Lone wolf

I am going to talk to this blog since there is no one else. I don’t think I could have conceived of the loneliness of my adult life as a child. As a child, I was often lonely, but not to the extent of not seeing anyone for days at a time. I had two siblings and two parents who were mostly around. A best friend usually. Then school. I guess in summer it got more lonely, but nothing like my life today. Working from home. Living alone. I have drifted from one of my long term friends. The other recently made me angry and I’m not bothering to call her. My ex really hurt me by not phoning me about my son. So there is no one.

You would think I would cling to a therapist and group, since they are almost my only human connections to life.

The stuff I said in my previous was all surface stuff. Yeah, it was hurtful. It’s not the reason I’m quitting therapy. The reason I need to quit is that I cannot stand the anxiety I have after sessions. It lasts for days and it is excruciating. Since I quit, I don’t feel it anymore. Instead I feel depressed and completely alone, but that is more bearable.

I understand therapy brings up bad feelings. The thing is, the relationship with the T is supposed to help you bear them. You feel accepted despite everything, and it helps to hold the pain. Things used to be like that with Ron. Especially when I was processing trauma. He’s good at that. He is not afraid of it as most therapists are, he recognizes it and doesn’t try to fix it for me. I’ll always appreciate that about him.

The other stuff he is not so good at. He tries to fix me, adjust me, make me a better person. In the process, he doesn’t stay connected. I just feel abandoned by him when he does that. He believes this is my problem. Just saying it’s my problem doesn’t help me though.

Right now, he is causing my pain, and it’s a lot of pain. OK, he’s triggering it. But he is not helping me with it, I don’t feel respected or understood. I feel condescended to and criticized.

My belief is he does not deal well with his own feelings about clients when they are angry, not appreciative, have their own ideas. He likes to be the hero. That’s probably overstated, but it’s kind of true. And who doesn’t. But as a T he should be getting a grip on his own feelings.

It’s very hard to give him up. I always hope, every week, that this time will be different. And sometimes it is. And mostly it’s not. The grief of giving up this relationship is severe.

I will apologize for my rude email, but I don’t intend to go back. I have to get through this so I can find something that will help me.

I know if you’re reading, you may be thinking, at last, this woman sees that this T is wrong for her. Things in therapy are not so simple though. One theory is that the therapeutic relationship brings up our unresolved griefs and hurts, and we project them onto the therapist. Because the therapist has our best interests at heart, he can hopefully respond in a healing way, so we can work through these hurts.

So it’s not necessarily a problem that therapy is painful, or even that there is conflict in the therapeutic relationship. Ron keeps saying that sometimes you are better off feeling worse than feeling better. I know, I know. Processing trauma is the most painful thing I have ever done.

If he could explain what he thinks happens to me after sessions when I fall into the bottomless pit of anxiety, I would listen. I don’t think he knows. He keeps saying that I have to talk, that pain is OK. He says it as if I don’t know about the pain of therapy, as if he has to convince me that it is good to explore hurt places. As if I’m the queen of avoidance and repression.

He’s not getting it. I don’t think I’m meant to go through therapy with a therapist who triggers me into huge anxiety attacks that last for days and wake me up nights. He’s supposed to be helping me with them, not causing them.

So what’s the problem? Quit already. The problem is I’m very attached to Ron. This is why he is able to trigger me so badly. Severing this attachment is going to be awful. The kid loves him.

Plus I am completely alone. I know I have blog readers, and I appreciate you, but I have no one IRL. It’s a scary place to be.

Anyhow. I am going for a walk. Must keep the body functioning. Probably friends will come around, just not this weekend. I will walk and look for beauty.

  1. Juliet said:

    It’s normal to be attached to someone you’ve shared so much of your life with. But a bad ending will only make it worse. If you don’t want to go back, don’t. You are in charge of that.

    And I think this paragraph
    “He’s not getting it. I don’t think I’m meant to go through therapy with a therapist who triggers me into huge anxiety attacks that last for days and wake me up nights. He’s supposed to be helping me with them, not causing them.” speaks for itself.

    It’s okay to quit. I was scared of leaving S too but I did it anyway and don’t regret it.

