Ascension Behavioral Health

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Insecure S2E2 - Hella Questions

Before I get into this, I want to note that there are a lot of moving parts in any TV show so I’m not meaning for these to be recaps and won’t touch on all scenes/storylines. I essentially want to dig deeper into themes that are being explored and provide more relational/psychological context for what’s likely at play. However, if there are plots that you’d like me to explore from this same perspective, please please please comment and ask me to dig in and I’ll try to do an extra post dedicated to those!

Similar to most watchers, I came into S2E2 with a fixed "SO WHAT NOW?" screwface & popcorn, just waiting to see how the romp that ended S2E1 would unfold. And as I expected, Issa reached out to Lawrence afterwards, likely to prolong feelings of attachment and to get some information about what their tryst meant to him. Does this mean you (Lawrence): forgive me? still love me? want to get back together? want to have sex again to keep avoiding what I did? Issa (understandably) seemed to be in a bit of shock after said romp, so didn't take the opportunity to ask the very important questions then. On some level, I think Issa knows that if they confront everything, she wouldn't hear what she wanted to, and wasn't ready for that. Receiving that information means that anything that happens afterwards that doesn’t protect her heart or her body, is on her. Now Lawrence, similar to Issa, does as I expected: minimally responded to her because he's confused and knows that "Hella Questions," are on the horizon. He'd be forced to reckon with his confusion and inappropriate / incongruent reaction to Issa, and need be accountable.

Without confronting what is happening, Issa eventually begins to fill in the story how she wants to and with that's easier to digest: “Maybe he hasn't gotten back to me because he's organizing his feelings.” “Maybe he just needs some more time.” Here we see Issa relinquishing control over what happens now AND next in her life—leaving her relationship decision-making moves up the SAME man who for 4+ years was, “tryna get his shit together,”—remember HIM, Issa? What makes you think he knows how to get it together now, enough to make decisions for the both of you? He’s given you no evidence that he can do anything but leave, make rushed decisions and avoid you. But now he gets more time, space, empathy, to sort himself out after thrashing you around on the couch for 7 seconds? (I didn’t count. I long-blinked.) In Issa’s guilt, grief, confusion & loneliness, it looks like she’s willing to be game for whatever Lawrence wants from her if it means she can avoid those feelings for longer. To her, any contact is better than no contact. Issa’s best bet is to get real familiar with those feelings, get clear on why they are there and how to manage them more effectively, so that she remains in control and can remind herself of the FULL story of their history. 

If Lawrence doesn’t respond or continues to respond half-assed-ly (non-clinical, made up & sticking to it) Issa also has an answer; she just doesn't like it. This is showing that he hasn't changed much, cannot do the emotional work you've wished for years for him to be able to do. (Issa and Lawrence aren't too different from one another, that's why I'm #TeamTherapyForEveryone and #TherapyHive). Issa finally admits to Molly that she’s confused; a big and vulnerable step for her, given that she’s been trying to play these last few months off as though she has it together and Lawrence is the only one who needs to figure something out. We can work with confusion! We cannot work with denial.  

The part I’m most looking forward to in any episode now because I’m obsessed with therapy and even more obsessed with black people in therapy with black therapists: Molly made it back to Dr. Pine! And she is talking a LOT in session #2. This is how follow-up sessions can look; once a client has taken that first step and made it into therapy, shared their history and realized that the therapist has not been scared off, judged them, and remains available, they tend to feel a bit more comfortable. What can also happen is an incident during the week that prompts them to use the space more actively, and even the most reserved client can come in presenting remarkably different than the session before.

What I really loved about this session is how quick, keen & direct Dr. Pine is. As Molly is sharing examples and letting her thoughts flow freely, Dr. Pine notices a trend--a lot of “should’s” in Molly’s narrative. Where she "should" be, what she "should be doing,"--a pattern of thoughts that doesn't allow her to focus on the present and how she got where she is & what she can do about it. When we "should" ourselves, we're telling ourselves that the way that we are/think/feel is not ok, it's usually judgmental, and sending subconscious messages that we are not good enough because we aren't what/where/how we "should" be. 

