Internet issues are driving me crazy. Anyhoo, if you’re reading this, presumably I’ve at last managed to connect.
Friday therapy. I arrive just in time, as there is traffic. I sit, Ron sits. He is still crossing his legs in that four-square way that he has. I don’t copy him this time as I’m wearing a skirt. I do copy the arms though – one is kind of touching the side of his head.
We sit in silence as usual, me blinking and looking around, as if I forgot what his office looked like. I do this at the start of every session, and it takes about five minutes.
I am afraid as usual. At the goup I had mentioned the fear I have, and Ron had said that maybe that’s what I am bringing to work on. So I hold out my hands.
E. Look, my hands are shaking.
R. So the fear is worse than usual?
E. No, a little less actually. I’m just suppressing it less.
We don’t get into my fear though, and after a few minutes it dissipates, as I get interested in what we’re talking about.
E. So, I didn’t leave the group last night. I stayed the whole time. (nodding proudly)
R. How was that for you?
E. OK. I talked, the group said some things back. What’s not to like?
R. One part you didn’t like. At the end.
E. You mean where I was fighting with you? The ten year old voice. That was OK. It’s interesting that the ten year old voice pops up in the group.
R. You were fighting with me as much as you allowed yourself to.
E. Uh huh.
Actually, Ron doesn’t give ma a lot to work with in terms of fighting with him. He asks gentle supportive questions, all focused on how I feel…I do my best to be my cranky self, but it’s difficult.
R. I thought than when Z spoke, (about not feeling connected with me) that brought on your urge to leave more strongly.
And why wouldn’t it? I don’t say that though.
E. I felt OK. But I was also ashamed that I was so un-entertaining. I was totally inarticulate it felt like, and I took up so much group time.
R. Actually D. took up more than half the time. You feel you need to entertain?
E. Well, at least be articulate about what the problem is. Which I wasn’t. I just sat there a lot of the time. Man, that look you gave me when I asked D. if I could change the subject and talk about myself…
R. What was it like?
E. I didn’t know what it meant. Like maybe you were thinking, here’s this woman talking about rules again. Or like you were mad that I wanted to change the subject.
R. I was actually evaluating whether it was OK to shift away from D. I don’t want to leave anyone in something deep.
E. But you thought it was OK then.
E. D. actually said he was mainly talking because he didn’t like the silence – it was a wasted opportunity.
R. (frowning a bit) Yes.
I don’t think he likes this. But I think he’s allowing D. way too much time actually – there are some in the group that have barely spoken, but this was D’s second time speaking for a lot of the evening. I don’t think it’s because his issues are so urgent – it’s more that he is very fluent and likes to talk. He is also able to listen though. Anyway, I don’t say this. Maybe I will next time though, if D. is again going to monopolize the evening.
E. You do have a funny job.
R. How so?
E. So many people are attached to you. You know, E’s issue that she mentioned at the end. Her being kind of jealous.
R. Tell me more about that. What you think it means.
E. I don’t know…(I’m embarrassed here.) You’re like a parental figure maybe and people get jealous.
R. A therapist can be a stand-in for a parent, so those kinds of feelings can get stirred up, though I don’t want to reduce it to that….
I have no idea what Ron means by this, but I let this drop. I appreciate thought that Ron is so willing to discuss this if I want to.
We sit in silence.
R. Where did you go?
E. I was remembering when you asked me how I was feeling last night in the group. I did feel something, but didn’t want to get into it in the group in case it was trauma related.
(I don’t intend to relive any abuse memories in the group.)
E. Remember how I kept feeling a line across my body, in different locations, a few months ago?
E. So I was feeling that there, when I was trying to feel what the urge to leave was like. Except now it’s more like a knife, slicing across my body. That time it was across my middle, at the belly button.
R. That could be an experience of dissociation – splitting.
E. Oh. Maybe that’s true, I don’t know.
We sit in silence for a few minutes.
E. It’s difficult, because I need you to like me to feel secure…but I’m my worst self when I’m here. (I’m thinking of the way I fight with Ron.)
R. How so?
E. I don’t know. I’m all emotional…
R. (gently) I think you’re your best self when you’re here. You’re real.
I don’t say anything to that. We sit in silence.
E. I went to my parents’ for Thanksgiving on the weekend. It was OK. I went early to help because my mother isn’t strong.
R. How did it go?
E. Well, my sister wasn’t talking to me. Not like I was a person. Like we’d just met.
R. What happened?
E. We were peeling potatoes. I asked her how it was going, she said fine, then nothing for ten minutes. She doesn’t talk to me.
R. Does she talk to anyone?
E. (thinking about this) Well, she wants to talk about intellectual type things. She’d like to talk about art. I don’t want to talk about art. I just told her about this restaurant I’d been to – not deep, but just what I’d been doing lately. She didn’t tell me anything.
R. It seems like she has issues…Can you see how everyone there is also young?
We sit in silence.
E. (crankily) What should we talk about then?
R. Well, how are you feeling now.
E. I feel sad.
Now I end up switching into the parts. And everything comes out in a mess.
E. Because I went to Thanksgiving on the weekend and L. was there and she doesn’t know I’m here and we used to play together and it was fun but now we don’t because I don’t know why.
(I start crying.)
E. And my mom was there and my dad and a bunch of people I didn’t know and why are they like that? Why do they act like I’m not there? Why don’t they like me?
(I’m still crying.)
R. (softly) Your family doesn’t want you to show any feelings. They don’t want you to be real….
E. Because I peeled potatoes and I ate pie but why are they like that and they pretend they don’t know who I am?
E. And I would like to see the donkeys because I like donkeys. (Ron told the kid there are two donkeys on his property and she is entranced by this.)
E. So you are lucky.
(stopping crying and getting kleenex)
R. (gently) How come?
E. Because you have eyes that change colour. Sometimes they are grey and sometimes they are blue. Mine just stay brown.
Ron looks surprised. He might just have been expecting comparisons of our respective life situations – he has a family, I don’t, he has a vacation property, a job he is committed too…all of which I lack. But no, that’s not what the kid is interested in.
E. Here they seem grey, but last night they were blue.
R. I didn’t know that.
E. People must tell you that.
R. No….what do you think that would be like?
E. It would be fun.
I’ve stopped crying and have started shredding kleenex, which is something the kid loves to do.
R. Do you shred things at home? At work?
E. No. Man, if I shredded at work, they’d really know I’m insane…
R. How does it feel to shred?
E. Very satisfying. It’s fun. I’m just going to keep doing that for a while. You can afford the kleenex.
R. You’ve opened up this huge reservoir of feelings about your family.
I just keep shredding kleenex.
This whole last part of the session is mostly the kid, with I think some of the other parts chiming in. It felt like a mess. But after I stopped crying, I was still the kid, and it was fun talking to Ron in that voice.
We wrapped up the session, and I left feeling not too bad, just shaken up.
The weened has been tough though, as I got depressed, by these family issues I suppose. Today was better than yesterday though. It’s good to remember the depression doesn’t last forever.
And I wasn’t dissociated, and I wasn’t particularly anxious about what Ron did or thought. All of which happened after my previous session. I think the crying is good for me.
The other thing that is good for me, which I don’t know if you can tell from what I’ve described…is that Ron does analyze, and I listen to what he says, but I never go into it. I just continue on my merry way. There’s something about veering into his analysis that is bad for me. I don’t mind hearing it though, as long as I don’t have to respond.