Therapy Friday

february_saint_viateur_traffic_oil_on_canvas_24x48February is such a difficult month. I’m finding this one a bitch. It’s either blizzarding or it’s thirty below out, or every surface is covered with bone cracking ice. I’m feeling worse, and I kind of think part of it is not getting walks. I poke my head outside every day, and walk a few minutes to a shop or cafe, but I’m not doing my thirty minute fast walks. The walks don’t seem that thrilling at the time, but I’m missing the exercise and light.

OK. I want to go over my therapy from last week. As it was a week ago, a lot has faded. I kind of can’t bear to think about some of it, so I no longer detail it as I used to.

We talk a bit about my mother. I haven’t talked much about my parents, which seems strange, given it’s therapy. But I’ve been busy what with parts, flashbacks, and the two years of group. I’m glad group is over. At least it’s not taking up my therapy time anymore, so I can talk about other things.

My mother doesn’t talk. Well, she talks a bit, in order to get by. But she doesn’t ever want to tell you about anything, the way I do. She just doesn’t seem to have that impulse. And she doesn’t do emotion. It affected all of the children – I don’t remember anyone in my family every crying or expressing anger for instance. We learned to suppress all feelings, in the hope that she would accept us.

If I don’t scare my mother, by talking too loudly, or expressing frustration with anything, she will accept me, that is, she won’t leave the room or pretend I’m not speaking.

I tell Ron that she did take care of a lot of things. She made sure the children were taken care of – we had good meals, for instance. I remember her once or twice not cooking, for my whole childhood. She would never not cook because she didn’t feel like it. My mother has a strong sense of responsibility and duty. Not all do.

Ron remarks that it sounds horrifying. Robots will soon be able to do these kinds of tasks.

Well – she wasn’t a robot exactly, I say. Once he says that, I want to defend her.

No, I’m exaggerating a bit, Ron says. He says that if I can’t remember myself or any of my siblings crying, ever, that that was ‘taken care of’ by the time we were forming memories. By that time, we’d gotten the clear message that crying was unacceptable.

Well, that is sad, now I write it down. I didn’t cry, at the time, but it is sad.

Ron is good with dreams. I tell him a dream I had that morning – Do you want to hear the most boring dream every?

Sure. Ron says he always finds dreams interesting, in his office anyway.

I dream I am late for therapy. It is already one o’clock, and I haven’t left yet. I ask someone to phone the therapist for me. I get on the subway, but go past my stop, so I get out. I try to phone the therapist myself. I walk along, and see my therapist in a car. (In the dream, she’s a woman.) I get into the car, and ask her if we can still have the session. We are outside her house – can we have the session in her home office?

What’s the woman therapist like? Ron asks.

She reminds me of a friend of my family’s in European country. I lived with that family for quite a few months one year, when I’d been traveling and needed a place to stay. She was kind to me and I liked her. She would actually talk to me, and I appreciated that a lot. In contrast to my mother.

Ron thinks it’s a good dream. I’m trying to connect, by phoning and riding the subway. The therapist may be my ‘inner therapist’. She allows me in, as I get into her car.

This makes sense to me. I thought it was a nothing dream, but it seems to be saying something about my psyche after all.

I don’t have such a bad time after this session. However my week has been quite difficult. I keep getting dissociated, kind of numbed out, and I wake up at four and can’t get back to sleep. It’s as if things are pressing in, but I don’t really know what they are. Some part that is unhappy.

That’s it for now. Stay warm, hang in, back soon.

Art: Saint Viateur Traffic, Jeremy Price

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4 comments
  1. Tilda said:

    Firstly, I’ve never experienced Winters like yours. From where I live, the snow always seems so romantic, but I guess the practicality of it would get depressing after a while. I hope you are able to have a proper walk soon.

    ‘If I don’t . . . she won’t leave the room or pretend I’m not speaking’ – that sounds so sad, and controlling.

    I like what Ron said about your dream, and having an ‘inner therapist’. It seems quite comforting. Maybe it’s a mind survival thing, giving you some warm thoughts to counteract the more difficult memories about your mother.

    Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      Snow is romantic sometimes…especially at the beginning of winter. It can be great coming in from the cold, warming up with warm drinks, feeling safe inside while it’s storming outside. And it’s pretty sometimes. Anyway.

      Yes, it was great to think about a benign ‘inner therapist’ figure. Maybe you have one also?

      Thanks Tilda. I’m glad you’re back.

  2. Ruth said:

    I kind of agree with Ron it is horrifying but it was also how I was treated. I wasn’t subjected to silent treatment but I was informed how I should feel. I like your dream, it does sound like you are giving your self permission to share. I am glad Ron is there for you. I lived where it was that cold in winter….February does seem like forever….no holiday to look forward to and Spring still too far away to be real. I remind myself in the scorching summer that I don’t have to shovel sunshine. Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      It’s very similar in that neither of us was allowed our feelings as children. I wonder if that’s one prerequisite for dissociation? Thanks for sharing Ruth.

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