Middle of the night

Up in the middle of the night blogging. Therapy felt quite hurtful today. Well, it feels like a searing physical pain.

I’m thinking about attachment and whether I’m doing something wrong with this therapy. Ron is getting more and more combative. I’m obviously contributing. It ends up feeling so painful I can’t stand it.

He’s said in the past it’s good that I attached to him. Lately, he keeps repeating the phrase that ‘I’m your therapist.’ I just wonder what he is trying to tell me here. I replied today that there is no doubt in my mind that he’s my therapist. We didn’t take that any further, but I wish we had. I feel like my attachment to him is hurting me. Maybe I’m attached in some really unhealthy way, and that’s why this is all hurting so much.

Maybe one problem is I’m sending him too many emails. Though I don’t always ask for a response, so he often doesn’t reply. I’ve found I can get through some really rough feelings by writing them down and emailing them to him. But I find then when I go in for my session, he’s in a ‘warlike’ mood. I suspect the emails upset him.

I don’t cry much during my session, but once out the door in the stairwell, I start crying hysterically and can’t stop. I sit and cry. Finally I stop. Then I stand at the door looking out for about twenty minutes. It’s raining hard, and I’m too exhausted to walk. Several people pass me and make cheerful comments about the rain. I guess I look like I’m upset it’s raining and I’m waiting for it to stop.

Ron both says that no one ganged up on me in group, this is my negative perception, and that it’s my fault that people treated me as they did, because of ways I acted. It’s like he’s hitting both negative responses, at different times in the session.

He said two things that I didn’t know, that were positive though.

I feel like a failure at therapy.

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14 comments
  1. Gel said:

    Ellen,
    It hurts to see you suffering so much. You’ve put in a lot of time into this therapy relationship. A LOT. And you’ve shown up and faced so much difficulty and been willing to experience a lot of painful feelings. That shows so much courage and determination to heal. And it is said that in order to heal you have to be willing to face difficult feelings. Yet it does seem that there is some kind of unhealthy dynamic between you and Ron. It seems like it retraumatizes you. I know that I don’t see all the dynamics between you and Ron. And I’ve heard that you feel there is a lot of good work between you and him. So the bottom line is what YOU feel is right for you. And that’s what I want to be supportive of. I also believe in sharing what your process is with other people and allowing in their perspectives. Even though they don’t have your answers, it’s in that process of sharing and listening that you find your answers. So it seems like you are doing that with this blog. And it seems like you have a number of readers who give you lots of insightful supportive input. Again that is courageous of you to open up to people like that.

    I just wish your therapy had more of a sense of loving kindness in it. It’s hard enough to take risks and face extremely hard feelings. I wish for you to have a sense of being held kindly by the T instead of being combated. I believe it’s possible for a therapist to be firm with a tough love kind of support that doesn’t seem like what Ron gives you. I was wondering if you could get another opinion from some one you trust on whether or not Ron is a good therapist for you. I am thinking of Attachment Girl at Boundary Ninja. Do you ever read her blog? Or Cat’s Meow. I’m sure you know other people who are very experienced and wise and could help you discern if the difficult stuff with a therapist is the hard deep work you need to be doing or if the hurt is due to him not being the right therapist for you….or the right technique for you.

    OK that is just my small perspective, based only on what I’ve heard from you here. I hope you have a good weekend. Sending warm thoughts and admiration.

    • Ellen said:

      I do read those blogs Gel, thanks. They do have a good perspective on this kind of therapy. I just don’t know. I’m feeling better again, though I still have issues with what happened. I just don’t know what is best at the moment. I do know that if I leave therapy, it will put me into a crisis, because of parts that are very attached to Ron. So it’s not an easy thing at all.

      I have obviously not given a clear account of the session, just how it felt to me. I kind of wish I had a recording of it, so I could go back and try and figure out what happened.

      So far, the plan is just to go back and keep talking about it. I might try and write it out before hand and bring it with me, but without sending him an email on it first. I get confused when I’m in that office.

      I do know that Ron’s intentions are good. I wonder if we’ve got our wires crossed in important respects somehow. The combative feel does remind me of my relationship to my father, so there’s that aspect also.

      Thank you for the caring comment. Hope your weekend was good too.

  2. I think… one can’t fail at therapy. I know what you mean, because I feel like I’m failing at therapy sometimes, and I’ve felt it in the past too. But I think it’s more like… the only way out is through, you know? It’s tough.

