Cold rain

Cold rain is dripping on my skylights. Should I turn on the heat? Or pile on a sweater?

I went back to group last night. It wasn’t completely awful, but it wasn’t fun. Not that it’s supposed to be fun but it would be nice to feel heard and cared about. Part of the problem is I’m still very depressed from last week, so possibly I can’t take in caring even if it were offered.

I also realized an unspoken rule of the group is not to say negative things about other people. No one else does. Z kind of did one evening, but the way she did it was she’d discussed it all in therapy first, then framed it so it was all about her own issues. So that was OK with the group. But doing this any other way is against the ‘rule’.

It’s OK. I’m surprised I didn’t realize this earlier. Ron explicitly says something different, but the unspoken rules are the hardiest and the ones where a breach is punished most severely.

It does feel easier and better to just stick to how I feel. Most of the group was devoted to other people, which is how it should be. Well, most was devoted to E’s issues, which is what happens when I don’t speak. Ron seems to find her very rewarding, as she is eager to talk about her stuff in detail and cries a lot.

I ended up taking up some space in the middle when E seemed to have run out of steam, to say I felt really disconnected and as if no one was real. That I feel invisible. That I also have this problem at work, and had it in my family too. That it scares me. That I’m sitting in group therapy so I feel at least here, I will say how I’m feeling.

E. responded by saying she thinks many things about me but that I’m certainly not invisible in the group.

I say I still feel like I am.

Now Ron jumps on this and asks if I felt criticized by E. Not really, but I felt like she was not understanding or accepting how I feel. He went on about how I really feel criticized. Now I feel criticized by Ron for not responding some other way to E. Which is hurtful. Why do I have to respond perfectly all the time? Especially to people who don’t get me in the first place?

Z said she can relate – am I talking about an inner experience. Yes, exactly. She talks about how she’s felt that way also. What a relief.

Then Ron says, in this special loud voice he seems to have adopted for talking to me, that he does see me and he hears how alone I’m feeling.

This should make me feel better really. I’ve longed in the past for him to say things like this. It doesn’t this time though. Maybe I’m just too depressed. But also, he’s clearly thought about this and decided to adopt a special policy for dealing with me. And his voice is really fake. I don’t like being managed. And I miss when we had real interactions, where I felt he did care about me.

So this peters out. The whole group looks really depressed and no one else says anything. The topic turns to R, and I’m fine with that.

So, today I have to go for a session and I’m worried. I just don’t want to feel worse about Ron again.

I’ve emailed him my thoughts, including that I’m really depressed and can’t stand a confrontational type session.

I woke up every two hours last night, as the group flipped me back into traumatic sleeping. So I wrote the email at three am, one of the many times I was up last night.

It still helps to send Ron emails. He won’t respond, as I see him today, but still. So it shows I still want to communicate with him despite everything.

I realized writing the email that I hadn’t told the group how depressed I was feeling. I do leave out context a lot of the time. I’m glad I just stuck to how I felt and didn’t bring up last group and what was said, because to tell the truth, I can’t handle it. I have this impulse to crusade for saying what I really think about other people, but then I can’t handle the consequences. We do have to fit in with the group spirit or suffer endlessly. This group values peacefulness. Anyway, there is a satisfaction in being able to say how I feel, and the group is OK with that. As long as it’s not about other people there. Maybe that’s true of life in general. Could be.

I am grateful for the ‘sidewalk chats’ I have with R after group. I can feel he likes talking to me, and he sees things more positively than I can. Without him cushioning the blows of group, I’m not sure I could keep going.

  1. Gel said:

    I find the rain to be soothing. The sound of it. And the air always smells so good after it rains.

    I like that you are telling your T what you need/want ahead of time via email. It seems like a lot of good communication is being proactive.

    That’s interesting that there are unspoken ‘rules’ in your group that are opposite to what the T explicitly states.

    That would really bother me if someone, even a T., told me what I was feeling….”He went on about how I really feel criticized”.

    It’s good to hear from you Ellen, as usual your writing is easy to follow and interesting.
    smiles to you.

    • Ellen said:

      The email worked out pretty well – Ron was a lot more in listening mode when I went in and it was quite soothing. Sometimes I just need to consolidate, not forge ahead.

      I think there are unspoken rules in all groups. Because I’m not good at picking them up, I have to discover them consciously.

      Thanks! Good to know you are out there reading.

  2. that’s so true about unspoken rules…. you know, i run into that everywhere and i am always so, i dunno, mortified that i seem to figure them out way later than everybody else….

    • Ellen said:

      I’m like that too. I wonder though, if others actually go and ‘figure them out’. My theory is they pick them up pretty well subconsciously, while I have to make the slower effort of figuring this out consciously. Big difference. There are advantages to knowing the rules explicitly – I can choose whether to comply or not.

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