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How would you feel if a friend told you that they thought you needed therapy?!

(97 Posts)
grasscrown Sat 19-Jan-13 10:52:01


Firstly, I have name changed, although I am not the most regular poster in the world - I have forgotten my old password and my laptop reset itself so I have had to sign up again!

I'm a little unsure what to think about this and it has been playing on my mind quite a lot. I am in my mid thirties, single, and have always been single. I don't think that this is because there is anything horrible about me, it's just been a series of unfortunate events in particular in my late teens which lasted into my mid twenties. By the time I was in a position to start meeting men, the good ones had been taken. I did try, tried Internet dating but I just had no interest at all which was a shame. I concentrated on my career instead and have done pretty well, I'm hardly earning three figures but I do have a comfortable salary and lovely home.

A couple of years ago I started thinking in terms of being single as something that might not change - before that, I mean, I had always thought that I'd meet someone "in the future" and I started to think I might not. confused When I really thought about it, I wasn't all that bothered. I'd seen too many friends have their hearts broken and marriages fall apart and I've never been bothered by being on my own. But I was very upset at the thought of never having children of my own, so I started to look into alternatives (hence why I originally signed up to Mumsnet.) After months of planning I'm now in a position to start trying later ths year and I'm so happy and excited about this.

Most close friends know and have been extremely supportive and excited for me, but there are just a couple who have been quite pleased to my face and yet have let slip that in fact they think I am "damaged" in some way which is why I haven't ever had a partner. One is convinced I am a closet lesbian and the other made the comment I alluded to in my thread title - she is having therapy and told me I should try it - "It would be cheaper than fertility treatment and I bet by the end you wouldn't NEED fertilty treatment."

AIBU to be a little bit hurt by that? (I am a LITTLE hurt by the way, I am not going to never-speak-to-her-again!) I just feel that after months of being supportive, she's now behaving as if I'm wrong, damaged or unhappy in some way. And, if I was going to have therapy, it wouldn't be "to get a boyfriend!"

Thanks for reading smile

iusedtobefun2 Sat 19-Jan-13 21:01:23

I'm single by choice. Seems like I always have been and that's just the way I like it. For some reason relationships and being in a couple just does not suit me. Like you people have made comments about my sexuality or have thought there is something wrong with me because I've always been on my own.

In my early 30's I really struggled with it. It made me sad that maybe I wouldn't get married and live happily ever after. I went through lots of soul searching and eventually came to the conclusion that although I was more than happy being on my own I couldn't face life without having children. So, I had a child using donor sperm.

Fast forward a number of years and I have a beautiful DD. We are doing very well. Check out the term Sole Parent, the term given to those who chose to have children by themselves.

Be confident in your choices OP. You will always have those who question your motives and your choices, I think you will just have to develop a bit of a thick skin about it.

With regards to the counselling, yes it does sound like your friend was having a dig and questioning your plans. As for me, I would love some! An hour of talking about yourself. Sounds like such luxury! I would imagine that most people could benefit from some.

Feel free to PM me if I can help in any way

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 11:21:06

Thanks for the replies.

Having a child isn't something I've decided to just do on a whim - have given it lots of thought, consideration and preparation. I think that a lot of people who think it's lonely are possibly people who are used to being in relationships or who think single people get to go travelling and go to bars and have exciting lives at the weekends grin we're not; well, I'm not anyway. This weekend for example I have seen nobody apart from a brief walk into town Saturday morning to pick up some groceries. I do have friends but they are busy with their own families and it can be something of a catch 22.

Yes, I have given a lot of thought to my child wanting to know about their other parent and they will know as I am using a non-anonymous donor.

My career is only important in the sense that it has to be as one person. If there are two people you can both 'afford' to earn a bit less. As it is, I earn £45,000 per year which is a good salary but I have to pay bills alone and run a car on one salary and so on and so forth which can be difficult. I work in education so my working day is fairly short and I have long holidays. I really have given all of this a lot of thought.

I used, I'd love to PM you - thanks.

cumfy Sun 20-Jan-13 14:18:18

she does have a pretty serious MH condition (diagnosed) and has been hospitalised for it before

Did you not then take her opinion with a pinch of salt ?

