Tuesday Therapy

I went for an extra session on Tuesday. Not much fun was had.

E. Well, it’s unusual to be here. Different time and day.

R. Yes?

Jeeze, he can’t even agree that it’s a different day for my session. I don’t really clue in here, but Ron and I are adversarial the whole time. I didn’t know it was going to be like this. He has points he wants to make, and it’s like he wants to solve the problem of me in this session. Very very very annoying and hurtful. I’m getting ahead of myself though.

E. So I am trying some amino acids and a special diet. They really work, but I think I took too much of one, I feel kind of stoned….

Ron says nothing to this. It’s actually a big deal for me. I decided I was sinking down too low, so I’m trying this natural anti-depressant therapy. It’s a combo of eating high protein food, the right fats, and a ton of vegetables, plus selected amino acids. I’m feeling quite a bit better on it. Those acids do pack a punch. Ron has no interest, so I don’t go into it any more.

E. I know, I’m supposed to talk about the group.

R. No, you can talk about whatever you need to talk about.

E. Well, at work people are making me anxious. One man in particular is making me anxious…..

I go on for a bit on this particular individual, whom I have this really awkward silent dysfunctional relationship with.

R. What’s he like?

E. I don’t know him actually. He’s the head of the department I’m working for. He’s macho, business degree, smart….a manager I worked with couldn’t get along with him, so she left….

R. You know, you see things very negatively. Then you act those feelings out.

E. Like when?

R. Like when you emailed me to delete the photos. You said I hadn’t looked at them. Instead of staying with the feeling, you take action.

E. I didn’t say that because you didn’t look at them. It just felt wrong to have them in your email. I didn’t actually mail them to you – it was because I didn’t have hard copies, so I could discuss them here.

I can’t remember where this went. We went back and forth a bit on the photos. Upshot was Ron thought I was acting out. I actually hadn’t been aware this would hurt his feelings or whatever it did. I just felt uncomfortable and wanted him to delete them. He in no way hears what I say, so it’s a waste of time talking about this.

Then we go back and forth about the last group, about how he ignored me. It’s the same ground we already covered. Ron again does not hear me – it’s exactly the same dynamics as last time I tried to discuss it. Worse if anything, because Ron is now antagonistic. That’s how it feels to me anyway.

E. So you feel I don’t take in what people say, what you tell me. That I dismiss things.

R. Yes….

And then he elaborates further on this great topic. I’m trying to reassure him that I do hear him, so I’m reflecting back things he tells me a lot, so he’ll know I’ve heard him. He reacts just like my clients would – glad to be heard, and eager to tell me more. If only I too could feel heard.

A lot of the rest of the session I’ve blocked out. It was very painful to have Ron so out to prove that I’m wrong about things. Towards the end, this happens.

E. So I feel…I feel like in the background, kind of off stage, a whole other drama is playing out.

R. Yes? What’s that like.

E. I feel as if I’m being beaten up. And….I’m remembering stuff, kind of. I remember our living room in suburbville. There was a big picture window, with trees….I lie on the couch.

R. Did you like the couch?

E. I don’t know….I used to lie on it to read. I feel really awful….And….my aunt is there. She talks to me…

R. What does she talk about? Herself, you?

E. Anything. What’s for lunch. Herself….she just talked. My mother doesn’t talk at all. You have no idea what that’s like, someone who doesn’t talk. My aunt talked.

R. So she was kind of a lifeline.

E. I don’t know….God, I feel awful. I’d be better off dead.

I sit feeling pretty horrible.

E. And you….you don’t seem real. You must be real….a real person?

R. This is another part of you coming forward. The part that lived through this. This is how you felt then – like this.

I feel like I’m in a bit of an altered state. My nose and feet tingle, I’m dissociating Ron so he doesn’t seem real, everything has slowed down.

E. God, I feel really terrible.

I try and pull myself out of it.

E. So I have to go back to the group….

R. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to do.

