The Doubtful Analyst

Some trees bear strange fruit and in this instance the tree would be my parents & I would be the damaged produce.

Well, would you look at that? I’ve already driven this post off the main road, into a ditch filled will muddy water and drowned it.

In the mid nineties (that’s the nineteen nineties for those unfamiliar with the decade), driven by my need to know exactly how many horrible mind warping things were wrong with me, I sought the warm comfort of the shrinks chair for all of six months.

I had imagined all sorts of life affirming case scenarios, one more spectacular than the last ,as I envisioned the productive give and take relationship my doctor and I  would forge over the smoking remains of my once seemingly insurmountable problems.

Rising with crystal clarity from the ashes of neurosis like the mental health phoenix, I would probably be the next face to adorn the promotional materials of the APA. Nevermind that they don’t have posters or pamphlets with faces on them, just stay with me okay?

At the time I was mildly annoyed that my boyfriend had broken up with me for what seemed like the umpteenth time during some sort of crisis, like a pet death or a far too painful and irksome hangnail, and I wanted some fucking validation from a degreed professional to make sure I wasn’t so damaged beyond repair mentally, that I would need to be stripped raw to the bone,  splashed with salt & lime juice and then rebuilt as a better more worthwhile human being.

We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries for all of five minutes before she went for the jugular in her abrupt manner.

“What is it you hope to get out of this?”

I didn’t know. So I said nothing.

The next visit was even more terrifying as I plodded headfirst into my childhood memories hoping to give her something to sink her razor-sharp talons into besides my back , recalling funny stories of where I grew up and the crazy people I call my family.

I was having a little chuckle about a particularly harrowing episode that involved closing and taping off part of our old farmhouse to fight the brutal winter when I heard a loud sigh and the slamming down of what sounded like a large physics textbook.

“You are like a full-blown caricature of yourself, you exaggerate and dodge and weave to avoid the painful truth”

For a moment I was stunned and my heart began hammering realizing that the whimsical give and take relationship I had hoped for was just not going to materialize here, in fact I think she fucking hated me.

Suddenly that bad warbly circus music that comes on during movies when the demented serial killer dressed as a deranged clown emerges from the Big Top with a scythe began to play.

What the hell did she want me to say?

I felt like I was tethered to her stupid goose down couch by paralyzing fear but I wanted to run far away and find a psychiatrist who would pat me on the head and give me spectacular mind altering drugs while telling me that nothing ever had been or would be my fault.

As time went on I was letting it all out and she would summarily cut me off at every fun-filled corner.

Here are some of the words of wisdom she gave me.

Don’t exaggerate, your house may have been cold but everyone has heat in this day and age.

Your uncle didn’t really have a battle to the death in your side yard with a racoon who couldn’t be felled  after being hit with the full force of a two by four wielded by a grown man.

Your mother never cooked on a wood stove with a full length coat and a ski  mask.

A hardware store would never fill a small tank of kerosene for a child to bring home.

You never appeared on Romper Room (that one WAS my imagination, but it was my DREAM!)

No dog lives for twenty-two years.

Everything was your fault.

So, there you have it. Due to an overactive childhood imagination and unrestrained fanciful thoughts I had imagined 98% of my life and I was kidding myself about the remaining two percent.

At that point I was sick of her and her gleaming red nails that she spent too much time admiring while I was spilling my guts so I simply walked out one day and never returned.

I found a nice middle-aged shrink who had a BETTER couch who told me that a life can be full of weird, magical and wonderful people and events no matter how odd it sounds to others AND that not everything that goes wrong in the world is your fault. He managed to teach me that you shouldn’t have to dull down your bizarre life to appeal to others, especially those you love while making me feel like I wasn’t nuts.

Thanks to that guy, I was off the couch in no time.

Oh, I forgot! I’m at Culture Brats today talking to someone who is way more fantastic and talented than me.

Maybe that therapy didn’t stick as well as I thought it did?



Filed under bad medicine, do you have drugs for this, doctors should be nice, I hated my first shrink, i'm not nuts but I have an active imagination, psychiatry

50 responses to “The Doubtful Analyst

  1. I say you and I go find that original red nailed whore, stuff a ball gag in her mouth and tie her to a tree in the woods behind my house. And when she gets “better” we will let her visit the colony of Leprechauns that I’ve graciously let live in my basement. They will tear her to shreds! (I promise)

    • dufmanno

      I KNEW you kept delightful mythical creatures in your basement! Do you have woodland sprites in there too?
      They keep the racoons out.
      Anyway, I had no idea your shrink was suppossed to be nice so I tried it out for awhile and realized she made me feel worse.
      I hope she’s dead now.
      Just KIDDING!

  2. And on another note, I had to explain to three women all over the age of 50 what a ball gag was…Where have all the dominatrix’s gone?

  3. Tom G.

    I think she was just jealous of your technicolor life, as it made her own, uptight, mind numbing existence all too painful for her to ignore.

