I started in therapy when I was around 22 years old. I don't like telling people that I went because of Now-hubby, because then it makes it sound like it was some shitty ultimatum along the lines of, "you're really fucked up and weird. You need to fix that before we can be together." Although that's pretty much exactly the conversation the two of us had inside my head. See, I have this particularly bad habit of putting words into people's mouths inside my brain. Before anybody can have a chance to tell me "good job" I'm already internally halfway through the critique of how things could have been better. Couple that with the fact I was having legitimate panic attacks about how towels were getting folded after the laundry was done, and it seemed like therapy might not be a bad idea.
At first, it was even difficult to get into the whole, "you had a shitty childhood, therefore you're sort of fucked up now" thing. Cue the internal voice saying lots of things about how it was a cop-out and if I could just figure my own shit out I wouldn't need help. Help is for the weak, etc. etc.
Eventually, I figured some shit out. Coping strategies, mostly. After a certain point, it became apparent that I wasn't going to become a completely different person. But saying something like, "I need some space to figure this out" instead of flipping out and losing my ability to breathe seemed preferable to the way I was handling things. I still haven't completely figured out a way to shut the voice up inside my head, but I've at least gotten better at identifying it as not being the same thing at all to what people are actually saying. Or giving myself the space and time to separate the two before I mistakenly react to the internal first before giving the external a chance to seep in.
Saying, "you had a shitty childhood, therefore you're sort of fucked up right now" is helpful as long as I can keep myself from analyzing every little thing I do and trying to figure out if it's a product of said childhood. Things can creep up unexpectedly and then it's like *BAM* I'm having an intense thought process about whether this thing that's an integral part of my personality is actually some negative thing carried over or not. I've been watching Six Feet Under recently, and there's a scene in season 1 where Claire goes on this camping trip thing. One of the other girls on the trip fucks the guide leader, and when Claire asks her later why she fucked him, the girl says, "I don't know. To see if I could?" *BAM* Who the fuck saw this coming? Why don't I pause the show so I can figure out whether me liking to fuck is actually a desire of my own or some stupid coping strategy for not getting enough attention when I was growing up?