    I love what you said about the rain. People looking at you as though you’re waiting for the rain to stop, I think it’s a nice analogy.

    • Ellen said:

      Hadn’t thought of the analogy, but now I see it. πŸ™‚ He. I’m deeper than I thought.

      I like your take on this. Thank you borderlion

  3. weareonebyruth said:

    I am kind of with Gel in that it is hard to know if the therapy is not the right fit for you or you are forging into the really rotten stuff that is at the bottom of the pit. I was miserable in counseling for several years. I don’t go straight home afterwards. I am lucky now that there is a shopping mall with my favorite fabric store that I just wander around there until I am ready to go home. Needing recuperation time was fairly common for me. I do find it puzzling that Ron is denying your reality. He may have his beliefs about group but you have already noticed that he has his own prejudices towards that situation in group. Maybe the further you get away from it the better you will work together. Have you thought of emailing someone else instead of Ron during the week? I will volunteer as a person to write when you need to just let off steam. I wrote to my counselor quite a bit during the week. I am not sure if my counselor even read them because if I talked about them he didn’t know what I was talking about. My counselor also reminded me on a regular basis that he was my counselor and not my friend. He also reminded me that I didn’t know him as a person, I only knew him in his role as my therapist. I don’t know what it was that I said or did that prompted these reminders. I just know that at least once a month or more he would remind me again. In my studying about therapy and the emotional closeness needed to share such private information can create a weird dynamics that is hard to sort out. You might ask Ron directly if he does not want to work with you. The counselor I work with now prefers short term counseling. I check with him to make sure he wants to continue to work with me. The one thing I do believe is you are not failing anything. You are continuing to explore what is behind your feelings. Your courage to go back to situations that are difficult is outstanding. You are starting to trust the parts to let them have a time to share what they feel. Crying is not a sign of weakness….it just your body’s way of sharing what it is feeling. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      I think also we’ll work together better once group isn’t a factor anymore. In the meantime, I guess we still have to talk about what happened. I actually don’t have a clear picture in my mind of what went on in the session – it was too upsetting. A lot of arguing happened. I will ask Ron if he wants to work with me, but he’ll say yes. I think I’ll discuss with him whether is thinks our interactions are helpful, and in what way. He does seem to be denying my reality, and I’ll ask him about that again.

      Thanks for offering to be my email buddy! I may take you up on that. Since writing this post, I haven’t sent any more emails to Ron, and I mean not to send anything more this week.

      I decided last session to not allow the parts or trauma memories to interfere with our discussion. I was feeling flashbacky feelings, which is what happens if I get angry. But if I let a flashback happen, or parts start speaking, I never get to deal with the situation as an adult. However, then I do feel less connected as well. It’s a dilemma.

      Thanks for sharing your story and encouragement Ruth. There are many similarities. Hugs to you.

      • weareonebyruth said:

        Sounds like a plan to move forward in a healthy way. Cheering you on from my computer.

  4. Grace said:

    I don’t think I have anything to offer except hugs. I’m sorry it’s so painful and you’re in all this pain.
    I hope that you will feel better soon and that you can work things out xox

  5. You know, part of the assumption of psychodynamic therapy is that the patient finds parts of themselves too shameful or painful to face, and so it is the therapist’s job to repeatedly press the patient to face them, because the assumption is also that the patient will resist this, but at the same time can only get better by doing that. Patients are presumed to be highly ambivalent about the very process of getting well–change is necessary and also terrifying. Another assumption is that the patient sees the present inaccurately because of transference from the past. So, Ron pushes you repeatedly to see that you are responsible for the way people respond to you because he believes that has something to do with what you need to face about yourself. He also believes that your experiences in the past–perhaps with your father–are the real reason you see people in the present rejecting you or ganging up on you and that it isn’t actually about the present dynamic. Presumably, once you can acknowledge and work through this transference of the past onto the present, it ceases to distress you. I think some of this may be about the kind of therapy you are in and not about Ron’s particular skill as a therapist. Just some thoughts.

    • Ellen said:

      Interesting. I’ll ask him next session. I’m not sure I’d agree with those assumptions actually, so it would be good to discover if that’s how Ron sees it. He does seem to think I’m not seeing clearly and it’s his job to change that. It feels really awful, whatever the reason. Thanks for your thoughts – they give me something to think about.

      • They are on the psychoanalytic end of things, but I think they are shared assumptions.

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