Support group and therapy

painting-one-little-girl-006-565x290Went to the dentist Thursday, so now I’m triggered and feeling bad. I wish that didn’t happen.

No therapy on Friday, and I’m half way through the therapy break. At the time I’d usually see Ron, I scheduled an interview with a recruiter. I’ve had two recruiter interviews this week. The first went badly, I felt. This last one i took a lot more care. I scheduled when I didn’t have other things to do that day. I dressed in my summer ‘suit’, a blazer and skirt anyway. I think it went a lot better.

Recruiter interviews tend to be smoke and mirrors. Mostly, the recruiter has few details on the job – they’re just looking for people to send to the client for interviews. This one though, they’d met the client and knew quite a bit about the job. Hopefully the client will want to see me – the job is downtown, the pay is similar to what I’m making now, which is pretty good.

I am so fearful of interviews. Being scrutinized. Having to make a certain impression. On guard not to discuss anything at all negative. Needless to say, my social anxieties go through the roof on these occasions.

I went to a support group meeting last week. It was pretty good, despite my being traumatized somewhat by the dentist. I thought it’d be OK to go to a support group, even if I wasn’t feeling well.

I had such a bad experience of group a year ago. I haven’t really gotten over the hurt of that experience, and I’m extra leery of groups and the harm they can do. However, I also did get used to standing my ground to some extent. In group, I learned it’s not a disaster to disagree with someone and to express that. You don’t have to leave. You can stay even if not everyone agrees.

I know because of group therapy, I am much more willing to address negatives without it being a problem. But I have to remember others there haven’t had that experience, and that problems to do with the group will not be discussed. Which is fine. Just I might say at check out that I felt I didn’t get to say what I wanted, I wasn’t sure how to ‘grab the floor’, and to me it’s OK, doesn’t mean I hated the group. Why should I always get to say what I want? As long as I sometimes get to speak.

I like the group because it focuses on trauma, unlike Ron’s group. I want to meet others who might have some issues in common with me.

I’m not sure I’m on the same page of how to heal as the leader of this group, who is not a professional by the way. She’s actually very courageous to try and run a group like this I think. She does have a lot of experience healing herself from trauma.

My way of healing is to process trauma. It’s not staying away from triggers, making sure everything is always ‘safe’. This group spends a lot of time on safety and avoiding triggers. In one way, I understand this. It’s an open group, and you don’t want people coming and dumping their trauma on the group, then never coming back, which doesn’t do any good, just upsets the group. And there’s no point in being randomly triggered. Like me at the dentist. That just sucks and isn’t helpful.

However, I do think I have to experience what happened to me to cause my dissociative splits in order to heal. I won’t do that by hiding away from triggers. I don’t hear anything at the group about individuals processing trauma, to counterbalance all the talk of ‘safety’. So I’m not sure about it.

However, who cares. A group like that, it’s good just to be with others who are trying to heal, some who are similar to me, some very different. It’s interesting to hear what everyone has to say. I’m going to try and keep going. Not sure if I’ll be able to if I’m working nine to five, which tends to take all my resources. We’ll see.

And therapy last week. Um. We talked for a long time about my son, who is having lots of difficulties which I don’t want to detail here, as they are his story and not mine. Ron suggested he might be addicted to the internet, which I hadn’t thought of.

It was an hour and a half appointment. I didn’t want to get into anything really bad, given the upcoming break. We ended by discussing a dream I’d had. I am searching in the back of my father’s closet for a racquet, and I knock over some open carafes of wine there. I find my father and offer to write him a hundred dollar cheque to pay for it.

Ron comments that he’s struck by how I take responsibility in the dream. Why were there open carafes of wine standing in the back of the closet? Of course they’ll get spilled!

Um. Interesting. I took it for granted that I was right to take responsibility, before bringing in the dream. Maybe not.

Elsewhere in the session, we’d talked about how a part of me is constantly beating another part up. I hear it as a voice sometimes – pretty basic ‘You’re bad!’ Or another voice ‘I’m bad’. Ron points out that when bad things happen to children, we take those things on and feel it’s our fault. When it’s not our fault, it’s the abusers’ fault entirely.

I get that. It’s good to discuss it, but it hasn’t changed much for me. I still tell myself I’m bad. I, the main person, doesn’t believe it’s true. But another part does.

I leave the office feeling OK, just with the kid part upset that Ron is going away.

Later that evening, I become furious with Ron. I feel like I didn’t say the right things and wasn’t seen. I fire off an email to tell him so. The next day I send another to apologize. Sigh.

I really don’t understand where the anger came from. We had a normal session without conflict. Ron did ‘lecture’ a bit, discussing my son’s problem. But it’s OK. He does that, and I am interested, to a point. Though it’s like we stop having a relationship, and I become the student to his teacher, which is a bit annoying at the same time. But I did specifically ask him for his opinion.

I can still feel the anger now that I’m writing about it. It must come from a different source, though I don’t know what specifically.

Art: Found on Inner Child Healing Workshop

  1. Gel said:

    “A group like that, it’s good just to be with others who are trying to heal”….
    That sounds like a really good reason to be in the group. Even if this group is mostly focused on safety seeking….you can pursue “processing” and dealing with stuff…like you say…in other situations. Given that you have often written about being alone, and wanting to be more connected with people etc., this group could give you another way to connect with people and practice your skills.

    You wrote: “My way of healing is to process trauma. It’s not staying away from triggers, making sure everything is always ‘safe’….I hear what you are saying here but it does seem to me that every one needs both…SOMETIMES to side step triggers and have some safety in order to process stuff and have some down time. AND other times of facing difficult stuff and being willing to process it.

    It seems really good that you have Ron to find out more about that anger that surfaces.

    The job hunt….that is a big big project. It sounds like you are coping well.

    Thanks for all the sharing here.


    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, we definitely need both safety and processing. In my experience, there is a pretty large sector of the mental health population which preaches safety as the only concern. You never get past the search for safety. For me, my life has become quite constricted as I limit myself in order to stay away from triggers, so it’s not something I need more of. However, I do see the sense of it for inside this type of group. Just, I’m not sure if the idea is to always stay away from triggers in your entire life. That really limits your life if you have PTSD.

      I do want more connection. This group only meets about once per month, and ideally I’d like something more frequent. But I’ll keep going as I’m able.

      Thanks for your comments Gel. Hope you are well.

  2. Cat said:

    I think many look at triggers in a negative way, however, avoiding them must mean we never get the opportunity to heal. Processing trauma might not get discussed, but I imagine there are many others in the group who are struggling with that issue. Maybe one day you’ll be able to grab that floor by raising the topic!

    Your dream and the interpretation are intriguing, particularly being responsible for the outcome of a bad situation…..perhaps similar to your group experience?

    Your anger for Ron might have been displaced…. Maybe a certain part was angry at another for revealing too much?

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