5

Background

I'm a 22 year old male who had quite a rough past, however I will stick to what I think is important for the question. Currently I'm still a student.

When I was 16 I stopped going to my dad and seeing him altogether (still the case now). This was a huge event, I was mentally abused there. To be more specific: my brothers were physically abused from time to time by my stepmother. She has issues with anger management. While this is very bad, my father never acknowledged it and even denied that it was the case. The anger problems were never physical towards me, however the pressure was always present because of this.

My mother helped me get out of this situation and provided help when necessary. However she now tends to worry a lot for me, which makes sense considering what happened in the past. While she is not opposed to me going to a psychiatrist and my father, it will probably worry her very much.

Event and result

A few months ago my sister got engaged. While this is a happy event and I'm very glad that it is going to happen (she found a great man), this also correlates to something else. Going to see my father again after not speaking to him for 6 years. Because of this I think it is smart for me to go to an expert so I'm able to handle it well.

Problems

My sister currently has had contact with my father for ~1 year. I think it is safe to assume that my sister wants to get my father involved in the wedding. I did not discuss this with my sister.

It is not possible to not discuss this, because it will get out eventually.

I do not know specifically what would worry my mother (however that is a good point to address while discussing it with her). I do know she tends to get worried quite fast. She will probably worry the most about the impact the events will have on me.

Note that I think it is the best course of action because it will be mentally heavy to see my father again. Not going to see my father is not an option, because I want him to be able to walk my sister to the altar.

I plan to visit the therapist and my father alone, because I think that is important.

Questions

  • How to discuss going seeing my father without worrying her?
  • How to discuss going to a therapist with my mom without worrying her?
  • 1
    Can you explain about why you think your mother will be worried to hear this? You mention "my mom played a supporting role" - do you mean that she knows what happened and helped you, or that she made your mental state worse? (I hope this isn't intrusive! I'm just a bit confused about her role in the situation.) – Em C Jan 31 '18 at 20:16
  • 1
    She helped me overcome the situation and got me out of it. I'll edit it in the question. – Peter Jan 31 '18 at 20:17
  • 1
    Can you add some information? Where are you in the world? There may be cultural concerns when it comes to mental health. Also, are you specifically looking at visiting a psychiatrist or possibly a therapist? They're different. Usually if you want to talk through things with someone, you're looking at a psychologist/therapist rather than a psychiatrist (or both in conjunction). – Catija Jan 31 '18 at 20:29
  • What about you seeing a psychiatrist might worry your mother? For example, when I first saw one, my mother was worried that they would try a bunch of different medications and I would have negative side effects. – Rainbacon Jan 31 '18 at 20:31
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    Have you talked with your sister about getting your dad involved with her wedding? If her relationship with him is anything like yours it would be a good idea to get her OK before talking to your dad. – sphennings Jan 31 '18 at 20:52
7

How to discuss going seeing my father withouth worrying her? How to discuss going to a therapist with my mom without worrying her?

Just don‘t ... (yet?).

I assume from your thoughtfully worded question that you are a loyal person. I also assume that you are overthinking this, well-intentioned, but with the unwanted effect of you feeling stuck.

Seeing a psychotherapist is IMO a great idea, because it is somebody who is not involved in your family.

This will offer you the opportunity to reflect your options without having to worry about (presumably) corrupting your loyalty towards any of the family members involved.

I advise you do this for yourself and postpone all other decisions, like how, if and when to tell your Mum, how, if and when to see your father, etc. These options can be perfectly reflected with the therapist.

Don‘t do the reflecting with a therapist without the therapist in advance ;-)

Technically, chances are that you don‘t need to tell anyone about consulting a psychotherapist, because your health-insurance institution will a) cover all costs for psychotherapy and b) not require anyone knowing about it, even if you are still insured on your mother‘s ticket (you should have your own health card).

Lastly, please be aware of the difference: a psychiatrist is a medical professional and most probably will tend to advise to treat problems presented to him/her with medication. A psychotherapist instead is a psychologist or a specially trained physician and will offer talking and maybe exercises. Seek one that is acknowledged by health-insurance („Kassenzulassung“) to have costs covered by your state-governed insurance plan (gesetzliche Krankenversicherung).

Get in contact sooner rather than later, as often there is a considerable time gap before treatment due to demand surpassing supply.

  • Great answer :) Side note: Do you have an idea what the OP could do in case he is covered by his mother's private health insurance? I found this but don't quite know what to make of it. – AllTheKingsHorses Feb 1 '18 at 8:52
  • Hmm, yea I think I could be overthinking (This time I actually didn't realize). I'm however not really good at keeping secrets (especially when people are involved that are important to me). Is this something I should reflect with the therapist? – Peter Feb 1 '18 at 9:03
  • I'm searching for a psychotherapist, thank you for setting the difference more clear. Medication is not a solution that is wanted in this situation. – Peter Feb 1 '18 at 9:07
  • @Peter yes, you can. – michi Feb 1 '18 at 11:46
  • @AllTheKingsHorses very rare, about less than 3% of population in Germany, applies only to children of parents with a private insurance plan on the same ticket as their parents (who would see their child consulted a health pro when receiving the invoice). OP didn't specify, so I sticked with the 97% – michi Feb 1 '18 at 11:50
4

You cannot control how your mom is going to respond. All you can do is frame the conversation.

It seems like the purpose of you wanting to tell your mom is informational, you want to let your mom that this is happening so that she doesn't find out through some other channel. Keep this purpose in mind while having the conversation so you don't find yourself getting sidetracked.

State what you are planning to do in a simple matter-of-fact fashion. If you already have a plan. Tell your mom that you're planning to do a thing. and then explain that plan to her. If you don't have a plan yet tell her that you are thinking about doing the thing.

You could also frame it as you asking for her advice, not about whether to do it but about how to go about it. If you can get her to feel involved in the process she'll be less likely to worry about it.

She'll probably have questions, answer them. Think about what questions she'll probably ask in advance and have answers planned for them. If she starts trying to change your mind, listen to her concerns, thank her for voicing them, and then make it clear that you have made up your mind and aren't looking to discuss the issue further. If she presses the issue, end the conversation.

  • Making a list of possible questions is a good idea, didn't thought about that. Are there some things I need to keep in mind when starting the conversation? Or should I just start with 'I want to discuss something, lets sit down'. I probably want to keep it informational, however asking for advice to making her less worry could work. – Peter Jan 31 '18 at 21:21
  • By saying "I want to discuss something, let's sit down" you are signaling that this conversation is important enough for you to go out of your way to start a conversation over. You want to frame it in an unremarkable light. – sphennings Jan 31 '18 at 21:32

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