Group – can I quit now?

groupTherapy and group were difficult this week in a way that makes me want to quit everything. I know this is a feeling that passes for me, so I haven’t sent any email or made a call about it. I did write the email but that was enough, I didn’t send it. It’s just so very tough sometimes.

I think I always want to quit when Ron seems to be involved in causing my pain. I know he doesn’t do it on purpose, but it still seems like if only he had helped me, I wouldn’t be in this pit of bad feelings.

Right after group, I sent him a very angry email. He didn’t reply, but we had a session the next day anyway, so we discussed it then to some extent. I cried a lot but figured probably I’d feel better afterward.

I sent him a kid email yesterday, and he hasn’t replied to that one either. In general, he replies by the next morning, or during the day. So as he hasn’t, I wonder if he is fed up with me. Probably. Would I be fed up in his place? Probably.

As to what happened in group – it’s difficult to explain my distress. First of all, I was feeling bad the last few days, suicidal thoughts louder, body memories.

Two of the groupies (members sounds so prissy, I’m switching to groupies) were trying to work out problems in their relationship – someone had said something that hurt the other person. Both were explaining in detail what they’d actually meant. I said a few things, I couldn’t seem to stay out of it, which was what I should have done. At one point, E said to Z that she wished Z would get mad at me. That hurt me, and I said so eventually. It’s bad enough when someone gets mad at me on their own, I don’t need someone being coached to get mad at me.

Anyway, I think it’s likely my responses were ‘off’ because of the turmoil I was in myself. My social skills deteriorate when that happens.

About half way through I used a pause and started talking about the turmoil I was in. About the thoughts of suicide, because they were front and center, and it seemed so sad to be feeling like that, in a therapy group, and not able to talk about it to anyone.

And then it started to feel so awful, that E and A had been kind of harsh to me, when I was feeling so bad (not that they knew). And then I switched to the kid by mistake. So all of a sudden I’m crying and can’t think conceptually, I’m five years old. Great. I really cry hard.

R talks to the kid. He is the only one in the group who ever does. It’s interesting that he gets on the kid’s wavelength and talks simply to her so she can understand.

People are asking me questions, so I make the effort and kind of switch back. In public, I automatically try to recover and switch to the adult who can cope. So I switch back and answer some questions.

Then Ron decides to point some things out to me about my interaction with E. And instantly, the kid is back, and can’t understand his comments, and tells him she doesn’t want to talk about it, and he says but we’re here to talk about it, and she says, No, and he just sits there and says nothing more.

Then A decides to speak up about his long-standing anger with me about a fight we had months ago. First he asks Ron if he should speak up because I seem ‘fragile’. Ron tells him to go ahead. So A tells me about how hostile I’m being to E and Z, how angry he is with me…..

I say some adult type things to him. There are only five minutes left, so once again A has brought up his issue with me when there is no time to discuss it. Very aggravating. Plus once again he’s brought it up when I’m completely devastated by my own issues. Last time he brought it up was the day I got my cancer diagnosis.

Everyone leaves. I start walking down the street, but I’m back in the kid. I’m talking aloud, and I can’t stop crying, so I turn around and go back to the building to sit down until I’m safe to drive. Five year-olds don’t make good drivers.

I feel completely abandoned and alone. Eventually I stop crying and I drive home.

The devastating part of it for me was two things. First, I am extremely ashamed when I switch into a part in public. I know it’s therapy and it is OK, but if feels really bad when that happens.

Second, Ron didn’t talk to the kid at all. Yes, I switched back to the adult, but it was a very shaky emergency type switch. If he could have talked to the kid in an accepting way, it would have been so much easier. It felt like he needed me to be adult right away, and then when I couldn’t manage it, he was mad I didn’t accept his insights (which I couldn’t, I was too young).

Ron has been so kind to the kid in the past. It felt like a complete abandonment when he didn’t seem to care this time.

The other thing was, the way he told A to go ahead with his concerns about me. Ron knows very well that A is angry with me – did he have to vent at just that moment, when I was falling apart? Why? Why couldn’t he wait until I was calm to do this?

Our session the next day is on the phone. It’s confusing, because I become so emotional it gets difficult to figure things out. Ron thinks I felt abandoned because I was alone in the building, crying, after everyone left. He says in the group, he knew I’d switched, but I’d seemed adult again when he was talking to me.

To me it seems he ignored me when I was crying, and couldn’t wait for me to stop so he could provide insight for the adult. Which I now have no idea what it was, I was too upset to take it in.

Now he hasn’t replied to my email, so I figure he’s mad. I check every five minutes to see if he’s replied. Nope.

I feel bad complaining like this. What can I say.

Art: Digital Expressionism

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9 comments
  1. I’m sorry Ellen. Seems like a really tough group session. I don’t think Ron’s mad at you though, to me it looks like he made a bad call and he’s figuring out how to work things out. Hope you start feeling better soon! xoxo

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Chatte. I hope that’s the case. It could be. Your kind words helped me tonight. xoxo

  2. attached said:

    I hope Ron responds to your email soon. I agree with Chatte that I doubt Ron is mad at you but I can understand that you feel like he is. Group sounds like it was difficult especially with A bringing up his feelings about you when you are already struggling. Do you think you could address that next group? maybe aski him if he wants to talk about his feelings at t he beginning so you have time to discuss it? That sounds hard to me but group sounds too hard to me in any way. I hope you are feeling better physically.

    • Ellen said:

      It was the longest wait ever actually – he got back to me today mid-morning. He did sound kind of hurt / angry actually. Yeah, I can address that next group. He’s going to launch another attack on me, but I can handle it, as long as I’m not already overwhelmed with my own problems. Group is tough. A said I’m fragile but luckily I’m not actually. Thanks Di

  3. Hugs. Wow that was a tough round. Switching in public is difficult. I hope you can start feeling less embarrassed. Ron knows about the switches, the groupies know about the switches if they are happening I suspect at some level you feel safe there. I know you felt attacked by A and having say that another person should get angry with you is not at all pleasant. May I propose, that no matter what Ron did it wouldn’t be right. Part of the kid’s perspective seems to me that Ron won’t or can’t listen and doesn’t understand. Sounds like the kid is seeking to be comforted. I wonder what the kid would enjoy doing if you gave yourself over to doing something the kid likes for an afternoon. Just a thought. I admire your courage for recognizing that your desire to quit is usually temporary. Hoping you feel more grounded soon. Take care, Ruth

    • Ellen said:

      I always feel ashamed if I switch by accident.

      Ron actually doesn’t understand. I think he does, then I get mad at his behaviour, but then it turns out he doesn’t. I’ll have to educate him. I went and bought a colouring book today so will be doing some of that. Maybe it will help. Thanks for the encouraging words. Hugs

      • I have my coloring books. Not using them as much now but they are comforting to have.

  4. laura said:

    that sounds really difficult, Ellen, but you can take it. I agree with ruth, comfort the kid, and send another email to Ron, let him know what’s happening now. part of the therapy is to learn to keep speaking our truth even when we’re hurting, even when it seems like others have pulled away. I hope you’ll tell A about his pattern with you. the group seems to have come a long way since everyone was being too polite with each other!

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, group does seem to have become more lively at least, looking on the bright side. Things are too confused for emails at this point so I will discuss with Ron. And yeah, I’ll tell A about his pattern, not that he’ll hear me, but I’ll say it anyway. Thanks!

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