Interesting how my writing falls apart when I’m trying to describe something I haven’t really processed yet. I’m going ahead anyway, because I want a record, even if the writing, ahem, sucks big time. I think a lot of times we just stop writing at this point, when things are too difficult, and I don’t want to do that, so I’ll just keep stumbling along with bullet points if I need to.
The lovely sun continues. I’ve spent an hour sitting on my balcony soaking it up and reading. I keep moving my chair as the shadow of the house gets larger, and now there is only a small sliver of sun left.
The second part of the group was actually less scary. Talking about parts I just trailed off a lot, and mostly people didn’t know what to say. We did get into how maybe certain people in the group remind me of my family (FOO) – a voice would come up when three of them spoke, at one time or another, but not when another two groupies would speak.
A said I seemed to get dejected really fast – I’d speak a little bit, then kind of give up and trail into silence. Interesting. It’s true, I felt like I was taking up group time and energy when other people needed it, and I didn’t know what to do with the attention anyway, although I also craved it.
Then I asked Z why she had reacted so angrily to E, and not to me, when we’d both said the same thing, but on different days.
Z. I don’t know….For one thing, I was able to respond to you right away, and not to E.
That’s all I can really remember of what Z said. She said a bunch of stuff, but that was the gist.
A. pointed out that Z and I seemed to be dancing around each other, always smoothing things out. I didn’t think that was true, but then Ron said a similar thing.
Ron. Did you want Z to respond angrily to you?
Ellen. No – When Z and E were having the fight, I was glad I wasn’t involved in that.
Then somehow I talk a bit about my mother.
Ellen. My mother is extremely reserved. I’ve never seen her angry. I’ve never seen her cry. I’ve never seen her express any emotion at all. Z is not exactly like that, but she reminds me a bit.
This is not fair to Z. It’s just that she is a quiet woman, who hangs back and is afraid of conflict, though she is engaging anyway in a way my mother would not at all. But the dynamic is a bit similar.
Ron. Would it be fair to say you were desperate for some reaction from your mother?
Man, how like a therapist. But this is kind of true.
Ellen. Yes. That’s true.
So I sit and absorb this for a bit. It’s true I start to feel desperate when people don’t react to me. I’m quiet too, so this is a complex situation. And the situation with Z is complex also. She has an attractive quality of being soothing and accepting, or at least seeming that way, which is lovely when you’re horribly triggered and feeling chaotic. You can feel at least Z accepts you. At the same time, it’s hard to know with her what is real and what is just avoidance, a not saying how she actually feels. My mother also has a soothing quality to her sometimes, in that she will not get upset, however upset and chaotic I may feel.
Ron then shifts the group focus to E. I’d been feeling all along that E wished to talk, but when I asked her, she denied it. However, I guess Ron knew better. E wanted to also talk about how upset she was about the fight she’d had with Z, how Z no longer seemed to like her and no longer looked at her.
Things got psychological and convoluted at this point and it was hard to follow. A main point was when E had said to Z ‘I wish you’d get mad at Ellen!’.
Z said that felt like E was telling her how to feel, that how she actually felt and expressed herself wasn’t good enough. E said she felt profoundly misunderstood. She’d been trying to encourage Z she felt. I said how that statement had pissed me off royally as well. I had wondered if E was angry at me and wanting Z to express that for her. But then I could see what she’d been trying to express also.
Ellen. So you were trying to say to Z – I see you starting to stand up for yourself, and I want to encourage you to keep doing that and go even further?
E. That’s exactly what I wanted to say.
So I could understand that. I felt like we had maybe a tiny moment of understanding there at least.
I’m sitting there and I can see how painful this all is for E. I feel kind of relieved that at this point I’m not that worried about what other people think. At least, I’m not obsessing that one person or another doesn’t like me, or said something I am angry about. I know I could go back into that state pretty easily, but right now I feel more balanced.
A. ends the group by saying how she is angry with E for saying she disliked the laughing and joking that happened at the end of last group. She’d been in a severe crisis and this was the first time she’d laughed.
It’s happened a few times that A brings up something about E right in the last moments of the group, and never gets back to it. Seems like a bit of a hit and run to me. There is all this anger and emotion in her voice too. Then the group simply ends.
This group I manage to say goodbye to Ron and wish him a good holiday. Sounds like a matter of course, but it’s not. We are all pretty careful not to interact much with Ron before or after the group. As if he’s dangerous somehow. Or something. So often no one seems to say goodbye – we rush out the door silently. I always say good bye to someone, but never to Ron. The kid hates this. Ron responds in a friendly way, so I feel better.
I spend a long time talking to R after group, just standing outside the church where we meet. R is very reserved, but he actually has a lot to say. He has mixed feelings about therapy and groups and worries about being manipulated and about people talking ‘therapese’. Eventually I say I have to go. I sleep pretty well.