I have noticed an alarming trend. Millennials come into my initial consultations and tell me that they believe that, fundamentally, something is wrong with them, and no matter what I do or say, they don't believe me when I tell them there isn't.
I can understand why.
The complaints that my clients register about themselves are legion.
They range from the hopelessly vague such as "I am impulsive" to the bizarrely specific "I can't stop pulling my eyebrow hair".
I often ask my clients what they believe the causes of their suffering might be. I realize that people come to me looking for help and if I can give a good enough explanation, people will believe it.
They come in with all sorts of diagnoses, from "generalized anxiety disorder" to "bipolar disorder". Some have had multiple conflicting diagnoses from the same psychiatrist and some have had several different psychiatrists come to several different diagnoses.
An entire millennial generation has been conditioned to believe that the childhood they grew up in was normal and their emotional problems are a result of some personal failing.
I don't know what comes to your mind when I ask this question, but most people immediately become defensive.
"My parent(s) did the best they could do."
"My parent(s) may have made mistakes, but they didn't cause my anxiety"
"How could you suggest that after all the things my parents did for me?"
Attachment theory is so in vogue nowadays and it is so interesting how people will use the language to solve problems that, only people who come from abusive families have, but will refuse to label their families as abusive.
It is almost like trying to tell someone that "Santa claus" doesn't exist.
Throughout most of the formative years of my client's lives, they have been taught that "mental illness" is due to a chemical imbalance and that the only way to treat it is through medication. They have also been told that "mental illness" is something that you are born with and that is simply not true.
Study after Study after Study has proven that the "chemical imbalance theory" is at best a marketing technique and at worst a flat-out lie. The truth of the matter is that all of us came from families with various levels of dysfunction.
Because they are looking inward at themselves and not outward at the environment for the causes of suffering, they continue to bounce from one abusive situation to the next.
Fundamentally, because you are doing the best you can with what you know, and when you learn to love yourself you will be better.
The problem is that as a child you were punished for trying and punished for making mistakes. In fact, I believe that there are many adults who were simply neurodiverse as children and received so many beatings that they learned to mask their "undesirable" behavior.
The reason we call these "differences in functioning" "disorders' is usually because they cause problems for others.
I also believe that because your childhood was so fraught inconsistency, that you don't have a good idea of what "normal" is.
Because of that, you will continue to find yourself in abusive situations over and over again because you believe that they are normal.
You will find yourself always starting and stopping.
You will find yourself being motivated and then devastated.
You will find yourself ready to make a change and happy with the status quo because you were never given a good playing field to practice in.
If you are ready to learn more about how to do the things you say you want to do, please reach out to me below for your free consultation!
This is how I refer to individuals who were called "identified patients" as children, otherwise known is "The Problem Child" or "Scapegoat". They usually receive some sort of DSM diagnosis in order for their therapist to get paid. The stigma of that diagnosis follows the child into adulthood.