Saturday Therapy

Mother with Two Children

Art: Egon Schiele, Mother with Two Children

I went to therapy yesterday in a triggered state. I’d been to the gym the day before, and I guess I did too much. If I can feel the ache or tiredness right there in the gym, I’ll know it will trigger me. I did three reps of a small sequence, and it was too much.

When I woke up the next day, I felt caught in a web of blackness. I went back to bed until I had to leave for therapy.

Ron looked stressed and a bit sad. I guess his holiday was over. I wondered if something had happened, but I didn’t say anything. I don’t want to pry.

I started off the session in parts. I felt I couldn’t focus into an adult without huge effort, and I didn’t bother. The kid told Ron about the gym, about the reps. She told him about the book we’re reading, about dragons, and a girl who is part dragon, part human, who at first doesn’t know she’s part dragon. How does she find out? Ron asks. The answer is complicated, and the kid doesn’t explain too well. She bumps into her uncle, who is a dragon, but can take human form, and he becomes her teacher.

I think Ron is kind of taken aback. He’s all set to talk about my feelings about my boss, which I’d emailed him about. We do talk about that a bit, when the kid has said what she wants to say. Ron thinks I have a touch of PTSD – where a small reminder of what happened to me as a child sends me into a tailspin. I agree it could be like that. He points out that one time in the group, I felt he’d never made eye contact with me, and yet he’d remembered that he’d tried to look at me many times that evening, but that I was always looking away.

I say yes, I remember. I’d told him about the lunchroom, where the boss invited me to sit with some of the team there, but then never looked at me once as he was telling some story, while he was looking at others, so I felt he didn’t like me. Combined with the rest of what was happening.

I didn’t think the situation was the same, but who knows. It’s such a small thing.

But because of the gym situation, my inner world was in turmoil, so we didn’t spend much time on adult things. I tell Ron I sometimes cry now when I brush my teeth. He asks what I make of that. I say I guess I’m not as dissociated anymore – stuff is leaking through more. The kid starts to talk to him again. He asks her why she cries, she says she’s sad. She doesn’t seem to know. Ron says she has a technique of avoiding things. I say she just doesn’t seem to know the answers to his questions. So she came after the trauma happened? I have no idea, I say.

It’s very confusing for me sitting there, because parts seem to be swirling around, and I’m not staying in one part very long. I feel things as if I was dreaming. I try and explain to Ron.

He says the way to get through things is to keep expressing how I feel, until the feeling changes, and then express that.

That’s all I remember. The session was mostly Ron trying to talk with parts, and me sitting there, feeling kind of dizzy and out of it. It was like sitting with blackness swirling about, and not really knowing how to talk about it.

The good thing was I didn’t have that intense loneliness after, or the next day. I suppose because parts were engaged in the session. From their point of view, it’s so lonely to have a session with the one person who will take them seriously, and then not get to speak with him. The other good thing was that since I was already triggered, having parts out didn’t make me feel worse.

I didn’t shut down on the way home either. I felt OK to do chores – return bottles, do groceries, go to the natural butcher. Those bottles were rattling around in my back seat for months – it was great to get that done. Plus got the car washed clean of winter muck and grime. Once home though  I crashed.

  1. manyofus1980 said:

    i’m glad the parts had some time to express what is going on for them. it sounds like that even though you didnt have any time or hardly any, you still got a lot done after your session. Thats great. Can you email me please at i want to give you the password for our blog posts. i think you follow our blog or did follow it? we’ve now privatised it. Wanted you to still be able to read i if you wanted to. thanks. XX

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for commenting – glad you liked the art too. 🙂

  2. Can you talk to your parts? Ruthie was complaining she was lonely because I never talk to her. It just hadn’t occurred to me to do so. I usually just let them out if they want to be out at home and kind of watch or get the soothers for them, but she felt really lonely. I think there was a point when I couldn’t, because it wasn’t possible to switch back and forth fast enough to respond. Anyway, just a thought. Sounds like a hard weekend.

    • Ellen said:

      The way I can talk to parts is internally. I don’t actually switch, but I talk, visualizing an internal world and feeling the part, and it seems to help. I say encouraging things, or remind us that it’s the present, the past is over. Today was very hard, and there was a part that was so distressed, and I pictured for her a stuffed toy she likes, and it definitely helped.


      • That sounds really helpful.

        Ruthie wants me to talk out loud. It never crossed my mind to do that until she complained about it–She said she gets lonely when I don’t talk to her. I thought of this because your parts get lonely too.

        • Ellen said:

          It is helpful – I want to remember to keep doing it. It’s kind of an outgrowth of my tiny notebook that parts may write in. Interesting about Ruthie. I’ve never had the idea that parts get lonely for me. It’s so noticeable and painful after therapy – if they don’t get time, so I’ve associated the loneliness with that. Food for thought.

          • It hadn’t really crossed my mind either. Before I started to understand about parts, I did get that being dissociated was creating a loneliness for myself somehow, but I never connected it to actually interacting with the parts. The parts need the person who is out and making decisions to hear and care about them too

            • Ellen said:

              Yeah, for me also. I’m not sure about the loneliness in my case, but overall, parts want a say in what happens, and want me to hear them. Thx.

            • For you the loneliness clearly has another root cause.

  3. Cat said:

    I remember the group and conversation with Ron about the eye contact and it might have even crossed my mind when you mentioned the situation at work lunchtime. I do see some similarities here.

    That sounds like a great session with Ron and your theory about how it makes parts feel when they can’t speak in session sounds very feasible.

    • Ellen said:

      Scary how much you know about me. 🙂 I hadn’t thought of that myself. I believe that in group, it did happen as Ron said, that he tried to look at me and I was looking away. That sounds like me. However, in the lunchroom with M, not so sure. It feels very real to me, though it might be paranoia I suppose.

      It was a pretty good session. Lots of parts got to speak, and not feeling lonely after is so great for me. Thanks Cat.

      • Cat said:

        I’m not sure I would necessarily call it paranoia, well, it is, in a way, but it is also playing out things from childhood and how your Dad wouldn’t speak to you and other family members follow suit. You see, in a way, it is real. If I remember right, you were invited to sit with them but were just about to leave so refused. Perhaps they felt you were excluding them, so they responded by excluding you. So, the situation is real, but you kinda helped to create it. Oh sometimes I think I might say too much and I don’t mean in length, but more about my point of view. I’m not saying I’m right, but just a wee observation from across the sea 🙂

        • Ellen said:

          I think paranoia is always real, in just that way – the person is feeling feelings from childhood, that are very real. Your description makes sense.

          I might be creating the situation. This is two different lunch occasions – one where I didn’t join them, one where I did but the boss wouldn’t look at me. I didn’t feel the rest of the people were excluding me – just him. But then, I didn’t add anything to the conversation at that lunch time – I was feeling shy – so maybe I was creating the exclusion. There must be a way I create my own exclusion, because it’s happening such a lot. I don’t know how not to do that.

          Thanks for the observations ‘from across the sea’. 🙂

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