…continued from previous
We sit for a bit. I feel really depressed
E. So I went to visit my parents last weekend. It was OK. It was only me – my siblings weren’t there. My parents were really really polite. I mean, they’re old now, and they don’t understand why I don’t visit them.
R. What happened?
E. Well, my dad asked me about my job. They don’t really know what I do. My father likes to know specific details. So I explained for a bit what my job involves. It was OK, nice he had an interest.
R. So it was a formal conversation, like you might have with an acquaintance?
E. Well, I suppose. What’s it supposed to be like? I only know my own family.
R. Politeness can be a cover for what really needs to be said.
E. Yeah, I guess. Then….they don’t tend to talk about people. So they talked about plays they’d been to, books. My mother doesn’t have a lot to say about these things though. But, I remembered what you’d said to me, so I asked her some questions. She said a play was wonderful, so I asked her what she liked about it especially, and it was more interesting.
E. It was all OK. But the problem was then the next day I was so dissociated, I could barely function. So…what should I be doing so that doesn’t happen?
R. You can try being more real.
E. How do you mean? Oh, you mean saying how I actually feel in the moment.
R. For instance. A little bit at a time. Things don’t change right away, but over time…
E. I won’t go back now for a while. I don’t know. In a way, my parents have done a lot better than I have. They’re successful. they have a house, furniture. They’ve got friends they made in university, that are smart. When I was a kid, we used to visit them….I don’t have any of that.
R. So you don’t have those things, so you don’t have a right to talk?
E. No, I have a right to talk. And I’m at least not in an abusive type of situation the way my mother is. I’m supporting myself, I’m OK.
Then we just sit, and I feel really depressed. Just a heavy sadness. I wonder if this was the feeling I dissociated on the weekend, from seeing my parents. Or else, it’s the feeling of my holding down parts who actually would like some time with Ron.
I look at Ron, and he seems incredibly remote.
E. You know, how I feel is, if only I could get you to care about this, I would feel better.
R. If I didn’t care, why would I ask you about it? Do you think I’m pretending?
E. I think you’re doing your job. I just feel…if only you would care, it would help.
I can’t remember what Ron said to this.
E. I’m just feeling sad. I’m thinking….I’m actually thinking of one of the women at work.
E. Kind of in my mind, just thinking of her. I actually like her. But in my mind, it’s as if she’s holding me down….trying to drown me. That doesn’t make sense.
We sit with that, and it still doesn’t make sense.
E. I guess my mother…well, my mother would want to stop me from talking.
E. So overall, what do you think I should do to make things better?
R. Well, being real. Sticking to saying how you really feel about things. No matter how that is received – it is good for you to express that. That’s one of the great things about group – everyone, excepting myself, gets to be real and express their real feelings. People may not receive you the way you want, though I would try and support you….
E. You don’t support me in the group.
R. Even if I totally fail you in that way – you can still be real.
Ron has more to say about this subject, and I’ve forgotten what it was.
So I leave. This time he says goodbye and I don’t say anything, just tug at my ear.
It’s odd, because it was a reasonable session with insights and exploring problem areas. But at home I completely fall apart and feel the session was hurtful. After a few hours I write Ron an email, explaining how I think having the parts speak would be more helpful. I feel like we didn’t connect somehow. And I fixate on my problem with R not returning my call, and Ron not wanting to discuss that. And generally dissolve into a mess.
Ron replies to my email and offers me an extra session, which I end up not taking. But it’s enough. By the next day, I’m better again.