By Yaz Headley
Editor’s note: The author is an accredited Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) psychotherapist in private practice in London, UK. Yasmin is also studying for a PhD in Mind-Body Medicine and Integrated Mental Health. She has followed EastEnders on and off over the years. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more about her background at www.yourhappiness.com and www.thecompletelife.com.
We are all a subject of our own history. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something or is invested in you continuing to live as you are.
For some this is a good thing, for many this is not the way to go. Many would love the magic elixir that would get rid of every negative break with the past but it is not possible to find it in a bottle, a happy thought or magic.
In looking at a psyche of a person we would look at their history, their present life and their thoughts and behaviour. We would look at the support system and resources they have in their lives and we would look at what they do when they are stressed.
In some therapies, such as the psychodynamic and the psychoanalytic, a great deal of time is spent on the patient’s past and in the unfurling of their history. In the version of Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is the approach I take, I spend some time there, but I also look at their feelings, thoughts and behaviours. These are key to helping an individual change. Modern-day research shows how we are not just a subject of history and genetics but are also affected by epigenetics. Epigenetics is our environment, those whom we have around us, the food we eat and the activities we do.
I have heard of Billy Mitchell being referred to as “Billy no mates”. Often those who feel they have no mates have more mates then they realize. They do not realize they have more resources than they think they have. They often believe in lack and scarcity rather than abundance. Billy is one who seems to know a lot of people, yet believes he has no one. It is so paradoxical. The problem is that Billy does not seem to like himself, and being friends with ourselves is the key to being able to make more friends. People who have a lot of friends, and keep them, tend to also feel good about themselves. They look after themselves, their self-care is better and they also look for friends who also look after themselves and are into self-care. Billy does not seem to do any of that with consistency.
Billy grew up in a children’s home and was abused while he was there. He later makes poor decisions in his choice of partners. He is so grateful to get someone, anyone, that he will do anything to hang onto them. He is so grateful that he does not think about their real suitability or how they may act as part of his life. His choice of partners seems to also repeat his own abandonment of himself.
Poor Billy Mitchell. He seems to be the black sheep of the family. Those who have been abused can often be grateful for anyone knocking on their door rather than looking into a person’s history first. If we buy something at a store or on ebay we look into their history. We look into the sellers’ past behaviour, their feedback, their patterns. But why is it that when we meet someone we can throw such reference checking into the winds. What about their past history? Partners? Parents? Siblings? Employment? Why is it we feel that when they meet us everything bad will magically disappear. Only good will happen from now on?
That is what Billy does to perfection. He believes in the magic. There is a positive illusion. It can be used for good or bad. But reality does need to be there – such a shame that it appears after the illusion. It would be helpful in the long run to take a step back and then take some time to think. Not to just suddenly run in.
Billy is very co-dependent and a suitable candidate for ‘co-dependents anonymous’. Often those who are co-dependent use relationships in the same way an addict uses alcohol. Alcohol hides the deep feelings of emptiness and co-dependency that lie behind it. He is even rejected and disrespected by his own family. Yet he would do anything for them, even if it were not reciprocated.
He does seem to be unlucky. Poor Billy. But the luck is of his own making. Honey comes into his life, but then he seems to change and manipulate things so the sweet turns sour and the sour turns bitter. He could have good in his life but that would mean changing how he feels about himself and others.
In EastEnders every good is tinged with a bad. There is no positive in isolation. There is black, white and grey. When Billy was rich Janine drained him dry – he did anything he could to keep her. Once he became poor again, she left him.
Poor Billy. Is there happiness with Honey?
I think happiness really starts with Billy. Once he is happier in himself then this will also affect the choices and decisions he also will make in his life.
Until then, it is poor, poor Billy.