    Take care xx

  2. I’m very much with you. I believe you seek therapy in the first place because you don’t know how to manage the feelings that would come up when you work with them. Therapy needs to help you manage the feelings or you don’t move forward. You simply remain in very difficult feelings that aren’t getting resolved.

    Take care and best of luck.

    • Ellen said:

      Therapy does need to help me with my feelings, for sure. Thanks Ashana M

      • You’re welcome. I think there’s the tendency in maybe both the client and the therapist to think we just need to “face” things, but there is too much to be faced. Facing needs to be made easier somehow. I hope it gets easier for you.

        • Gel said:

          I would just like to chime in here….agreeing with Ashana….that we need to ‘face’ things…..but ‘facing needs to be made easier”….Just that I think this is really important – though sounds small. In my experience most of my healing happens when I find how to keep facing stuff at a pace I can handle.

          And I’ve noticed that there needs to be an ebb and flow….rather than constant turmoil of overwhelm from retriggering or whatever. Like birth…it’s not one long sustained grueling push….it’s push forward (difficult), then pause or rest or even retreat a little, then push forward a little further, then pause rest…..etc. (I watched my sister give birth).

          I am one of the people who question whether or not Ron is the right T. for you, so I really listened to what you wrote about that. I hear you, that we project them onto the therapist. That’s why ultimately you know what is best for you as to whether or not you continue to work with R. Somewhere you wrote that you have a tendency to pick the wrong people for you, That’s part of why I questioned R. being a good pick for you…so I wondered if there might be a therapist out there who would give you more nurturance and affirming support while being firm and honest.

          thanks for sharing your inner process so clearly and allowing others to share here.

          • Ellen said:

            Thanks Gel. I think that’s really an important truth, that healing needs to happen at a pace we can handle. I am still undecided on the therapist issue. thanks for following along and for the support.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Catherine. Your kind words helped.

  3. It is a very hard thing to be so lonely, and I can feel your loneliness through reading your words. However, you are not doomed to a life of loneliness. I think the way you will begin to connect more to the world and people around you is when you start to truly see that you are a good person, a worthy person who has had a very difficult path to walk. This is something that you could eventually come to be very proud of.

    First, though, I believe it will take 100% personal responsibility for your path at this moment to allow you to begin to break free of the chains from the past. We all have been dealt a certain kind of hand in life, and some people have been absolutely given an unfair disadvantage. You’ve not had many kindnesses given to you, particularly as a child, and so you’ve struggled to see how much possibility there is for kindness in life.

    But now, as an adult who is on a healing journey, you can begin to allow yourself to see the possibilities. Yes, you need help. You need guidance and support. But ultimately it will be your own inner strength and determination that will make the difference. YOU will need to determine who is helpful for your next step on this journey. YOU will need to be strong in the face of adversity and fear and doubt. YOU will make the choice to slowly, step by step, continue to walk the path towards healing and freedom from the past.

    I have gone through some of those steps. Of course, my background is much different than yours and I was given certain advantages in my background. Although I was deprived in many ways by my dysfunctional family and the anger and pain I was exposed to from a young age–I don’t think that was the same as the near total annihilation that you experienced at the hands of adults as a child.

    Still, the process of your healing will likely have some of the same landmarks as mine and others that I have heard of with more serious issues. That process starts from a place of self-preservation and personal responsibility. From there, it is a slow process of winning back your own internal compass and trusting the small stirrings of your instinct for happiness. There is a little voice inside which says, “yes, this is the direction I need to go in.” The voice starts out so small and faint that you can hardly hear it, and you need to become still and quiet and gentle to listen. That is why relaxing and being gentle is so important. Later, the voice gets a bit more clear and more insistent. But the path will be your own. I believe it will lead you eventually to peace and happiness and you will not feel so alone.

    But these early days will be difficult and painful and frightening. However, there are people who will respond with empathy and healing and guidance if you seek it out correctly.

    Do not lose hope, Ellen. This is all part of the journey.


    • Ellen said:

      My idea around the loneliness is that partly, I’ve been drawn to the kind of people who aren’t right for me. For both of my more long-term friends, therapy is not a good thing but a sign or weakness. Not therapy per se, but having issues. The types of people I used to be comfortable with were more like my family – they’d suppress anything unpleasant, all the time, and they would be threatened I suppose when someone didn’t do that. It’s not how I want to be. I have really changed through this relationship with Ron and the group, and I see how some people can accept all aspects of a person. I want something different now. So while I’m not seeing a lot of these friends, in a way it is a relief, because I don’t have to twist myself into a pretzel in order to be accepted by them. It’s not totally a bad thing.

