Please like me I’m nice

Therapy Monday. Therapy did not go so well today. Here is the problem — I want Ron to like me. This is it. I feel more secure if he likes me, and if I think I’ve upset him or done something embarrassing, I go home and feel bad about it for the rest of the week. When really, I have no control over whether he likes me or not. I also don’t actually know if he likes me or not. So I need to give this up for God’s sake.

Today I was struggling with depression and trying to force myself to work with little success. On the drive across town to my appointment, I started getting anxious about the upcoming session. I decided to play it by ear, see what I felt like talking about and go with the flow. Mistake.

Ron seemed a little tired when I got there. I told him he seemed tired at one point, and he said Oh. Then – what does that meant to you, that I’m tired. Then I say – I’m interested in what you’re like. Maybe you’ll tell me why you’re tired – you were up with a sick kid for instance. To which he didn’t reply.

I again had trouble talking. I had the strong feeling that I didn’t want to talk. I asked Ron if he wanted to hear about my week. He said sure, so I said a few things, but my week had been woefully uneventful, so I didn’t have much to say. I had mostly been struggling with depression and with this memory I’d had last session.

Ron said that it was as if I was dismissing my own experience, not wanting to get into anything. And he said something to the effect that a part of me is wanting to brush everything over and not feel anything, the same way my family handled things. I said he’d said that to me before, and that in fact I did spend a lot of time trying to feel, but find it difficult.

Then we talked for a while about the fish pond memory I’d had last time. I felt it partially coming back, but didn’t want to fall into re-experiencing it again. I talked a while about that – how I’d felt, wondering what actually had happened to me then. I talked about feeling that I was being held down, being angry, wanting to get up, then giving up at one point and falling into a black hole, by myself, and feeling despair. I talked about this stuff, but didn’t fall back into it like last time.

Here’s the problem – I want Ron to like me. I feel he’ll only do that if I remain grown up and in control. I’ve switched ages a few times in his office, and he hasn’t really clued into what is happening – he thinks it’s the regular me, and he gets taken aback. It confuses him, and he doesn’t like it much. I’m probably being too sensitive, but me switching ages creates problems.

So when I’m sitting there, talking about my past, it’s a strain to remain adult and takes a lot of my energy. So yeah, I’m not showing much emotion, because I’m busy trying to control things so he’ll continue to like me.

That’s the sad fact of the matter, and it’s a waste of my time and money.

And the fact is, Ron has interesting things to say. I can’t remember what he said right now, but it was insightful, and if I became younger, I would not be able to understand him.

I actually meant to tell him that I appreciate that he’s able to sit with me when these memories happen, as I find it reassuring to have him there when I am so frightened and alone. Of course, when I was there, this no longer seemed important to say to him, so I didn’t bother.

I guess I don’t really know that he doesn’t like me when I switch ages. But I do know it confuses him.

At the end of the session, Ron said something about how adults punish children for minor transgressions, while they get away with major betrayals of trust without any consequences for them. That kind of touched me, and I started smiling, so he asked why. I said you know, you’re nice. I think you’re nice.

Bang, I’d switched ages. So that was basically the end of the session, and I was relieved to have navigated through it basically as an adult, and said something to the effect of – well, made it through another session. Then I forgot to give him his cheque (dissociated – that’s what happens), so I raced back to his office to get there before his next client to give it to him.

I can see what I was doing now, afterwards, but couldn’t see it while it was happening. Stupid. Though in a way, my well being seems to depend on this man’s good opinion. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

So now I feel tense and kind of dissociated. Angry with myself for playing this game.  I guess no worse than before I went at least.  However full of self-dislike.

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12 comments
  1. gniz said:

    "Ron said something about how adults punish children for minor transgressions, while they get away with major betrayals of trust without any consequences for them."What an amazingly astute comment.I do hope–in fact I know–you'll feel better. Sorry it's been so difficult.We are thinking of you Ellen.

  2. Ellen said:

    Ron is definitely smart – that's why I hate to miss what he has to say. Thanks đŸ™‚

  3. Hey Ellen,You seemed kind of down today and defeated. It seemed a good thing that you were able to go over that memory again and the effect not be so traumatic for you the second time around. But if you have to always be aware of being in control so as not to "put Ron out" if you happen to slip into another age, it hardly seems worth the effort. After all, you are there for you, not Ron. Who cares if it confuses him. Isn't that what he went to school and got his expensive degrees for which he charges you expensive fees for? I think he can handle it if he's worth his salt as a therapist. You need to be free to switch all over the place if that's what you need to do to access what's going on with you at the time.Hell, curl up in a ball and suck your thumb…it's all about you, not Ron. You know, Ellen, Ron may be smart but you are smart too. PS I'm sorry you are feeling depressed. That's the pits. Hope it goes better next time.Sorry I got on my soapbox. Just defending you.Flannery

  4. cbtish said:

    When you first met Ron it was, "There was really no chit chat here, and he seemed ready to dive into things." But now it's almost like he's stonewalling you with, "what does that meant to you, that I'm tired."One of the core conditions of therapy is for the therapist to be able to communicate a genuine sense of liking, no matter where the client goes with the conversation. You're right to expect it, in my opinion. And so I agree with you — you need to give this up.

