Therapy Friday

I’ll start this sentence and hopefully I can break through the wall that stops me from writing. Crack, crash, boom, there it goes!

I went to therapy last week. Ron is back for two weeks only, then it will be a three week break. I had a tough time on the last break of only two weeks. So three will be an additional challenge. I am trying not to tell myself how pathetic a person this makes me – dependent, needy, lonely, etc. Ron’s comment made me feel a bit better about my problem with him leaving. He said it’s kind of as if I’m having major surgery, and the surgeon wanders off for a few weeks. Yep, it does kind of feel like that – bleeding all over the place. That’s a strong image, but it made me feel like he understood what I go through to some extent.

We tried a longer session – an hour and twenty minutes. It did seem luxuriously long. I didn’t feel the pressure of lack of time. And when parts came out, there was time to wrap things up again, so I didn’t leave the office crying. So that felt better, though we also got into a weird trauma memory, and that has been difficult to process. Parts take me on a time machine, where all of a sudden I’m a child again, and things are happening to me which I don’t understand.

The memories are awful and there’s not enough pictures for me to form a story. This time it was mostly emotions, complete with sensations of falling and a feeling of blackness. Or was it a vision of blackness? Everything seemed dark in any case.

OK, I don’t want to talk any more about that.

For the first half of the session we talked about my present life. At one point, exasperated, I ask what he thinks I should do to fix my life. Surely that’s what I pay him to tell me. Should I try online dating, yoga, meetups, career change – or what? Ron of course replies that he is not there to ‘tell you what to do’. OK, but what does he recommend?

Ron says something about connections with others seeming uppermost. That I need someone who can understand what I’m going through….

So I kind of jumped on that comment. I’ve thought about this quite a bit, but can’t decide what’s right. It seems as if the people who can understand what I’m going through are people who’ve been through abuse as I have. And in the past, I’ve had friends I’ve met in support groups. Then we can talk about therapy and healing. However, I end up with friends where we have nothing else in common but an abuse history. And mostly, that friend will have worse issues than I do. Which is OK. But it’s for sure not the case that there’s people out there that are doing well themselves, but want to support someone who isn’t doing well, out of friendship. I just don’t think that’s out there.

Then the other type of friends are where I hide what I’m going through. We do activities together, and I don’t mention therapy, depression, or troubles. Maybe they’re superficial, but these are people who are able to work and whose life functions at least. I like to do activities, when I can, and be around people who can function.

I know there must be some middle ground but so far I haven’t found it. No one’s lining up to be my friend, and I don’t blame them. I’m being as good a person as I can, but connections are not falling out of the sky for me.

I guess it doesn’t help that I don’t relate particularly to the people in my industry. I’m there to do a job, but I don’t fit in well. They socialize with each other, and often are married to each other, but they’re not my kind it seems like. They’re OK, but we have little in common.

Well, there’s my I am sure very negative take on the world of connections for me. I don’t say all this in my session. I just argue briefly with Ron and we drop it.

And I’ve forgotten everything else. Oh, I tell Ron I went to a support group one evening. I talk a bit about that. He’s interested in groups. I say it was pretty good – I felt accepted there, and it wasn’t triggering. It’s not a therapy group and people are not encouraged to provide details of traumas, thank goodness. I had the slight impression Ron was a bit threatened by my going to this group. Not sure though – it could be just my imagination. Group is a sore point with us it seems.

Different parts talk to Ron, and when I’m in that memory, I say I just want to lie down. That’s a way I shut down – I lie down and go to sleep. Ron says I may lie down if I wish. I try, but the part I’m in leaps back up again – lying down is too scary. Later, I switch to an older part, and she lies on the couch with pleasure. The couch seems very peaceful and restful. I just lie there for a few minutes, recovering, and no one says anything. I’ve switched out of the memory, and it’s lovely to lie there and recover.

We decide to try a longer session next time as well.

  1. Hope said:

    I’m the same way with friends–either we’ve bonded over our traumatic experiences, or I hide everything I’m struggling with. Both are valuable, but both also leave me feeling alone in different ways. I don’t know how to find friends who I can be all of myself with–or maybe it’s that I just don’t trust anyone with all of me because I’ve always felt like I’m too much. Surely we’ll find the middle ground eventually–I don’t think it’s beyond hope.

    • Ellen said:

      OK – I don’t think it’s beyond hope either. Don’t know why this area is so fraught with difficulty for me. If I don’t share my real feelings, the relationship lacks intimacy. If I do, I am strange and unusual. Hope we can both make progress.Thanks

  2. I think for some people–other people–whose experiences are a little more average, there is a kind of automatic understanding they get from other people. They can say something the other person feels something similar, and so they connect over what is shared. When your experiences and perceptions are a bit more different, that doesn’t happen. You have to work a bit harder, because you have to make other people understand what life is like for you, and you also have to be willing to understand what life is like for other people, because that won’t come to you automatically either. So for me the people I feel close to aren’t the ones I necessarily have much in common with. I’m never going to have much in common with anyone. They are the people who are more patient and more willing to learn about me and more willing to explain themselves to me. So, I guess part of what might be hard for you is being faced with that sense of being strange and unusual. It’s hard for me too. But if you can tolerate a little of that sense, then it might be possible to start to share more of yourself with others and find ways to connect that feel ore authentic. It takes time to work this out–how much to share, and who might be a good person to share it with, and how to explain your own experiences so that others can understand.

    I like hearing about what life is like for you.

    • Ellen said:

      So interesting to hear your take on this Ashana. That seems like good advice. I automatically assume no one cares to understand – I would like to soften my stance on that a bit. Thanks for being interested.

  3. Cat said:

    I struggle with connection, so not in any position to offer advice. It’s nice to connect with someone who understands and accepts who we are. Connection will happen when you are ready.

  4. Jay said:

    Breaks can feel like very real abandonment!! I also like that Ron compared it to a surgeon leaving 🙂 Although our needs can seem so overwhelming and “out of place” when they leave, they are all relevant and have meaning. There was a really cool two-part series on for surviving breaks from your therapist!

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, I enjoyed Ron’s comment on that. I enjoyed boundary ninjas series too – perfect timing. Nice to meet you Jay.

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