Therapy Friday – attachment

I’m going to write despite nausea and despite everything else that is trying to stop me it seems.

First, I too remember the fallen and am sad. Just sad that there is war and it is horrible and there is nothing I can do. I remember my grandfather who fought in WWI and never spoke about it. And my uncle, still alive, who fought in WWII in the other side, and was taken prisoner, and was scarred by this for his whole life. And sad that those scars veterans carry get passed down through generations as abuse and dysfunction.

I have moved to my parents’ place for a few days to see whether the nausea is really caused by my apartment. It doesn’t seem to be unfortunately. So here I am, nauseous as ever. I’m a little freaked out because I don’t know what is wrong with me, and the nausea keeps getting worse. However. I chat with a friend about it and feel a bit better.

My therapy session didn’t go real well. I was crying for a lot of it, so I don’t remember it in detail. Plus I don’t feel I acted well so I am ashamed of it. The main topic was my feeling that Ron supports A and not me.

Ron. I feel, in my bones, that I do support you and that I can be an ally to both of you.

I cry and feel in my bones that he doesn’t. I wonder aloud if this therapy is working at all.

Ron. What would the markers be, that it is working?

E. Well, I’d feel like you support me. It wouldn’t be that we’re not getting along. I’d feel that you care.

R. I do care. How would you know if I care?

I just cry.

R. How do you know that other people care?

E. I don’t know.

I cry some more. I think to myself that really, no one does care, so I don’t really know how I’d know if someone did.

I cry. Many parts of me do not want to quit therapy and love Ron. Another part of me thinks this is not working out at all. I should feel liked and accepted by my therapist and I don’t.

Ron says something to the effect that if my attachment as a child was disturbed, then I will be feeling the same disturbance with him, and that we both need to be robust enough to keep going and working it through. He thinks it’s something to do with my attachment to my parents or my siblings that is coming up here in therapy.

R. In that case, this is the therapy. Working on this.

That part makes sense to me, so I remember it.

Ron talks a lot of other theory, and I hate that as usual. I feel as if the theory is being rammed down my throat – that’s the felt sense I have. I consider later though that really, Ron is sensitive and may not be doing that. I find the theory discussions triggering, maybe bringing memories of being lectured as a child.

Throughout I feel Ron is trying to fix me. Not in the part of the session I’m describing, but in other parts of it. At one point we are discussing the group, and he praises E’s feedback.

R. I think it was E who said, if you feel angry, just keep saying I’m angry, I’m angry…

I hate that he says this. E’s feedback was OK, but I hate it that he thinks she knows better than I do. I know that’s not true, but I wish he’d keep out of our tentative relationship and let it heal.

The upshot from Ron and the group was I should have gone ‘deeper’ in talking about my feelings of rejection. Ron said it was good when I talked about being rejected by my family and friends, and I could have stayed with that a lot more. I reply that it’s not as if I have a huge story I’m holding back on – I said what I knew.

I tell Ron I was suicidal after the group. Not sure how or why it happened.

E. At one point in the group, that suicidal voice popped up. It was no huge deal, but if I’d been able to catch your eye, I would have told you about it.

Ron crosses his legs slowly and looks serious.

R. You thought from my expression you didn’t want to tell me?

E. No, just, I felt like I needed to catch your eye. It wasn’t something I wanted to tell the group, just you. But you were looking down, you looked like you were in pain or something, so I didn’t.

R. I think you did mention something about this.

E. Oh, you mean the air purifiers? Yeah, that’s true. They’re triggering me.

That’s about all we said about this. Afterwards I realize a big piece of what’s going on is that traumatized parts of me are being activated by the roaring of these fans. I can’t shut out noise very well, and it triggers my PTSD. So I was pushing a lot of stuff down in order to talk in the group about feelings of rejection caused by A. And I basically did the same thing in my session, where we mostly talked about the group. Ron is very eager to discuss it, and I’m so used to pushing the trauma aside in order to live my life.

