My Dear Readers,
Many people assume that psychotherapists can look into an individual’s eyes and see who that person really is. Of course, that is not true. When a person comes to the therapeutic session, he (or she) brings their truth, or, more accurately, what they perceive to be truths, into the room.
My goal as a psychotherapist is to assist individuals with uncovering what lies beneath those perceptions and to help my patients discover what lies within their psychological selves. From there, we focus on valuing our psychological selves and learning to listen to the direction it provides for our life journeys.
Where the homicide detective speaks for the dead, my goal is to assist the living to find their own voices.
Below is such a story…
Dear Visible Man,
I am a 28 year old educated black male who has an excellent job in corporate America. And, I have experienced sexual relations with five different women in the past week.
I grew up with a group of men who chase skirts and keep tabs on the number of conquests they’ve had, so I view myself as a product of my environment. However, I have come to seriously question with what I am doing. I know that I’m playing with people’s feelings, and I know that it’s not right. I find myself at a place in my life where I want to be locked down in a serious relationship.
I have decided to start attending church again, and engaging in activities where I hope I will join up with young people my age. What are my chances of turning this around and finding a good relationship?
Tired of Trolling, Seattle, WA
Your letter piques my curiosity. I sense a combination of weariness, regret, and although you didn’t say this outright, shame in your actions and behavior.
I am curious as to why you chose “Trolling” as your signature. The term trolling can be defined in several ways: a means of fishing with a baited line, a person singing in a carefree manner, and finally, a way of provoking others. So:
- Why are you really writing?
- What is there to gain by staying in the shadows?
- Are you standing at the crossroads? If so, will you continue the same behaviors or go in a different direction?
Stop trolling. There is no free lunch. If you want the meal, prepare to pay for what you eat or in this situation, for your actions. Using the model of RACE (i.e. responsibility, accountability, consequences and empowerment), come out of the shadows and allow the light to shine upon you. Cease the role of “victim” and the ensuing “blame game” that follows. You seek to blame your actions on your environment and the people in it, but at the end of the day, you must take RESPONSIBILITY for yourself and your own actions.
Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:
- Since you chose this path, why did you seek membership in such an illustrious group of fine young men?
- What privileges or prestige did they offer you?
- What are the actions and behaviors of the group that causes you to reject group membership?
Be willing to accept responsibility for your actions. You chose this group of friends because they offered you something that you one valued. However, they are taking away something that you value more, so you are essentially choosing to reject the group. In taking responsibility for this action, be willing to:
- Respond to the pressure of the group to force your return.
- Prepare yourself for the new direction that may be unknown to you.
- Reinforce and validate yourself as you go alone without the protection and safety of the group.
You have a life that’s desired by many, but you seek to have that life without cost. Seek ACCOUNTABILITY for actions taken. Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want (or need) continuous and meaningless sexual encounters to fulfill me?
- Do I love me? If I do love me, then why am I seeking others to fulfill me?
- Do I truly desire change? How do I account for my actions?
Be willing to assume accountability for acts that you will carry as you walk the journey of life, because many of these cannot be undone. In assuming accountability, be willing to:
- Acknowledge the damage you have done to others and yourself.
- Bear witness to your actions, valuing and validating the experience
- Share with others what you have experience and learned
Regardless of your success, your actions are indicative of an individual who is emotionally wounded and psychologically injured. Your endless use of sexual encounters attest that you are searching for something. This has led to where you are now– the CONSEQUENCES are reactions to what we “do or do not”.
Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:
- So in my longing, my search, what have I fulfilled? What have I found?
- When I stare into the mirror, what creature do I see?
- When I go to bed or wake up, whom is the person laying next to me?
Be willing to acknowledge the impact that your behavior has and will have on others, especially the women you are involved with. In understanding the consequences of what was done (or not), understand that these women:
- Will carry a wound along with your memory.
- Their dreams and desires, which once included you, will go unrealized and unfulfilled.
- They will take the awareness of being “played, used, or toyed” into future relationships and in doing so; innocent others will be made to suffer for your behaviors.
As you look back you are now able to see the emotional and psychological carnage you have done, and no doubt, the psychological self is screaming in your ears.
EMPOWERMENT is energy, a force that burns and builds from within. It thrives on the human core values of belief, faith and trust. Can you look within? Be willing to ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I truly seeking change from within or new fertile ground in which to resume old behaviors?
- Can one who has done bad things transform into doing good?
- As I turn around to examine the journey so far traveled, what have I learned?
The only one who can answer these questions is you. Just be aware that:
- One can run away and yet one cannot hide.. hide from self.
- As all travelers know…wherever one goes, the baggage is likely to follow.
- Self is the first person one sees upon awaking and the last one before sleep.
Young Man, come out of the shadows. In your own words,
“I want to be locked down in a serious relationship.”
If this is true, ask yourself the following questions:
- As you are locked down, whom will you trust to hold the key to your freedom?
- Under what terms will you be allowed out?
- Since when does the inmate give the guard the key to his freedom?
With only this letter and without knowing you and what your experiences have been, I see an individual who has been wounded and who will, unless there is an intervention, likely continue to wound others.
The goal of seeking a serious relationship will not help you remove, seal or forget the pain that you have been carrying. Just like everyone else, you deserve a life without pain and suffering, and you have the obligation to avoid creating pain and suffering for others. I urge you to seek therapeutic assistance.
Seeking therapy is not an acknowledgement that you are crazy. It is simply an acknowledgement that you are struggling on your journey and that therapy can be a way of is responding to the wounds that have impacted your life.
Come out of the shadows. As you stand at your crossroads, I wish you the very best. Safe journeys.
Dr. Kane: The Visible Man