Therapy Friday

I settle in and look around Ron’s office for a while as usual. I always want to see if anything has changed, I look about for coffee mugs, phone chargers, books out of place. It seems important to establish all of this in my mind before we start.

Ron gazes at me in his unsmiling way.

E. You are looking extremely solemn.

R. Am I? Why do you think I’m looking like that?

E. You tell me.

R. Well, I don’t feel solemn.

He smiles a bit. I haven’t seen Ron smile for quite a few weeks, so this is a relief.

E. The group last night was OK I thought. I wish I didn’t have to talk about it so soon – I’d rather process it a bit first.

R. Well, I was thinking we would process it here.

E. I guess, but I’d rather talk about it after a few days. With respect to the group, I’d rather talk about it say Monday.

Ron doesn’t say anything.

E. So if you have anything to say to me, maybe you could say it now, while I can understand it. I will totally understand anything complicated if you say it now.

R. You’re feeling close to dropping into a younger part of yourself?

E. I don’t know. It does tend to happen here.

And now I can’t remember anything else. Hmmm….I know it was a session that went all over the place. I know I didn’t drop into a part like I have been. I know I felt somewhat worse about last evening’s group than before I talked to Ron. I guess I’m not seeing it the way he does, I miss the bad parts somehow. It seems to me that if I talk, and people are responding to me, then that’s a good thing. I’m so relieved to not be ignored, I’m missing the nuances, such as that people are angry with me. Not really a nuance is it.

E. Do you remember last time, you asked me if with the coughing, I was avoiding the memories or allowing them? Well, I spent Saturday and a good bit of Sunday doing that – making room for the memories, whatever they are. I felt really bad. But the cough subsided almost right away. It really did help.

R. I noticed you didn’t cough much last night either.

E. No.

E. The group is OK. I do feel more connected to them when I talk. I think I depressed them with my depressing issues though. It must be difficult to listen to, especially those deep lying issues. And I’m not that articulate – I couldn’t really explain that well. And I’m afraid of breaking into parts, and I didn’t, I stayed adult, so that was good. I kind of translated.

R. Why do you not want to be in parts?

E. I just don’t want to do that.

R. You think you depressed them, that they can’t handle you?

E. Well, they looked depressed. The group is nice though, really.

R. Why do you say that at this point?

E. It was nice, when they were all talking at the end. Except for E, who was pretty hostile I thought.

R. I think the group was angry. When you said you wouldn’t miss them much if they died….

E. Well, I was talking about if I died.

R. You think we wouldn’t even talk about that, the next week?

E. No, of course you would talk about it. But they’d get over it. It’s not like they’re family or friends.

Ron doesn’t say anything.

Now there’s a bunch of stuff I can’t remember. Curses. The problem was the session really went all over the place, with lots of silence. I was struggling to talk, words were not coming easily at all.

E. I didn’t treat you very well really. I told you I couldn’t understand you, and some other things….

R. I thought you treated me OK. I didn’t feel that. You told me you felt I didn’t like you in the group…that was honest.

I am very relieved to hear this. Because I didn’t really accept much that Ron said to me in the group. With his questions, I’d start talking again, but I wouldn’t answer the question really.

E. It’s really noticeable, how I experience you so differently than other group members. When they talk to me, I always understand what they’re saying. When you talk to me, mostly I can’t understand….

R. What do you make of that?

E. Well…I think you’re reminding me of someone in my past. I’m getting confused.

Ron doesn’t say anything to this.

E. You know, when I was talking about my father, it was as if I was back in our kitchen in the house in suburbville. I could see all the details. And remember how all the rooms were laid out….It’s weird.

R. A flashback.

E. I guess. I’d see the place where the stairs went down to the basement, where the dishwasher was, how the hall led off to the bedrooms…

R. Do you want to draw me a picture?

E. No. Why would I? It’s stupid.

R. It’s important to a part of you. And houses can be very symbolic psychologically.

E. Ah.

R. That ‘ah’ sounds irritated.

E. Well, you’re being psychological. I am a bit irritated by that.

R. (soft voice) And why does that irritate you, that I’m being psychological?

E. I don’t know. It is your job after all. You’re supposed to do that.

R. You don’t think a house can be symbolic?

E. I suppose. The kitchen stands for nurturing, sustenance, the heart…the bedroom for retreat, rest…the basement is where you put all the stuff you don’t want, and what would be the head – the study I suppose, the rational part of ourselves.

I feel really irritated by this whole scenario. Ron looks surprised. I don’t really know why I feel like this. It just seems irrelevant to what I’m struggling with. There, that’s something I could have said. It also seems like Ron never acknowledges what a struggle it is for me to deal with this subject of my father….how painful it is. Instead he comes up with ridiculous theories. There. I could have said that. Nothing much occurred to me at the time. Now I think about it, I’m really angry. It’s like he’s missing me.

Maybe I’ll bring this up next time.

I can’t remember what happened next. I don’t think we went any further with this.

E. It’s difficult being in parts. Like this morning, I slept late, so there wasn’t time to decide what to wear. The kid likes this top.

I tug at my top in annoyance.

E. She likes the colour. I don’t like it and I didn’t want to wear it.

R. What’s wrong with the top?

E. It’s the exact same colour as the doors on your stairs (the doors are bright turqoise). I’m wearing a top that’s the colour of doors! I wanted black. But there wasn’t time to figure this out, because I was late.

Ron just looks at me.

