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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate:

Resolved Question:

Hi Kate: Have you ever flown into the Charleston, WV airport? It’s like on top of this big hill (out there they would call it a mountain - but by western standards, it’s a hill :) ) It’s kind of cool, because it looks like the plane is just going to go off the side when you land. Linda got her doctorate at WVU, and lived in Charleston and Morgantown for a number of years (I don’t know how familiar you are w/ WV), so we talk about WV frequently — because my hometown is right on the Ohio/WV border. Lots of times I fly into the Charleston airport to go home – it’s the closest. I joke to her that every time I fly into Charleston, I listen to the soundtrack from “O Brother Where Art Thou” so I can get into my hillbilly mode. She points out that she is actually from NM, whereas I am a true Appalachian. But, secretly, I think WV is prettier than Ohio. That whole area – Ohio, WV, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland .... all very pretty. Especially in the fall. Southern Pa is a little industrial for my taste, but .... Did you always live in the same area as you live now? I never thought I would move away (nor did any of my friends – they had a bet that I wouldn’t last 3 months away from them). I can definitely see myself moving back to my hometown. It would be difficult moving back to such a small town, and away from here, but I really like the town. I have thought about moving back to Columbus but I think I would like to practice in my hometown if I ever move back to Ohio. I’m still licensed there, just in case. :) I still don’t understand my family dynamic. I know I made myself a target by reacting the way I did. But really? I don’t think my parents loved me any less. They just didn’t understand me. I was different. Maybe that’s it. But maybe I was so different because of them and what they were doing. That stuff doesn’t go on anymore. My brother and sister are nothing but nice to me, and very non-critical. Nobody teases me anymore about anything. I worry about the kids, though. My dad commented so many times when I was home that wait till I saw my niece (my sister’s 14 year old) – that she has developed and has a huge chest, blah blah blah. I finally told him (1) I found it extremely creepy that he was commenting on that - she’s his granddaughter; and (2) I told him they better not be saying a WORD to her - that I was going to be royally pissed if they made her feel self-conscious about it, and that even one comment from wither of them could make that happen, let alone any teasing. They both promised they hadn’t and wouldn’t, and acted like it was ridiculous that I would think they would. But I know better. I DO NOT want those kids to have any hangups or self esteem issues that can be avoided. They are all great and they need to know that and remember it. My whole family treats me differently now. Maybe because I finally became how they wanted me to be all along?? And now – I think they all realize that I could choose not to ever see them if I wanted. I don’t want that, but I have a separate life, far away, and the only way I see them is by choice and great effort. I don’t know. BUT - I am appreciative of my differences now. And they mean more because some things are only mine — my parents had nothing to do with it. And I realize that they were fine back then, and it’s really my parents’ loss for not cultivating some of them. Oh well. They would still say I was the black sheep of the family. But I never did and don’t now take that negatively. I don’t want to be like all them, and never really did. They were all kind of mean when I was growing up. So why would I want to be like them?? I knew that even then. Linda called me this morning to see if I was okay. She said that she was wondering, when I was getting so upset, “where (I) was,” but hadn’t wanted to interrupt (good choice). She asked me to try to write out where my thoughts were and what I was feeling, to go over on Monday, so she would know. What are your thoughts on that? I’m glad she didn’t ask me when I was upset. I needed to just be, and having to answer questions would have not allowed that. I am praying about the whole issue of children. I just sometimes don’t listen well enough to God to figure out His answer. He has to be pretty blunt with me sometimes. If you ever do plan to come to my neck of the woods, and want a stained glass picture, you’ll need to give me a little heads-up :) not the quickest process. If you do ever find yourself out here, though, it would be nice to meet you in person at least once. :) I forgot that we have plans to go to a friend’s house (she’s one of my good friends, and the office manager at my old firm - but she is P’s niece) for dinner and to play games on Saturday night. That will be nice and will make me feel better. I also am getting my hair cut tomorrow. I'm going to let her make it all mussed up and spiky all over if she wants. That will provide at least a bit of amusement.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

I have never flown into Charleston, but I am very familiar with West Virginia. I love the mountains there. Such pretty country. And I am from southern Virginia which is a great place to grow up!

It's not so much that you made yourself a target with your family. You were too young to know anything about manipulation or being purposely a target. And your siblings weren't born to know how to tease you and hurt you either. It was all about what your parents chose to do. They set the tone for the family and decided how each of you would play your role and how you would interact. That is probably why it is very different now. Your siblings were responding to your parents but now that they are out of the picture (at least in terms of having a say so over them), they see thing differently. Just how your father reacted to your niece shows the level of dysfunction that you lived with.

Even if you were different, you should have been celebrated for that, not treated so badly.

But I think you are right, because of how you grew up, you learned to stand out and be independent. But that was a natural reaction to what you had to survive with your family.

I think it's a great idea to write out your feelings and thoughts for Linda for Monday's session. Writing things out can give you a different perspective and allow you time to think through your feelings.

Have fun tomorrow night! And enjoy your haircut. Sometimes just getting that kind of attention paid to you can feel very relaxing. I know I look forward to mine. Getting the time to sit and be pampered feels good :)

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