    Seriously though, your neurosis, and bizarre life experiences are what make you such a fascinating person, and are half the reason we all love you so much. (The other half being your stunning rack, obviously)

    I decided long ago that I don’t have time for putting up with boring old ordinary people. Give me the freaks, misfits, and weirdos any day. They validate me, entertain the hell out of me, and generally make my life worth living. That’s why I was so proud when someone called my daughter a weirdo, and she said “Thank you!”. The fruit does not fall far from the… er… fruit tree.

    • dufmanno

      Turn off all your heat and send her to the hardware store to fetch kerosene for your space heater and she’ll be halfway to where I am!
      And……that would be complete sanity with a sprinkling of fairy dust.

      • I was “advised” by my oncologists to seek professional help in dealing with my cancer. I looked at him and said, without cracking a smile, “Why, will this be worse than the transplants, witchcraft and beatings?” The reason I loved my oncologist? Without missing a beat, he responded, “Nevermind, you’re going to handle it just fine.” and smiled back and patted my knee. The right amount of instability makes life much easier to handle, that’s my theory, anyway.

  4. Damn, that first shrink sounds like a bitch, did she also wear black leather and carry a whip? Perhaps she’s a masochist who got off making people feel like shit. Nice. I have no mystical creatures to send to her, but I could send her my vampire boy, who you know, could suck her dry in a way, she’d not like ha ha ha

    • dufmanno

      No, she was an odd combination of an angry Barbara Streisand and Joan Rivers with an elongated face and a perpetual frown.
      I would tell you to send in the vampires but I believe that life had already sucked most of the marrow from her bones and the blood from her veins.

  5. What possesses people like that to become therapists?
    I had one who yawned through the entire hour.
    You can come and sit on our couch and tell stories of your childhood anytime.
    And we won’t charge you.

    • dufmanno

      Free therapy AND a couch!
      Something tells me my childhood and your childhood weren’t too far apart in bizarre circumstances and new ways to heat a house minus fossil fuels.

  6. Therapy must be a right of passage for our generation? But I guess when our mothers cook with ski masks over wood stoves, it’s the healthiest option we have.

    • dufmanno

      You should hear her talk about it now. She actually hisses like a snake when the words come out. Our family has been specializing in pent up rage and negativity since the mid 80’s!

    • Tom G.

      What did previous generstions do? I mean therapy is like getting a massage for us kids, but in our parents and grandparents day it was unheard of. Perhaps alcoholism and phsyical abuse were their outlets, which would explain our therapy bills.

  7. “You are like a full-blown caricature of yourself, you exaggerate and dodge and weave to avoid the painful truth”. I can’t wait to say this to everyone I know… It might even look cute on a headstone… too much?

    Clearly she was jealous. Who else can pretend to be another version of themself better without artful dodging and unadulteraeted exaggeration.

    I do believe applause is in order…

    • Dufmanno

      Later on she kept calling me at work to tell me we hadn’t “finished” our “work” together and that I should return to therapy immediately.
      I informed her that I would have trouble keeping that appointment because I had been captured by two vengeful Yeti’s who were using me to negotiate the release of their leader from the Winter Warlock. In the meantime I was being forced to fight gladiator style in some sort of to the death competitive sport they enjoyed in their world.

  8. “A hardware store would never fill a small tank of kerosene for a child to bring home.” That’s a lie. That would’ve been in the ’70s, which was still like the Wild West. They probably would’ve let you siphoned it out of the tank with your mouth if you would’ve asked.

    • Dufmanno

      Somewhere in my piles of debris there is the note of chores my dad left me one day and right at the top in bold letters it says GET KEROSENE.
      Then it says to collect pennies for the fuse box and break up sticks outside for kindling.

  9. so many things here! first what tom said about freaks misfits and weirdos. i love your overactive imagination and unrestrained fanciful thoughts!!!! love them hard! don’t ever suppress them!

    second, what a bitch staring at her nails. i had a therapist once who didn’t stop repeating her stupid rules. i couldn’t be late, my cell phone had to be off and i had to cancel at least 48 hours in advance or i would be charged. once she chided me for being 7 minutes late. then another time, on my dime, she kept checking texts from her son. and another time she proceeded to eat some kind of bagel and lox sandwich because some crisis had made her miss her lunch and she was going to get low blood sugar if she didn’t eat. well don’t you know she smacked her lips and licked her fingers while i was talking about my cruel father.

    third, that last guy was a gem. so glad you haven’t dulled down your ideas. i had a guy therapist who actually cared about me too and taught me relaxation and breathing techniques that actually helped. but better, he gave me a new perspective on things that didn’t necessarily make them rosier, but made me realize that sometimes it’s someone else’s bad and you can’t control it. that was a killer revelation for me.

    anyway, sorry for this huge comment. i should post about therapy instead of going off in your comments.

