Tonight I cannot sleep

I wrote an email to Ron. Because my ex-friend is sending me these emails and I want her to stop. I just don’t care anymore. When I cared, she wouldn’t talk to me. Now she wants to write emails, but I don’t want to correspond. I’ve simply stayed polite, because for me, she is too difficult a person. For someone else, her troubles expressing herself would not be an issue, but for me, because of my background, it is. And for her, like for my mother, it’s not the case that there is sweetness and light and acceptance under all that reticence. She’s actually angry and upset about many things. Just too ladylike to say so, leaving me twisting with anxiety about what might be wrong.

I no longer want to engage with her. So I write a polite response, and vent some of my frustrations in a letter to Ron instead. I don’t ask for a reply this time. I’ll see if I can stand writing into the air and not being responded to.

Last session, we opened with a discussion about his responses to my emails or lack thereof. I told him I thought he’d been insensitive. He didn’t say much to that. We got into a discussion of caring – does this mean he doesn’t care. I decided it didn’t. He’s just not good with emails.

First I said he kind of cares, and kind of not. He cares on Fridays. He is a professional doing his job, and he has a lot of clients to care for. He says, what does it mean, he cares on Fridays.

Whatever. We end with my saying that while I can’t imagine responding to an email someone wrote me the way he did, I don’t think it indicates one way or the other whether he cares. There’s a long pause, where I’m supposed to follow up on this, but I don’t. I want to talk about my troubles with the friend, so we shift to that.

I’d thought about canceling the session, because I’d been so sure Ron would be unsympathetic to my troubles with X, the way he was with troubles I’d had in the group. However, this turned out not to be the case. He was surprisingly sympathetic. It felt good, to have some of his concern and care when I was feeling battered and bruised.

That session, I stayed adult the whole time. It was fine.

I suppose I’m bad at being a friend. At least I venture, I try. It’s sad when it doesn’t work out. Perhaps group was too difficult a place to find a friend – all those tensions still simmering in the background.

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8 comments
  1. Group is indeed a very difficult place to find a friend… I’m sorry that it hasn’t worked out with this woman.

    • Ellen said:

      Oddly, it hadn’t occurred to me what a difficult transition it would be from group to friend. I think it’s impossible. Thank you.

  2. weareonebyruth said:

    Hugs, friends are difficult in many ways. They take time, tolerance, energy and when I felt in short supply of all three it was very difficult for me to have friends. Now I am stronger and have 4 wonderful friends. Things will get better. Hugs to you.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Ruth. Hope so.

  3. Gel said:

    Just saying hi. Not feeling very verbal right now.

    OK a little bit:
    You ventured….not everyone you try connecting with will become a close friend. It’s ok to let that one go. I have been learning that. And it doesn’t mean I’m not able to make friends. So you too.

    • Ellen said:

      I think I ventured also. 🙂 If I never try, I’ll never learn much. Thank you Gel.

  4. Ashana M said:

    Your assessment of Ron’s care matches how you describe him. It is puzzling in its own way. But you seem to be able to depend on his being responsive and empathetic during sessions, but not necessarily outside them. Outside of sessions, it’s more hit or miss.

    • Ellen said:

      Part of the therapy is watching the relationship between therapist and client, so my changing feelings about Ron can give information about how I feel about anyone I’m close to. I think though that this has not been your own experience of therapy. I feel attached to Ron, even when I’m angry with him. And it’s true, he’s not that great with emails, though to be fair, I don’t document when he responds to emails and I feel better, which is a lot of the time. I get it down here when he lets me down.

      Following you journey Ashana, very exciting, all the best.

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