Another side


Ice pellets in the forecast (!!), so a frosty photo to celebrate.

I’ve just read over my last few posts. Wow, was I ever negative. NEGATIVE. I can’t believe it. How do I fall into these pits? How come so many people even bother to comment on this self-destructive cyclone? I appreciate the care and compassion I’m being shown when my flaws are on such vivid full-colour 3D view.

I am quite a bit better. The very strange and disabling dissociation is mostly gone. I still can’t seem to get it together to cook anything, but I’ve worked a few hours, gone for walks and for tea, so I’m back to functioning.

Time helps. Also an email to Ron helped. A part of me still wants to tell him how I’m feeling, so I did. I described the dissociation problem, how I haven’t been able to function, the rift I feel between us, how I’m worried he is angry. Also how I feel manipulative – quitting therapy, then un-quitting it, quitting a group I’d committed to, all to manage my feelings. I really don’t want to manipulate.

I told him I didn’t need a reply. I didn’t want to get into the cycle of desperately looking to see his reply, or being hurt when he said something impersonal. I also couldn’t imagine him caring about me. He replied the same day. And this time he did move towards me. He said he wasn’t angry, and he wondered if we should do two sessions a week to mend the rift that I see.

I really like it when he moves towards me. Go figure. Not sure if financially I want to do the two sessions. This week it would have been helpful, but I didn’t trust him enough to try. It’s confusing when in a crisis, but the crisis seems to be about the person who’s trying to help.

Ron has not said anything about me going back to group. I’m glad. I feel very sad that I can’t go to group, but it is triggering me too badly. PTSD sucks that way. I don’t want to avoid all triggers, I want to process the emotions. However, if the trigger is too severe, I just get re-traumatized, which is what seems to be happening.

I was awful in group last time. I criticized everything, and attacked Ron. Then in my session the next day I basically did the same thing. Though also apologized for attacking Ron. It’s a f’ing mess.

I have a very strong critical tendency. I have decided I need to channel this for good. I think a lot of the badness I see is actually there – I’m not imagining it. However, there is a lot of good stuff there also, which I’m ignoring. Right now, I’m seeing mostly the bad.

It’s really true, what a kind commenter remarked, that anyone will be pushed away by constant negativity and criticism, even therapists. It seems to me like I was under a black cloud last group. I felt bad, and, even though my intention was to describe my feelings, like we’re supposed to do in therapy, it morphed into attacking. It was actually a scream of pain, but not very recognizable.

Here are Ron’s good points, and they’re very strong.

He has guts. He will go for the pain and not look away. He could stand processing trauma with me, which I’m sure is hard on him. He has to share very old and overwhelming pain and fear with me in order to help me with it, and that takes a lot of guts. Another example? He has suicide cutting girl in a psycho-dynamic group which is anxiety producing for members. Most therapists would be scared shitless to do that in case the anxiety of this triggered another attempt.

He will go with whatever comes up without dismissing it. He will help me explore strange feelings, dreams, or parts, without making me feel like a strange and psychotic individual.

He does not take anger personally. Well, up to a point, as he is human.

He move towards problems, not away from them. Also up to a point, due to still being human. Like when I was ready to leave group, he asked me to talk about it instead. If I am extremely angry about therapy, he offers an extra session. With problems, he tends to offer himself. I find this appealing.

He has compassion.

Did I mention he’s kind of cute? When we’re getting along, I like how he looks.

That’s all that comes to mind for now. He still has all the flaws I’ve been complaining about also. But why do I need to focus on them? He may not be right for me, or not forever, because the negatives I see are still there, and I will have to determine if I can live with them. I’m trusting for now that if I take group out of the equation, we can go back to doing therapy that helps me.

  1. Ellen, glad to see you’re coming out of that darker perspective.

    There are lots of patterns and currents that you are enacting, but seeing them from the inside is what really counts.

    Actually, the more I have started to see that my emotions are my own responsibility now (as an adult), the harder it gets! But it’s still very liberating, because I don’t rely on someone else to give me something, to forgive me, to tell me I’m right, to agree with me, etc.

    More and more, I’m left with my own feelings, memories, emotions, sensations. These things are not “right” or “wrong”, they are just what I’m left to sift through to see why I am the way I am. Eventually, I aim to get back to what is most natural, what feels healthy and happy and right.

    There is so much of life to enjoy, and when I am missing it, I know that there are things I’ve allowed to become obstacles in my life and those obstacles (beliefs, fears, whatever) are keeping me from appreciating this life. Just to be able to see, to hear, to talk and walk–this is a miracle. Every time I eat food, its a revelation…

    Unless I am too consumed by my past to appreciate it and see it for what it is.