E. And I don’t know…I just want to feel better. And I don’t see why I’m remembering all these details of life when I was a teenager. I’m remembering a lot of modes of transport, don’t know if you’ve noticed. The bus, my bike, the horses…all means of getting around. And I’m remembering such odd details – like how heavy the saddle was when I put it on the horse, tying on the blanket first, how dusty the horse was if I patted him….

R. I think you are remembering the high points, when you really felt alive.

E. And I don’t know why I was so depressed. It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t. It was normal. And yet I felt really really bad.

Ron doesn’t say anything.

E. Half the time I wish I were dead.

R. I think you are remembering something, that is so painful, and hurts so much, that you’d rather think about death than feel this.

Now I don’t say anything. Maybe this is true. There is something I’m trying to remember but can’t.

I’m having trouble talking, as I have throughout the session.

E. So when I’m here, trying to talk to you, there’s this part of me that pushes down at me, that doesn’t want me to talk. As if talking were completely dangerous. I’ve been coming here for over a year, and that part is still trying to stop me from talking.

R. So it’s pushing down?

E. And the other parts of me are trying to talk, and it’s exhausting.

R. Speak from those parts.

E. Well, she’s really mean to us. She doesn’t want us to talk.

E. OK, but I’m the person who keeps everything running. I get to places on time. I make sure there are groceries. I work….

This part is very exasperated. She feels she has all the responsibility and none of the credit.

R. So you’re afraid that you’ll get stuck in a young traumatized part?

E. No…..

R. I think that you had to be in charge for a long time, but now there’s an adult that can do these things. I think you’re gathering evidence that you don’t have to keep doing this…

This makes me angry.

E. No there isn’t. Nope. There’s just parts. There’s no adult gathering evidence. No one is gathering evidence. At all. I just switch around to different parts. That’s what is happening.

R. How do you feel about the other parts?

E. They don’t exist. There’s just me.

R. So you’re killing yourself off.

E. No. I’m not.

We sit.

Now I start to feel remorseful at how I’m treating Ron. Getting angry, rejecting his opinions.

E. Sorry, I’m not doing a good job. I know this session is all over the place. Sorry. But if you want to say anything to me, I can totally understand you.

I mean that in this part, my mind is clear and working well, rational and logical. I feel a lot brighter as this part – a kind of hard shiny brightness that makes life as an adult manageable.

Ron kind of smiles.

E. Time’s up. Thanks.

I swing out the door exactly on the dot of the end of session. 

After this session, I’m a bit dissociated. I go to the wine store and buy French wine. The rest of the day, I can only eat kid food – toast with nutella, hot cereal, soup. I can’t quite feel anything, and I can’t really function too well, though I do a couple of hours of work.

I’m worried Ron thinks I’m a freak.

  1. Laura said:

    wow, Ellen, this is so complicated! I'm glad Ron is there for you. It sounded to me as if the bright, shiny you was worrying that you'd mistreated him in group, and were apologizing to him for the session as well – I'm sure you don't need to worry about losing him.If he's missing you – and good for you for catching that – he'll want you to straighten him out. I hope you'll keep him in the loop this week.

  2. Ellen said:

    Hi Laura – It is a bit of a mess isn't it. That's how I felt after the session – kind of like, what just happened to me? That's a good point about the 'shiny' me. I do often feel bad that I argue with Ron, I get angry….but then, I know I'll do the same thing again the next time. I'm going to talk to him about what happens when I block his words out…and maybe this stuff about the house as well.Thanks for commenting!

  3. Laura said:

    I don't know, but I wonder if it's a good sign that you can't remember every word and twitch of the session.I was surprised that you don't identify as someone who has overwhelming emotions…?I thought a lot about houses when I was young. The houses where I remembered being happy, longing to be back there. they were symbolic of that happiness, that time in my life – the house where I was a little kid, my grandmother's house. Is there an emotional valence (?) with those memories? I'm not picking it up. As with the more threatening memories, try allowing them to lead you (instead of arguing with them). You are so alive, Ellen. so much going on. thanks for posting.

  4. Candycan said:

    phwew. sounds liike a tough session, but maybe a good one? It's so good that Ron asked you to talk from the other parts. I get that horrible struggle of the others trying to talk and me trying to stop them and it would be a relief if the therapist did just try to engage an 'other'

  5. Ellen said:

    @ Laura – I have no idea whether this is good or not Laura. It's never actually total recall- it's a reconstruction always. Just once you start writing down specifics, other specifics pop up in your mind. Try it sometime if you want. You'll find you remember a lot.Interesting about the houses. For me, I find all my memories that come back are tied to the setting for some reason. So the first thing I remember are the details of rooms and houses. The emotion for the house I lived in as a teenager, that I'm remembering here, was pretty severe sadness and depression.I just end up arguing, it is my nature Laura. Thanks for the kind words – glad you get something out of my posts. @ Candy – You always understand the problems with parts Candy – the struggle for who gets to talk is huge for me also. I'd say it was a good session.Hope you're doing better. I was wondering how your session with NP went – I guess you'll update in due course. take care

  6. Paula said:

    I feel you have had a very good session! You have improved so much since you are with Ron. Often I feel you push help away,which means you can avoid having a voice. You are talking Ellen, and you improve. But you have not allowed you voice to speak yet. The one who is so afraid of speaking. That's the one. That is your voice! In due time you will get there, when you are ready, when all the parts are stronger and willing to gently and kindly "push" the unwilling voice forward. Its exhausting. I know. When done there is still leg work on the emotional roller coaster, but the way the parts interact will then be like a team. The team you are made of! Love form my heart to yours.

  7. Ellen said:

    Could be that will happen Paula. thanks for the encouragement!

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