Therapy Friday 2

I am now the proud owner of two expensive air purifiers, $500 poorer but no longer nauseous. I’m certain now I’ve developed a sensitivity to second had smoke. That’s what changed over the summer – new people moved into the first floor apartment of the house, and they smoke. Now that it’s colder out, they are smoking indoors. Everything in my place smells faintly of cigarettes. I’ve never been allergic before, but was never continuously exposed before either.

The purifiers have big fans, and they roar on high. I wonder if in time I won’t hear it anymore. I won’t be able to live long term with the roaring, though it certainly beats nausea.

Feeling more balanced today.

I now feel good about how I handled the A situation in group. It’s a kind of calm, resolved feeling. It is so different from my fights with E last year. I feel like I expressed anger at a real situation where I was hurt and A was not. Kid parts didn’t get involved, so I didn’t exaggerate. Even if A didn’t respond in a way that meant much to me, I said my piece and I feel better.

I also feel that I can now let this incident go – it’s made it real, in one way, but also put it into the past for me. Yay. I’m not clinging to any kind of fantasy that secretly A did wish to be friends, maybe someday….No. In the past. If he should go back to saying how much he likes me, I’ll know it is his peculiarity, it doesn’t mean he wants any kind of relationship with me. It was sad to realize that, but it’s good to live with the truth of things.

Back to my session. This part is just sad.

E. I don’t want to talk about my marriage. It’s in the past.

I laugh a bit. Ron says nothing. OK, I know the past is his stock in trade.

E. J (my ex-husband) used the ‘too busy’ excuse constantly. He didn’t like to spend any time helping with the baby, or doing things together. I mean, when my son was in kindergarten, if he didn’t want to do something the teacher asked him to do, he’d tell her he was ‘too busy’.

R. Wow.

E. Yeah. It was such and awful situation. Every day was just about survival.

R. You were afraid you would be killed?

E. No, of course not. J never physically harmed me. Though he did smash things all around me. I was afraid of him, because every few weeks, he’d have one of his blow-ups, and things would get smashed, and he’d scream a lot and throw his weight around. And….he’d do that to my son also.

R. What did you do then?

E. Sometimes I intervened. J would be very upset about that – said I was interfering with his parental authority.

R. And did you accept that?

E. Sometimes. Sometimes I just thought he was an asshole. There just wasn’t much I could do. My son….he started to hate me. He was close to his father, but he just saw me as weak and pathetic.

E. I mean, here I was, pregnant by accident, really struggling with depression, I had this baby to take care of, and they’re a lot of work, and….I didn’t really know that….what it would be like for people to really care for one another. We weren’t friends – more like business partners. No sex, and I would have liked it. It was awful. Horrible.

E. And he renovates. He has this old house, and he stripped the insides, and he’d always be working on it. I’d have no idea when the whole house would be shaking because he was using his table saw, or a wall was coming down – it was noisy all the time. And dirty. And it never finished – he’s still renovating to this day. With the PTSD, I can’t handle unpredictable noise and smashing. I go into this shut-down state. That was just triggered constantly.

R. And didn’t you have some say in what got done?

E. No. It wasn’t my business he felt. He’d bought the house before I moved in. It was his. Nothing ever really happened that I wanted – for instance, we never bought furniture.

R. And what did your family have to say about this?

E. Nothing. They wouldn’t. I tried to talk to my mother about it a few times, but she felt I was being disloyal, I should just ignore it. That’s what she’s done all her life.

E. So I feel like I missed my life. Maybe if I looked a different way, I could have found someone else.

R. You think if you looked different you wouldn’t have wound up with a bully?

E. No, that can happen to anyone, no matter how you look. I’d have maybe had a chance to find someone else. I could have left and found someone. Maybe. Anyway, we all have to work with what we’re given. But….sometimes I’m envious of the young people in your group. They have a chance. I never had a chance.

R. But you could change your relationship to your son, now.

E. I don’t think so. We’re not close. I send him money….I feel guilty, I should phone him up more. He’s difficult to talk to – he lectures me on modern art, and it makes me tired. My son….he took up all of J’s opinions. That other people are all assholes for instance.

R. Couldn’t you tell him your opinions on life?

E. He’s not interested. He decided early on that J was the boss, and he wanted to be like him. He just saw me as pathetic. He saw J treat me like I was pathetic, he saw my parents treat me that way, so he adopted the general view.

R. Have you been to visit him in X city?

E. No. I’m really not that functional. It’s difficult. I see him when he comes here to visit. He….I wish I’d been able to protect him more. He’s a little peculiar. According to J, who has been out to see him, he never talks to anyone, he doesn’t clean up so he lives surrounded by garbage….

E. I don’t know what to do about my son. I tried for many years to help him, to get help for him. Once I paid him to go to a therapist with me. He refused all that, he sees it as weakness.

