Therapy can be life-changing. It can help you make sense of the past, embrace your complex feelings, and give you a fresh new perspective centered on growth. However, just because you walk into a mental health professional’s office does not mean that they’ll ‘solve’ all of your issues in a week. Therapy is an involved process that requires a lot of heavy emotional work.
One internet user recently sparked a very important discussion on the r/AskWomen subreddit, after they asked everyone to share the ‘ugly truths’ they struggled to come to terms with in therapy. Many users found this vulnerability to be empowering. Read on for their most open and honest stories.
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Even though there will be friends and family around, I am still an individual, and I need to start accepting that being alone is good. Being alone doesn’t need to feel lonely.
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Sometimes you will never get an answer to questions you have, no matter how insane it drives you, and you just have to move on.
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I will never get the approval of my parents
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Therapy and mental health issues are still taboo topics in some cultures and households. The sad reality is that many people are discouraged from seeking professional help when they need it. Or they’re too afraid to ask for help because they don’t want to be seen as weak.
Loren Soeiro, Ph.D., points out in a post on Psychology Today that there are a few key anti-therapy attitudes that are prevalent in society. For instance, some people feel that they’d rather talk about their issues with their friends. However, a therapist is very different from a BFF: they actively look for the sources of the problem and can offer you deep insights into your behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
That no one is coming to save you, gotta put your big girl pants on and save yourself.
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I talk to myself in such a mean hateful way, that I would never dare talk to another living person. I tend to show grace to everyone except myself. I’m my own worst critic and it’s self defeating
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That im the problem lol
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Others might claim that they don’t have the time for therapy or that it’s far too expensive for them. However, you really can’t put a price on good mental health. If there are deep-seated issues that negatively affect your daily life, it’s vital to tackle them. Ignoring the problems will only make things worse as time goes by. It’s not a question of time and finances. It’s a question of priorities and motivations.
In the meantime, it’s essential that you find a therapist who is a good fit for you. It’s entirely possible that you’ve had bad experiences or didn’t find a professional whom you ‘clicked’ with. Finding the right person will take some time, but it’s well worth it. Ideally, you’ll find someone you can work with for years (and possibly decades).
As we’ve noted on Bored Panda before, a trustworthy therapist is someone who will focus entirely on you during your session. Quality therapists are professionals who are punctual, and consistent, and won’t put the spotlight on themselves.
That I have to put in work to heal the trauma caused by someone else.
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I date men just like my dad
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No one owes you love, even if they’ve said they loved you before… people change, feelings change, it happens.
It’s a hard truth.
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Though therapy is important, it is not the only way to take care of your mental health, embrace harsh truths, and work through messy emotional issues. It’s equally as important that you have a strong support system around you. A supportive social circle, filled with family and friends whom you can trust, can grant you the stability that you need to heal and thrive.
In the meantime, it’s important to remember that we’re not just mental beings but physical ones, too. That’s why self-care should be a priority, too. That means having a consistent exercise schedule. It means eating healthy food and avoiding junk, as well as limiting your intake of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. It means spending time in nature, getting plenty of rest, meditating, and finding the time for hobbies you genuinely love. It doesn’t quite matter what you do (whether it’s hiking, tennis, painting, or yoga), so long as you’re active, you love the activities, and you develop a routine.
That my mother will never be the person I need her or want her to be, and I have to let go of that dream of her which I created. I can keep her in my life or cut her out of it, but only by accepting her for who she is and letting go of the fiction.
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Sometimes moving on without that apology you want so bad is better than trying to get it. Some people just can’t give a sincere apology for the pain and trauma they caused.
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That my father in fact did not love me and actually committed real crimes against me. I’m not sure which was harder to accept.
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People in general don’t have has much empathy and compassion for others at the level that I do. That’s been the hardest thing for me to accept.
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Other people’s emotions are not my responsibility.
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You have worth even if you contribute nothing. You shouldn’t have to prove your value. And your self esteem should not be based solely on how others perceive you.