    • Dufmanno

      The funny part was that getting “accepted” as her patient was like trying out for the olympics with no athletic ability. You should have seen me jump through hoops on the phone interview and flat out fabricate shit on the written questionnaire. Then she hemmed and hawed before gracing me with a phone call where she informed me that i would be allowed to pay her hundred of dollars an hour for her very sought after services.
      It was like she was bestowing upon me the greatest honor ever given another human. I think when I stood up from the kneeling position I was wearing a crown and carrying a jewel encrusted sword.

  10. At least she talked to you. I swear one day mine fell asleep.

    And raccoon fights are more common that most people think.

    • I had a knock down drag out fight with a Racoon that involved me kicking/hooking it up on my foot in order to get it off of my first boyfriends cat. Who I actually liked, the cat…not the boyfriend.
      Sometimes violence is necessary and violins can go to hell.

    • Dufmanno

      Silent but deadly. Both gas and therapists. Eerie quiet unnerves me so while they were urging me to become comfortable with the lack of chatter during the pregnant pause I would have been overthinking different ways to fill the empty space, probably resulting in the exploding of my head..

  11. I want to go on a long car trip with you and hear nothing but your wonderful wild stories. I promise my nails will remain as unpolished and neglected as they always do.

  12. Ok seriously? That was beautifully written, butter cup. I think you need to check the sent folder in your email, dig out a certain one you sent yesterday, and look at that list of names again. Then get mailing. Stories about minotaurs just don’t write themselves, you know.

    • Dufmanno

      I don’t have enough talent or chutzpah, nor was I blessed with the virtue of follow through. Things absolutely necessary for such tasks. Besides, I still want another few years on the tour bus!

  13. Loved this. Your writing makes me chuckle.

    I hope none of your readers are therapists because I’m sure to offend. I apologize for that, in advance.

    I’ve never gone to a therapist because I’ve always had a deep seeded mistrust of them. A lot of my friends growing up had parents who were psychologists or psychoanalysts or therapists. These same friends were really messed up kids so I made the connection that their parents didn’t know squat. To do this day I find this correlation to be true. Makes you wonder.

    • Dufmanno

      Now that I actually know a few psychiatrists and other assorted therapy professionals socially I shudder to think about the number of insane ones out there. Cause the few that run in my circles are fucked up in the worst ways.

    • Mine came from Running with Scissors and Garden State…

  14. I think I’d have had to go back to search for the two by four that the racoon escaped to see if it worked better on red nail varnish woman…

    • dufmanno

      I wish you could have seen it shudder and then stand back up. Like the Terminator of the outdoors.
      My uncle isn’t small either. He’s like six three.

  15. I had this strong desire to track that woman down and kick her ass so much so that I was shivering when I first read this. I am so glad that you are so strong that she did not break your spirits. I half expect a Law & Order episode based on what she did to some other weaker souls that grew up to be serial killers and then Jack has to decide whether to haul her ass into court because she is deemed liable.

    • dufmanno

      In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.

      Doink Doink@!

  16. btw, I really really love this post.

  17. I’ve been to TWELVE. That is TWELVE shrinks who were ultimately of no use. So I blog.

    Now you know.

    • dufmanno

      You are like the better looking, taller and ultimately more fun female Woody Allen of the internet!
      If I hadn’t found the good shrinks number I would have been destined to walk the streets from analyst to analyst trying to find “the one” .
      I think it was a fluke I stumbled upon him when I did.

  18. michael freeman

    I Wonder what she would have thought, if you had told her about your sicko cousins self proclaimed alter ego “pass man” ..or the fact that your aunt used to use the services of the mentally retarded to clean her house(I can recall watching Popeye with one of them after she was finished,but thats for another day)..Or perhaps unsatisfied with those results, employing a modern day “Uncle Charlie” without the winning personality,in the form of one George W. Harris,a bitter WWII with a vicious streak and a colostemy bag, to take over the duties of the household…. come to think of it do you still have that shrinks number?

    • dufmanno

      God, when you put it that way we sound completely freaking insane.
      I’m starting to hear the warbly sad clown music again.
      I will tell you that Pass Man merits it’s own post entirely. However I’m not sure that I can actually admit in public exactly HOW guillible you have to be to suspend disbelief THAT many times in one day.
      How the passes got stolen EVERY FREAKING TIME leaving me helpless and at the mercy of the pass man. Who by the way was always clever enough to kill his other brother instead of me.
      Passman: “Kelly, you lost your pass again?” shakes head . “Now your cousin has to die” Sad disappointed face.
      me: “Wait, give me another chance, don’t kill him! I’ll get another leaf, I mean pass, his mom is gonna be sooo mad!”

  19. I once had a therapist listen to me at the first appointment, look very earnestly at me and say, “You are really fucked up.” He was Israeli so I said, “Thank you.”

  20. Pingback: The Cure

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