After therapy

Well, off to therapy first thing in the morning. Now I feel so low. I’ve spent the day mostly in bed. I was doing some reading and watched a bit of DVD. It’s like a punch to the gut.

The session was good really, in terms of what happened and how I felt. I talked about how I hadn’t felt connected last session, and also my fears that Ron doesn’t have the specific expertise I need. He wasn’t very defensive – just a bit. It’s tricky because there’s this whole psychological element present – my feelings, about him, about challenging him, about feeling he’ll disown me if I tell him how I feel. We talked about that also.

I don’t really buy what he says. I’m too depressed to go into the argument at the moment. But, I kind of stop discussing this after a bit, because my emotions are so involved and stirred up. I can’t have a rational discussion because it’s with Ron, he is my therapist and I’m attached to him.

I don’t totally get why I’m so disabled after the session. I’m missing the entire lovely early summer day, staying in.

At one point, two of the main parts I know about came out and talked to Ron. They didn’t talk about anything new, but both were sad and crying. It wasn’t clear why they / I were upset. I found this overwhelming, so I switched out of those parts to have a more normal conversation. But, I think those emotional states didn’t go anywhere, even if I switched out of them at the time. Now I’m at home, maybe they came rushing back up.

I have a rough time in the mornings, and need lots of time to wake up and start to feel happy enough to function well. The session was early, so I was still in the morning roughness. Maybe that’s why they / I were upset? It’s mysterious to me. I didn’t feel that bad right after the session – I even did a few chores.

The other theory I have is that I never processed much of anything all through my childhood, so now all those feelings are surging to the fore. I asked Ron if he thinks that’s possible. He said he did. That in my family, feelings weren’t ever allowed or discussed. That we process feelings through connection with other people, so that maybe never happened with my family.

I think that’s likely the case for lots of people with difficult families. Not sure why I’m having quite such a hard time learning to feel. And why is it that the feelings are so painful? Couldn’t I have repressed happy feelings, that need to come back and haunt me? Just sayin’.

Hopefully I can eat supper – I still have stew in the fridge. A walk might be too difficult. I can sit out on my balcony. Read a bit more. Watch the news?

  1. I think we learn how to process feelings from other people. We aren’t born knowing how. If your father is callous and doesn’t have a normal range of emotions (my guess about him) and doesn’t care about yours much and your mother has a happy face pasted on, no one modeled how to process emotions or helped you process yours. The lack of empathy in your family is really striking. Some people have lousy childhoods because a parent is maybe really out of control, and that maybe leads to different problems. Your parents were heartless, especially your father. For myself, I think I really didn’t learn how to process feelings. That’s my theory anyway. I didn’t process happy feelings either. I have to figure that out too. It wasn’t so extreme in your family, so maybe some things you figured out on your own.

    • Ellen said:

      I feel so crazy, and your comment makes me feel less so. I’m glad to hear you say this about feelings. It’s odd, because in a way, my father is very emotional, just he is not empathetic to others I suppose. His emotions get twisted. My mother is much less emotional, but she does have some empathy, as long as she isn’t threatened, by, for instance, too much emotion from someone else.

      It seems insane that we could have similar problems, when your situation is so extreme, and mine is ‘garden variety abuse’. Yet, I think the mechanisms are similar in some ways. I was wondering though if for you, as the other girls were your real family, you did get some validation of your feelings that way. Perhaps that’s why you are such a functional and sane person.

      Happy feelings also need to be accepted and tolerated, for me also. If all feelings are threatening, happy ones are shut down also.

      Thank you Ashana

      • I think it’s so much the same. Lack of empathy is sort of the same. Maybe their interests were different.

        I think I really did get a lot from the girls. I don’t know how I would have managed without them.

  2. myambivalentexistence said:

    I have the “garden variety” abuse from my parents (my brother is a different story ). But they were emotionally detached and we were socially isolated so I never learned how to process emotions. Happy, sad, angry …… I couldn’t deal with them. Nearly two years of therapy is helping. But emotion just makes me want to shut down and disassociate.

    • Ellen said:

      It seems we had similar parents. The SA for me was also not my parents but a relative, but their behaviour made it all so much worse. Glad to hear therapy is helping. I think it’s helping me also, but first, I get to feel all the crap. Thanks My.

  3. I hope you can dome some nice things for yourself selves. Self care is so important. Especially after a tough therapy session. XX

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Many. Don’t have much energy for self-care, but if it includes napping, I’m on it!

  4. I think I would skip the news. Deal with the World later. Hugs

  5. Rachel said:

    You know, I ask myself, in the throes of difficult and intolerable feelings, what is so damn hard about feeling? Why is it so hard for me to just feel? And recently, I had a comeback for that – ‘it is hard because I experienced a lot of pain at a very young age, and was unable to process it at the time. The pain was too big for my little underdeveloped psyche and emotional brain to handle. So I could not feel it then, and now decades of feelings are, as you say, surging to the fore.’ It is a lot to deal with a lifetime of pain and loss, all at once. It sounds like you had a lot of pain yourself as a young person, and there was a reason you repressed it. And now that you are healthier and functioning better (even if it doesn’t feel like it all the time), you are capable of dealing with those feelings. But it is really hard because it is new to actually feel, so of course it knocks you down. But you’re getting up quicker, it seems to me. And you’re starting to see that maybe you need different support for this new phase. Which all seems like progress and a heck of a lot of strength, if you ask me. Which you didn’t, but I wanted to share :).

    • Ellen said:

      Yes – feeling is so difficult. With dissociation, I actually have two levels of that – the regular type feelings, painful as they were, are now thawing out. And the dissociated experiences, are coming back in fits and starts, and do feel completely overwhelming to me.

      Thanks Rachel.

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