Today I’ve been contemplating therapy and whether it is helping me or not. I have been unhappy today, alone…but nowhere near as bad as when I’m completely triggered by therapy. If I’d had something social planned, I would have been able to do it.
Therapy yesterday was the most silent session I’ve ever had. It wasn’t that nothing was happening for me though. It was as if all the silent parts, the suffering parts, where allowed to be there in Ron’s office, even though they couldn’t talk to him. I suppose from Ron’s point of view not a whole lot was happening. But he did pay a lot of attention anyway. I think threatening to leave does bring him to attention, like a shock. Not that that’s why I wanted to leave.
It was almost like being a victim in a traffic accident – someone stops to help, and starts analyzing the situation for you – but you’re bleeding out. What you need is for someone just to sit with you and be there, holding your hand. That is all you can take in further, when all the blood is running out, and you may not have long to live. You don’t care to discuss much.
I don’t think Ron is getting how devastated I’ve been after sessions with him. I’m not falling apart in his office, so he’s not seeing it. This last session was like just paying attention to the amount of pain I was in from last week. If I feel it, I can’t talk, because it hurts too much. He seems to think I’m resisting talking to him….but I don’t feel like that. It’s more that I’m trying to feel things while I’m there with him.
The other problem was to do with his group. How I kept trying to raise a problem, week after week, and there just wasn’t room to do that. And when I did speak, Ron didn’t show much interest. You are supposed to go into depth with your problem, and I couldn’t, I didn’t know how to do that.
I’m pretty sure it reminded me of trying to tell my mother about my abuse when I was a child. I don’t really remember trying to do so….but I must have. Though I remember once when I was sick with a fever, trying over and over to tell her something, and then…instantly forgetting what it was I wanted to say, blocking it out. I remember her telling me that I must tell her….but then I would not know what it was I needed to tell.
This issue of speaking, needing to speak, and not having words or having no one listen is very deep and very painful for me. Having it re-enacted in the group was devastating.
I wonder also if I need to see something good coming from therapy. My life is not improving. I have less friends than before I started. Partly because my weekends, which I used to be able to use for socializing, now are needed to recover from therapy. Partly because my standards are higher – I’ve dropped some support group ‘friends’ whom I have nothing in common with beyond a particular suffering. But as a result, I’m often alone.
I still dislike my job. Though I appreciate having enough to live on. And it is not an abusive situation at all. Simply it feels as if I am of no use to anyone.
In general, I feel of little use. I’ve lately been feeding a friend’s cat while they’re away – that small thing makes me feel that yes, this cat and this friend are a tiny bit better off because I am alive. But it’s not a reason for living is it.
It makes no difference to anyone if I am alive or not. Sometimes I feel I do have things to give, love, something….But there is no one to give to.
Anyhow…maybe I need to address my actual life in therapy. I think I’ll be waiting a long time for this ‘experiencing my feelings’ to help me in any actual way.
While I’m wool gathering here….I did some meditation before going to group last week. I was feeling scared of it as usual. I’d been reading Tara Brach, who talks about forgiving the feeling that you don’t want, whatever it is. So I sat there feeling the fear, and at the same time forgiving it for being there. Over and over. It was actually calming.
What I realized while doing this was something I had not been aware of. How on the one hand I fear this group. But on the other – how deeply I long to belong, to be accepted by it. And how scary it is to need that acceptance. How high the stakes are for me, fearing and expecting rejection, sometimes even making that happen, while wishing desperately for belonging and acceptance.
Last week was the last group session. At first members completely ignored this, several people going on about their personal issues…hard to believe they could ignore such an obvious fact as that this was the last group session. At about the half way point, Ron finally spoke up and asked people to talk about how they felt about the group ending. I mostly listened. I said a bit about my issue of belonging or not.
We also talked a bit about what the group was trying to accomplish – mostly R and myself have that issue.
Then A had one final complaint about me – I forget exactly what it was, but something along the lines of it being difficult to feel safe when I was criticizing E a lot worse than E criticized me. We didn’t really get into discussing this, as there just wasn’t time. I told A it was difficult to discuss things with her because she’d forgotten what she’d said when she’d kind of attacked me. And that of course I was going to be reacting if she attacked.
This is pretty confused. But I do see A’s point of view. From where she sits, if I understand her correctly, the group is a place to bring your issues that you’re dealing with in therapy, and get kind and supportive feedback for them. That is how she sees the group. And if that is how group is supposed to work, I am not doing a good job as a group member.
I don’t think this is how the group is supposed to work. However, Ron is not being clear about it. Which is my complaint to him. He is not picking a direction, say a here and now orientation, with an emphasis on interacting honestly with other group members. He’ll say that’s part of it, but he also wants this in-depth exploration of people’s personal stuff. Which requires a lot of safety. I don’t see how you can easily have both. The honest interactions are not especially conducive to safety, especially if we are exploring negative interactions, so he gets this kind of hybrid, with no one quite sure what we are trying to do.
I wanted to talk about this with him, but in my session, my rational mind seemed completely AWOL.
Anyhow, I have survived the group. I hope I can rebuild some trust with Ron, which was really shaken as a result of my group experience, now that group is over.
Group was important to me, and I will miss the people in it, despite everything.
R gave me his phone number on our last ride home. So now he has mine, I have his. Perhaps we will contact each other.