Chilly

Back to a frozen chilliness. In the middle of winter, temperatures around freezing would feel warm to me. Why do they seem so cold in spring? I went for a walk to the dry cleaners and back, and that may be enough of outside for me for the day.

My workload is very light. And working from home. It is good to rest, but at the same time as usual, not having enough to do for work makes me anxious and guilty. There are worse problems to have though. I’m getting paid. I’m warm, comfortable, with no people problems.

Easter weekend was difficult. First of all my son seemed to be missing. He lives in a different city, alone, and no one had been able to contact him for a couple of weeks. I worry. His dad worries. On Friday his dad set out for the city where my son lives, about an eight hour drive, to go to his apartment, since he wasn’t answering emails or phone messages.

I expected a call from my ex letting me know what was going on. Friday night, no call. Saturday, no call. Sunday no call. My ex is not comfortable with cell phones, though he has one. He hadn’t turned on his cell and I couldn’t reach him either.

So I fell into a pit of anxiety and speculation. Why were neither of them calling me? Especially my ex, since he’d left with the express purpose of reassuring everyone that my son was OK. It made my weekend very difficult as I veered between anger at my ex for his thoughtlessness to fear that something was seriously amiss.

As I tend to do, I wrote Ron about my anxiety in the hope it would help me feel better. He’s told me it’s fine to do that. I wrote several times, but only sent one email, Sunday afternoon. For some reason, he still hasn’t replied. I assume he won’t now, as he tends not to after 24 hours have passed. I feel really let down.  I looked back at the email this morning. It wasn’t very clear, but I did ask for a response.

Finally, Sunday evening, my son called. He said he’d been sick but was OK now. He’d charged his phone but forgot to turn it on. He didn’t see what the fuss was about. What could happen to him? If something did, what could we do anyway, we aren’t doctors? So we had this back and forth discussion of what could have happened, why I would be concerned, why I needed to hear from him once a week.

He reluctantly agreed to phone once a week. He’s agreed before, and didn’t stick to it.

But I am so relieved he is OK. Nothing seems that bad today, since that anxiety is relieved.

Maybe I will email Ron this afternoon and ask why he never responded to my email. He is really good about responding usually. Very brief responses, but they are enough for me to feel it’s OK to write and he reads what I send him.

Maybe he thinks I skipped my session Friday on purpose, and then lied to him about it? That’s not my style. I would have liked a session in fact. This was a real crisis for me and it would have been nice to hear from him. Then I could also tell him my son is OK.

There was a mix-up with the phone. Ron left me a message when I didn’t show, and my phone didn’t indicate I had a message, just that he called. I only found the message once Ron told me about it. And I didn’t hear the damn phone when he called because my ears are plugged with wax currently, a recurring problem I have. So maybe altogether he thinks I’m making things up and doesn’t want to deal with me.

Or maybe he just forgot.

There is a lot I could say about my son. I feel very bad about his childhood – I wasn’t a good mother, though I desperately wanted to be. His father wasn’t a good dad, though he also wanted to be. And his dad and I fought throughout his childhood. And I was suffering from depression. Overall, he had a crummy time of it.

I tried. I read books about parenting. I went to a group for parents of acting out teens. Etc etc etc.

I tried and I failed. And now he has problems for sure.

Maybe it will all work out somehow. All I can do now is keep trying to keep in contact.

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13 comments
  1. Paul said:

    I appreciate your honesty about leaving your therapist phone messages. I did that with my first therapist quite often so I know both the good and not so good sides of it. Therapy can really be difficult some days. Then once in a while there are incredible sessions where everything becomes clear and that make all of the pain feel worth it. At least that was my experience.

    • Ellen said:

      Leaving messages / emails is great sometimes, it really helps, and then once in a while it’s awful, when he doesn’t respond or is unhelpful. Glad your experience with therapy was good. thanks.

      • i’m gonna look for some articles on this idea, but i remember sharon telling me about “containment” or was it “container” as part of our therapy… the idea that our time together was special, and the space we make in her office was special, and shouldn’t be diluted with extra phone calls/ e-mails … except of course in a real emergency… i can’t really remember the “why” of this (just the term “containment”) but i wonder if it’s some important part of the kind of therapy we’re doing… and because i’m wondering, i wonder if your focus on writing the emails/deciding which ones to send/waiting for a response is somehow keeping you from building a deeper connection with him, a connection that can survive a week between contact knowing that you are confident and secure and strong in his love and support and care for you… just thinking out loud here…

        • Ellen said:

          It seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me. Sure, if there is no contact, I won’t suffer when the contact fails. This idea of container actually encompasses any discussion of therapy outside the room, if I understand it. Blogging a session, or discussing it with a friend, would also harm the ‘container’. I don’t really agree with this, obviously. thanks Catherine

          • interesting re. blogging about therapy/chatting it over with friends. i hadn’t really thought about that, and i bet our therapists don’t like that… actually, i don’t know that for a fact, but i will ask sharon what she thinks, just out of curiousity.

            but my bigger question is this: does the feeling crushed when he doesn’t respond contribute to your swings of emotion around whether he cares for you or not… or is that more to do with how things go in group, how he seems to treat you in relation to other members, and how well he listens and responds during your one to one… i guess it can be all things…

            just wondering if it keeps you in that cycle of hurt and betrayal. the thought that he would think you are “making things up” sounds like it’s directed at the wrong person… more like how a family member might respond to revealing abuse or even sharing emotions.

            anyhow… last two weeks of school. looking forward to our photo walk in the park!

  2. E.H. said:

    Anxiety sucks. My own PTSD didn’t respond particularly well to any previous treatment modality, and I’ve struggled with it for years. Finding a therapist that is a ‘good fit’, who has something to offer that is lasting and profound is as challenging as any other relationship.

    …Strangely enough, my current therapist is working out so well I’m a little…confused. Could it have been so simple all along? Maybe not, but it is working out nicely now.

    I hope you also find the relief you seek. 😀

    • Ellen said:

      Good to hear your therapist is a good fit. I think Ron is pretty good actually – just sometimes he lets me down. People are not that perfect. Thanks E.H.

  3. I’m glad your son’s OK, have to tried talking to him about his childhood? Could it be of any help? I’m also glad your anxiety has receded, I know how upsetting it can be… xx

    • Ellen said:

      Not really. He’s difficult to talk to – he doesn’t want to discuss anything personal. But maybe I’ll try sometime anyway. Thanks Chatte

  4. I’m glad that your son is fine. I can hear how worried you were about him. Did you follow up with your ex about his lack of communication? I think you are right and the best you can do for your son is to continue to reach out to him and let him know that your are present and interested in him and his life. I”m sorry that Ron didn’t respond to your email and I hope it wasn’t related to you missing your session on Friday. I hope you can discuss it with him..

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, I talked to my ex. He had a huge list of excuses. I know he doesn’t function well under stress – he kind of loses his mind. I have now mentioned the email in group. It was an awful group session. Ron didn’t respond. In general, we just fought. Thanks Di

  5. Hug, kids don’t get that we worry about them. No we aren’t doctors but that is not the issue. I had a couple of my kids go no contact for months at a time. It is hard. Like you said we keep reaching out. Drove me buggy when my counselor wouldn’t respond to emails. Interesting that the stronger I became the less of an issue it became.

    • Ellen said:

      Months at a time would be tough. Did they tell you that they needed a break from contact, or was it more that you couldn’t reach them? This fear for my son was really awful. Thanks Ruth

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