Yesterday I went for therapy. Her office is in a big old house, but in the basement, so I go down some steps to get there. The office is painted yellow, with a couch and armchairs. There are some children’s toys along one side. It tends to be just a little too warm – the T is in her early seventies, and older people like warmth.
We greet each other. Then I stumble around a bit, not sure what I want to spend this costly hour on. I could mention a dozen issues that trouble me, from mild flashbacks happening on the way to work, to loneliness, to feelings of depression…quite a smorgasbord to choose from. Oh dear.
At the same time as I fish around for what I wish to discuss, I have a hopeless feeling that she can’t help anyway. She can’t stop my flashbacks. Talking to her will not help my depression.
I mention some things, then ask her what we talked about last time. I’m pretty sure she won’t remember, but she says we talked a bit about your family. Then I remember – oh yeah, anger. I tend to feel a lot of anger and irritation in daily life, sometimes with no cause whatsoever it seems. Two weeks ago, at work, I’d found myself so furious with some things that happened at work that I had to take an hour long break before I could function again. I’d brought that up in the last session.
For political reasons, a certain department where I work is dictating how all documents must be written, following a particular method. Some of that method is fine, and I agree with it, but this group is also laying down the law about tiny details, just because they can. And in some cases, their method makes the documents a lot harder to use.
Anyway, dealing with them makes me furious. The T pointed out that when things get an extra ‘charge’ like that, it usually comes from the past. And then I talked a bit about how my father had laid down the law when I was a child, and there was no room to think differently, and how angry that had made me.
We did a visualization about pouring that extra anger into a balloon and sending off in the sky. Well, since then, I have been less angry at work. Though we didn’t meet with that other group recently either.
This week, the T started asking me questions – when am I moving, how is it going…also she started talking about groups I could join to meet people….I found those questions irritating actually. Once again, I am irritated by my T. It seems she wants to chit chat, while I want her to help me with my issues. And it seems all up to me to bring those issues out. If its up to her, we’ll chit chat the whole hour long.
Well, she noticed I was irritated. She said she thought my feelings may relate to my mother. My mother was not responsive to me. She was unable to be so for some reason. I talk about how once I told her I was being teased at school, and my mother told me to just ignore it, then turned away to do something else. My mother has never been good at responding emotionally to anyone, at comforting, or asking for more details, or god forbid, actually trying to help me.
Well, that is a big issue. The T thinks I was irritated with her because I’m not used to anyone taking an interest in me. Then she gave some theory, and asked me if it rang true. I didn’t feel it did. But I wasn’t sure.
I feel I was irritated with the T because she was being stupid and wasting time. I don’t need her to help me with the practical details of my life. Things are not a mess because I’m not capable. It’s more my emotions that are the problem, that stop me from doing what I need to do.
I’m torn about continuing this therapy. On the one hand, she is providing good insights sometimes into how my family worked and how that made me feel. I kind of have to lead the way though in order to ever get anywhere with her.
On the other hand, I do not feel a strong connection to her. I feel she has to work at it to like me, and it is the same on my side. We are not naturally compatible.
Or maybe I am very untrusting and prickly.
I think I have not done a great job at interviewing therapists. I kind of go to see one, then just keep going to them, instead of checking out a few. But she does have a trauma specialty, which not a lot of them do.
I left the session feeling OK, but sad for having had a difficult mother. How can I overcome that? Well, on the other hand, a lot of us have had difficult parents, and still manage to cope.
Therapy. Some bad, some good. I’m torn.