Extra session

Another session which has left me feeling really bad about Ron, my therapy and myself. I feel quite beaten up. Maybe if I get it down I’ll gain some clarity, though I’m not sure I can remember much about it.

It’s at 9:30 in the morning, ugh, I am down at that time of day most of the time. I’m five minutes late due to morning traffic.

E. Funny to be here so soon again.

R. Yes?

I can’t remember how we started off. I mention his large coffee, and suddenly notice he has a lot of power outlets. Ron has a cough today. I didn’t look at him enough to remember what he was wearing – probably his blue grey sports jacket. He looks really down – sad and solemn. Maybe he has the same trouble I do mornings. Though I think of him more as having anxiety rather than depression.

E. I went to the dentist yesterday.

R. Were you triggered?

E. Actually not. That’s never happened before. Though I did shut down and go to sleep, I didn’t have the body memories I usually get.

E. I had a lot of the body memories on the weekend.

R. How come?

E. I really don’t know. Maybe they were as a result of my session Friday. At least last time, I didn’t think you were the cause of how I felt.

E. I had this dream on the weekend, and woke up with the body memories from that. It wasn’t even a scary dream, about being chased or attacked. Nothing like that. It was boring.

R. What was the dream?

E. Oh, I’m a man and I’m behind the counter at a hotel in the dessert. I’m in charge of switching people. Or towels. Or something. There was more but I forgot it right away.

R. So maybe the part of you that is in charge of switching is male. I think it’s a hopeful dream – that you’re more in touch with the part of you that controls switching. You want to be more aware of that part.

E. Maybe. Of course I thought of this also. There’s even the word switching in the dream. It just doesn’t seem to tell me anything I don’t know.

We sit in silence.

R. Have you considered more about the group? Are you leaving? What would you like me to tell them?

E. Well, I don’t know. Right now I feel like going back. I like the people, I miss them. But….the problem is, the group makes my relationship to you really bad. I lose trust that you’re on my side.

R. What would it look like, if I were on your side?

E. I don’t know, I’d feel it.

We sit in silence.

E. You said that for last time in group, I might have switched into a protector part. That could be right, I hadn’t thought of that. Do you see how when I’m in that part, I can’t respond to feedback about connecting? First I’d have to be aware of what was happening, then I’d need to either switch out or dialogue with that part. That part’s job isn’t ‘connecting’. So that feedback didn’t make a lot of sense.

R. When I talk, I talk to all of you. I think you can influence all parts.

We go back and forth on this a bit more. Ron never accepts that I couldn’t respond to the feedback. He seems to think it’s an act of willingness. So I give up on this.

R. You’ve said you don’t like the feedback I give, yet feedback is what my role requires.

We sit in silence.

Yep, it didn’t go well. I’m too discouraged to describe the rest right now. Not sure I can remember it anyway. Just a bunch of badness. Plus I couldn’t feel much, just hurt at how this was going.

I don’t need advice on leaving this therapy right now. I know it’s not going well and leaving is definitely on my mind. At the same time, I can’t stand to cut the chord of a relationship which has been helpful to me. I’m not sure I can stand the pain of that. The pain of a bad session will fade in a day or two, but leaving altogether is another story.

The way I tell it, also, is not objective. I can’t remember it clearly, I feel this really sad feeling about it all, so I piece it together in a way that supports that.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks. It definitely hurts.

  1. Gel said:

    I can’t think of anything to say but I’d like to express good wishes to you. It’s understandable that you don’t want advice.
    I like that you wrote that.

    That makes me wonder what would be most helpful to you from your readers. Is it just good to be heard? or to hear that when people have similar experiences? I’m kind of new to blogging, and reading other peoples blogs. I notice that some people write a post and end it with a question or two. I assume that means they want to hear from readers. When there are no questions on someone’s posts I feel a little nervous about what is appropriate to write.

    Any way, thanks for writing about how things are going. Something about how you write is really interesting to me and how you work on stuff. It gives me courage to keep working on my stuff. So Thanks.

