I’m at home nursing a cold. I was feeling very sick Friday and Saturday, but now I’m much more lively. It’s unusual for me to kick off a cold so fast, and I’m wondering if the Paleo diet I’m on is benefiting my immune system. It could be.
I still went to my session Friday, as my cold didn’t really start until later in the day. I must have been very infectious, but luckily Ron and I don’t shake hands, so hopefully I did not pass that on.
Still too muzzy headed to describe the session in detail.
I was still angry and obsessed with the last two group sessions. I told Ron I had been angry with him that week. My thoughts were clearer than the previous week partly because of writing here and some of the comments I got.
One of the strong feelings I had was that Ron had not offered me any support when so many negative comments were coming at me.
R. What would my support have looked like?
E. You could have asked me how I felt, instead of just asking how A felt. You could have asked why I left early the previous time. Any comment to me whatsoever would have helped.
R. I felt I was supporting you by exploring what A felt. In group, we get triggered into our own feelings by other people, so what I try and do is explore that with them. What A felt was about her and wasn’t caused by you. At the start of the group, A led strongly with this, so I went into it with her.
Huh. I’d been thinking that when Ron talked to A about how she felt, all he was doing was reinforcing how awful a person I was for making the comment she objected to (I’d said I thought borderlines were explosive, yet she was so quiet). I like seeing it this way – that he’s exploring her own emotions that are not caused by me. Even though I’m sure she didn’t see it like that herself – she still felt just as badly about me after she expressed all that. To tell the truth, I can’t remember much about what she said at the time – it was like a tsunami of emotion, mainly.
Thinking about how I’d wished he’d have spoken to me that difficult evening, I ask Ron what makes him say something in group. He says he speaks if he thinks he can deepen the conversation. Which made me angry at the time. Because it’s a theory, and I don’t feel like he lived up to the theory. And because I want to know specifically about that evening, not what his theoretical opinion is. Because I think he just lost sympathy for me that evening. It happens. Ron doesn’t agree though.
Ron says that group becomes like our families, and that’s why it’s so difficult. He says he’s had clients say who each person in the group represents for them in their family – mother, brother, sister, etc. I can see the sense of this, though I didn’t explicitly see people there as my family members. But one person did remind me of my mother, and I’m sure my father issues came into play in my reactions to Ron, though he does not remind me of my father at all.
There was a way group was just very painful and difficult apart from what people talked about there.
I had a bunch of problems with group before anyone even said a word, I tell Ron. One, I was extremely scared to be there. The fear didn’t really ease over time, so every evening, I had this huge anxiety to deal with right from the start. Two, I lost trust that Ron was on my side, every single group, almost no matter what he did, so that was very difficult to deal with. And three, I didn’t have even as good a grip on parts as I do now, so I’d feel, if a part started to speak (internally), that I’d have to do something, while now I feel like it’s OK, I can let them speak internally and I can just sit there. Nothing external is necessarily causing that.
Towards the end of the session a very young part came out to speak with Ron, about toys and the apartment where we lived when I was a young child. It doesn’t make sense to me, but Ron said it’s all important.
My main surprise from this conversation was how I changed my view of Ron’s behaviour in the last group. I’d been so sure he was encouraging A’s feelings because he thought they were a valid response to my ‘awful’ comment. I can see now that to him, he was just doing therapy, exploring the strong emotion that came up. My whole feeling about that has shifted.
Ron never did support anyone in group by saying much to that person, so it’s not as if he was displaying unusual behaviour. And he is very focused on doing individual type therapy with everyone there. He doesn’t focus on group dynamics at all. To me, group dynamics are very interesting. I see them in action at work all the time, have suffered from them, and would like to learn more. However that wasn’t the focus of Ron’s group at all.
I think I could have been more on top of what Ron was trying to do during group, instead of figuring it out long after group ended. It’s amazingly difficult to formulate the questions somehow. I guess because I get so caught up in how it all feels.
Not sure how much sense I’m making. I’ll blame the fuzzy head cold.
Art: Kandinsky, Circles