I had been leery of my session last week, but leeriness was not needed after all. It was one of those sessions where i left feeling calm and heard and nurtured. Doesn’t happen often. Mainly because we usually discuss upsetting things, and so I leave upset.
Ron started off in an honest way, by asking me about the email I sent after the previous session. I appreciated that. Mostly, emails I send don’t get discussed unless I bring them in. In this one, I’d been angry the session hadn’t seemed helpful. Then Ron did not reply. He asked me how I felt about that. I said I thought he’d maybe been angry with me for sending it. He asked if any part of me was able to think that maybe he was not angry. I said a part of me could see it was therapy after all, and probably it was OK. But another part thought he was angry.
He said he hadn’t replied because in the email, I’d complained about him asking endless questions, and when he got the email, he just had more questions. So he thought he’d be perpetuating a painful cycle by asking them. lol. I don’t actually totally believe this, but it’s OK. Ron rarely has much of a response to emails anyway – he might just say it sounds difficult, or that we should discuss it in person. He could have done that. But at this point, I can remember how angry I was, but I no longer feel that way. From where I was sitting now, the previous session seemed reasonable and I no longer really knew what my problem was.
Anyway, at least he brought it up. He wanted to know more about what had happened for me, but I didn’t remember.
I’d been to a family birthday, so I talked a bit about that. How no one seems to relax or laugh – I’m not the only one who is not that comfortable. There’s just a lot of expectation of performance, and people showing off, it’s not relaxed and homey.
Did I talk about loneliness? Probably. I remember clearly that I got onto the topic of my mother. That’s an important topic for therapy, yet I’ve rarely discussed my parents and what they were like. This is complaining, and I feel kind of bad about it, because there are other sides. But anyway. It’s therapy.
My mother is not a warm person. She doesn’t talk much. She is not the type to sit down with anyone and talk about life, or problems, or anything really. Ron comments that it sounds like she represses most things, and I guess that’s accurate. You’d never know, from growing up with my mother, that some people discuss things, that it helps to talk about things to sort things through. Anything really. It’s not even that she’s just uncomfortable with emotional subjects – she’s uncomfortable with talking about almost anything. Ron says she doesn’t connect with people, and I think that’s true.
Ron says something about talking to my mother about this – something like she doesn’t have to be so afraid of people….I reject that out of hand. How would that help? She’s not about to change. Ron thinks the point would be I’d be in a more honest relationship to her. Or something. I’m not going to do it. She wouldn’t understand what I mean. She’d just withdraw further.
Talking about this is depressing. I wish I’d had a mother who was more caring. Well, she does care, I tell Ron, somewhere back there. But she doesn’t express that in any way. If I mention something that has gone wrong, like me losing my job, she doesn’t sit down and want to hear about it. It’s as if there’s nothing more to say, once you have the bare fact of it.
I don’t say this in the session, but the fact is, my mother would sacrifice any of her children for my father. He always came first – his needs trumped our needs.
Ron says something about how my situation was extreme. I’m not sure that’s true really – I don’t think it was, compared to what others have gone through. But it was hurtful.
I can see that my difficulties connecting to people are related to the way my mother related to me as a child. But I do have a completely different personality. Where my mother completely shies away, I tend to attack, or to spill all. Or at times, I also take her path and shut down. I’m more of a mixed bag. It’s also not effective, because I’m usually not considering the other person much. Anyway, we didn’t get into this. I just know, you don’t get to be as isolated as I am without trouble with your upbringing.
I mention that I’ve been remembering a lot more about my childhood. That’s a good thing, Ron says. But, I’m remembering it as if it’s still taking place, and it’s confusing. It’s not a regular memory, because I think it’s parts that are remembering.
Ron asks me to tell him some things I remember. And I switch into a kid part for the rest of the session. This kid explains her house to Ron – what her bedroom was like, what the kitchen was like, what the front lawn and garden were like, about raking leaves, and how the streets had those little stones embedded in concrete, and the ditches where the raked leaves were left. It is so vivid as I’m describing it.
But it’s stupid. It’s not a real story, she says shyly.
No, Ron says. It’s important for us to speak so we can be known and appreciated.
So the kid gets right back to describing this house. Plus her two friends, their names, their families, plus she went to guides, and brownies, and swimming lessons. Plus piano.
I flip out of the kid part for a few minutes to discuss the piano. I tried so hard as a child. I practiced a lot. And I got very little praise. When I think back, I think, wow, I really did try. The family was perfectionist, so they rarely had much praise.
But people aren’t perfect, Ron says.
And the kid pops back out again. People aren’t perfect, right Ron? Right? No one’s perfect, are they? And Ron nods in agreement.
And so the session ends. I go home feeling calm and understood. It’s mysterious, how parts work, and that they would want to talk about such mundane things. Mundane things make up a kid’s life perhaps.
I know that there was bad stuff that happened, to cause these parts. However, this session wasn’t about those things. It feels so great to have Ron listen to parts tell their tale. Even if it’s not the complete story. It just feels like a warm bath, being held somehow.
The next two days though, I do feel emotional, sad, confused, and switching around quite a bit, if i can put it like that. So I guess though the kid who talked in therapy wasn’t upset, rather was really happy to have so much time with Ron, maybe those other feelings come along as a kind of package deal.
It’s all a bit mysterious to me.