Obsessing

Best skip this if you find obsession painful. I’ve listened to others obsess and I remember how irritating it is.

I wish I’d written about this group stuff closer to my therapy session, because I felt more resolved about it at the time. Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick, so completely alone and in my place for three days now, or maybe it’s the cough stirring things up again, but again I’m back in that anxiety that group was ‘wrong’ and I have to do something.

If Ron wanted to ‘deepen the conversation’, couldn’t he have deepened it by talking with me about my feelings? After all, three out of five people there were angry with me, with the other two too reticent to say much. I had lots to talk about.

I do understand now why he talked to A, and I’m no longer taking it to mean that he agreed with her anger at me. I did take it that way at the time, which was very painful.

When E told me she didn’t have time for my ‘bullshit’, I could have hit back. I could have asked her if my feelings were bullshit to her, and how long she’d felt like that. It would have been nice if someone else had spoken up, but I could have. I was too flattened by all the other things that had happened there to me to do so at the time. I should have.

Instead I just subsided and let her talk. A large part of me agreed with her – I was obviously in the wrong, guilty, bad through and through. I felt like that already, so when she said it, I didn’t fight back.

When really, I knew then as well as now that this woman projected bad things onto me throughout our two years together in the group. She was completely unable to see me, she was so busy with her imaginings. She would be the last person to know if I truly was guilty of anything, since she saw the least twitch of my eyebrow as an attack on her.

It’s like I gave up on myself there. I knew this about E, but I subsided in guilt and silence.

Well, it’s well in the past and I need to let it go. However Ron is here in my present. As commenter Ruth pointed out. Yep. Is he trustworthy?

It seemed to me he badly let me down in the last two group sessions. I felt betrayed and abandoned by him. I felt he chose others and let me drown.

On the other hand, I understand what he is saying. First of all he remembers events differently than I do. But, he thinks we just end up going around in circles when we get into ‘he said, she said’ types of conversations. He said that maybe it would have been better if group had gone another way, and maybe not. The fact is it went the way it did.

Um yeah, and you were there to do something about that, no?

I guess talking about the process was good. Group has a certain process, where he tries to get at the roots of people’s feelings. But he didn’t. No one seemed to feel much different after venting their feelings IMO. A didn’t realize I wasn’t causing her bad feelings, that’s for sure.

Darn. I’m right back in all the anxiety of it. The fact is, Ron is very helpful at the moment, with parts, and even discussing the group, he makes sense at the time. It’s just, I still feel angry. As if I’ve been treated unjustly. Sad about it all. Maybe as if no one will ever like me or care about me.

Maybe a part of it also is that I didn’t respond to these things as I wanted to, due to being overwhelmed at the time. It’s like something unfinished.

I hope I can get back on an even keel with it again, and see Ron as just doing his job the best he could at the time. I know in my heart that’s what he was doing.

Ah well, goodnight. Today I am grateful I can stay out of the freezing cold when I am sick, warm at home, under duvet and blankets.

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13 comments
  1. Gel said:

    Lately I’ve been seeing mental obsessing as kind of like an ear worm….those fragments of songs that keep on repeating over and over in our heads. I recently heard that the reason the bit of song keeps repeating is because our brains (or minds) want the song to finish…it wants resolution. This makes sense to me.

    When my mind obsesses and it feels like I keep going over the same thought topic. It seems ridiculous and unproductive and stressful. But seeing it as being like an ear worm, I now consider what is it that is unresolved or incomplete. Sometimes NVC has helped when I apply the part where you ask yourself what am I feeling and what is the deeper ‘need’ that these feelings point to? Sometimes that helps me feel more complete – to at least get down to what is important to me. Even if the issue with another person isn’t resolved.

    Hopefully it helped you to write about your obsessive thoughts. I appreciate hearing about how things are going.

    xx

    • Ellen said:

      I wonder what the deeper need is. I don’t really know. Maybe to be heard and understood….

      It did help me to write these out. Thanks for sharing your perspective Gel. Happy Solstice!

  2. weareonebyruth said:

    I think the line where you said that you already believed you were in the wrong so didn’t fight A. You slipped into your learned response when someone is angry with you….have you thought about exploring with Ron why you felt so bad about yourself before A spilled her anger on to you? To me there is a whole lot going on….you believed yourself to be in the wrong, you didn’t think about defending yourself until days later. You are still thinking about the situation. Perhaps under all that emotion is your own trigger to the situation and Ron’s behavior.

    I once complained to my counselor about me apparent obsession over certain subjects. He suggested the possibility that I was emotionally attacked from so many different angels that I needed to explore all the different ways. This may not be true for you to but it may be something to consider.

    I am glad an earlier comment helped.
    Take care.
    Ruth

    • Ellen said:

      It would be a good thing to explore. Quite frankly, I think Ron is fed up with this subject. He keeps saying the same thing, that I have taken that last group as a monolithic event, (something like that), by which he means I’ve generalized to think that everyone was against me. He doesn’t see it like this. There’s something about the topic that bothers him IMO – he probably feels criticized, and like I can’t let it go. I think you’re right – there’s something underneath all this for me somewhere, but I’m not finding it. I wish Ron was more helpful with this subject – it’s as if we both have a block over it.