E. Great. I don’t want to get into this. Anyway, what should I do….

I mean about coping better with the group. Ron doesn’t take it like that.

R. You have to shut this part of you away, so you can get home. Then you should try lying down, letting that part out again. If it would help, you could call me tonight.

I get up to leave.

E. Oh, OK. Uh huh….Thanks a lot.

R. Take care.

I do lie down for a long time at home, listening to classical music mostly. That part doesn’t come out again the same way. I do feel very sad.

And I mostly remember the first part of the session, and the bunch of negative stuff Ron had to say about me. We got into how the group runs again. I ask if it doesn’t bother him that so many group members do not talk, and that we focus mostly on the problems of one person, plus me, I’m quick to add. I know I end up talking a lot also, though not in that pre-meditated way. Ron says I worry about the quiet people because they remind me of myself. Can’t I just be caring for once? Not in Ron’s eyes.

And he says somewhere in there that because I’m reliving this family scenario, I’m treating people in a way that is not good. Something to this effect. Hurtful. As if I’m really hurting people and it’s up to him to show me the error of my ways. And no acknowledgment that other people may be doing this also.

It’s not that there isn’t some truth to much of what he says. But Ron does not support me or hear me at all. Other than when I got into the memory. Then he is kind of supportive. Hard to take in after the rocky first part of the session.

I have felt disconnected from Ron since this session. Usually I would frantically write him my feelings, but not this time. I did write them, but did not send them. The emails are disturbing him and making things worse, so I am not writing any more, not about him or about the group anyway.

I have had the urge to quit the group and to quit therapy. Haven’t communicated that either though. Yes, that would be acting out. I don’t really wish to do that, once I’m over the worst of the pain of it all. I keep imagining going to the group tomorrow, then leaving half way through. Or leaving several times to hang out in the church instead, then going back in. Not sure what this fantasy is getting me. Kind of imaginary payback perhaps. You can be oh so mean and uncaring, but I can still leave.

This will be a very expensive and extra painful therapy week. Kids, don’t try this at home.

  1. gniz said:

    I feel as though Ron may be pushing you harder recently because he believes you are ready for that. Maybe I am wrong, it's just a thought. But perhaps he is stepping up the pressure a bit in terms of confronting you because he sees that as part of your healing?I don't know. I wish you could have told him you were feeling attacked and not heard. Don't give up hope Ellen. Ups and downs are part of this process. I am glad the diet is helping. Go easy on yourself and Ron too.

  2. Laura said:

    dear Ellen, I hope you're feeling better.I want to say that what's truly therapeutic, may not feel warm and fuzzy in the moment. I think Ron is working hard for you. He seems relentless in focusing your attention on how you are feeling, he's not there to admire you and sympathize. It's too bad that the memory arose so close to the end, when you had to shut it down. You seem to have accepted that having these memories and emotions out in the open will heal you?Have you noticed this property of things slowing down before? Other than in group, last time?I notice that I feel more emotion when I'm around people, and when I'm under stress – and I notice that Howard seems to try to INCREASE both factors. He's not soothing and reassuring. When you're feeling attacked and disconnected or ignored, it seems to call out your suppressed parts and memories.I keep wishing that you would tell him how you're feeling in the moment, since you feel and know so much of what's going on in the moment (unlike me). And how you're INTERPRETING his responses – and adjusting your behavior to suit (generally, by pulling BACK). Check out your interpretation that you're hurting his feelings by doing/saying x or y – don't act on it. You eventually made a start, here, you told him that you were feeling beaten up.Hugs to you…

  3. Sorry your extra session was hard. Here listening…..

  4. Laura said:

    noticing how you repeatedly focus (and try to get him to join you) on how HE'S feeling, how the group members are feeling…. I do the same thing. I wonder if that's how we felt some connection and safety with our emotionally clueless parents, we tried to get them to look at what we were looking at, at least we're standing on the same side, to do that… and always to anticipate how they were responding and adjust – in order to stay in the safety zone.