  5. Nico said:

    Therapy is a difficult situation for both patient and therapist…at least it was for me. I was with a therapist for almost 20 years and it just fell apart. I thought we were 'friends'. Then suddenly he changed his whole approach towards me in our sessions. I could not handle it…so this past December…I bolted out the door in my last session and never went back. I did not call him or respond to two messages he left wondering where I was. I do not know your story…just found your blog. But you may be dealing with transference. We are not the only ones that have transferene…therapist do too. We all want to be liked by our therapists…I think that is normal. BUT YOU SHOULD BE FREE TO SWITCH AND BE WHOMEVER YOU NEED TO BE IN YOUR SESSIONS…this is very important. Take care!

  6. Ellen said:

    @ Flannery – Thank you for defending me Flannery – I do appreciate that you are on my side and that is so nice. I agree with you actually. And I don't think it's really Ron's fault – it's more my intense need to be liked. He was saying I should go deeper at one point. He just hasn't clued in to this age problem that happens. Yeah, and maybe it's good to go over a memory without falling right back into it again. I don't really know what is good and what is not. Hmm…I'll keep the thumb sucking option in mind. He he….Take care now@ cbtish – Hey cbtish, I miss your blog, have you given it up?Well, I was thinking more of giving up my need to be liked. But then, it's good to be liked as you say. I can't give up therapy as I like Ron. I just want to give him a piece of my mind sometimes, but that's me. I have difficulty with people in general, but some interest me more than others. Ron is interesting. What can I say. And he always takes some off-hand comment I make and asks what it means to me. It's not really chit chat. He doesn't talk about himself at all, ever. Thanks for the input – much appreciated! take care@ Nico – Nice to meet you Nico and thanks for telling a bit of your story. I don't think therapist and client are ever friends, because there's not that give and take you have with a friend. You never really know what a therapist is like when they're not busy helping you for that 50 minutes. I think you might consider contacting your old T at least to say good-bye, after such a long relationship. I am sorry there was such a painful parting for you.Yeah, maybe it's transference. I don't know. Thanks for the encouragement to be me – maybe I'll read it over before I go to my next session. take care now

  7. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,Again I won't pretend to know about therapy but can just go by what you post and like Flannery I worry about Ron's approach to this. I would imagine that no matter who you are his first port of call is to make you feel comfortable and not appear tired or be prone to long silences. In short you shouldn't have to be second guessing his approach or what way you should be going about things- his job you are paying him for. If that is wrong then its just the way I interpret it but as I said I don't know about therapy etiquette.I guess the guage in the long term is whether you feel its going to do you good and whether you feel you are making progress. I know from my own position its a hell of a lot easier to think what to say before and after rather than in the moment when its too uncomfortable to do so. But I think what I am getting at is I hate to read about you having such a hard time outside of therapy possibly because of therapy. And do hope that is not going to be a continuing trend as you have worked so hard on your employment over the course I have been reading your blog. I'd imagine its a balancing act of sorts but from reading your posts I feel a frustration inside that Ron is not a bit less aloof. Maybe its a therapist thing.All the best and take care,Nechtan

  8. Nechtan:This post-therapy fallout is normal for trauma therapy work. Therapy takes the ork out of the bottle and then the fizz goes away later.I'm so used to the pattern in my own life that I usually block book 'recovery time' in my diary after anything remotely therapeutic for me. So a social evening would be followed by a diary gap.It gets easier and easier with time but initially it's difficult. Rewiring a brain takes time…

  9. Hi dear one. I have learned when I think nothing has come out of my own t. session, something has. May surface later, may surface after I process.Here listening.

  10. gniz said:

    Hi Ellen, I just wanted to pop in and say that I haven't gotten the sense from what you've written that you're genuinely unhappy with the therapeutic situation with Ron. It seems as though it's been confusing and difficult because you've got some stuff to deal with that is confusing and difficult. Ron "appears" to be doing his best and will learn more about your needs as time goes on.A therapist is just a person, not a mind reader–and you seem to have a good grasp of this. Also you've stated that your relationships with people have started to improve since starting therapy with Ron…To me it all sounds quite good, honestly. But I know that you do struggle with the emotions and fallout from the intense sessions…I commend you as it seems you really have your head on straight here–I've been reading your blog a long time and I for one am seeing/reading tremendous progress.

  11. Ellen said:

    @ Nechtan – I don't know about therapy etiquette either…It's not really a problem that Ron is tired actually, or looks it…Anyone can be tired. He was still paying attention. I think possibly I am making progress. What I like about Ron is that he doesn't ever pretend – he doesn't pretend he isn't tired, and he seems to always say what he genuinely things – I appreciate that a lot, as that is rare. I happen to know from reading about it that recovery from childhood abuse is a painful thing, so though I am having a rough time, that doesn't mean the therapy is wrong. Remembering painful things hurts a lot. I do appreciate your concern and sympathy though. Very kind. take care@JBR – You're right about that – that holds for me too. I was kind of overwhelmed after the session, but it was OK…not a bad session at all. hugs@ gniz – why thank you Aaron I appreciate that. I'm not actually unhappy about Ron at all, I'm just in a struggle. He's a good guy. And he happens to be there when I remember or talk about painful things, so he gets some fallout just from his proximity. Glad you see progress – you are a most faithful and insightful reader, so I will believe you. take care now

  12. Ellen said:

    @ Mike – oops, missed you Mike. Yeah, it's like that. I like the orc analogy. take care

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