    Resistance is intense for anyone who is doing work, who is walking a path of healing or consciousness in this world.

    But that doesn’t stop me–I can’t turn away from all the good work I’ve done, and I don’t think you can either.

    Keep trucking, you should be proud!


    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Aaron. I don’t feel that proud – I’m like a human yoyo at the mercy of what I feel. I can’t really do any of what you write about. We can agree though that resistance is intense, and for pretty good reasons. Hope you’re doing well.

  2. I’m glad that you are seeing another side today Ellen. It sounds comforting that Ron moved towards you so clearly. I am glad you are going to try therapy without group for awhile. I hope it gives you a chance to separate your feelings about Ron and your T and as a group leader.

    • Ellen said:

      It was comforting. Missing group last week was restful in that respect for sure. Thanks Di

  3. Relief about roller coasters is they sweep back up. Sounds like you are back to feeling on the better side. I appreciated you writing about Ron’s qualities. I was feeling out of sorts with my counselor it was a reminder for me to think about my counselors good qualities. That has really put me in a better frame of mind. I am hoping that time with Ron without group will get you to a healthier place. Swamped in emotions is so tough. Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Ruth. Glad this was a little helpful to you. hugs

  4. I am so glad that you have found a place where you no longer feel like you are at the mercy of whatever internal demons were influencing you so strongly. As you said, you may still come to the decision that you need to move on to another therapist, but it is best to not do that from an over reactive part, but rather because the fuller you has weighed what is best for all you.

    • Ellen said:

      Makes sense. Thanks Cat’s

  5. glad you could speak to him about your hurt and anger. it’s probably not all out of your system, though, so keep talking about it would be my (unsolicited) advice. no stuffing it down or thinking that it’s a “my problem” thing or that he is “good” Ron this week vs “bad” Ron previous weeks, and you don’t want to jeopordize the current relationship. these dynamics flow back and forth, in and out of consciousness and i think this is some of the important stuff we need to do in therapy. when you say you want to “channel this for good” it worries me, in case you mean dismissing it or not listening to it or some such… sure, we all want to learn how to better communicate, esp. when angry and hurt, but those feelings are not ones to get rid of, they are to be brought into the relationship, named, explored, and then… they become less and less important. that’s been my experience

    • Gniz said:

      This is a very good comment, IMO.


    • Ellen said:

      I kind of thought of your comment at my session Catherine. It helps not to give up. Because feelings can be so irrational, it’s easier just to give up on expressing them I find. They change when they are expressed though, it’s interesting. Or, other feelings lurking behind come up. take care.

  6. Gel said:

    You are much more than your problems or your negative expressions. You are intelligent, sincere and caring. I’d guess that is partly why people ‘bother’ to comment.

    When you wrote about how it was to kind of blow up and say to Ron that you were quitting and for him to F off or what ever it was you said in the heat of anger….I’ve been mulling that over. Because it seems positive to express your true feelings. But it can damage relationships when it’s let out like that. Or maybe it’s the decisions that are made in the heat of emotions that are regretted later?….Or maybe it’s that the truth that is coming out in those explosions is not the total truth and so decisions made don’t incorporate the other parts of oneself.

    I’ve been studying a form of communication technique called Nonviolent Communication (NVC), developed by Marshall Rosenberg. It isn’t therapy but it is the most skillful set of tools for communicating both with myself and others. With it I have been able to identify the deeper needs and values that are beneath my changing emotions. and to listen to the same thing in how other people are communicating, to not be so triggered by the ways they express themselves.

    Some of your commenters have pointed to being able to take responsibility for your feelings, being able to distinguish how we feel from what other people say or do. I’ve been interested in this for a long time since I realized how affected I am by other people. To me it is one of the biggest challenges to honor my feelings and not stuff them but to also express myself without blame or damaging relationships. Probably a lifelong challenge. It seems the biggest help has been the pause and slowing down, and separating what I feel from what others do/say. That’s only a tiny part of it but it’s at the basis of making progress. I also am learning not to make decisions when feeling intense. But instead to get intense, and let it out separate from decisions or actions. Then later think about if a decision is to be made. I have realized that sometimes a decision was made AS A WAY to express a feeling not because it was a good decision.

    It’s an honor to hear how your healing journey is going and seeing your progress. It helps me have courage to keep working on mine.

    • Wow, this is yet another great comment. I haven’t heard particularly of NVC but it sounds very helpful. Someone wise once told me, “It’s not what you say, it’s HOW you say it” that counts. I have learned this difficult lesson over and over in my life, but find it particularly compelling. Thanks for elucidating your process.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for sharing your process Gel. Yes, the way I communicated my anger was sub-optimal to say the least. NVC sounds interesting. The idea of slowing things down is key for me. take care

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