I am so tired. That’s my main thought. Also sad. But tired predominates. It’s grown chilly and windy here, leaves starting to fall. I zip up my jacket all the way, pull down my hood and cower in.
I’ve still been going to therapy, one night a week, when it’s already dark. By that time, I am worn out. I’ve been coping all day, and I can’t just stop coping because suddenly it’s therapy time. It’s really difficult to unzip emotions when I’ve been holding them in for the work week.
Last session seemed like more of a lecture from Ron than me exploring my feelings. I guess sometimes it’s good to hear what he thinks about my situation. Just I don’t end up exploring my own feelings for that session.
Last time, the theme was my family. I’d explained how tired I was on the weekends, and sad, and mostly couldn’t function. He said holding in your feelings will make you tired. And that I need connection, but am surrounded by people who have profound difficulty connecting. Like my family. My mother, who is mostly silent, or if she talks, keeps things to the most superficial topics. My father, who will talk, but only about what he wants to talk about. Then I have some friends who tend not to be the warm and fuzzy type.
So what do you mean by connecting then?
Ron says connecting is when someone is able to listen, not just in order to jump in with their own stuff, but really listen and care, and respond to what we are saying.
Yeah, I don’t have a lot of people like that in my life. Well, none. Though I do have conversations with my ex where he does listen, and care. Just…..well, he doesn’t have huge tolerance for talking about difficulties – like many men, he feels his role is then to suggest solutions. But at least we have conversations where we are responding to each other.
Then Ron says some things about how emotions are meant to be social – they’re a signal for others about us or the environment. But in my family, emotions are not attended to, so they go underground. I guess the idea is for me to find people to connect better with. But of course, I don’t do that. I sit at home because I’m too exhausted to go out.
I’d say my relationship with my co-worker is somewhat connected. I try to respond to him, and sometimes, he responds to me in a caring way also. For instance, I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to accept the contract extension, and he seemed worried that I wouldn’t, because then I’d have no income. Worried for me. Which I appreciated.
So maybe staying home and being sad isn’t what’s called for – should I be out and about while I’m sad? That’s not attractive to people. I guess if you have family, you can be sad and they can support you, hopefully, but if you’re by yourself, as I am, that isn’t an option.
The other point Ron had was I could demand more from my family. Say I am not in agreement. I don’t know how I’d do this though. They do everything by omission – they don’t inquire, if I say I’m having difficulties – they don’t want to know. If I insist on talking about a problem, they will likely listen politely, then change the subject. It’s just an absence. How do you fight an absence? It’s shadow boxing.
I tell Ron I don’t see them much anyway. He replies that I do see them, however. And I could stand up for myself. I just don’t see what that would look like.
A general theme of the therapy has been that I’m withholding my responses to people and situations, making me tired. So for instance, I’m not telling the boss how I feel. Well – you can’t. If you want to stay employed.
I did tell my co-worker on Friday I would have quit the job if he hadn’t been there. Which is the truth. Our chats provide a cushioning of all the stress. If I have a strange interaction with the boss, I can run it by him for his opinion, and it helps. Plus he tells me bits of his life, and I tell him bits of mine.
I leave therapy feeling a little dissociated, cut off from feelings. It’s not an unusual state. It’s good to get Ron’s views, because often, the session is chaotic with parts and big emotions. I think the main way therapy helps me though is when I can tell bits of my story that were hidden, and he accepts it. Which didn’t happen this time.
How do I know if his theories are what will help? I can’t tell if they’re true about me. I’ve known since my teen years that my family is not nurturing. Though now I can see more the specifics of what that means.