"Shoulds" are dangerous waters because they are not real and don't allow us to accept things as they are. For example: 1) "I should be better at xyz" (but I'm not). 2) "I shouldn't have said that to her" (but I did). 3) "I should not feel anxious about this" (but I do). How can you help this? Sit in 1) what you want to be better at and HOW to get better 2) What triggered you to say that to her and what you CAN do about it now and 3) I AM anxious. What's making me anxious, how does my anxiety affect me and what can I do to calm myself down? When you find yourself "should'ing"---->get back to the facts by asking yourself these questions. What is the truth? What is in my control?

Also, let's also get ALL the way into black women and invisibility within relationships, work spaces and families! Apparently, Dr. Pine went a little too hard for Molly, who wasn't able to commit to another session just yet. Because I understand the individual nature to avoid what feels uncomfortable, I ask my clients to commit to 4 sessions upfront to give me a chance, but also to give themselves a chance to get used to treatment and see what they experience even if it's scary. After 4 sessions, we re-evaluate whether this still feels like a good fit. If we still work well together, we keep going. If not, I offer an opportunity to talk through what's not working or what else they are looking for, and if they are not interested in attempting to get our relationship on a better track, I refer to another therapist. Therapy is collaborative and you have every right and responsibility to find a good, safe, validating fit. 

Cut to the Lawrence & Tasha situationship. We see a distracted Lawrence yet again, and Tasha avoiding what she notices yet again. Even as she invited him to her family BBQ, she quickly says "No pressure!" Already problematic because "no pressure" disclaimers also lead to "no accountability, no agreement, no trust, no respect." No surprise there, because remember....Tasha is dating Lawrence. He's just not dating her. However, this hangout session, Lawrence is feeling responsible (i.e. guilty) enough to disclose to Tasha that he slept with Issa. Tasha is clearly heartbroken at the news but at least asked him to leave (to go mooch of of someone else, I'm sure). In that moment, Tasha is able to show him that she is hurt and will not prioritize him over her needs to be away from him and sit with what he disclosed. It's hard to think clearly when your trigger is right in front of you, but I'm interested to see how Tasha shows back up because....she will. 

And there it is. Lawrence, and his remarkably selfish self, has the NERVE to go to Tasha's house! While some may see this as an attempt to do better, I still view this as a selfish and bold move. This woman asked you to leave her alone, but because you feel so guilty because you're not that guy, you show up at her home and ask her to face you again. Similar to Issa, if Tasha forgives, Lawrence doesn't have to feel as badly about how he's been treating her. And Tasha gets the "companionship" back and gives him credit for coming back to her. And then you invite him in for a plate? Of COURSE he's gonna eat, Tasha! Bet you he would have had a different response if you invited him to talk about his intentions with you and what he's willing to work on to not be a trash person to you.

We also see an important moment for Issa. She begins utilizing her full space instead of reserving space for Lawrence to return. Very important part of her grief process is facing the reality of the loss and reintegrating herself fully into her life again. But then we see a more reactive side of Issa that we're not used to and I'm pretty sure we're moving into a more active "acting out" phase of Issa. The text message read round the Insecure world was sent and the repurcussions of Issa acting not like Issa in the face of a settled in grief, will give me SO much to talk about next episode!

Keeping my therapeutic eye on:

-Lawrence is still depressed and his friends are not here for him EVER having negative emotion. Especially Chad. He dismisses his feelings, doesn't create room to talk about what's going on internally, and jokes about his feelings being enough to need a whole 'nother room. Men, especially black men, face an ever growing stigma related to romantic feelings and grief. Though this is his battle, it's really no wonder Lawrence is so passive and confused in his life. Even when he has tried to sort his stuff out outside of himself, his people aren't there.

-Is Molly telling the truth about Lawrence? Or did she lie to Issa to try to assist in her moving on from him? Issa might only listen when she believes there is no hope for reconciliation. 

-Tiffany & Derek dealing with infidelity in silence i.e. shame?

-"We Got Y'all" running into problems with a prejudiced VP--What will Issa allow and do the rules change when ethnic minorities are biased?

-The quicksand of social media access to people's lives and the stories we make up about them based on a picture, a caption, or a 60 second video. Someone takes Issa's phone, this should NOT be encouraged!

-Molly diving headfirst into the deep end of the ol' boys club because...friends of the boss get paid more?

 

Stay tuned for S3E3! Thanks for reading!