Going to sneak in a quick post before cooking dinner.
Therapy took an odd turn this week, which is my ‘fault’ entirely. I was doing a tiny bit of yoga last Thursday, and all of a sudden, I felt furious. Anger anger anger. The anger continued into the evening and I couldn’t sleep. I found myself thinking back to my last group meeting, and how angry that had made me, and how abandoned I’d felt by Ron at that time.
I wrote Ron a furious email about this in the middle of the night, thinking it would at least let me get my feelings off my chest and let me sleep. It didn’t really help though.
I walk into my session the next day and Ron gives me what I call his wild eyed look. He looks kind of alarmed. So I don’t chit chat at all, but launch in right away, saying I sent him an angry email. I still feel furious – it’s like a dark force that has invaded my body. Ron asks why I think this has come up now, and I don’t really know.
I go into it all again – how he encouraged A to vent all her emotions onto me, even though it was the last session and there was no time to deal with it. How he didn’t ask me anything about how I felt, just stayed with how A felt. How he didn’t mention the group dynamics at all, where three out of five members were angry at me at the same time, and I felt were egging each other on. He didn’t have to say that, but anything Ron said would have carried so much weight, as he was the group leader, not to mention everyone’s therapist.
Ron asks me what I think he could have done. I say the point about commenting on the dynamics. Or he could have made any gesture at all to show me some care or support.
Ron asks if I could have mentioned the group dynamics. I agree I could have, but I was too upset by what was happening to be able to think at all clearly. As group leader, I think it was his role to do this.
Most of this doesn’t help me. Ron says the problem is I stay stuck in one view of this, I’m not adapting. I ask him if he ever adapts his views, himself. IMO he never does. But he says he often does change his view of things. I’m going to ask him next time for an example, because I haven’t noticed it.
I also bring up how upsetting it was when A suddenly came back to group, unannounced, after Christmas, in a severe crisis and just before she was going to check into the psych ward. That meeting was all about her crisis, naturally. I was completely unprepared for this, and it had nothing at all to do with what had been happening in the group that year to that point. And though we are supposed to be free to say our honest responses and feelings, no one admitted how very upsetting this session was for them. For my part, I’d be too afraid I’d make A’s crisis worse with any negativity at all. Since she has a history of suicide attempts and self-harm, the consequences of upsetting her seemed too severe for honesty to prevail.
Ron doesn’t say anything about this. I wonder if he’s changed his mind about the wisdom of bringing A back to the group, but he doesn’t say. He’d probably never admit something like that.
I’m trying to feel that Ron at least appreciates how I feel about being the target of so much anger at once. I ask him whether he’s ever been in a situation where the majority of a group was openly angry with him.
To my surprise, he says yes. He tells me about an experience he had in his own group therapy, though without details. That the group leader actually stood up and screamed at him, and then later apologized. That the group rallied around the group leader, probably as that seemed safe for them, and that it took two years to work out his issues with the group.
I ask if that time where the leader yelled had been the last group session, how would he have felt. He says that would have been difficult. However he doesn’t think the situation is the same as my situation.
In any case, I feel more hopeful hearing his story. I tell Ron I feel better, because the situation with group made me feel like such a loser. He says that’s a problem. I say yeah, I don’t have self-esteem. He says it’s more than that – I’m not an ally for myself. I can see that – when someone is angry with you, if you can internally not abandon yourself, you’ll do better. It’s just that this is very very hard to do. For me anyway. If people are angry with me, I feel at at fault.
Ron asks whether I think my feelings about group are coming from something else in my life. I say probably – that’s the point of group therapy. Ron nods. However I don’t get very far trying to find what this relates to. I mention my father’s birthday, and how maybe it’s about my family somehow.
That’s about all I can remember. With fifteen minutes left, I do a bit of parts. I can see Ron thinks I’m changing the subject. Maybe. But I don’t feel I can’t bear the loneliness if parts don’t get any time with Ron at all. They seem to be clamouring to speak.
Then for the last minute or so, we just sit. I’ve timed things carefully, as I don’t want to get ‘thrown out’.
For the rest of the day, I feel better, especially because of the story Ron told me of his own experience. Partly, I feel so at fault and bad about what happened in group and how people ‘didn’t like me’. When I see something similar happened to Ron also, and he feels OK about it, it cheers me up.
Then over the weekend, until now, I’m back to being mad. It’s a kind of huge anxiety. I feel completely unconnected to Ron. Kind of as if he’d died, but without my needing to grieve, since I know really he’s alive.
I spent some time journalling about what happened in group, and about each person’s motivations and issues as I understood them. I ended feeling I understood why they acted as they did, given who they were, and I could see it was mostly not about me.
But I’m left with little understanding of Ron’s actions or inaction. And unfortunately he is the most important person to me. Perhaps he just lost sympathy for me those last few sessions. I can see how that can happen. We have been getting along so well these last months, where I’ve been experiencing him as supportive and concerned, so it’s sad to plunge back into these feelings from the group.