seascapes_02bigI’m not at all in a good place as regards therapy at the moment. Maybe it’s the stress of having been sick for a week, combined with Christmas, combined with having gone to a family event a few days ago. That’s a lot of stress.

I feel like Ron has really let me down. He seems fed up with my obsession with the group (which probably any faithful readers are also). I can see that obsession is irritating. However, he’s a therapist, and it’s his job to make something of this. Which he hasn’t. The only thing I remember him saying about it is that I seem to be seeing this in a ‘monolithic’ way, as if everyone was always angry with me. Maybe. I tell him to me it seemed monolithic – overwhelming, to have three out of five people in a group expressing anger at me on the same evening, with the leader abstaining. We are not getting past this. He thinks I’m wrong, but doesn’t say much unless I ask him direct questions. Which, in my sick and stressed state, I don’t do.

I feel like quitting and looking for a new therapist. Being attached to a therapist is helpful when it’s going well – I feel cared about and connected. When it’s going badly, it really sucks. I feel like something vital is missing, like I can’t get enough air or something.

We met today. I sent him a follow-up email, not really angry yet, just feeling very disconnected. He hasn’t yet replied – most likely he’s busy. It is Christmas after all. As the evening wore on and he didn’t respond, I’ve become more and more angry, to the point of wanting to quit. I look up a few therapist websites. How on earth can you tell if you want to see someone from a website?

Things were going OK too. I wasn’t in a Christmas depression, just dealing with being sick. Now I feel really awful.

I hope to have a better perspective tomorrow. It could be though that we cannot get through this problem with group – it may be the rock our therapy ship breaks up on.

Art: Above and Below, Olga Spiegel

  1. Ashana M said:

    That’s a tough place to be. I wonder if that sense of not having any air is about feeling you aren’t entitled to your own opinions about this–feeling criticized about how you see it can seem like you don’t have a right to see it in your own way, and that you need to abdicate your own ability to think about things independently.

    It might be harder to talk to Ron about group because it’s something you both experienced, so he has his own view about it which is different from yours. When you talk about something from your own life where he wasn’t present, he’s not involved. He can be more open-minded, and he doesn’t go into it with quite so many preconceived notions. It’s easier for him to listen in a way that feels supportive.

    But seeing different therapists can be really helpful. They all have different strengths and weaknesses and slightly different ways of working, so there are benefits you can gain from one therapist that you can’t gain from another. It’s your healing process and it’s up to you to decide how to proceed with it.

    • Ellen said:

      I was actually surprised after group when I talked about problems with others, and Ron was sympathetic – I’d gotten used to him not really sympathizing about group situations.

      I do kind of feel I’m not entitled to my own opinions about this. Though to be honest, I’m very sensitive about it. Ron simply says he didn’t experience this the way I did. It would be nice if he could acknowledge my own experience more, but he can’t.

      Thanks Ashana

      • Ashana M said:

        Yes, that is interesting, because actually his experience of group is not really relevant–it’s your therapy, not his. I guess it’s hard for him to take a step back since he was there.

  2. I’d test out that conclusion that he is sick of talking about this with him, when you see him next (do you have a few weeks off over the holidays? hope you can ask him soon) … and also what he means by “monolithic” … maybe he’s using that a a shorthand for something else. It’s his job to explore any topic with you as long as you need and want to return to it. If it’s not done for you, it’s not done. Perhaps he hasn’t been able to lead you to the deeper questions of what it’s like to be abandoned, to be the focus of a group’s anger, to be excluded, but that doesn’t mean these questions aren’t important. Hang in there. C.

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, I could ask him what he meant by that comment. He’s just taking two weeks, so I’ll see him next week. The thing is, he wouldn’t agree that I was abandoned, or that I was the focus of the group’s anger. So it would be tough to explore this with him.

      Maybe I could say something like, I know you don’t agree, but could we explore how it was for me to feel like I was the focus of the group’s anger…..

      Thanks Catherine. Happy holidays to you.

  3. Gel said:

    That is a lot of stresses.

