Down down down. I am down in the dark blackness. Is it going to help to detail my therapy session? Yes it was depressing. More depressing than that was an email exchange I had with Ron that evening. As a result of which I told him I’m not going back to the group. I also wanted to quit therapy but decided, wisely, to hang on and see what I feel on later in the week.
Sometimes I think I would do better just going to the group and not going to an individual session. I always end up feeling terrible about the group after my individual session, when I’m coping OK with it before.
I get to Ron’s office and again his door is open, so I go in and we start a minute or two early. This time I remember to look for the dead plant – gone at last. Ron was reading a book – something about the history of science. He looks a bit rumpled and a little down.
E. So was I too harsh last night?
R. Harsh? In what sense?
His favorite stalling phrase.
E. Well, with A. You know what harsh means.
R. (with a marked lack of enthusiasm) I think you were expressing how you felt…..
I don’t want to plunge into this right away after all, so I talk for a few minutes about my newly discovered allergy to my apartment. I go over the whole saga.
E. Sorry, I know there is nothing you can do about this, it’s not therapy stuff. I just wanted to vent.
Ron says a few things, not much. Quite right. This is not something he can affect.
E. So the first part of the group, I really really wanted to leave.
R. When Y was talking?
E. When anyone was talking. It wasn’t really about what they were saying. What it was was parts. It was parts coming up, saying stuff. As long as I could listen, and have the feelings they always bring with them, I no longer needed to leave.
Ron doesn’t say much to this.
E. So A was saying all these contradictory things. 1., he was too busy to call me back. 2. he had decided I was not a good relationship for him. 3. the more he saw me, the more he liked me. They don’t add up.
R. Why can’t all those things be true at once?
E. Because they’re contradicting.
R. I think it’s not that they are contradicting, it’s that you don’t believe him.
E. A goes on in circles. Being too busy – sure. It’s not like he has an 18 hour a day job. (As a matter of fact, he has no job.) That’s an excuse I’ve heard from every man I’ve ever known – it’s number one. Sure, he didn’t have ten minutes to call me.
R. I think it’s more complex than you say. A has complicated feelings, they’re not black and white as you’d like them to be.
This makes me angry. OK, fine, A is smart, I’m too dumb to pick up on the nuances. Thanks very much. I don’t say this. My sense of it is, overall, Ron is defending A the whole tie.
R. Why did you thank Y and Z when they gave feedback?
E. Because they saw my side. I was grateful for that.
R. You don’t expect anyone to see your side?
Well, you sure don’t. I don’t say that.
I’m seeing as I write it out, how this session went deeply wrong for me. I’m pretty angry with Ron for not empathizing with me. A is his favorite, that’s obvious in the group. I feel let down by him, but I don’t say it. I should’ve said it, maybe I’d feel less like quitting now if I had.
The next part of the session concerns A, so I’m going to gloss over it. The upshot is, I feel that A is modeling himself very closely on Ron, that he really really takes on all of Ron’s opinions, he wants to be a therapist – I don’t think it’s healthy. Ron is a bit offended by this. Anyhoo. Not really my business.
I also go on about how A pretends to be very in touch with his feelings, he acts somewhat therapist like, but my feeling is that this is a front for other things going on in the background. Again, armchair analyst, not my business. I’m angry and critical.
E. When you’re pursuing someone, you have less power than they do. It’s a crummy feeling, and bringing it up made me feel bad. As if it was true, what E said, that I was pursuing A, that then the person being pursued feels completely drained with nothing left to give to the person who wants someone to listen to her problems. Huh. As if I pursued A to tell him my problems. I didn’t.
R. The person pursing also has power. They can stop pursuing, pursue someone else….
E. Well, it’s not true I was pursuing. This was one phone call, that was the extent of it.
R. OK, let’s call it desire.
E. OK. The person with the desire for connection is one down compared to the person who doesn’t have it. They’re more vulnerable. That’s been the case for all my dealings with men. They all distance, they’re all too busy….A’s behaviour is not unique. Now I really dislike him. I actually wonder where the person I liked went. I’m sure it’s not great that I turn on people like that. I should probably be more balanced, I can see that.
Ron nods his head and doesn’t reply.
R. Was that the case with your husband?
E. For sure. You know what, I don’t want to get into my marriage now. We have what, six minutes left? It was this whole complex situation, and I can’t cover it in six minutes.
R. We actually have about 15 minutes. I’d like you to tell me about it.
So I launch into this story, which I really do not wish to get into. I wish I had followed my own feelings, maybe I’d be handling things better now.
Sometimes therapy just goes wrong. You miss each other somehow. With me, leaving out the parts in order to deal with adult business tends to make me feel disconnected. But I’m not sure how I could have brought them in, especially with Ron so keen to discuss the group.
to be continued….