The fear of being stigmatized by others often leads people to avoid psychotherapy. Even worse, some of us internalize the stigma which reduces the likelihood of seeking help even more.

However, psychotherapy has been shown to improve emotions and behaviors and to be linked with positive changes not only in the brain but the body as well.

Interested in how that happens, Redditor u/annabel420 recently asked women "What's the best question your therapist has asked you?" And they responded.

As of this publication, u/annabel420's post has 777 comments, many of which detail the powerful moment when people began healing. Here are some of the most memorable ones.

#1

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click Therapist: "You realize you're describing domestic abuse"

Me: "Oh no, he's never hit me."

Therapist proceeds to explain emotional, psychological and financial abuse.

UnBulky_Jellyfish , Priscilla Du Preez Report

JustAnother Soul
Community Member
12 months ago

The most prevalent form of abuse is the kind that does not leave bruises.

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#2

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “Is that going to matter 5 years from now? How about 5 months? 5 day? Will it even matter 5 hours from now? Then why are you wasting more than 5 minutes worrying about it?”

RubyRedSunset , Kate Hliznitsova Report

Eirik Johnsbråten
Community Member
12 months ago (edited)

This was key to beating my depression, when I realized that I couldn't remember what I was worrying about a week ago. That meant that what I was worrying about now wouldn't matter next week, so maybe it wasn't as big as I made it to be.

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#3

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click Therapist: “I don’t think you’re happy or know what makes you happy. You’ve spent your whole life trying to make others happy and have never focused on yourself. You’ve worked so hard for a life you can put on a post card (wife, great house and career, etc) but I don’t think you want any of it.”

Me: You’re crazy. Of course I know what makes me happy!

Therapist: Name 5 things.

Me: …..

This conversation made me significantly change my ways and has probably been the single most impactful statement in my entire life.

She was right.

Tickle_Sh*ts_ , SHVETS production Report

Zophra
Community Member
12 months ago

If I had FIVE cats - we only have two- this would be so easy to answer.

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#4

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click "Why do you keep referring to yourself as having anger issues and emotional issues?"

It was the first time I had even considered that the 'anger' issues I was told I had from when I was a small child were just my family not wanting to deal with my emotional needs. I'd been gaslit my whole life to think that all of my emotions were unreasonable and 'extreme', when they actually weren't.

I recently 'graduated' from therapy (my choice, with the door always open to go back). It took me 1.5 years to relearn emotions, how to express myself, and not 'protect' people from my emotions. I do feel emotions strongly (was diagnosed with ADHD), but none of my reactions are extreme.

WrackspurtsNargles , SHVETS production Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
12 months ago

I am a very reactive and emotional person with anger issues. Was diagnosed with ADD 2 weeks ago and started meds last week, hopefully they will help.

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#5

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “Why do you always seek their approval, when you’ve never approved of their choices?”

This was an eye opener when discussing my parents with her.

curiositycuredpussy , cottonbro Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
12 months ago (edited)

I think it's pretty normal for children to seek their parents approval, even as adults. But when it impacts you negatively then of course there is an issue that you need to resolve within yourself. You can't change how others act, but you can change the way you act. (Of course easier said than done).

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#6

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click If you weren’t related to your relatives, would you be friends with them?….if no, then why does it matter so much to you what they think?

auntiefood , Tiago Bandeira Report

Otter
Community Member
12 months ago

The real-world answer to that is: Because someday, I may need something from them, and actually get it. That's one reason people put up with family members even though there's little love or liking there, because someday they may need a loan or a place to live. (Of course, if you've realized that they'll never help you or recognize your needs, life is a lot simpler in some ways.)

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#7

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click in regards to negative self-talk: “the things that you say about yourself…if your closest friends were depressed and going through a hard time, would you say the same things to them?”

vanillaladiee , SHVETS production Report

Julie C Rose
Community Member
12 months ago

Needed that.

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#8

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “Whose voice is saying those things?”

She recently told me at the beginning of our sessions I made a lot of negative statements about myself and she asked me that question. I said it’s my voice saying that to me. It’s 16 sessions later and I said something negative and she asked the same question. This time I said the voice is my mum’s. It really helped me realise that all the negative thoughts I have about myself are a product of what I’ve been brought up with. It was completely eye-opening.

fizzingwhizbeez , RODNAE Productio Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
11 months ago

The things parents say to their children. Man !

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#9

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click Do you think your grief is about the relationship ending or is your grief about what you think could have been and how you thought it was going to be? It was the latter

donner_dinner_party , Sarah Chai Report

Otter
Community Member
12 months ago

That's the thing about breakups. Sometimes the grief is for all the plans you'd made, all the hopes and dreams associated with the person you broke up with, not the person themselves. That is, FYI, also a reason that sometimes people aren't as sympathetic to your breakup heartache as you think they should be, they can see how much is grief for the life you'd planned and not the other person, before you do.

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#10

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click 'If you had a child, would you let them be around this person?'

Absolutely not.