      I think a big thing too is being aware of how I am talking to myself and changing that for the better. It’s kind of in line with what you are saying about breaking fee of the chains of the past. Thanks for the fellow-feeling and for sharing your philosophy with me. I think it’s a good one. Difficult to do perhaps. Take care

      • Hi Ellen. Well my path is slow and in some ways difficult, but also has been very rewarding for me. But everyone must find what works for them–there is no one way, nothing I’ve seen that assures a “one size fits all” approach. So I simply talk from what I know, with little expectation that anybody would choose to do what I do.

        I will say that I really relate to your first paragraph above, in terms of realizing the kinds of people you’ve chosen to surround yourself with, etc. I have actually let go of/lost a lot of relationships over the last year or two. Sometimes I also feel quite lonely and afraid of what will happen in the future, if I will find myself completely alone someday…

        But I’ve come to the conclusion that such worrying is not very helpful to me. Ultimately, I have to focus on my self, my path, and my own inner happiness. I believe that friendships with people that are more healthy for me will come as I continue to address my own issues and focus on myself. At least, that’s my story right now. 😉

        Take care, Ellen.

        • Ellen said:

          Really interesting that we’re on a similar path as far as friends go. I wouldn’t have thought that. Worrying really doesn’t help does it. I hope also I will start to attract more healthy people into my life. Somehow. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. hi aaron, i know you didn’t write this for me… but your words really spoke to me. thank you.

    • Hi Catherine. Thanks so much for saying that. I am very glad to hear that what I wrote spoke to you. And of course, ultimately I was also writing to remind myself of those things. We are on this path and we can only walk it ourselves, but we can still make the journey together.

      Take care.


  5. You are right Ellen..IRL people are important. Getting out walking, making connections, visiting a library or other place where people share your interest. The loneliness can be its own battle. I know for me my counseling put me in a much worse place for a long time. However, my counselor responded differently than yours. For one, he almost always answered my emails even if it was his computer saying he was not available. (He had a knack for writing hilarious out of office messages.) I can really hear your frustration with how things have gone. Group seems to be counterproductive to your counseling sessions. Hoping you find some measure of peace.

    • Ellen said:

      I did both those things yesterday Ruth and they helped – library and a long walk. Sometimes it’s good just to be around other people, even though I don’t know them. That is so true. I am wondering if I should simply leave the group but continue with therapy. A lot of this stress comes from the tensions of being in a group with Ron. Even though I am attached to the people in it and will miss them. At least I’d still have my therapy. Thanks Ruth

  6. laura said:

    It’s not surprising that you’re lonely, you’ve ditched or discounted everyone who cares about you. And you’ve got a big story about how they’ve abandoned you. Self-inflicted misery is misery all the same. Hope you feel better soon.

    • I disagree strongly with the tone of this comment, as well as the content of it.

      • Ellen said:

        Thanks for standing up for me Aaron. 🙂 This comment did upset me. I’m already beating myself up but trying not to. I think people get triggered into their own issues and then lash out.

        • laura said:

          ..and that’s your story about ME – which means that you can discount any truth to what I said. Gaaaahhh!

  7. kp said:

    Hi….I agree with Aaron; you have been dealt a very painful path but I also believe there is healing there for you if you have the courage to move through it. I know it is unclear to you if Ron is good for you or not. I wish we could tell you if he is, but only you can know that. At some level, I think he must be good for you because your old feelings are coming to the surface which ultimately they must do to heal. Maybe you and Ron could talk about strategies for coping with the anxiety?? In the meantime, it is good that you know you can reach out here. Virtual hug…..Kim

    • Ellen said:

      Aaron does have a way with words doesn’t he? I think you’re right on with what you say about Ron and me. The reason this hurts so much is that we do connect, and so really difficult feelings come up for me. I kind of know if I had an intimate relationship, these feelings would also emerge. Ron is not one for strategies at all – he believes in feeling things as much as possible. Just I find it unmanageable. I really appreciate your balanced perspective Kim. Hugs.

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