Radical Acceptance

I had my first one-to-one DBT session with Monica yesterday. It was good. It was awkward.

We went over ground rules and we both agreed that honesty, even if difficult, was the best way forward. I like that about Monica. I trust her to speak the truth so I don’t have to agonise second guessing her. It makes things much easier. She is very good at being non-judgemental. 

She asked me how the first DBT group session had gone. I didn’t lie. I told her it was a crock of shit (in much nicer language!). She wanted to do a chain link analysis on the self-harm I had done after group. Ouch! But in for a penny, in for a pound…

We went through the day noting my thoughts, actions and feelings. At the end Monica said “yeah that’s a really detailed description of your day but nowhere have you said then I decided to hurt myself”. True. So I explained that I hadn’t decided to do it – it just happened. “No, your arm doesn’t move by itself. You need to have a thought.” Hmmm, right again. So we talked a bit more about it and I admitted that actually I was angry. I was angry at being in this situation; that this is my life now; and it’s not fair that I have to come to this stupid place weekly for 14 months. I know it’s the ‘wrong’ thing to feel but I did.

Aha! Now we were getting somewhere!

She said I needed radical acceptance. Apparently this is accepting my situation for what it is. She used an analogy: imagine you’re on a tennis court and one of those machines is firing balls at you. That’s life. Life will always throw balls at you. You can get angry about it, smash your racquet, shout and scream or you can pick up your racquet and hit the balls back. This is your situation. Accept it. 

That made me more angry so I told her I wanted to smash the room up, to scream, to go absolutely mental (fear that ship may have sailed!). It’s not fair not fair not fair. I could see her point. This was a waste of energy. I was still pissed off though as she was explaining about acceptance and I’ve done so much fucking accepting over my lifetime that I have had it. I accepted my shitty childhood situation, I accepted the rape, I accepted my chemist career failing, I accepted losing the pregnancies, I accepted resigning my promotion, I accepted having to go part-time, I accepted having to walk away from work, I accepted not being allowed to drive. I’m done accepting stuff.

Too bad, Monica tells me, you can turn up here every week for 14 months and you won’t get anywhere until you accept it: this is the situation now.


So radical acceptance it is. I’ll work on it. (But damn I still want to smash some stuff up!) 


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