Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Through the years

Yesterday I had an appointment with my psych nurse practitioner. Shawn goes with me to these appointments. It was that way in the beginning in order for Doc to get a broader perspective about me, but it never stopped. During yesterday's appointment, Shawn told Doc that she wouldn't get nearly the information about me as she gets now if he wasn't present. I had no argument with him about that.

A few days ago, I was going through some old stuff and came upon some psych personality summaries from years ago. There were two different summaries that were done when I thought the convent was my calling. As I was reading through them, they pretty much prove Shawn's point. So, at 41 years old, I'm not all that different from my late 20s. That's kind of sad, isn't it? Well, maybe this blog demonstrates some change.

One of the summaries had this to say about my interpersonal relationships:
"In interpersonal relations, she may be characterized as somewhat introverted, preferring privacy to interpersonal interaction. Noteworthy in this respect is her tendency to shyness. She does not easily talk about personal matters and may be hard to get to know except at a surface level. She is a trusting, accepting and accomodating [sic] person who has a great deal of concern and compassion for others. She may have difficulty expressing anger, assrting [sic] herself, or handling conflict. In terms of her current emotional state, she is relatively at ease with herself and will probably be able to tolerate some interpersonal stress."
My biggest disagreement with the above assessment is the last sentence. I honestly don't think I have ever been in anyway at ease with myself. Anxiety has always been more present than any ability to tolerate internal stress.

Holy crap, though, the rest of the above is so much the nail on the head. Over the last week, the topic of anger and conflict came up. Yes, all these years later, I still have a crap ton of difficulty handling my anger and any kind of conflict. These are traits I didn't learn well. As a kid, anger wasn't really something I found myself aloud to express. Conflicts were pushed aside and after enough time passed, life moved on. I tend to feel too much guilt and over apologize just to smooth things over, even if it isn't something for me to feel guilty about or for which I should say that I'm sorry.

The second assessment I found tends to agree with the previous one. I'm going to share highlighted portions. Pronoun usage goes back and forth from 2nd person to 3rd person, so just giving a heads up here.
"PERSONALITY...low on extraversion and low on independence -- shy and unassertive...need for personal privacy...hard to get to know, friendly without being particularly sociable...timid and self-effacing...think poorly of themselves because of their difficulty in speaking up for themselves...effective followers...prefer to take a back seat...compensate by being careful and diligent workers...stresses in their lives...anxious and blame themselves...Persons of this type tend to take on the needs of others and are often easily hurt...too sensitive for their own good."
Perhaps I should have asserted myself more in pursuing some help with this.
"PROBABILITY OF LONG-TERM DIFFICULTY...very low assertiveness and shyness will probably pose problems for her much of her life...lack of natural assertion will cause problems and possibly considerable stress...find it hard to speak up for herself in addition, so she needs to be careful not to take on too much."
Seriously, 14 years after this assessment, I'm still struggling. The next section is the best. Didn't the people requesting the evaluation find any of this worth addressing? Why did I have this summary buried away?
"SUGGESTIONS FOR COUNSELING...Ms. [Me] is likely to be a willing and affable advisee for a spiritual director or counselor, but she will find it very difficult to reveal personal matters. Disclosure does not seem natural for her, but it is important and both she and an advisor will have to work at it. Furthermore, she is introverted in general, not merely with regard to personal matters, almost to the extent of social maladjustment. She likes to belong and to have positive affiliative relationships with others, and she cares about others, but not with the ease that some people have.
"She won't be resistant to suggestions, and will be diligent in carrying out the suggestions that are made and agreed upon. She is thoughtful and perceptive, willing to pursue even troublesome topics, but she will find it difficult to persist with her own views when challenged or pushed. Sometimes people like this, not finding it easy to present their own views, may seem stubborn when holding fast to a point of view out of principle. This is because, lacking facility in assertion, they sometimes fall back into a tenacious stance rather than engage in further discussion."

WTF? I've been my own worst enemy all this time.

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