A picture perfect day, and there is absolutely no traffic driving to therapy today. I am feeling more cheerful than I have been the rest of the week.
Ron is wearing my favorite blue suit. He doesn’t have a big work wardrobe, so we are similar in that, but this suit is my favorite. I hope it’s a good omen.
E. Being in parts is weird. I wish I wasn’t.
R. Weird how?
E. Just weird. It’s like I’m suddenly in a completely different mood sometimes. Or I experience bits of things that don’t make sense. Like last session. I can’t explain this to anyone and it doesn’t make sense. I don’t have a story about it.
R. You think you have to keep the parts a secret.
E. Of course I have to keep them a secret.
I’m exasperated a bit. What, I’m going to start explaining this to people? How is it going to make sense to them?
Then Ron echoes back what I’ve said, how I experience parts, and it calms me down, that he’s heard what I said.
R. It makes sense that you experience fragments. If you are fragmented, it makes sense that you remember things in fragmented ways.
I find this way of remembering quite frustrating. I don’t get a story I can tell anyone, just slivers of experience with lots of really tough feelings attached – confusion, anger, hurt, pain, sadness. I’m re-experiencing very hurtful things from when I was a child, but without an overview of what’s going on. It’s as if the details have been fuzzed out.
However, rexperiencing these things brings some relief. My symptoms go right down afterwards. I tell Ron that last session helped in this regard – I was able to sleep better again, and I stopped being dissociated.
I tell Ron about a family barbecue I went to on the long weekend.
E. It is in X-town, so I drove down, and I gave my brother a ride, because he doesn’t have a car. It was a little tense. My brother doesn’t really talk to me. I mean, he talks a bit, but not about his life. If I talk to someone, I tend to talk about my life. Not therapy stuff, but things that concern me, like my job. My brother doesn’t do that, at least not with me.
R. So what does he talk about? Say you’re driving along – what does he say?
E. I ask him questions, like about a concert he went to….
R. So he only answers questions?
E. No, he talks, but it’s small talk I guess. About the traffic….I can’t remember exactly. Nothing personal though. Not to me. He must talk to his wife. I mean, he’s not a silent type of person.
R. Maybe he doesn’t talk to anyone.
I hadn’t thought of this. I assume my brother doesn’t talk to me because he doesn’t much care for me, or finds me strange. I know he talks more to my sister, he feels more comfortable with her. I always feel it’s my insufficiency that is at fault.
E. The trip was really long, there was a problem on the highway, so by the end of it, I just started talking, I was tense and tired. I talked about some stupid TV programs I sometimes watch if I’m stressed out, and a bit about politics. He stopped talking to me altogether then.
E. Any time I’m emotional, he withdraws completely. My siblings are both like that. I realized that some years ago, when I was being fired from my job. I was very very upset about this. I tried phoning him for advice, and I was emotional. The next time I phoned, he had his wife pretend he wasn’t in so he wouldn’t have to talk to me. That’s just typical. Now I know he’s like that.
E. Sometimes I feel so bad about this. I think if only I could be a cool person, cool and collected and clever, he would talk to me.
R. Showing emotion isn’t a bad thing.
E. No, I know. I know it’s not, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to talk to you about it like this. I just still feel like it’s my fault sometimes, that they don’t want to talk to me.