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 14:23:15

Yes, but not because of the MH condition, just because I don't agree with it. I agree therapy/counselling could be helpful but I don't think I NEED it smile And, to be honest, I can't spare the money for something that may be slightly helpful but might not be ... I am saving up for a baby grin

SecondhandRose Sun 20-Jan-13 14:24:29

grasscrown, I haven't read all the posts but I jumped straight in to answer as I have had CBT counselling/therapy and it was one of the best things I have ever done. Please do not take offence at what your friend has said and I think she is a good friend to be brave enough to suggest it to you.

We all have issues of some sort or another and talking to someone who is a professional is a great way of looking at things differently. I last saw my therapist about 4 years ago but I still look at some of the paperwork she has given me and look at the books.

Therapy is a real eye opener and common sense but sometimes it just takes a fresh look at things.

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 14:26:50

She wasn't being brave, I promise grin I didn't fly off the handle and nor would I.

It isn't the suggestion of therapy that I was a bit puzzled at. It was that I (would be) doing it to be a "normal person" and have a boyfrend and have a baby the "normal way" I was hmm at.

SecondhandRose Sun 20-Jan-13 14:29:20

One other thing, I am not meaning to sound critical but I have a partner so obviously there are two of us, we have two kids and it is hard, it has always been hard and this is even with the two of us working together. Babies grow into miserable teenagers quite quickly. A dog might be an easier alternative. And I am not taking the pee, to be honest if I had known then what I know now about children, I am not sure I would have had any.

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 14:34:39

Well - I'm sure you're not taking the pee, but just as you don't think I understand, I can tell that you don't. I'm sorry that you would have made different life choices but, with respect, "a dog might be an easier alternative" is offensive in the extreme.

I wonder if you would say the same thing to somebody in a relationship planning to have children?

SuffolkNWhat Sun 20-Jan-13 14:44:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 14:46:32

Oh I do agree with you Suffolk! (and I laughed at your name!) I honestly wasn't put out at the suggestion as such, it was more the suggestion that it was needed because that was why I hadn't met a partner, which I don't think is fair.

After all, plenty of people who DO need therapy are in relationships grin

I'm also pleased to say all that is a LONG way in the past (thank God!) smile

cumfy Sun 20-Jan-13 14:49:09

I really think you need to give this friend a break and recognise the context in which it has been said.

This is likely to have far more to do with her wishing that you were a bit more similar to her so that you could be closer friends than her unbiassed opinion of your best option for future happiness.

I rather think you know this.

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 14:51:57

Cumfy, I haven't given the friend a hard time, certainly not to her face and on here I haven't given any indication (I don't think?) of being anything more than a bit mildly miffed, and even that was to do with her having been supportive and excited to my face then suddenly, months down the line, "you should try therapy then you won't need to do all this."

I really don't understand your middle sentence too well, I am afraid - sorry.

cumfy Sun 20-Jan-13 15:01:01

This is likely to have far more to do with her wishing that you were a bit more similar to her so that you could be closer friends than her unbiassed opinion of your best option for future happiness.

You have difficulty understanding this concept ?

Really ?

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 15:06:10

Yes, I don't understand the point you are making, sorry. I'm obviously slow. smile

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Sun 20-Jan-13 15:06:52

I had to read the sentence three times before I got it!

I think you need some punctuation or extra words in there cumfy.

I think, if I am reading it correctly, you mean "This is likely to have far more to do with..... and she is not really giving you her unbiassed opinion of..." Is that right?

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Sun 20-Jan-13 15:07:36

In other words, it wasn't the concept being misunderstood - it was the sentence.

NumericalMum Sun 20-Jan-13 15:11:32

I think YABU for two reasons. One therapy\counselling is really down to the person. I have has many sessions with different therapists and they have varied in terms of usefulness greatly. I am almost always seen by my friends as being very together and I doubt many would guess I have and therapy but I will happily tell everyone as it isn't a bad or evil thing. It is something tht helped me overcome a lot of self esteem problems to become the cknfident person I am now. Fwiw I met my DH shortly after my first round of counselling after being single to that point.