    Oh that last paragraph really struck a chord in me.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Gel. Actually, I’m OK with advice a lot of the time, just right now I’m too raw for it. Really anything you wish to say is fine, even advice usually. I’m always happy to hear from you and to know you are reading along. I’m glad you like reading and get something out of it anyway. And yes, a ‘dark filter’ definitely colours how I see things!

  2. It is painful. You like Ron and value the relationship, but the relationship is only a part of the equation. Does he also have the knowledge and skills to help you?

    • Ellen said:

      That is the question. 🙂

  3. You DESERVE a happy life, Ellen. You have worth, and you are a person who can and should claim your right to peace and fulfillment. I hope you know that and do not get discouraged by the hard times.



  4. Ouch, your session sounds painful Ellen. I want you to know that I think both you and Ron are showing you commitment to therapy and care for each other by having an extra session. I’m sorry that it didn’t result in an immediate sense of improving the ongoing rift between the two of you. I am thinking of you.

    • Ellen said:

      That’s a good way of looking at it, thanks Di.

  5. Bummer….sounds like slogging through a bog. You express that you feel like you are moving forward but it is painful and you don’t feel heard. That is a tough feeling. Hugs…Thinking of you.

  6. laura said:

    I’m going through a similar confusing period in my therapy, there are no landmarks or signs to let me know where I am, and I feel helpless and alone. I think you add to the difficulty by thinking that “it isn’t going well”. It seems par for the course that, with your family history, you wouldn’t have painful feelings coming between you and Ron – and it seems unlikely, again looking at your family history, that it would be better with a female therapist. Hang in there!

    • Ellen said:

      Sorry you are going through similar. First time I’ve heard you say anything like that so it’s interesting. It may be my history. Thanks.

    • laura said:

      I meant to say, It seems par for the course that, with your family history, that you WOULD have painful feelings coming between you and Ron.
      typo there.

      • Ellen said:

        I understood what you meant, no problem.

  7. sorry for the rough session.

    weather’s great today, hope you made it out for a walk and a tea and a treat.

    i think his question of “what would it look like if i were on your side” is a good one, but not easy to answer in that exact moment. but i wonder if you could brainstorm on it in between sessions and then go back with the beginnings of a list… maybe there are things that he is not doing that would help him as a group leader, and maybe there are things that he already *does* but you don’t feel / connect with or which don’t seem authentic

    i think you are looking on this as a “he doesn’t believe me when i feel that disconnect or feel unsupported or in parts” but there are so many layers to this. which “you” feels he isn’t on their side? is it little ellen that feels that he is not on her side? teen or adult ellen? protector parts? all parts? and does it make you feel angry? frustrated? alone? a space alien (that’s often how i feel)? you want to feel he’s on *your* side … so who is the other side…. the rest of the group? your parents? your sister? your boss? other parts of you?

    when i think about someone being on my side this is what comes to mind: i have an unpopular point of view and i’m losing some argument… and i would like someone the others respect to jump in and say “hell, yes, C. is correct and you all should be listening to her” … also … it’s not enough to be heard and understood, this “on your side” dimension makes me want something more from the person: a clear declaration of where they stand in the middle of some sort of conflict or aggression.

    • Ellen said:

      Your comment really made me think Catherine. What do I mean by on my side? I’m going to think about that in group tonight and see what comes up for me. I think one thing that would help is if Ron could acknowledge what I’ve said, even reflect it back, before disagreeing / giving his view. I might say that to him, though not sure he would consent to do that. He’s a little touchy if I try to influence what he does it seems like anyway.

      I smiled at your example. That would never happen, but wouldn’t it be nice? I’m not sure I’m even thinking of conflict, I think it’s more that I experience Ron as critical of what I say and it bothers me. So a lot of it is in my head. Of course, if there were conflict, yeah, it would be nice to be supported!

      Thank you

    • Ellen said:

      That is an interesting talk, thanks Aaron

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