Life and therapy

Ah, found the button for classic mode. Thank you WP. What a relief. I don’t need my editor to change every few months thank you very much.

Well, the second (out of four) co-worker has now left. Basically the two people I talked to at work. So now I am the sole occupant of an executive office, which my lowly self only occupied because I was sharing with two others. I could get used to this. The office is fairly large with a million dollar view, and best of all, a door to close. Work has dried up completely, as we are between ‘waves’, and have to wait. I wasn’t given any of my co-worker’s left-over docs, so I have nothing.

Luckily I have a new phone, so I can read blogs, email, apply for jobs, etc. Still, it’s a long day to fill with no work available. I’m bringing in my Kindle, so I can keep reading the Goldfinch. It won a big prize, so usually I wouldn’t enjoy it, but it’s actually a very absorbing story. It’s hard to relax enough at work to read fiction though.

I had a fairly upbeat day today. I’ve been so down at work it was scaring me. I had a four day break from it, and two of those days, I finally relaxed enough to sleep a lot. Sleep, rest, relax. I have so many more resources when I get some rest.

I got to work from home because of a hospital appointment – Tuesday morning, I had to get my colon checked again. Which meant fasting the day before, and some other things. But it was not too bad. You can get used to not eating pretty fast. Plus that made me tired, so I slept a lot.

Monday I also went for a job interview, for a job I could do with my eyes closed. But, the manager didn’t like me. What can you do. She started asking about the politics of my last job – trying to get stakeholder agreement, sign-offs. What can I say. The truth is, they waste huge amounts of time and resources with these endless reviews, changing words here and there. I’ve just learned to adapt – head down, make the changes, ignore the whole thing. Of course, I don’t say this. But what can I say that sounds good?

Anyway, the interview was before I’d spent the day sleeping, so I was pretty tired, and probably didn’t come across well. I can only show up and try my best. This one, I didn’t get.

The hospital procedure was no big problem. Not much waiting. Everyone so kind, as if I’d done something special by coming through surgery so well, and being healthy.

I did end up dissociated. Anything to do with my body brings stuff up for me.

OK, what was therapy like last week? Not sure I remember much. My main issue was lack of sleep. Right at the end of the session, the kid complained about how bad she feels when she wakes up at night. Everything all mixed up. It seemed to help – that night I slept better. But the next, not so much.

We discussed my friendship with E, as I’d been upset after our last meeting. I explained the situation. Ron didn’t think what E had said to me was that terrible. I said we were both kind of saying little negative statements to each other, kind of under the radar. It wasn’t exactly a fight, but more a not getting along. Ron wanted to know if we were passive about it. I wasn’t sure what he meant. Oh, that we didn’t respond to each other’s comments. Yes, we were passive. It doesn’t occur to me at the time someone says something hurtful, to ask them about it.

What he meant was this. I’d said to my friend that I’d enjoyed meeting her cousin the other day. She said that yes, she’d seen we got along really well, and that I hadn’t acted as nervous as I sometimes did with other people, and she was glad she’d brought her over. I found this a condescending statement – like I was being judged for my fitness as a good friend to show off to this cousin. Ron asked if I’d asked her more about that – was there some particular time I’d seemed nervous with other people, for instance.

Well, as soon as I’m hurt, I tend to shy away from whatever the topic is. But it makes sense to check it out more.

Then I told Ron some things I don’t like about E. Bitchy I suppose. But I’ve realized our values are completely different.

And I know I said some things to her that she wouldn’t like. But the worst thing I said, I blocked out completely in my session. I told E that she was manipulative, essentially. It was in the context of her explaining how she was trying to get rides from people that suited her timing exactly, so it wasn’t out of the blue, but still, not a kind thing to say at all. But it seems to me deeply true that this friend manipulates to get what she wants. Anyway, she didn’t respond to that.

Then Ron asks me how I feel about E. I start to say again how exasperated I am with her, but he says, no, how do you feel about her? As in – I like her, I love her, I want to be with her, (maybe he thinks I’m turning gay), I dislike her, I hate her. That question stops me in my tracks. Um – I consider. I come down on dislike – I dislike her. It feels very strange to say that. This is my friend. I’m not sure that’s entirely true – I have mixed feelings. We’ve known each other for a long time. But I suspect I no longer like her.

Ouch.

