Linda was angry.  She had hardly taken her seat before she said she wanted to kill someone.   ‘Picking up dirty socks – that is my role in life these days’ she went on.  I nodded empathically.  ‘According to my smart-a##e of a 13 year-old son, his father is the one who works and earns the money, so he couldn’t possibly be expected to pick up the socks; the kids, well they go to school and study so why should they have to help tidy the house.  And as for me, well seemingly I don’t do anything so it’s my job to pick up his dirty socks!

I had been seeing Linda for about six weeks when she told me about her son’s comments.  Sensing that the anger was a symptom of something else, I encouraged her to go beneath the anger, to try and identify the real issue. At first she resisted, directing all her energy and emotion towards her ‘rude, ungrateful son’. But slowly the barriers came down.  She realised that she was in fact angry with herself.  Angry with herself for being a wimp. Not dealing with the issues as they came up.  Never really having the discussion with her husband about whether she had really wanted to give up work all those years ago. She just thought she had to, for the good of the family.  Every parenting book she read told her children did better if they didn’t have to go into childcare. And time had slipped away and here she was with a thirteen year old treating her exactly the way she deserved to be treated.  With total disrespect. And there we had it – self esteem. Once she had named it, we knew what we had to work on.

And it has been a joy.  Seeing Linda conquer her demons, facing down her self-defeating thoughts and arrive at a place where she is proud to be the woman she is. This is what I call the gift of psychotherapy.