Taking the Long Way Around

That phrase has always struck me as being completely and utterly representative of my life.  Ironic considering I was raised in a strict religious family which meant that your path was pre-determined and designated based on their religious expectations and your gender role.  Mine?  Graduate high school, find a nice boy, get married, buy a house, have children, devote my entire life to raising them and supporting my man. No room for career, no room for education, no room for anything but a heterosexual relationship and especially no room for divorce. One of my favorite music groups The Dixie Chicks wrote a song about this very phrase: “Taking the Long Way Around”.  It quickly became my favorite and autobiographical song.

When one deviates from the predetermined path that is expected of us, this can be the beginning of a lifetime of stress and anxiety. Going against the grain, while made to sound exciting and glamorous, in the movies, can be the most painful and lonely path you’ll ever take.  Some of us lose our family members, some of us suffer painful emotional consequences (anxiety, depression, panic attacks)  but none of get out unscathed. Perhaps you’ve given up a dream (or two) along the way, one that you still wish upon or fantasize about. Perhaps you’re living a secret life that you work so hard to keep private. Maybe you continue to suffer through family interactions over and over because it’s “expected” and the idea of not participating is too painful to attempt, especially during the upcoming holiday season. What are these costing you?  How much have you paid over the years to stay small and to be what everyone else wants you to be? Do you wonder who you are anymore? Do you feel lost and alone more often than not?

The question I would then ask you is this:  are you living the life that YOU designed or is your life built with the bricks of these expectations from your family and your childhood?  This is something I find paramount to explore in sessions with my clients … what we discover more often than not, is that these early ‘messages’ we received have strongly shaped our adulthood. Looking back at your childhood can be so valuable for information gathering purposes and taking the time to explore these, can oftentimes be the turning point in therapy.  Making connections between all the messages we received from not only family but also peers, siblings, society, teachers, etc., can be the beginning of the healing that you may be searching for.

In the safe, connected environment which we proudly provide at Empowered Connections, is where your healing can begin. We believe wholeheartedly that your story is our story. That what you’ve been through, we have too. That we can be the beacon of light in your moment of darkness: as we have healed, so can you. Please know that we are here for you when you’re ready. To find out more about us and/or to make an appointment securely online, check us out at www.empoweredconnections.net or call us at 301-690-0779.

DEBORAH DULEY is a licensed social worker in the state of Maryland. She has a BS in social work from Bowie State University and a Masters of Social Work from Howard University, Washington DC, as well as thousands of clinical hours and continuing education. She is a certified Stepfamily Foundation Counselor and is ASIST trained in suicide intervention. In addition Deborah is trained in divorce and custody mediation. Deborah is the founder and owner of the counseling practice Empowered Connections LLC, located in the heart of Leonardtown Maryland and the facilitator of her new therapy program “10 Sessions to Better Self-Esteem.” Deborah has over 25 years of experience working with women in many capacities such as activist, domestic violence counselor, and crisis interventionist. As the “women’s therapist,” she is passionate about working with women and teen girls. She integrates her knowledge of mental health issues and her life experiences to assist them in increasing their self-esteem, decrease anxiety & depression symptoms and tackle a whole host of personal issues that women struggle with.