'Why do you feel you don't deserve to be protected from this kind of person and abuse?'
'Who is taking care of the child in you that never feels safe?'

turnedabout , fauxels Report

Lauren Caswell
Community Member
12 months ago

Having this literal experience can be life-changing, to have thought about this could save a lot of heartache

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#11

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click i was in an abusive relationship that left me severely traumatized, I've been in therapy for a year now and recently we were talking about responsibility, and how I felt like I should've done more to protect myself and see the warning signs, talking about the first time he got frustrated with me for talking to another man. And my therapist asks, "When he got irritated with you that first time, did you know in that moment that he would end up throwing you against a wall and you'd have to flee his house in the middle of the night in the dead of winter with no shoes on?" and when i chuckled and said no, I had just expected that to be normal jealousy that we could work out together, and she says "exactly. You couldn't have known. Nobody expects their partner to abuse them. You need to be kind to your past self, you have experiences now that would help you if this sort of thing happened again, but you didn't then. You couldn't have known, and that's ok."

this retelling is not nearly as eloquent as her response was mind you but english is not my first language so im translating xD

DarthMelonLord , Polina Zimmerman Report

Sheila Crosby
Community Member
11 months ago

These things are so obvious afterwards, but not at the time. And your English is great.

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#12

"Does that actually make you a bad mother or does it just not live up to the impossible standard you have set for yourself?"

Oof, that was a hell of an eye opener.

CompanionCone Report

Scagsy
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Not a parent but I have impossibly high, binary standards. Everything is either bad or good, success or fail with no middle ground. My shrink made me understand that nobody achieves great success in all fields, it's just not possible. Helped a bit.

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#13

"Are you upset because of something someone said, or are you upset because of the way you heard it?"

This led to me learning that I overthink/overanalyze situations and create my own perception of people being mad at me.

Fantastic_Lab4274 Report

SentimentAndBadJokes
Community Member
11 months ago

Can totally relate to this. I always over analyze situations, and sometimes misinterpret what others say to me, which can create unnecessary arguements. I've become more conscious of this, but still, it can create big divides

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#14

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click "You're free to lie to me. Have you considered, not lying to yourself?"

Was a slap in the face, but in the best way possible.

thrwaysu , Alex Green Report

Lovin' Life
Community Member
11 months ago

That is a needed slap in the face.

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#15

"Do you want to die or don't you know how to go further?"

Really made me think

BetneTheGremblin Report

Natalie
Community Member
11 months ago

Yonks ago when volunteering on a crisis helpline one of the most effective 'tools' they gave us in training was, when speaking with someone suicidal, to ask them if they wanted to be dead and gone forever or if it was more that they wanted to avoid living through the current time. To anyone going through it, things can get better than right now and you don't have to go through it alone. Please reach out.

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#16

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “Why aren’t you allowed to be happy right now, instead of when you’ve lost weight?” I suffer from binge eating disorder, and this is the reason I went to therapy in the first place. The hardest thing I learned through therapy is that I had to accept myself for who I am now in order to make any progress. This helped because I wasn’t putting so much pressure on myself to lose weight — like everything was riding on it."
"I gained a lot of weight and went back and forth with diets, calorie counting, and excessive exercise to try and counteract my excessive eating. Obviously, none of this worked, which just made me feel completely hopeless as I gained more and more weight.

I had to like my body and be happy and content in my skin. I am happy with the way things are now, although I accept that I have to make healthier lifestyle choices since I am still overweight.

If this sounds familiar to anyone, get professional help. You are not lazy, you have a mental health issue that needs treatment. It was like a weight lifted from my shoulders that felt like it had been there my whole life.

darkhorse2803 , Fa Barboza Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
12 months ago

Because many people are constantly acting like we don't deserve to be happy. We know we are overweight, we know the health issues that excess weight causes, we are fat, not stupid. We deserve to be treated with respect and please stop patronising us.

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#17

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click Wouldn't it be nice if for once someone would take care of you?

mokkana , Zhivko Minkov Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
11 months ago

I get this too. Sometimes you are so busy taking care of others that you forget yourself. You don't have time to look nice and then you don't care. No time to sit and do what you want to do. Too tired, emotionally exhausted, etc.

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#18

“How can you get better if you still live with your trigger?”

Moved out a month after she asked that.

imlostplssendhelp Report

Octavia Hansen
Community Member
11 months ago

I started grinding my teeth around 30. My dentist of 15 years knew I was single, asked about my current boyfriend. I said we were still adjusting. He told me to leave as soon as possible. Thought he was rude. After 6 months, broke a tooth grinding. Still with that man, he asked. Well . . . yes . . . but left him not long after that. Never had to grind my teeth ever again. A professional/objective observer could have the answer you need . . .

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#19

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “Did you know that ‘no’ is a complete sentence?”

porterlily7 , Andrea Piacquadio Report

Otter
Community Member
12 months ago

I'm sorry, but WHAT IN FRINGED HELL is the gal on the left wearing?

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#20

“Do you realize you don’t have post partum depression, but are the victim of an abusive relationship?”

