July 16, 2010
Today I had a couple of clients that I went into depth with regarding their drug use. Here are the following stories.
The first client was a 34 year old, Hispanic, divorced mother of a 17, 18, and 19 year old daughters. When I initially asked her how she got into this predicament she stated that she was arrested for possession. So I asked her why she was using in the first place. She stated that when situations become too difficult for her to handle she would relapse. So, I decided to go back in time to see where she where this anxiety response originated. After several minutes of discussing her childhood experiences she stated that at the age of 7 , she being the oldest, she was responsible for cleaning the house, preparing the food so her mother could cook when she returned from work. After more discussion, she also stated that if the house wasn’t clean and the food was not prepared her mother would beat her with a electric cord or other objects. So, from the age of 7 to the age of 18, my client, was under constant pressure to perform the way her mother had trained her and if she didn’t she would suffer the consequences. My client stated she became frightened when 3 o’clock came around b/c she wanted to make sure everything was in order as her mother instructed. It is apparent that my client did not receive many social/emotional needs from her caretakers that a child needs to have a health view of her world and the world around her. I informed my client to pick out what needs she believe she didn’t get from her mother. Here were her choices: nurturance, physical affection, tenderness, comfort, bonding, respect, connection, support, trust, being heard, appreciation, love, affection, contribution, emotional safety, sharing, validation, family, self-expression, growth, goals, play, humor, stimulation, pleasure, safety, protection, and security of home and family. As she was making her choices she began to cry b/c she realized for the first time in her life what she didn’t get from the people she wanted if from the most. Due to her needs not being met attributed to how she viewed herself and those around her. She always believed she had to prove herself to others.
When discussing her father, she mentioned that he worked a lot and didn’t spend much time with the children. Plus, he was not aware of the beatings from the m0ther. Needless to say, she didn’t get many needs from her father due to his work schedule.
So I asked her how her past shows up in her present and future. She told me her story. She told me her first husband, after 2 years of marriage, began to verbally and physically abuse her. She stated that she put up with the for 10 years b/c her father told her to stay with her man, even during the difficult times. She finally realized that she had had enough and got out of the marriage.
Drug use became prevalent during the marriage and today. We discovered that her drug use allowed her to a certain emotional freedom and independence (b/c she never could make her own choices). We discovered that everything around her has to be spotless b/c if it isn’t she will believe herself to be worthless. This is due to her mother teaching her self-worth was tied into how clean the house was. So, she manifests that belief system into her present life. She stated to me that when situations become overwhelming or that she is unable to take care if she relapses. She believes she is a failure b/c she didn’t take care of the matter at hand. This goes back to how she was raised by her mother. So, it is safe to say that her drug use is attributed to whether she has control of her life and those individuals it. If she sees that she is losing control or situations are not going like she wants them to go she will relapse.
FYI: Today, she cleans houses for a living. I actually laughed when she told me. I told her, “Gee, I wonder why.” She stated that she has to keep moving b/c she been moving since she was 7 by constantly cleaning. We also discussed her not having a childhood. She stated she totally agreed. She doesn’t know what it is like to just have fun and be silly. She stated was always on guard with her mother. She did mention that she did guide her children into activities that they were interested and that she had a great time showing them b/c she participated in their activity b/c she never had any fun as a child.
At the end of our conversation I decided to give her a project. Since she needs to have everything neat and tidy at her home I told her to not make up the bed once a week and be comfortable with being uncomfortable about the messy bed. I wanted her to experience what life is like when there is a piece of dust on the floor, the dishes are in the sink or the bed isn’t made. I want her to come back next month and tell me how she did with the unmade bed. Basically, I want her to experience the needs she never had as a child. I also want to see how she handles overwhelming situations without using drugs.