      Thanks for understanding and for sharing. Hugs.

  3. laura said:

    Did you have this feeling of being under attack, growing up? (probably preferable to being ignored, right?) and that someone should protect you? It’s interesting to realize that Ron was trying in part to show you that A’s anger was about HER and not about you – as you say, she couldn’t see you. Hard to believe in the moment – I would think it would take a lot of very unpleasant practice! And then to notice your own fear-based stories – that your brain is spinning – while he works with her, and now, about him, about you.

    • Ellen said:

      I did feel I was being attacked growing up (I was in many ways). Maybe I felt someone should protect me, I can’t remember. I don’t think Ron was trying to show me that, not in group anyway. It’s more like his general philosophy, that people’s reactions are a lot more about themselves than about the other person. I don’t believe he got this idea across though. He never explicitly stated it, to anyone, in group.

      In general though, I believe this, that people’s reactions are often more about them than about me. Group was good practice in believing that. Thanks.

  4. Ashana M said:

    I wonder if some of this is just about trying to mentalize better–and trying to understand why people do and say what they do better. It’s really frightening and confusing when you can’t figure out why people behave as they do, or even why you are thinking and behaving as you do. Some of the people in your group seem extremely damaged–well beyond just having some issues, but really unable to see reality as it is–so it would be very difficult to understand them or why they would act as they did. Ron is sometimes a bit difficult to understand as well–I don’t think he’s necessarily very honest with himself all the time, and he typically sees himself as both more effective and more empathetic than he really is. I’m not saying he is ineffective or unempathetic, just that I think he exaggerates these positive qualities in his own mind. For example, with A, his approach obviously didn’t work. She did not see that her feelings were about her own internal processes and not about you. She just felt validated and agreed with, and this encouraged her to keep externalizing her distress. But I think he chose not to see this, or maybe he concluded that this just “takes time” and exploring feelings is something he needs to keep doing with her. He’s really wedded to a single idea about what makes people unhappy and also to a single idea of what he needs to do to address that, and I think this causes him to distort reality to some extent–as our pre-conceived notions usually do. Sometimes he’s right and sometimes he’s wrong, but I think the times when he’s wrong he can’t really see. You do see them, because you have different pre-conceived notions which lead you to have different blind spots.

    Anyway, just some speculating

    • Ellen said:

      I’m not feeling positive about Ron at the moment, and so I agree with you. I think he can be a very effective therapist for me, but in this case, he was not. He is very wedded to his theories, and doesn’t seem to see when they aren’t working. Thanks Ashana.

      • Ashana M said:

        I think many people are like that. Ideas can be blinding. And in general I think psychology is really in its infancy–we’re at the leeches and four humours stage with it. But if you’ve studied this stuff and practiced it for a lifetime, it’s probably not very comfortable to think that maybe most of what you’ve been taught and believe will turn out to be wrong later. So it might be very easy to be wedded to what you’ve been taught more than is really wise.

        I wonder if what’s really helpful about Ron is less his theories and more something intuitive he does in just relating to you and just how much he listens to your feelings.

        The thing about trust is that most people turn out to be only kind of trustworthy: it’s about degree. No one is right all the time, or even right as much as they assume they are. They don’t even always have good intentions, but I think people are generally more consistent in their intentions than in their follow-through.

        Sorry to ramble…

  5. Did you see the latest post on What a Shrink Thinks, on anger? I found it very interesting and I’d be interested to know what you thought. It seems we have to keep working through the anger, talking and talking, bending, until it is resolved. Your experience in group was very painful, your sense that Ron abandoned you so palpable. Worth the time to keep talking about it… it will lead to interesting places I’m certain. ‘Cos these things always have so many levels.

    Today we were talking about my total meltdown at school over a malfunctioning printer, and Sharon pointed out how when we experience trauma at a young age we do not learn to process frustration and anger but go immediately into overwhelm. It was so helpful to reframe my meltdown into a larger experience, and it def. takes away some of the sting of being the person who seems always to cry in the back row of class. 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, that was a good post. I’d say that Ron does welcome anger, as WAST says is necessary. In most cases. IMO, at this point Ron is fed up with me being ‘stuck’ with this episode of group. I wonder if he’s just not saying what he really thinks, because he thinks it will hurt me? In any case, I don’t think he’s into talking more about it.

      Seems like a helpful realization about overwhelm. Thanks Catherine

  6. Cat said:

    You already know I am a chronic obsessor. From experience, sometimes we need to just burn out that train of thought. However, I believe the more we remain stuck on repeat, the stronger that negativity can become. Maybe there is more going on behind the scenes. I mean, perhaps you need to start asking yourself why this is such a huge issue that you can’t let it go… are there any reasons behind it, perhaps relating to the past or childhood? When I am in this position, I try to change that thought pattern and remind myself that, while I am obsessing about other people and external situations, I’m actually avoiding the issues within, that took me to therapy in the first place. It’s not easy, I completely understand what you’re going through.

    • Ellen said:

      I think that’s wise, trying to relate the obsession to deeper issues within. I wish I could do that. Must be to do with my family I suppose. Feeling like an outcast.

      Thanks for understanding Cat!

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