E. I just don’t think I’m the same as the others in the group. I’m in parts. But I’m willing to try and work on interpersonal issues, I am, especially in the group. But it’s not really helping my actual PTSD problem.

Ron has said many times that I can bring in parts and memories into the group, so he’s likely tired of hearing me say this. I understand. I’m reluctant to work on those things in group because I don’t think the ‘groupies’ will understand. But I’m starting to change my mind on that, because I so need to do it.

Ron says a lot of things about therapy, and group, and my issues. For instance, he tells me I live in a hostile world. Something I say. I think he means I distrust the world and see people as unfriendly and hurtful. I forget what I said to make him say that. I resent this at the time, but now see there’s likely a lot of truth to it.

He says a lot about how I should talk more, that I stop myself from talking, that I should go deeper. I resent this also. When do I stop myself from talking?

R. For instance, sometimes you’ve actually said ‘I’m going to stop talking now.’

That’s true. Not last week, but it’s something I say. I feel I’ve ventured out into saying something someone may take badly, and I stop myself. I don’t say this though. I am going to keep in mind that as long as I’m not attacking someone, it’s OK to say my view and my feelings.

In general I argue with most of what Ron says, and I cry, and at one point I tell him I prefer when he doesn’t talk. Which is oh so true for me at that moment. Though afterwards I find myself wishing I could remember more of what he told me. At the time, I think it’s complete garbage, but afterwards I see the sense.

When we’re doing the group, I find Ron is super eager to fix me and tell me his theories. When we’re not, he seems a lot more laid back and ready to listen to me and see what emerges. It’s hard to be fixed. Especially when I’m actually pushing down memories, then sitting there, being told how to have better communication skills.

Oh yes, one more heartfelt comment from Ron.

E. When this phone call situation with A was actually happening to me, you weren’t interested.

R. (angry tone) Don’t tell me how I feel!

E. You said to say how I feel. That’s how I feel.

R. Then stick to how you feel. You feel I wasn’t interested.

E. OK

Ron really seems offended and angry. I think my constant attacks are getting to him.

I think my social skills deteriorate entirely when I’m triggered. I write Ron an email later to tell him this. I know they do. When I’m re-experiencing abuse, even holding it back, my social skills dissolve in the dust.

So, not a great session. Ron does feel I am re-experiencing trust issues I had in the past, so that is a positive view, and makes sense of this huge feeling of rejection and not being heard I feel.

I leave. He says take care Ellen. I look at him and don’t say anything.

I think I have to stop pushing down memories when they are happening, if it’s group or therapy. Those are the places I can let those things happen. This way, pushing them down, everything gets all mixed up.

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4 comments
  1. catherineintoronto said:

    sorry you are still feeling nauseous, sounds horrible. do you have time to go back to the doctor? and your sessions sounds so painful, but i think you remembered the important stuff… i think it is generally true, working on trust and being heard and supported in the relationship between you and the therapist is the work of therapy. hope you feel better soon, c.

    • Ellen said:

      I have time for the doctor but she has no real suggestions. Well, I went for blood work today so maybe something will show up. Trust is a biggie isn’t it. Thanks Catherine. Hope the schoolwork is going well.

  2. weareonebyruth said:

    I once asked to tape record sessions because I would forget stuff. He told me it wasn’t a good idea and just to remember the stuff I do remember. Sounds to me like you are remembering the stuff you need most and your mind is blanking out the theory that doesn’t make sense right now. I think it is a huge step to decide to not push down the memories any more. I think pissing off Ron is what you are trying to achieve because you seem to do things that you know will piss him off. Just an observation to consider. Sorry to hear the nausea is staying. Hope you can find a solution for that.

    • Ellen said:

      Interesting about your T. Maybe what we remember is what we need to remember, it’s true. I’m just used to remembering more. About ‘pissing off Ron’ – no, I’m not doing it on purpose. However I am getting angry, and then I lash out without thinking. It’s a bit of a tough road at the moment. Thanks Ruth.

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