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That I will die someday. Ended up in therapy because I couldn’t stop thinking that I was dying, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks, cancer, I panicked about it all. Everyone around me would say ‘omg stop being silly of course you’re not dying’ but it never assured me or helped all. The therapist told me I am dying, every day I get closer to it, just like everyone else. It’s a fact of life we all need to accept. And it helped. Now I don’t live in fear of the inevitable.
my mother likes me, she doesn’t love me. she wanted children but not the responsibility that comes with having them, or the responsibility of supporting them after they’re cute and cuddly
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I have no idea what a healthy relationship is. And most of my relationships have been exploitative or abusive. And because I don’t know I am doomed to repeat this cycle.
I am hurting and grieving and angry. At the fact I have settled for breadcrumbs and outright terrible behavior.
That my parents (mostly my mother) were/are emotionally immature and abusive. It was so normalised my whole childhood, I knew they weren’t great parents but I didn’t realise the amount of trauma I experienced until it surfaced in therapy.
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When my mom died, I realized through therapy, that I wasn’t mourning the loss of my mother, but the realization that she had never been one, and her death made that definite. I’m honestly still taken aback by that one, years later.
That I am responsible for a lot of my suffering because I don’t actually have as developed boundaries as I thought I did. Oops.
That I have a deep rooted fear of disappointing the men in my life and I have codependency issues
That I was so caught up in what other people thought about me I could not be candid with a therapist — which is why I needed one ofc.
It doesn’t matter why someone did something, what matters is they did and how I feel about it.
I spent too much time agonizing over whether certain people realized they were being abusive at the time or if they were too stupid/imbalanced to realize it. Doesn’t matter. Nothing excuses being abusive to another person, especially if that person is a child in your care. Having your own mental health issues isn’t an excuse to abuse others.
Also my therapist wanted me to reparent my inner child and I have zero concept of how a good parent would treat a child and the idea of treating my inner child kindly freaks me the f**k out. I never got to be a kid and the idea of letting myself act childish is very upsetting.
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I’m intimidated by anyone who I feel like has their life together, so I only make friends with people who I feel like have messed up lives like mine.
There are so many times that I enjoy someone’s company and can see us being friends until they say something that intimidates me – something as small as them saying “I woke up to run this morning.” Basically, my subconscious says, “I could NEVER do that. She must have her life together and there’s no reason she would want to be around someone as screwed up as me.”
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That nobody MADE me angry. I chose anger as a response.
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That I have developed codependency and it has pretty much wrecked how I view my relationships and how I act towards myself.
Oh and also, how trauma has affected the way I view people’s tones of voice and facial expression. This has caused me to be hyper aware of body language. It can be a good and bad thing depending on how you look at it. I can easily pick up when someone is uncomfortable, not saying everything they mean to, are keeping a secret, lying, etc. But it also makes me overthink and over analyze HAHA.
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That I didn’t have good models for a healthy relationship growing up and my tendency to enter long term partnerships with bad men and people I wasn’t compatible with because I was just “going with the flow” was ruining my life.
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That I water red flags so they can grow into beautiful disasters. I am my own worst enemy.
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That my parents emotionally neglected me. More and more memories of how what I needed was so lacking keep coming up and it hurts to accept that they either didn’t care or didn’t have the energy for me
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Medication will not make me better, it is just there to help me keep going.
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The reason my mean friends from 13 still effect me today isn’t just because I struggled to get over it, but because everyone in my support circle (family, other friends, etc) didn’t believe me or made it feel like it was my fault for not telling them until after I left that friendship
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That I have PTSD because my life has been full of trauma.
Felt terrible when I first heard it. Surely the “trauma” label must be for people who had it worse than me?
Feels much more realistic and objective now that I’ve been treated by a therapist who specializes in PTSD. Yes, what I went through was trauma. And yes, it left its mark on me.
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That I don’t do nice things for others because I’m a “nice” person but that I do it in a self-serving manner to keep myself “safe.” Growing up I worked tirelessly doing nice things for my alcoholic mother so she wouldn’t hurt me and now as an adult compulsively I do nice things for others so that I won’t be rejected by them.
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My birth mother doesn’t like me and never will. She only acts like it when she wants something.
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That my parents we’re emotionally abusive, and that my emotional regulation and anger management issues stem from being raised in an emotionally reactive household.
