Oh dear oh dear oh dear. It very much looks as if dinner will be chocolate chocolate chip ice cream. I have been diligent about eating high protein meals with vegetables, I’ve been feeling better…and tonight I just can’t do it.
It’s been a rough day is all I can say. Not so bad that I stay in bed and can’t function. I’ve been to the health food store for coffee and filters and one sweet potato. I went to the library. I actually cleaned my oven – a task I’ve put off for over a year. It was never cleaned when the previous tenant left, so it set off the smoke alarm every time I used it. So I did that. But that was the limit of my strength today.
I feel full of a heavy sadness, and can’t really tell what the cause is, except it must have been therapy that upset me. I didn’t cry, I didn’t remember anything…yet still I feel full of upsetness.
The city is absolutely lovely – spring sunshine, all the green light and new, spring flowers blue and yellow mostly.
I walk into Ron’s office which is stuffy and warm. It’s humid in the city today, and his tiny office does warm up fast. He opens a window for me, and it gets a bit more comfortable.
We say hello when he comes to get me in the waiting room. I settle on his leather couch and look around.
E. I feel as if I’ve just been here.
Ron nods. Then we sit. I do not wish to talk. The silence stretches into minutes. Ron shifts around in his chair. I keep looking around, meeting his eyes every minute or so. I speak after about five minutes.
E. I don’t feel like talking.
R. What do you make of that?
I shrug, and we sit, about another five minutes.
E. I feel if I tell you things, you won’t be sympathetic, so why bother.
R. How so?
I sit for another minute or so. I strongly feel there is no point talking to this man. He won’t be supportive and he’ll twist around anything I say, the way he did last session.
R. It does feel problematic….kind of like your father not talking to you.
E. Anything I say, you’ll just say I feel like that because of the way my father treated me, so why bother?
R. I think that is a dilemma. You have feelings you need to talk about, yet you don’t wish to talk.
E. Feelings I need to talk about?
R. If you have feelings in a relationship, and they are not expressed, the relationship becomes unreal, fake. Especially a relationship like ours, a therapeutic relationship….
I hadn’t really thought of relationships like this before. This is news to me.
E. You seem to be trying to fix me really fast. Pointing out my failings to make me a better person.
R. Like what. What have I pointed out to you?
E. Oh, that I don’t accept criticism well. Well who does? That I don’t accept feedback, I’m flippant. That I make E cry.
R. I can’t imagine those words would ever come out of my mouth – that you ‘make E cry’.
E. Well, you didn’t say it exactly like that. You are a therapist. You put things differently. You said I said this and that, and that then E cried.
R. I don’t think I said that Ellen.
E. And I think you used to like me, and now you don’t. Since the group. With all my problems in the group, me leaving, then staying but interrupting, shredding kleenex, the angry emails….I think this has gotten to you. You don’t like me anymore.
R. Even though I’ve explicitly told you to interrupt instead of leave – I’ve asked you to do that…..
E. You don’t like me anymore.
R. That is not true. I don’t feel any differently about you than I did.
E. You even talk to me completely differently than you used to. For instance, you never used to say my name. Now you repeat it so many times. It’s totally different.
R. Do you think you just don’t remember my saying your name in the past?
E. No. It’s something I flag actually. You never used to.
R. So now I’m doing something you like that I didn’t used to do.
E. No. I liked how you were before.
R. I think you interpret my feelings, my reactions, and this is not true.
E. Well, it’s how I feel.
R. No, you’re telling me how I feel. And I don’t feel like that.
E. What is the point of arguing like this. I try and tell you how I feel, and you argue with me. Fine. You win. Great. I still feel the same.
R. How do I criticize you?
E. You don’t support me. Like when I said the thing about E reminds me of my sister.
R. I asked E how she felt about that.
E. How does that support me? It doesn’t. Anyway, now I know you always concentrate on the person who speaks first….
R. Not always….you seem very intent on figuring out the ‘rules’.
E. Well. Yes. Because once I know how you’re operating, I don’t have to take everything so personally. Like for instance, you didn’t go into how I feel about E because she had spoken first, so you were supporting her.
R. I don’t always do that.
E. Fine. You argue, you win. I’m wrong.
R. But how will we find out the truth?
E. I don’t know. I do know that you don’t seem to even hear what I’m saying to you. I reflect back to you what you tell me, so you feel heard. I don’t feel heard though.
R. What do the other parts of you have to say about this. Can you hear them?
I listen inwardly.
E. Well…one part says….you suck. You’re an asshole. Sorry……Great, that’s just great.
R. No, it’s OK. Why did you laugh?
E. Because it’s stupid.
R. I don’t think it’s stupid.
E. You know, it’s so hard to talk to you. This is…transference? Is that why? I was talking to R after the group, and it was so much easier to talk to him than to talk to you.
Ron shoots me this intense look he has every time I’ve mentioned R the last few sessions. Next time this happens, I’m going to ask him about it.
E. So these feelings I have about you, they’re feelings I had about my father? That’s the theory?
R. Well, it’s not quite so straight forward.
R. Tell me more about how I criticize you.
E. I don’t know. You just do. That’s how I feel. And in the group, I feel like the quieter I can be, the better you’ll like it. I don’t want to say anything because I think you’ll judge me.
R. Would you bring that into the group?
E. If I do, you won’t be supportive, unless I start the group with that.
E. Oh, you mean start out? I guess I could.
E. I hate this kind of arguing. You know, I could take a class and do that. What I want help with is my feelings – feeling them, which I find difficult by myself. And the parts – I think the key to this is the parts. Not this arguing back and forth about who said what. It’s frustrating.
R. Um….You are in a dilemma.
E. Did you know one of your favorite words is ‘dilemma’? You use it all the time.
R. Just with you or with others also?
E. With me.
R. I think you do have a lot of dilemmas.
Ron doesn’t proceed to tell me what my dilemma is this time. I am in no mood to hear it. I am frustrated, pissed off, and feeling unheard and uncared about.
One thing, Ron is really into this conversation. I’ve missed out some of the complexities, as my emotion seems to erase what is said to some extent. But we ping pong back and forth the whole time we aren’t sitting in silence. Now I can see he is not frustrated with me, he is interested in this. And his eyes turn blue – a kind of sky blue, not the dark blue I’ve seen before. They usually look muddy, as he sits with his back to a window. I don’t know how he gets them to change colour like that. The kid is fascinated by this. She doesn’t get to speak this time though.
E. Everything is complicated, because the parts have different opinions on everything. Like the kid…well, you’re the only person the kid has ever talked to.
R. So the kid still feels positive about me.
E. Yeah. Well, the kid is five. She’s not too complex. Unless you do some horrible thing, which you will not do, I know, then she thinks you’re wonderful.
E. If you would just say one true thing, I’d feel better. (Looking at the clock.) There, you have a minute to say something true.
Ron sit for a moment.
R. Everything I’ve said is true.
E. (Very exasperated.) Right. OK.
I gather my purse and get up.
E. Thank you.
R. (soft therapist voice) See you Thursday.
Grrr…I am pissed off. The last thing I want reminding of is Thursday.
So today I feel less pissed off, but massively sad. I’m no longer as sure that Ron doesn’t like me. I’m not sure if we have a connection or not – I’m no longer sure not. I feel full of a heaviness and a need to lie down.