Together, We Can Change
A message from your therapist friend,
“I love you, BUT…” is a conditional statement that does not make your partner feel loved when you say it. You wouldn’t say, “I love you, but I also love my mother.” Or, “I love you, but only when you do XYZ.”
I am often surprised by how frequently I hear what should be a comforting or loving statement followed by BUT. It doesn’t work in the therapy room for couples and it doesn’t work when discussing the trauma of our black brothers and sisters. As a human being, I am struggling to understand the sentiment to disregard the pain of systemic racism. I am also struggling to understand why there are conditions to standing with a community that needs our support more than ever.
As a clinician, I have a few thoughts.
I would imagine if you are unable to have an open conversation with your parents or partner then you would struggle to have such a conversation with others. I would imagine if you were never shown unconditional love for who you are then you might struggle to do the same for others. I would imagine that if defensiveness and gaslighting were weapons used in your family then you would struggle to break that cycle, and your relationship history probably shows it. I would imagine that people struggling to find compassion for what is occurring in our society are also struggling to have compassion for themselves.
I would challenge you to search your childhood and relationship history to understand how you view those around you in the world. There is a lot of screaming and finger pointing at the moment. People are scared and unsure of how to move forward. Name calling and belittling will absolutely not work to change minds and hearts of those who do not understand what is happening. For those of us who are trained in meeting people where they are in the moment, it is part of our job to start difficult conversations that desperately need to happen for true personal and societal change. The way of the internet is not skilled at having this conversation, to put it mildly, but we as clinicians are.
I want people to know that there is power and strength in “I don’t know” and “Please, help me understand.” I realize the internet is not a place for people who are genuinely trying to process all that is happening and break through their own biases and prejudices. I challenge you to seek help from an empathic, competent therapist, who works with clients from across the cultural spectrum, who can help you through this process. I am ready and willing to take this journey with you when you are ready. I am ready and willing to process this trauma with anyone experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed and scared. I am here for you as a therapist and as a human being.
If we challenge ourselves today and tomorrow and the day after that, then maybe we can see a true shift in our society.
Hendrix Scott, MA, LMFT-Associate, CST-Candidate
Houston Relationship Therapy