Changed everything for me.

aleahja Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
11 months ago

Sometimes it takes someone who has the guts to tell the emperor that his clothes don't exist.

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#21

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click ... and what's stopping you from doing that?

Sometimes it's helpful to have someone point out that in many ways we are/create our own obstacles.

[deleted] , cottonbro Report

Devil's Advocate
Community Member
11 months ago

Sometimes you can't put into words that mental block that's telling you that you can't do something, that you'll mess it up, that you shouldn't even bother...

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#22

"Guilt implies that you did something wrong. Do you think you did the wrong thing?"

In terms of ending a relationship that was hurting my mental health.. really made me rethink the things I have felt guilty about in the past! He also said that guilt is a learned feeling. We aren't born feeling guilt. People make us feel that way. Interesting!

cassiechaosss Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
11 months ago

This is something to think about.

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#23

“You can’t give someone the shirt off your back…if you do, what are you going to wear?”

Hated this in the moment, because at the time giving to others was a huge part of my identity - always making sure I was there for other people. And I used to get angry when I would never get that back, because in my head it meant that no one cared enough about me to give what I was giving. Turns out, they were just establishing their boundaries for what they’re able to give without emotionally draining themselves like I was. I still struggle with it to some degree but at least now I feel better about taking care of myself first. Nine time out of ten, people understand that and have been very supportive.

republicoferica Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
11 months ago

I had to learn this one the hard way too. Turns out a lot of my "friends" weren't friends at all, but just people happy to ride the giving train without ever reciprocating in any way. And when my giving train stopped, so did those relationships.

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#24

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click "Why do you gaslight yourself so much?"

I wasn't even aware that you could gaslight yourself. Comming to terms with my trauma was difficult. Somedays I still tell myself I'm still just overreacting or remembering it wrong..

DarthCach , cottonbro Report

Lawless
Community Member
11 months ago

I’m glad you’re getting better!

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#25

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “At what point does trying become doing?”

I was having a rough time and felt like nothing was going right despite how hard I was trying, and I said just that: “I’m trying, I’m trying”. And she asked when does ‘you’re trying’ become ‘you’re doing’? You’re trying and you’re doing this this and this, so are you ‘doing’ or trying? Basically I needed to give myself more credit and stop being so hard on myself and recognize what I was doing right.

Also one of my all time favorite things she said that anyone has ever said was “Emotions that get buried alive never die”. So, let that sh*t out and deal with it.

wanderlustliz , Cliff Booth Report

CultOfBambi
Community Member
11 months ago

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

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#26

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click What are you hearing me say?

GarugasRevenge , Alex Green Report

juezyparte
Community Member
11 months ago

Context?

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#27

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “How would you feel about that situation if a child was present-any child, not anyone’s in particular.”

Made it easier to accept and set my boundaries

swiftoliverapt0r , cottonbro Report

LazyPanda
Community Member
11 months ago

You never stop being precious, no matter how harsh and ugly the "real world" is. You don't have to accept the trash people throw at you, and you don't "deserve" certain things simply because you're not a child anymore. I had to learn that, too

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#28

"Can you control other people and their actions?"

I struggle hard with anxiety and I was in a relationship with a narcissist. My therapist asked me this in the middle of a rant about how I always felt like I had to explain my ex's bad behavior to others. And I just kind of sat there like.... You know what, no. I can't. Nothing I do will make my ex change or stop doing what he does. And it's not my job to make him decent to be around.

JellyTwoForms Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
11 months ago

A therapist once told me that a lot of people think that everyone is watching them. In reality no one is even noticing you when you're walking down the street or crossing a square. He proceeded to point out some people in a crowd who stood out for some reason, yet I didn't notice them. Point proven.

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#29

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click My therapist doesn't usually ask questions but she did ask me something that made me think deeply during my architecture licensure examinations.

She asked me, "If you were an honor graduate in college, you tested well, and you studied, why wouldn't you pass the exam?"

I guess my imposter syndrome is really really on high and I was totally afraid of failing. I passed, and it's been three years since then.

My guidance counselor in college made me realize how much I needed psychotherapy.

She asked me, "Some people would be happy when they tell you your strengths, but why are you crying?"

It made me realize that I don't believe myself even when I'm telling the truth. I don't believe that I have the capacity to do anything good.

IntoTheVortex88 , Karolina Grabowska Report

Scagsy
Community Member
11 months ago

Apparently, it's not a good sign if you have difficulty accepting praise. When people are nice to me, I tend to reciprocate by sobbing loudly in their face.

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#30

30 Women Are Sharing Spot-On Questions From Their Therapists That Made Everything Click “And is that working for you?”

She says it all the time. It’s really helped me understand that there are reasons I’ve thought about or done things a certain way and that isn’t bad, but now that my life is different those ways are not working for me anymore.

Blush_and_bashful , SHVETS production Report

Scagsy
Community Member
11 months ago

I think this depends heavily on how it's said and in which context. There are certain situations where if somebody said that to me, they would be wearing an overdone cheese and tomato quiche faster than they could say 'therapy'.

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