treated when you were a child, the inability to grieve after your mother’s death, Chinese cultural values and the way your husband makes you feel when he has an angry outburst.
It may not be any one of those things but it could be a combination of all of those things. You asked specifically what type of therapy would be best. I doubt that anyone could accurately answer your question. I don’t mean to evade your question and I certainly will make some suggestions as to the right therapist, but not as to the right therapy.
If you are right and these problems originated in childhood, then you should expect a longer-term therapy than a shorter-term therapy. How do you know which therapy is effective? You will not know which therapy is effective but you will most certainly know if your therapist is being effective. How? You should be feeling slightly better after every therapy session. It may be hard to notice week by week but it should be more easily noticed month by month. After every therapy session, you should notice an insight into your problem and that insight should leave you with a positive feeling.
If you apply a cream for a rash on your hand, it is reasonable to expect that rash to get better over time. If it does not get better, then the medicine is ineffective and you must try another. The practitioner, physician or therapist, will use their judgment and professional training to select the particular type of treatment. It is not your job to go to your physician and tell him which medicine you want him to prescribe. The practitioner will use their education and training to choose what they believe will be the right treatment. It will be your job to judge the effectiveness of your practitioner’s treatment.
No one will know better than you if the treatment that you are receiving is helping. If one practitioner is being ineffective, in their treatment, don’t give up on all practitioners. Try one after the other, until you find one that is being effective in treating your problems. If you meet a practitioner for the first time and you leave that meeting with a negative feeling, don’t go back. Try another practitioner.
Psychological research shows that often the most effective type of practitioner for a person is not based upon their practitioners training but is instead based upon something much simpler; how well they liked their practitioner or in other words how strong were the positive feelings they had after interacting with their practitioner.
Your therapy may be measured in weeks, months or even years. But don’t think that you have to wait weeks or months or years to feel better. You should feel somewhat better after every therapy session. Feeling the way you do is simply not good enough. You deserve to be happy and there is no reason that you cannot feel that way. No matter what the original causes of your unhappiness, you can choose the path to happiness. Therapy is that path. You can contemplate that path but at some point, you will have to begin to walk that path. The choice is yours but your happiness is only achievable by taking the first step and then continuing to its end. I hope I’ve been of some help. Good luck on your decision.
Dr. Kristina Randle