Not Your Fault

Good Will Hunting. The one scene I watch for is the one that makes me cry. Every. Single. Time.

Anyone who has ever been in therapy wishes for a moment of clarity. A moment like this.

I often wonder what these two amazing actors drew upon to create this scene. It seems so real; maybe even unscripted.

Growing up in a family that had little faith in any form of psychiatric “healing”, I was more than a little reluctant to approach. I met a husband/wife team of counselors while conducting a workshop on “Stress in the Workplace”. I was working in Human Resources for a 2 unit hospital facility at the time.

Their practice was on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, a town I loved and had spent a great deal of time visiting. It was about 30 miles from my home.

There was a kindness about them that was so appealing. I believed in their presentation; I kept their brochure. On one of the darkest nights of my life, I reached out. I left a message on their answering service. The wife called me within a half hour.

I saw her the next morning, and for a few months thereafter. They say that you should pay attention to what makes you cry. We could talk for hours about very personal issues, but my moment came kind of suddenly, with only 3 words.

There was a lot going on in my life at the time. My mother had died after a battle with cancer. We had moved twice in just a few years. I had changed jobs three times. We had purchased our second home in an area that we were not destined to stay. I had passed from depression to mania and back to depression, all undiagnosed and untreated.

I was 29 years old, married but desperately fearful of being a mom. I was refusing to grieve over my mother, and feeling so much guilt for that. I was confused and ashamed and doubtful of a future. I had a lot to live for, a lot to look forward to, but I just couldn’t see it.

It was one of the lowest points of my life when I walked into therapy. She was not an M.D., there were no medications involved. In retrospect, maybe there should have been. But this was all about talk therapy. It was sorely needed.

The moment that touched me was when I spoke of that 6 year old wounded child inside of me and the circumstances that forever changed my family. After telling my story, I said to her “I felt abandoned”.

She paused and took my hand and slowly said the 3 words…”You were abandoned”.

I cried like I never had before or since. It needed to be said. It needed to be acknowledged.

My fear of abandonment had its base. It was real. It had directed just about every aspect of my life thus far. Every decision made, every fear experienced.

Those 3 words, much like “It’s not your fault” for Will Hunting, changed the course of my life. I will never forget her.  Tears.

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6 Responses to Not Your Fault

  1. LaVagabonde says:

    A good therapist is priceless. So much rides on saying the right thing at the right time. Not all of them have the gift.

  2. A revelation and new beginning…wonderful!

  3. It happened at the right time in my life. I was so grateful, there was a lot of joy waiting for me to discover.

  4. Maria says:

    Abandonment its horrible. My mom left me at the age of 4 and Im at the age of 37 still struggling with the issues of abandonment. Its hard, so much else has happened too that Im dealing with in therapy, but the abandonment goes deepest. Bless you for sharing. And honestly I wasnt aware that I felt this until I just wrote it…

  5. I understand that, Maria. I too believe that abandonment goes deepest for just about all of us, and leads to a lot of other issues. I’m sorry for your loss of your mom. Mine was physically present but withdrew from us emotionally. My father, in desperation, threatened to put us in an orphanage when he tried and failed to “give us away” to relatives. We remained a family, but the damage was done to young, impressionable minds. I was in denial until this therapy encounter. Thank you for sharing. We never know when and how we will have those “light bulb” moments.

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