    I’m not “fed up with your obsession with the group” . I can identify with it…not your group experience so much as just obsessing over something that is really bothering me…something complex like you’ve described. I know how that feels and I have little success with how to skillfully deal with that or get at what might be underneath. So I’m interested in how you work with it.

    I have had some little bit of success when I’ve been able to talk to someone about my obsessive thoughts. That often helps to feel heard and understood. But sometimes the obsessive thoughts are still there. A couple times the obsessive thinking bind has broken through when I was able to get at something underneath and that was really exciting. When it hasn’t budged is when it involves someone else and their actions or way of treating me that I feel is ‘wrong’ and yet I can’t get them to see or to change. I feel stuck then. I don’t know what is under neath that. Yet. I do know that I have obsessed over something someone else did that was hurtful to me, kind of as a way of not dealing with my part in it, or what I could do to take responsibility for my part. It’s almost like I glom onto the injustice of what they have done in order to not face the pain of my own part. I’m still working on that…..

    I can see how Ron has been a good therapist for you in some ways. But it seems like not in other ways. I remember you said you feel attached to Ron. Sometimes I have wondered if that attachment prevents you from moving on. I don’t know if change is hard for you. I think we sometimes stay with something that is mediocer (or even bad for us) because the unknowns of change are scarey. I don’t know if this happens for you.

    Feeling anger is a step in the direction of claiming your power. I don’t think anger/obsessing/frustration are the final stages in a growth process. But you have been getting in touch with your feelings and trying to express them to Ron and it bugs me that he doesn’t affirm you for this. It is incredibly hard to deal with feelings and I think you are brave to be doing just that.

    Wish you well and thanks for sharing your process here.


    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Gel. Thanks for sharing your process also – I can identify with that.

      As to attachment – it’s a part of this kind of therapy. Theoretically, you recreate important relationships in your relationship to the T. Which makes it strange – do I feel abandoned because he is in fact abandoning me, or is it part of my pathology – I am perhaps primed to see abandonment everywhere, because of early experiences.

      It’s enough to make you sea sick.

      take care

  4. Ruth said:

    I appreciate the other comments. I am feeling like we are in similar places with counseling. I am reading your posts with great interest because it is helping me think about my own situation. I talked to my counselor at the last session about possibly changing counselors. He has been super busy living his own life I don’t feel he has time for me….did I mention I have neglect and abandonment issues. I think fixing on an event or situation that may represent a much bigger issue is more common than you think. I read somewhere that couples will argue over the same things for years. In a interesting kind of way our relationship with our counselors is almost as close as a couples. I am sorry Ron is not validating the way you feel. That just sucks. From what you are writing, you are not just obsessing about the end session about group but also his reaction to you then and now.

    I was trying to describe what has happened to me this year. I told my husband that I feel like I was body slammed from several different directions. Christmas is super hard for me plus I had several different things that turned me every which way but loose. I am working at just getting through the next few days.
    Take care and know that I care about what is happening with you and what you are writing is helpful to me.

    • Ellen said:

      I am sorry you are in a similar place, because I find this place awful. When I don’t trust Ron, whatever trust I have in other people also evaporates. I agree the relationship with a T is very intense. And yes, that’s it exactly – it’s Ron’s reaction to me that is the problem for me, more than what actually happened, at this point.

      Christmas is so hard for me too – this year it was combined with being sick, so was tougher than usual. I hope you got through it all OK and with some cheerfulness left.


  5. Cat said:

    I never feel fed up of you writing about this situation. I know what it is like to be “obsessing”. It sounds as if you have been through so much recently – being sick, the family event and, of course, the run up to the day most of us dread. All of this is bound to take its toll, which invariably has a knock on effect with the therapy. When I’m stressed, I tend to hone in on one particular thing, but I do try to not make any decisions until my mind is a little clearer. I hope today feels a little brighter

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Cat. That is such good advice. I did feel better about therapy the next day, though still not great. Ron replied to an email I sent him and so I felt at least responded to.

      I hope you got through Christmas as well as possible and all is back to normal for you now. Happy New Year!

      • Cat said:

        Thank you, Ellen. I’m pleased your session went well. Best wishes for the new year!

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