By Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW
Have you ever wondered, “What good is it to talk about my problems?”
Well, if all you do is complain without making personal changes, or insist that the only route to your happiness is the complete transformation of those around you, the answer is not only no good, but you may actually risk convincing yourself that:
1. You are powerless
2. Because you are powerless you are also entitled to special accommodations.
These are not empowering or effective belief systems to nourish. In fact they lead directly to isolation, resentment and despair, because quite frankly no one cares to be with someone who constantly demands to get their way.
But if you are talking about your problems with a therapist skilled in helping you identify, make sense of and tell your story —-you can quite literally change your reality as well as your nervous system. Why? Because human beings are emotionally and neurologically wired to process the experience of pain in the context of a relationship, in other words with another person. Naming feelings literally calms the amygdale, the emotional center of the brain.
You see this process naturally occurring with women who have just had a baby. They will tell their birth story over and over because emotionally they have to. And because giving birth is a developmentally typical and socially celebrated trauma, it is also shame-free. (Plus there is the really cute little person that comes out of the whole thing). Birthing is a trauma women process in community, among people who have been there and done that, and as a result they not only survive the physically painful experience, most women actually go on to intentionally repeat it several years later.
If discussion of all traumas were as welcomed and celebrated, imagine the peace and joy and wellbeing human beings would enjoy. Until then, there is therapy, there are quality friendships, and there are creative outlets such as writing, dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, and the like. I recommend liberal use of friendships and creative outlets, and if that is not sufficient, please consider therapy.