Therapy Friday 2

continued from previous

E. I spent some time with a new friend on the weekend. At least we are getting along. Not like my friend J.

I now go on about how J. hurt my feelings when I was depressed, the last time I saw her.

R. What did she do?

E. She laughed at me. First just my expression. When I’m depressed I can’t seem to control it, sometimes. Then she criticized my term for grocery store take-out – it’s supposed to be deli counter or something like that. Who cares what it’s called? Then we’re sitting in this movie, it’s about the French revolution, so she says she knows nothing about the French revolution, what was it? So I say a few things about that revolution, not a whole lot. I actually couldn’t care less, she chose the stupid movie, I was just trying to deal with depression. Then she said, so you feel smart now?

R. What happened then? Did you ask – hey, what’s up with that comment?

E. No, actually. It would have been good to do that. I was just typically dysfunctional, I withdrew and didn’t say anything else. I think….well…this friend has a lot of issues, but she’s pushed them away, so she finds it really threatening if I’m depressed or going through stuff, she doesn’t like that. Then after the movie, she did ask me if I felt better, as it was supposed to cheer me up, so I very snottily said I didn’t want to talk about it. We walked a bit, but didn’t go out, and I switched into a person who could do small talk, and it felt really awful.

E. You know, I don’t even want to be talking about this. I don’t know why I’m going on about it. Who cares really.

R. Well, I think you do care, about this friend whom you’ve had for a long time, not caring about you when you’re depressed.

E. I guess.

It’s true I’m surprised how angry I am with J. We sit.

E. I just feel like I should be talking about other things.

R. Well, try and talk about different things, and see what feels right.

E. Well….I miss R. I do, I miss him.

R. Have you been calling  him….

E. No. No, I haven’t.

We sit.

E. I feel….angry.

R. How come you’re angry.

E. I don’t know……

This is a part who is angry.

R. Try and speak from that voice.

E. I’m angry….Because…this is stupid.

R. What is stupid.

E. This, therapy, talking. We’re talking about stuff I don’t care about.

R. What do you care about?

We sit. I’m struggling with hearing this part of myself, that feels like it’s coming from the side for some reason. This part is definitely angry, but can’t articulate very well.

E. I’m angry….I’m angry at the way my family treated me. The way they ignored me. It doesn’t sound so bad, but as soon as I would show any emotion, ever, they would withdraw. Sometimes I can be kind of hysterical, maybe, whatever….and they made me feel so bad.

R. What would they do?

E. They’d just turn away, pretend I wasn’t there. And my father totally ignored me as a teenager. It makes me mad.

R. Have you considered how very difficult it must have been for you growing up? For instance, when my older son ignores my younger son, even for just a few minutes, my younger son goes crazy. And you were ignored for years, directly by your father, and more subtly by your siblings and mother.

E. Yeah. Yeah, I was realizing that more lately, how difficult that was for me.

We sit. I’m feeling a lot of fear, and I let the kid take over.

E. I am here and nobody talks to me. I’m nice. I don’t know why no one talks to me. Did you….did you have a nice time at the cottage on the weekend? Were there…were there donkeys there?

R. Yes, there were two donkeys. They made the strangest sound.

E. I like donkeys….are there cats?

R. No, no cats.

E. I had cats. I had a really fat cat, he died. Then I had another cat, Clouds, but we moved so we had to leave him behind. I like cats, they are soft.

E. Do you know I have to go to the doctor? Doctors are OK. Sometimes I am afraid but doctors are OK because they don’t hurt you. Not usually. They can help you…..

The kid chats on a while and Ron listens. As the kid, I’m weepy and anxious about going to the doctor’s appointment. Like an unhappy child might be. Oh dear.

R. If you’d like, send me an email after your appointment to let me know how it went, OK?

E. OK, maybe.

The session time is up. I sit there another few minutes switching back into grown-up mode. I thank Ron and dash out of his office, stopping in the stairway a few more minutes to pull myself together.

I am trying to accept that these parts are a real part of me. It feels really great to them to let them talk to Ron. To me, kind of standing there listening, I am embarrassed I guess. I don’t want to be a child, with a child’s point of view. But yet I am. It is difficult.

  1. laura said:

    hi E,
    It seems like the fogginess dissipated!
    I like the way the Buddhists look at this – that you are the awareness that contains the critical voice, and the kid voice, and all the others. You aren’t the kid, the kid is part of you.
    It seems as if the angry (sometimes screaming) part is only critical (or fearful) of whatever you’re doing – it doesn’t have anything constructive to say. In IFS, they might thank that part for trying hard to protect you (from looking bad, or saying something that will cause you to be disappointed or rejected) and assure that part that you (the adult self) will handle the situation.

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Laura,
      Yes, it did seem to….I left some things out, but I did remember good chunks of the session after all. Yes, the Buddhist perspective is interesting. I like the way Buddhism wants to accept everything, not just the stuff we like. It does seem to me I turn into the kid, but I’m trying to remember the kid is also me, so I wrote it like that this time.

      The IFS stuff is interesting. It’s not what I’m doing, but there are good insights there for sure.


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