  5. sorry it was so rough. i think that it's a good insight, that you might be concerned for the group members who are quiet because they reflect your own difficulty talking. someone told me the same thing about me, once. i was super mad at the time, but came to see it as true, at least for me. hope you have had a little rest and are feeling better. c.

  6. Ellen said:

    Thanks everyone. Wow. I was feeling so black about this all this morning. Your comments make me think. Maybe it's not so terrible as I think. I'll respond shortly.

  7. Ellen said:

    @ gniz – Maybe that's true Aaron. It's a comforting way of looking at it. The diet / supplements is still helping me, it's great. Thanks for the insights.@ Laura – Yeah, Ron is very dedicated, that's for sure. So probably he is working hard. As to the memories – yes, I suppose they will heal me, though I don't seem to have a lot of choice about whether they emerge or not – but I do have some. Things seem to get really quiet and slow down when I have a memory type experience. Yeah, it's happened before. I don't think Ron is purposely trying to stress me so feelings will emerge actually. We got into it again today, and he is not doing that on purpose. Interesting you think Howard tries to do that. Well, Ron did echo your advice to verbalize and stop interpreting – that was a theme today. So you guys are on the same page. :-)HugsThanks JBR!@ Laura – Yes, the focusing on how Ron's feeling – that was another topic today. Not a good thing to do apparently. I don't know what the root cause is – you could be bang on with this. thx@ brave – Interesting you've had that same experience Catherine. I do feel somewhat better at this point. Thanks for commenting

  8. ((Ellen))It sounds like you are feeling better about your session today. I think it is very hard to stop focusing on someone else's reactions and adapting to them. It was a useful survival skill at some point in your life.I'm glad you don't think Ron is stressing you on purpose to get there are enough stressors naturally in trying to talk about yourself and your life or at least that is how I feel.How was group this week?

  9. Laura said:

    when will you tell him about your journal? that's something you're consciously withholding… might be a good place to start – and let the cards fall where they may, work through your responses (together) to allowing yourself to be seen…Defy that part of you that looks down on him as predictable, controllable, semi-clueless – if he IS those things (like your parents), then there's no harm in showing him ALL your cards.

  10. Ellen said:

    @ attached – thanks Di. It's interesting how you all are pointing out how much I focus on others' reactions…I wasn't that aware I was doing anything unusual actually.Group this week was relatively uneventful and calm….Thought you were off on vacation? thanks for commenting@ Laura – I actually don't think Ron is any of those things, and I'm sorry it's coming across that I do. I respect him a lot. As to the blog – I have mentioned in passing that I have a blog, in which he didn't express any curiosity. He might have been worried I'd ask him to read it, who knows. I think if it seems important at any point, I would bring it up. There's actually almost no time as it is, and a lot of stuff I'd like to talk about there isn't time for. The aspect of the blog that would be problematic for Ron is that I mention the group, even in the oblique way that I do. That we are not supposed to do. The therapy however is mine – he is not to talk about it with others, but I am free to do so.Thanks for the comment Laura.

  11. Laura said:

    oh dear, I'm sorry!note that you're interpreting his lack of interest, though.

  12. Ellen said:

    Please don't apologize Laura. Now I notice also you were saying 'a part of me' thinks those things. It's really true that parts of me are less fond of Ron than other parts. cheers

  13. R. No, you can talk about whatever you need to talk about.E. Well, at work people are making me anxious. One man in particular is making me anxious………..E. I don't know him actually. He's the head of the department I'm working for. He's macho, business degree, smart….a manager I worked with couldn't get along with him, so she left….R. You know, you see things very negatively. Then you act those feelings out.He told you you can talk about whatever you need to and then when you do he immediately changes the subject with an accusation and negative judgement. Sorry, but this seems unprofessional to me. Sorry if that's upsetting, I know Ron is someone you have a lot of respect for but I would feel really annoyed if I were in this situation.

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