4. His counter-questions and non-committals.
Therapists by default are trained to answer simple closed-ended questions with counter open-ended ones. Hypothetically, this is how the conversation goes:
Your therapist has just given your a serious pep talk about your rights as a human being. You are feeling particularly adventurous and liberated about life. So in a fit of self-love you ask him a random question.
You: So Tee I was thinking, you know, like I was wondering, if …. you know, mmm. Do you suppose you …. mmm …. kind of maybe in a way …. love me?
Tee (all serious and noncommittal): What do you mean by that?
You (slowly dying in your head): Well, mmm …. well, I don’t know.
Tee (a little sternly): What do you want to know exactly?
You (gritting your teeth and dying completely): Mmm. Like, you know, do you love me, maybe?
Tee (nodding mysteriously as if confirming something in his brain): So how does it make you feel asking this question twice?
You: You know what, the thing is that it makes me feel extremely heavenly asking this question two times and not getting an answer. So heavenly in fact, that I am thinking of asking it for the third time and not getting an answer again. So do you love me or not?
Tee (all non-committal and deep): What do you want me to say?
You (really impressed by the ingenuity of this non-confession): Thanks for your lovely counter question Mr. T. Let me explain to you what I want you to say when I ask you if you love me (three times). You know basically I am the kind of person who goes to random people asking them three times if they love me just in order to hear them say three times that they don’t. Hence, it might be concluded that I want you to say that you don’t love me. In fact I want you to say that you hate me. Yeah, that’s exactly why I asked you this question three times.
Tee (getting all gentle and sexy): But don’t you want to know what I really feel?
You: Nooo. Nononono. What possibly could give you that impression? Actually when I ask a question three times, I don’t want to know what you feel. Actually I just want to know what you do not really feel. Yeah, that’s what.
Tee (all generous and philanthropic): Let me tell you what I feel. I feel it would not be a lie if I don’t say what you have not asked, or not.
You (stopping in your tracks): Huh?
T: (smiles smugly and goes to his book). In other words, time’s up. You may now go home.
You: Stumble up the stairs and drive 20 miles in a daze not sure what just happened to you.
5. His mysterious mind games.
Just when you think your therapist is your best buddy in the whole world and you are writing heart-wrenching lyrics in his honor, your therapist will take a U-turn and do something mysterious that will make you second-guess his motives for hours on end.
One day he will sit there sipping tea and casually offering you to notice how he is sipping it all by himself and without you. Next day he will wear his wedding ring out of nowhere and make you wonder if it is a random thing or planned for another love-struck specimen of a psychological screwup. One day he will be there for you for all practical purposes, and the next he will give you a cold shoulder that will reduce you to tears.
The worst thing these mind games do to you is to make you alternate between either feeling like a lab rat being experimented upon or swooning over your therapist.
6. His waiting list.
I can do without my therapist’s waiting list. In my imagination it is made up of a string of extremely beautiful, funny, sexy, young, tall, blonde, athletic super models/yoga instructors/swimming champions who have exotic, mysterious looks, perfect voluptuous bodies, 169 IQs, and even more exotic mysterious psychological issues that engage my therapist at so many levels that he gasps for breath each time those crazy nymphets enter his office.
I hate that waiting list. And he knows it. And you would think that the man will have a heart enough to spare you the mention of his precious waiting list. No way. He will bring it up especially when you are feeling all possessive and vulnerable and longing for some reassurances, and he will rub it in your face that somewhere outside our little world there is a waiting list waiting to happen and that you are the one cog in this machine of fate who is keeping the poor man from going over and winning his waiting list.