There’s a new person in group. And she has really changed things up for the group. Or she did for this last session. She decided that the only person who could be discussed during the session is her. We got to hear about her past, many times. We got to hear about her living situation, many times. And we got to hear how every person who she ever talks to sees her as a victim who can get away with whatever she’s done because of her past. She wasn’t just talking about her family with that. Apparently, even the State DHR thinks that it’s all cool that she hit her own kid because she’s a good person and she has PTSD. And she was apparently told that her illness is the second worst mental illness in the world, only behind schizophrenia, so she deserves all the cookies and gold stars.
I wanted to scream, “For fuck’s sake, girl. We’ve all got shit going on that sucks. You’re not the most special snowflake at this party.” Of course, I’ve heard the histories of the other members of the group. (Even if I don’t pay attention to the therapy part, I do try to pay attention when the other patients are talking.)
Before anyone says that I’m being unfeeling or cruel about this girl and her pain, I will point out that her entire pity party/sob story time was not done in a pity party/sob story tone. It was done in a bragging tone. If we tried to get off the topic of her sorrow-filled life, it wouldn’t be long before she maneuvered the whole session back onto her. I know that she’s new to the group and she wants us to be familiar with her, but you don’t just take over group therapy. It’s just not proper group therapy etiquette. Group is about the group and the problems that impact all of the members of the group, it isn’t about a single member. Sorry, it’s just not.
And her comment about DHR? That’s utter bullshit. DHR is a state agency, filled with a lot of underpaid and overworked social workers who are about ten seconds away from quitting their jobs and going back to school for a different degree, so that they can have another career. And while someone at the agency may have taken pity on her situation, they would not have patted her on the head and told her that her past made it okay to hit her kid. They wouldn’t make excuses for her behavior. Social workers aren’t like that. I’ve met some people with sadder stories than her who have had their parental rights terminated even after DHR knew about their pasts; and sometimes they were terminated, in part, due to their pasts.
As for her claim that a therapist told her PTSD is more serious than any other mental health problem, except schizophrenia, I highly doubt that any therapist ever said that. Therapists don’t generally try to pit one psychiatric ailment against another. Admittedly, we all know that schizophrenia is the überscary, but therapists get very hostile if you try to make a competition about which problem is the baddest of them all. This is typically when they go into their speech about how mental illness is a very individualized thing, and that one person may not struggle with their bipolar disorder as another person with that same disorder or with any other disorder. Every person’s mind is different. Every person’s experience is different. And therapists are not shy about reminding their patients of that.
Oh, and she seems to think she’s morally superior to everyone else. Honestly, it feels like a narcissist has taken over the group. It’s just all fucked up. Maybe next time, she won’t be there or she’ll get her ego in check. Otherwise, I’m going to have to figure out a better way to zone out so that the borderline in me doesn’t smack the shit out of this girl.