Two I have a DC and found it unbelievably hard even with a fairly supportive DH in tow. I take my hat off to anyone who does it alone and I certainly wouldn't choose to do it alone. You aren't even 34 yet. Maybe freeze eggs or something and wait a few years? You have at least ten years of childbearing years left.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 20-Jan-13 15:14:02

It depends on the context. I suggest a friend might benefit from seeing a counsellor,in the light of her personal circumstances, she took it how it was intended and did in fact go to some counselling sessions. It wasn't enough for her at the time,and she needed more help,but she did benefit from it.

I wouldn't say I would suggest to your in your circumstances that you would benefit from therapy though. But I don't know you personally and I doubt your friend meant to hurt your feelings.

iusedtobefun2 Sun 20-Jan-13 15:14:31

I'm with the OP here.

What her friend was saying is that the norm is to be in a relationship and if you are not, for whatever reason, then there is something psychologically wrong with you.

The OP's point is that for a LOT of people the norm is to be single and that if she is happy with that then it's actually quite rude to suggest that there is something wrong with her because she's not.

I don't like being in a couple. It's not for me. It doesn't mean I am psychologically damaged. For a lot of people in couples they find that hard to believe.

grasscrown Sun 20-Jan-13 15:17:55

I'm sure she didn't mean to hurt my feelings and honestly, she didn't - mildly put out was about as strong as it got. smile

Thanks for the replies. I think I'm going to hide the thread now as it's drifting into "you shouldn't have a child yet" which isn't why I started it.

NM, I will be at least 34 when I have my first and all the professional advice I have had indicates that it is sensible to do so before I am 35.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 20-Jan-13 15:22:34

Sorry - haven't read thread, just the OP.

I think it would depend on why she suggested therapy, If it's done her the world of good and she's really benefitted, maybe she feels a bit evangelical about it and wants to 'spread the joy' to you. I am a bit guilty of this attitude myself.

I would add that unless a person is ready and wants to examine themselves in this way, no amount of therapy will really help.

Personally, I see therapy as a way to self-knowledge rather than as a 'fix' for a personality problem - though that is kind of an outcome IYSWIM.

MadBusLady Sun 20-Jan-13 15:23:35

Look, this is what the OP's friend said about her needing to have therapy:

"It would be cheaper than fertility treatment and I bet by the end you wouldn't NEED fertilty treatment."

I'm just reprinting that because large numbers of people seem to be somehow misreading it as the friend saying "Oh I'm having therapy, it's great, you should try it!" And therefore unsurprisingly saying the OP is BU objecting to it.

She isn't.

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Sun 20-Jan-13 15:25:05

YANBU at all. Your friend is peddling the sexist cultural myth that women 'need' a man in their life. The truth behind this myth is that men-as-a-class feel entitled to own women for domestic service and breeding, and a woman who resists being owned is a Terrible Thing. Partly because she demonstrates to other women that it's not compulsory to have an owner, and perfectly possible to live a happy life free of couple-relationships, which encourages women to put up with less shit from men and that Can't Be Allowed.

I am nearly 50 and while I have had lots of sexual partners and 'going steady' relationships in the past, I have never lived with a partner or been married. I consider myself both lucky and smart to have got this far. My DS was a surprise (bunk-up with an old drinking buddy resulted in completely unplanned and unexpected PG, DS' dad fairly quickly came around to the idea of being a good, involved father and remains so; DS is now 8) and I have been contentedly completely man-free for about 10 years. Well, apart from the odd shag at swingers' parties.

I have also had, from time to time, people implying that my happy single state is actually a defect and I need therapy - either drugs or verbal coercion - to make me submit to a man's authority and ownership .I just laugh and complement whoever says it on their wonderfully ironic sense of humour.

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Sun 20-Jan-13 15:25:36

I don't think she's being unreasonable at all.

Branleuse Sun 20-Jan-13 15:28:30

some people find therapy/conselling so positive and life changing, that they become a bit evangelical about it. Its not usually meant to be offensive.
Most people could benefit from it.

Apart from that, it sounds like you didnt appreciate it or feel close enough to her for her to be able to say it

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