Skies are the most interesting in fall here. Skyscraper clouds moving slowly across the sky, bits of blue and purple, and the air has a fall haze in the sunlight. I spend some of my day at the park today, as you can probably guess.
I moved my therapy sessions to Thursdays, so I could more easily attend choir Wed evenings. Then when Wednesday rolled around, I felt it impossibly difficult to go, so I didn’t. I felt depressed in a triggered kind of a way, and couldn’t bear the thought of having to interact with anyone. The choir is kind of a jolly experience, and I felt I just couldn’t get through it.
I’m going to yoga/meditation Tuesdays, and that unfailingly triggers me. Which makes me angry as usual, since i don’t see why. The class is very gentle, with some stretches focused on one part of the body, some walking meditation, then maybe fifteen minutes sitting meditation.
So the next day, I still felt too rough for choir.
Anyway. I want to review my session, even though at the moment it seems a bit far away.
This session again I wanted to spend time moaning, so I did that for the first few minutes. The sorrows of my life that seemed upper-most. We again made a list.
A lot of Miriam’s comments in all of my sessions so far have to do with boundaries – what mine are, what other people’s are. One technique she has is to visualize a circle, between two people, where conversation/comments go, and where you can evaluate how to respond, and also how not to take some things personally or as an attack. The words go between the two people’s boundaries, not wounding either side.
I brought up two troublesome scenarios. I’d gone on an internet date on the weekend, my second of the year actually. I’m not a big dater. This one did not go well, and it upset me. I realize I’m being too sensitive to let the small things upset me – we just weren’t a good fit.
I met this man at a mall, and I hate malls. He’d pretty much insisted it was the half-way point of both our homes, so OK. The date consisted of walking around the mall chatting. He said some things I found insulting/condescending, but I didn’t really respond at the time. I was in social mode, trying to make the conversation pleasant. Which isn’t a bad thing to do is it.
For instance he was very intent on his passion for travel, and insisted on knowing where I’d travelled to lately. I brought up some travels when I was younger, which he dismissed. Then he said, no wonder you don’t travel, if you have trouble even finding the mall. Sheesh. I hadn’t been thrilled by the location, but I had found it, and hadn’t complained. Then he wanted to know what car I drive (a very commonplace kind, ten years old), and what my living situation was (ie was I a home-owner). Made me feel like this really poor person who was trying to catch a rich boyfriend – him, presumably. Oh. My. God.
So he was materialistic, then he mansplained a few things to me, like which watches were the best brands, how they cost more than 10,000…Ugh.
Maybe I should have tried to shorten the date to less than an hour. But I didn’t. Neither of us mentioned seeing each other again at least – that was pretty clear.
Martine said it sounded like I had shown up, but he really hadn’t. That is, for him, it seemed we had to be the same, otherwise we could not connect (this was about the travel). While actually, no one needs to be the same, if they’re not. That’s where boundaries come in. And especially the idea of the hoop between people (I think of it as one of those hula hoops we used to use in gym, thrown between two people). The different ideas go in the hoop. Then the other person can respond to any part of this they like, without taking anything personally.
The opposite of this is that two people are scrunched right up against each other, and what is not the same is threatening, so must be rejected or fought.
I am going to try to think of my next ‘date’ experience that way. If I ever go on another one. A hoop between the two people for conversation to fall into.
The next situation was dealing with my family. We don’t get along, and being with them brings many painful memories, and they are still currently dysfunctional. So I avoid. But then I’m lonely, and I feel ambivalent about casting myself off altogether. And now there are visitors from ‘the olde countrie’ so I will be expected to show up.
This conversations was more involved, but the suggestion was similar. About our various values, how mine are different from my family’s, and how it’s fine to have my owns values, as they are part of my boundary. And she talked about how I might be triggering my family’s defences by the way I respond to them, kind of scaring them. That it’s helpful to have a kind of space around each person, and conversation goes into a space between the two.
I’m to try not to go in to a visit unboundaried, where I’m vulnerable to whatever anyone might say or do. I think I’m to visualize a safe boundary, where I interact outside of that. If someone says something I find hurtful, I can consider it from more of a distance before I respond.
Or something like that. I’m not at all used to thinking about things in this way. I don’t think Ron mentioned boundaries once in eight years.
Then we talked a bit about my family’s history, my parents situation, the dynamics of my family. I found it a bit overwhelming by the end and was crying a bit. I felt I was already depressed and this was making me worse. However, she does need to know this stuff to make any sense of my problems, so at least we went over some of it.
In the last few minutes, Martine did something else she does in a lot of sessions. I was to look at her and speak about how I thought we were connecting, or how I perceived her. I thought she looked kind of pale and maybe depressed. She said that she was cold (it was the first cold day of the year and the heating in her room hadn’t been turned on yet), but she actually didn’t feel sad. I’d wondered if I’d depressed her. So we chatted back and forth, Martine saying how she was chilly but otherwise feeling fine. She wondered if I’d ever felt I’d depressed my mother. Which was astute, as my mother would be very upset and depressed by any troubles I’d ever share with her.
I’m interested in this stuff about boundaries. I have a lot of social anxiety, and I think some of that may be about boundaries – not feeling safe, feeling too exposed to anything that is said and done.
In the days since the session I’ve worried further that I am the most boring and confusing client ever. Some of the body stuff I mention doesn’t make much sense, so maybe she thinks I’m inventing it.
I am learning things. Now I need to try some of this stuff out, see if it makes a difference.