We also discuss why I’m waking up every night, unable to go back to sleep. Ron thinks I need to be living a less anxiety provoking life. With a job I don’t like, a friend I dislike, no one really to turn to…..just a bad situation altogether.

I’m not sure that’s the problem. Yes, a lot of my life is a mess. Although I am not struggling financially, which does make a difference. Though yes, my job is very insecure, and I was thinking I was losing it a month ago. But still, it could and has been a lot worse. There is no one abusive in my life anymore. Big win.

I tell Ron I’m not sure my life is what’s waking me up. What then? I don’t know – maybe some trauma stuff. I am often in a younger part, waking up.

And then the kid takes over, and tells Ron how she feels waking up, and I feel better for a while.

In the last five minutes, we get into ‘what if I’m making up the parts’. I go back and forth on this. How could I be making them up? But on the other hand, how could they be real? I work, I act normal, more or less. How can I be in parts?

There is a part of me that wants to keep young vulnerable parts completely hidden away. For this part, it is completely threatening to have them emerge. So this part works, in therapy and during the week, to stop parts from manifesting.

Ron asks something like why can’t both things be true? But then it’s the end of the session. It’s like he wants to argue, but there’s no time, and I get up to go. He doesn’t know about this part that keeps other parts in line – he thinks it’s me. I’m not sure what he was trying to say actually.

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5 comments
  1. Ashana M said:

    I think people who don’t fully understand parts tend to see things a little in that way: one part is more authentic than the others. Or they don’t understand what it really is to have some aspects of oneself and some behaviours to really feel outside of the self, or that this sense of some things seeming within the self and outside of the self is important. They want to tell you that this is you and to accept it. But you need to have what it feels like to be in parts be understood rather than just “fixed.” And I think it’s also hard to understand that some things are almost a mechanical process: this is just me trying to make things work. Obviously, you can’t go through life switching into whatever part seems comfortable in that moment. In the long run, that’s not going to end up being comfortable. And so there is a need to control the parts and to maintain a semi-coherent view of the self to others so that the rest of the world can cope with you. It’s not always that some parts are unacceptable, but that being in parts is just unacceptable.

    • Ellen said:

      We talked about this aspect in my session yesterday – how I feel ‘attacked’ by feelings and sensations that don’t seem to belong to me. I think it’s a step that’s needed first – to consciously understand how things actually are. I never conceptualized it before.

      I really agree about the ‘mechanical process’. It is very necessary to appear, to oneself and to others, as one person. That seems so obvious, but somehow isn’t when I try and explain. So much energy goes into maintaining this – and it must be like that, to function with other people. It’s not like I have a choice.

      Thanks Ashana.

  2. Cat said:

    I totally get the friend thing and the ignoring hurtful comments. It’s almost like we don’t want to give them the satisfaction of seeing that we’re upset by something they said, it’s showing our vulnerabilities and maybe there’s a fear of them using that as future ammunition. I used to have a friend for many years who stood by me through a really bad time, but there was always this sense that he was somehow doing it for other reasons than for my benefit. He too manipulated to get his own way. As time changed so did my feelings about this friendship. In the end, it added too much negativity to an already simmering pot.

    I can’t pretend to know about ‘parts’, only what I read in 2 or 3 blogs I follow. It must be difficult to keep different parts from emerging when they please, but I also imagine it’s equally important to allow them freedom to emerge in therapy. I wonder if that’s why they/a certain part might waken you in the night.

    • Ellen said:

      Friends can be tricky. Well, I’m not ending this friendship, just not reaching out a lot to her. We’ll see if she ever contacts me – she’s made her life really busy lately anyway. I’m sorry your friend did not prove trustworthy.

      It is important for the parts to emerge in therapy because they hold so many of my feelings. To imagine what it’s like – kind of like when some storm of feelings emerges for you in therapy, that you hadn’t thought about since childhood for instance? So the feelings weren’t a part of you, in a way, because they were split off, but then they come back all at once, and you have to suffer them, or split them off again. It’s basically like that. Not so different.

      Thank you Cat.

  3. Therapy sounds like it was stressful. Ron wanting to argue and stuff. I wouldnt like that. I am sorry your life seems to be a mess lately. Perhaps its time to end your friendship with E? If you dislike her? Sending hugs and support your way. XX

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