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Love and abuse cannot coexist
Rejection is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Stating your wants and needs is healthy. It’s better to be alone than to stay with someone with whom you can’t share your needs and feelings — or even worse, someone who doesn’t want to meet those needs. Also, there is a real human need for community. Thankfully, as an adult, there is the option to build your own community.
The more I obsess over trying to figure out what caused me to become the way I am, the longer I just remain stuck in the past. Even if things from my childhood and my teens affected me, it’s up to me to learn how to accept things, make the changes, and let go. I really am my own Final Boss Fight.
My first ‘real’ relationship was a grooming situation. I was 19 with someone 25 years older than me, and of course I thought, ‘No one understands our relationship! This is different than other age-gap relationships.’ It wasn’t. I wasted four to five years of my youth on it. I still get flashbacks that really ick me out and make my heart race, and I’m still working on that in therapy.
That sometimes your best friends are only there out of convenience (small town or group) and don’t actually care about you. Once that convenience is removed, the friendship has no base and they’ll no longer care about you, no matter how strong that friendship once was.
I’ve lived the majority of my life becoming something to show proof that I’m worth something. And I have to be the best to be worthy of anyone / anything – and so that they won’t leave me.
“ See me? See how well I’m doing? Please tell me I’m doing a good job. I’m doing a good job, right? I’m not a horrible person, right? You love me and won’t leave me, because look at how amazing I am – right? “
I’ve got bad bad abandonment issues.
That I was not a “low effort kid”. My parents raised me in such a way that i just, stopped having needs because it was easier than expecting them to meet them. It’s still hard for me to admit that I have needs sometimes, and to admit that I feel pain because I feel they weren’t met.
I’m still working on the part where I’m ugly and unlikeable and nobody will ever really love me. That one is tough.
That I can heal myself but not my family, and that the parts of them that hurt me the most at times were the maladaptive coping skills they developed during their own traumatic childhoods, but that doesn’t excuse their behavior.
That if you aren’t choosing to break the cycle, you’re choosing to continue it. You can’t effortlessly float out of a whirlpool.
That there is no “good parent” in an abusive home.
That I have C-PTSD which is related to my physical health conditions.
that if I want to heal I have to stop seeing myself as a victim. yeah some bad s**t happened but I can’t carry that and let it affect other people because ive victimized myself and am waiting for someone to come to my rescue
That my disease isn’t curable. I am NOT going to improve, I have to quit waiting on better days to start enjoying my life because those days are never ever coming. This is my new permanent life, this is my new normal & even after several years of being sick I can’t really accept it.
communication. i used to be a people pleaser and did things for others even if i really didn’t like it, but now, i say how i feel and why i feel that to others. they won’t know what you’re thinking until you tell them.
Not a women. but I really struggled to comes to terms with misyogny in general.
I love my wife, love me mom and sister. and STILL had to learn that how I grew up treating women in general came from a very condescending place. Even promoting women in STEM and genearally saying “look at these women, they are cool” was just a plaster on the fact that I needed to understand women and men are people. we are the same.
Therapy showed me a lot.
My parents were terrible parents. They were emotionally dismissive, financially irresponsible, and quit being parents when I was about 8 and left my parenting up to my older brother.
I’m not in charge of other people’s feelings, even when they feel bad because of my actions. Ie. My dad being disappointed that I’m not pursuing higher education or my mom being sad because I won’t let her track me anymore.
Had a therapy appointment today and cried because of this. I have to do what I want to do and find happiness in that, instead of doing what everyone around me wants me to do, even when me not doing what they want hurts them.
Someone who is emotionally unavailable can often make someone who is emotionally available feel like their basic needs are too much.
How much my anxiety has ruled my life and still does and I’m in my mid 30’s. How much shame and guilt I carry and don’t even know why. (There was an incident as a kid I was shamed for that is part of the problem but not all of it.) I’m so embarrassed of what my body has become due to health issues and being low income for most of my life and the possibility of those things never changing.
Sometimes, I am the problem and source of my own issues. Recognizing that is a good thing and a catalyst to change. Therapy is also not meant to side with me. It takes a lot of work to unlearn a lot of unhealthy skills I have learned throughout my life.