I am still upset about the previous night’s group when I arrive at Ron’s office. However, I sit down and can’t think what I want to talk about. Ron alludes to the email I sent him about the group.
E. Did you feel exasperated with me in the group?
Ron shakes his head no.
R. Why would I be?
E. Because I didn’t accept E’s feedback. Because I didn’t go deeper into how I felt. I had the strong sense you were exasperated with me. That you felt I was closed- minded.
R. I thought you were being open and direct. You spoke about how you felt in that moment.
I pause to take this in. I’d been certain Ron had been unhappy with me. It’s a really good feeling to think he appreciated my openness in sharing my feelings.
E. I think…my opinion is that there is this unspoken rule in the group, that you do not say anything negative about anyone else. Unless that person starts. But once that person wades into something with a particular person, everyone feels free to bring up their own negative feelings from past groups. I don’t want to go against that rule anymore, it’s too painful.
Ron tries to say something. I don’t want to let him, though I know I should.
E. I totally understand this is not your philosophy of the group. But it’s how it’s working. I don’t know if it’s the particular people in this group or what…..
Ron lets it go. In general, he doesn’t argue with me at all this session. It is very peaceful, to be able to say how I see it without arguing with him.
E. You’re really holding back this session, you’re not arguing with me at all even though I know you disagree. Is it because of what I said in my email?
R. Where do I disagree?
I think about the ‘rule’ discussion, but I can’t face going back and forth with him on it, so I don’t say.
E. Oh, I don’t want to talk about it. But do you feel I shut you down?
I was sure that I had, so this is good to know. I think he is going easy, but at least not feeling shut down.
Now I can’t remember the rest very well. One part was Ron talking about what he sees happening between us.
E. You know when you said about last Friday that you experienced me as very angry….that wasn’t really how I was experiencing it. It was more frustration that you didn’t understand, and then a feeling of falling apart and not coping. Yes, I was angry also. But that wasn’t the main thing.
R. I think when you come in pugnaciously, so to speak, you want to fight. When you were a child, you tried to engage your father, but for him, this wasn’t OK. He was too fragile and he couldn’t accept it. So because of this, you now feel like our relationship breaks just because we disagree. When in reality, it’s actually a good thing to do, to explore disagreements.
I think about this.
E. Yeah…that’s true. I do feel our relationship breaks.
It does break – it does. If I feel it does, isn’t that the definition of a broken relationship?
E. What do you think I’m avoiding then, when I talk about parts. I have been trying not to talk about them since you said that.
R. No no no no no. shakes head playfully. I did not say that.
E. What were you saying then?
R. Your parts are real. I think sometimes you have brought up being in parts as the reason why you can’t change something. But I think you have more influence on the parts than you think.
E. Well, I can influence whether they’re out or not. Unless I’m scared or surprised. And I can influence how I treat them – whether I listen and try to help.
R. Yes, that’s important. I think you can also influence behaviour. Even if just a little bit. Over time, tiny changes can make a big difference.
E. Oh. Well that seems OK. I don’t know if it’s true but it doesn’t upset me.
Now what happened?
Towards the end of the session, Ron is going on some more about something which I’ve completely forgotten. Something about disagreements being fine or some such most likely.
E. So do you think this kind of discussion is going to help my depression?
R. Not all at once, but over time, slowly….
E. No, I mean this particular one that I’ve had over the last week. I’ve been having a lot of somatic type symptoms. I feel as if there’s a metal bar across my pelvis….the when I go out, the other day, I was feeling all the choking stuff, and kind of verbalizing that.
I feel like a person talking to themselves in public that everyone else pretends not to notice when that happens.
R. Those may be some unconscious memories you do not wish to remember.
E. Maybe. Or maybe memories from before I could have thoughts?
R. Can you feel then now?
I start paying attention to this.
E. Yes. They’re still there.
Something seems to be playing out just beyond the edge of my vision, where I can’t clearly make it out. I start describing it, slowly and in pieces as it comes to me in this dream.
E. It’s as if someone is angry with me. My father. It’s as if I’m being pushed down backwards….We’re outside. The ground is hard. Grass….with bumpy bits of earth….My mother is wearing a dress….
R. soft voice. This seems like an important memory. So next week I won’t be here Friday, so can we schedule another day?
I can’t adjust to this need to instantly deal with real life. Could he at least have given me ten seconds to transition? I pick up my purse and dash out of the office, saying as I’m through the door that I’ll email him about next week. I don’t say goodbye. I feel I need to get out of there instantly.
This was an odd memory compared to others I’ve accessed in Ron’s office. This one seemed flat. I didn’t get the emotions, just bits of pictures. At the same time, I felt like I’d gone back in time and I was disoriented. I think this is a way of remembering where I’m translating for parts, instead of turning into the child this happened to.
I don’t know what happened. It seemed there were other people around, so it’s unlikely to have been some major trauma. I seem to be really young, maybe four. My father became angry, and I was angry, and was pushed over somehow.
My father is not physically a violent person. He wouldn’t have deliberately hit me so I fell over.
It’s very odd to have these bits of things come back, while I still don’t know what it is about. I do know I spent most of Saturday in bed, recovering. I read my YA novel, a good one called Ship Breaker.
It’s making me feel kind of sick to write about this. So I guess it is a memory of something bad.