R. We have to stop now.

E. OK.

I leave Ron’s office really fast. I feel kind of angry, that I was ‘forced’ to talk about this stuff, and upset to go over the details of my married life. And talk about my son, who from my perspective, is completely lost to me. I remember our connection when he was a baby, a pre-schooler, and this is just the worst pain, that he was taken from me by J. Not physically, but emotionally. It’s as if he died and I have no son.

  1. i am so sad and angry about how your ex-husband treated you. i wish i had known you then. i hope i would have been a good enough friend to help get you out of that situation. how long did you stay together? i don’t mean that in a judge-y way, i know how hard it is to disentangle yourself from an abusive relationship, esp. when there are kids involved. things may still turn around with your son, but it’s really up to him at this point, to do the healing he needs to do in order to have a relationship with you.

    and as for your comment about not finding another relationship because of your looks… look around!!! these external things matter so little… we’re *all* getting older, and wobbly, and grey. who wants to be with someone who values youth and beauty above kindness, compassion and self-awareness, anyhow, it’s such a shallow approach to life. forget what men look for in online dating, and at bars and so on. i hope i’m not telling you something you don’t already know, but you are so talented, have such great insights, and have overcome so much already in life, that you are a very good catch!! i just wish i knew some (straight) men of a suitable age, but i don’t move in those circles.

    i think you must still be carrying around the messages that your family and ex drilled into you… something along the lines of “i’m not a very good catch” or “who would want me” …. and frankly that’s bullshit.

    sorry for going on a bit. i’m just super pissed that such a kind person was treated so badly.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Catherine. We were together 10 or 12 years, then I lived another eight or so in an apartment in his house, as I had no money, and we wanted to make things easier for our son.

      I don’t move in those circles either. 🙂 Thanks for the offer of introducing me to Mr. Right if you could though. Probably it is still negative messages….

      Thanks for your kind support.

      • if you ever need a “wing”-woman, count me in!! i’m excellent in those situations, introducing people to each other… (and we wouldn’t be in competition because that’s not what i am looking for…) now we just need to find where all the mr. right’s are hanging out….

        • Ellen said:

          Ah, hidden talents! OK, I’ll keep it in mind, thx.

  2. Bourbon said:

    I can feel how painful it must have been to go through all that and then have to pick it up and walk out the door. Hope you are doing okay in the aftermath xx

    • Ellen said:

      It was definitely a difficult and confusing session. Thanks Bourbon, I’m OK.

  3. Harriet said:

    I agree, how painful to get into the story that you didn’t intend to discuss, and the issues with your son which sounds very difficult, and then its just We have to stop now, ok, bye. Ugh. I can hear the hurt in your words when you write about your ex husband and your son. And i know exactly what you mean when you say if you looked a different way things might have been different.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, that pain is still more raw than I thought. I maybe stuffed it instead of working it through at the time. Ron is always pretty strict about timekeeping. This time I thought he really did need this session to end – he was tired or it was painful for him. But I do think he cares. Just everything is mixed up with the group at the moment.

      The looks issue runs deep, for both of us I think.

      Thanks Harriet

  4. aallegoric said:

    What an awful ending for such a hard session… first he pushes you into that direction and then … .
    I’m sorry for everything J put you through. You didn’t deserve to be treated like that. xx

    • Ellen said:

      Ron is always strict about time. One time I was in a part, and so upset I couldn’t orient, and he had me stay an extra five minutes, but that was the only time. It feels painful sometimes, to be kicked out the door as it were. Thanks for your support A.

      • aallegoric said:

        That’s really hard 😦 I’m sorry xx

        • Ellen said:

          Well, it’s actually part of his philosophy on boundaries. He starts on time and ends on time. He once said he feels it gives clients a feeling of safety – knowing they will leave at a particular time. Sometimes though, I wish he’d bend. But overall it’s OK. Thanks for the concern A.

          • Harriet said:

            I agree that starting on time and ending on time are important, but i find it helpful to stop the hard stuff 5 minutes before the end to get myself together, wrap up and calm down. It seems harsh to just end….but that’s just me.

            • Ellen said:

              Yes, calming down for five minutes before hand is a good idea. I’m usually pretty aware of the time so could do that. cheers

  5. attached said:

    Yes I can hear the pain as well. I can understand why you didn’t want to start talking about your marriage and your son with only a little time. It must be very hard to worry about your son and to be unable to think of a way to help him. It would be hard to leave with those memories surfacing. I’m angry at your mother and your other family members who didn’t help you see a way out of your marriage. You didn’t deserve that treatment but it is so hard to know that when it is all you know.

    • Ellen said:

      I definitely didn’t have much sense of what was normal and what I had a right to. Thanks Di

  6. katesmum said:

    I relate to so much of what you have written here. I think it’s one thing to have an abusive partner but for me the most heart breaking thing is when they pass those messages onto the children. I hope that you are able to reach out to your son, if that’s what you choose to do

    • Ellen said:

      That is the most heart breaking thing. I do talk to my son sometimes….but am not sure how to reach out further.

      Thanks for commenting Kates.

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