Therapy Friday – the dream

Last therapy session seems a bit of a distant memory, with the weekend and a full workday in between. At work there are politics, especially surrounding one individual who is very difficult, and, oh joy, is one of my main clients. Sigh. Why me. So I come home frantically strategizing on what to do, how to make it better. Anyhow. It will or it won’t get better, and life will go on.

So therapy was much much better. I got home and never thought of quitting. I took Friday off, and Ron was able to see me that day, so I wasn’t as desperately tired, and that really helps me be more open. I hope i can remember some of it.

First I tell Ron I didn’t agree with his interpretation of my dream last week. He asks me how I felt about him, when I didn’t agree with him. Frustrated, I say. Like you don’t understand me. He nods.

For me, the dream was about how my family is. How they deny anything painful, and how once it’s  brought into the open, they think you shouldn’t be upset. I mean, sure, my son dying and them not being upset is an exaggeration. But this is what they’re like in general. My mother doesn’t speak. You can’t imagine what it’s like to live with someone who never voices an opinion, who never says what’s going on for her. It’s just brutal.

Ron looks at me. You think I don’t understand how difficult your family is? He’s a bit surprised. I think when I thought about your dream, I thought that you already know your family is difficult like this. So what else is the dream saying?

Well, I know and  I don’t, I say. When I visit them, I kind of forget. I start to think it’s my fault.

Do you think the dream could be about you, about how you are treating parts of yourself? I try to consider this. Who knows. It’s painful to think, but maybe I don’t pay enough attention to parts’ feelings.

Then Ron asks whether I am like my mother – not opening up much. I  consider. I actually don’t feel I’m like my mother, temperamentally. My sister is – she feels it is virtuous to always keep your true feelings to yourself. I think my impulse is to confide. My father is more like that – he will talk about his thoughts (at length) and feelings. At least, some of them. He’s not truly open, but he has much more desire to communicate than my mother does.

However, I see Ron’s point. I hate to think I’m like my mother, but it is true I’m not making friends. I used to have some friends I made in support groups, and my neighbour became a friend. However, these friendships have kind of fallen apart, and I haven’t replaced them. I am reluctant to confide, in that, I don’t easily tell my troubles. At the moment, it sometimes feels I have nothing to talk about with anyone, because I’m mostly just surviving. I don’t have the energy to go out and socialize much, though I make some efforts, which don’t go anywhere. I think it’s just hard. I’m unlikely to make friends at work, unfortunately. I don’t find I have that much in common with these fellow workers.

So I can see what Ron means. But I still don’t think I’m cold like my mother. I do have trouble finding friends. I’m just too exhausted to put myself out there.

Overall, I felt a lot better about our discussion around this dream than I did last week. I could at least see Ron’s points as making some sense, and I felt he did pay attention when I told him how I see it.

I’ll continue the session review in another post.

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13 comments
  1. so glad he listened and took notice and you were able to say how you truly felt about last weeks session. Making friends is hard. Keeping them is even harder. XX

    • Ellen said:

      Me too. Friendships are complicated. Thanks Many

  2. leb105 said:

    interesting idea, that you treat your parts the way your mother treated you? It seems as if you’re pretty good to your parts, but perhaps they don’t see it that way. Having the mother you did, it seems as if you’d have to absorb something of her style, unconsciously, as being the norm.
    It sounds like your father likes to hold forth, rather than communicate, which implies a give and take 😉

    • Ellen said:

      I think we all absorb whatever parenting or lack thereof we had. I know I used to be harsh to parts, because I didn’t understand, but I feel I’ve gotten much more accepting. But, maybe not enough….

      You’re kind of right about my father. He does not communicate in that sense of the word.

      Thanks Laura

  3. Ashana M said:

    I feel his “not getting it” comes through really consistently in your posts. Maybe he says other things you don’t include, but what he says suggests he either doesn’t see it or he minimizes it. He doesn’t seem to want to see it. They do pretty obviously paper over problems with trivialities. Going shopping sounds pretty much like your mom. It’s like the house is on fire and she wants to re-decorate. She seems to live in a kind of fantasy world where problems can be wished away–maybe especially other people’s problems. There is this coping pattern your family has learned. Real problems cannot be solved or addressed, so everyone tiptoes around them, sticking with deadly-dull “safe” topics like the garden. The necessities of life might echo this for you: I feel like hell, but I have to concentrate on making dinner, on having a trivial conversation just to get some connection, on running errands. The facade of normalcy we all have to kind of maintain must be really triggering for you. Is it?

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, this is mostly true I think. Just I feel OK about Ron – he just thinks it’s obvious that my family is severely dysfunctional, and we’ve discussed it in the past. So he is looking at other meanings for my dream that are more hidden. However, I am not yet tired of discussing the family situation. No one before Ron ever validated that there was much wrong with them, but he definitely does.

      It’s interesting about your question about the necessities of life. They do wear me out. Sometimes I just give up, skip dinner for instance because I can’t bear to cook, but in the end, I always do keep it going, thank goodness. I’m not sure if the facade is triggering, or at times helpful, because it lets me function in the world. Sometimes dissociation is a good thing IMO.

      Thanks Ash

  4. Rachel said:

    Good to read a post from you. I’ve been thinking about you and wondering how you are. Sorry the day-to-day is still so very hard. I am impressed you make it to therapy, and continue to focus on your health. I know it is hard when so tired, and yet you keep going.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for thinking about me. I do have determination to persevere, in any case. I am amazed at the amount you manage to accomplish, but then, trauma really has different effects on different people. It’s kind of mysterious to me. Thanks for the kind words.

      • Rachel said:

        You are doubly welcome, and I am also continually amazed at how different people cope or respond to trauma. It fascinates me too. Take good care.

  5. Andi said:

    I’m so glad you were able to talk this through with him again.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Andi, it was a good discussion.

  6. Cat said:

    I doubt you’re cold like yor mother, Ellen, but this sounds like a good session, but naybe you keep some emotions close to your chest. I wonder if your mum or sister ever feel they too can’t express their true felings… how would you know, no one ever talks. Maybe Ron has a point about how you treat parts… does he mean that you don’t give them enough space, maybe cast them afloat? Sorry, I can’t write much, my pc is in for epair and this ol laptop doesn’t type too well

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks, I hope I’m not, but I know I sometimes have some difficulty expressing myself. But not like her. I know my sister has been quite rejecting towards me or anyone if they show any emotion – I guess it threatens her. My mother also kind of disconnects from any kind of emotion that someone might have. They don’t have to tell me – they show me.

      I’m not sure what Ron means – I don’t think of these questions while I’m sitting there unfortunately. Maybe.

      I hate computer problems – hope it gets sorted out soon! Thanks Cat

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