Things have fallen apart a bit here. I ended up getting really pretty sick with an allergy attack, stayed home from work Friday. I’ve been recovering this weekend and am feeling better physically, but really low emotionally.
Therapy was a bit of a wash this week. Saturday night, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and wrote an angry email to Ron. I actually thought he wouldn’t get it until Tuesday because he’s away, but he replied first thing this morning. Which scared me. So often, I long for a reply, and get none, and this time, I didn’t expect a reply, got one, and felt scared for a long time.
First of all, Thursday was an adult therapy time – no parts. Which did mean we were able to have a longer conversation. I talked about work being a bit better, though still really rough. How there’s a strange dynamic happening between my co-worker B and boss, J. I brought in a book about complex PTSD I’d been reading. In this part of it, the author describes four possible choices young children who are traumatized by their parents typically make – fight, flight, freeze or faun. Faun is what he calls co-dependency, when someone focuses on pleasing another person without regard for their authentic selves. I said that I thought my boss typified the fight personality, which can be narcissistic and self-involved. And B typified the faun personality, where the person subsumes themselves to another’s needs and wants. I said they both do this – it’s not just my boss. If B stood up for herself in any way, the dynamic would be so different.
Then we talked about which type I am – freeze, I say. Freeze is the dissociative response. The book doesn’t go into any detail about dissociation (so far anyway), but that’s what he calls the freeze response. Then, most people use two of these coping methods, with one dominant and the other secondary, so we tried to figure out what my secondary one would be. The conversation got tangled up here, because this is not a theory Ron really knows about, and I wasn’t explaining totally clearly. He said something about how I might be a fight type, then something about how that had manifested in group. Which made me mad. I know I’d had a protector part triggered out in group a couple of times, but that is not the same as being a fight type.
Anyhow. Maybe I am fight. Or flight. I know I’m not faun, but that’s the only one I’m clear on.
We also talked about how I currently am obsessing about leaving my job, and how it reminded me of when I was married, I obsessed for years about leaving, but didn’t do it. Though I wish I had done it much earlier. And then that in most of the jobs I’ve had in the last few years, I was unhappy and thought about leaving. Ron comments that maybe this time I can try staying and talking it through, which I’ve been trying to do.
Then I tell him I’ve also been thinking of leaving therapy. I’ve been going for five and a half years, and don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I feel this pull to leave. Ron says in therapy, I can stay and talk through those feelings of wanting to leave with him. So I do a bit of that, but it doesn’t go real well.
He doesn’t visibly freak out, but he goes off on a hurtful tack and keeps pushing, which is unusual for him. I say I’m not sure what I’m trying to work on, really. Shouldn’t I be working on something, or is it all magic that happens once a week in the therapy hour? And he says well you haven’t felt able to follow any suggestions I’ve made. Like what?
Like starting to talk with your family. I think you have a lot of important things to say to them about the past, about how you feel. If we’re not authentic, that is a recipe for depression, if we can’t express who we really are.
GRRR…..I hate all of this. I hate this authenticity tack for one thing. I really don’t think lack of authenticity is a problem I’m suffering from. And talking to my family? They’ll just reject me more than they already do. He says I’m attached to them, and need to get free.
He goes on for a while. I am feeling worse and worse, and not in a cathartic way either. I feel kind of numb with pain at the centre. I ask him to stop, I don’t want to talk about this any more. I’m not sure why exactly his saying this distresses me so much, but it does.
He gets back on this tack again, after I’ve asked him to stop, and I’m saved by the end of session. Saved by the bell, I say, and we both laugh.
I did express to him that I didn’t want to do this, and that I needed for him to stop talking about it.
So in this session, I didn’t get into any of my feelings much, and no parts got time.
Saturday night when I can’t sleep, I feel furious about this stupid session. So I write the email. I tell him he was defensive when I said I’d thought of leaving therapy, like he was saying, if only I’d do what he said, then his therapy would be working.
Then I tell him he doesn’t have any theory, so I’m trying to read and bring what I’ve read in, in order to have something to talk about that would move things forward, but that it’s exhausting having to do it all on my own. Then he doesn’t seem to much respect anything I tell him I’ve read, and it’s true sometimes I don’t have all the aspects in my mind when I’m sitting in his office, so I don’t explain that well. Anyway, I tell him it’s a problem he doesn’t believe in theory, that we have no vocabulary for talking about anything.
Then that his group was hurtful, and when he referred to it in session that was hurtful also, and that basically, he’s not understanding much about me after all these years of my seeing him. Yep, I blasted him. I attacked. Maybe I am the fight type. The freeze/fight combination is almost impossible to treat, according to my book. Mostly though because people who have that generally don’t believe they need to change. Which is not the case with me.
Ron replied the next morning, from wherever he is. He said he was glad I’d been able to express my feelings in the email, and we’d have a lot to discuss next Thursday.
Which is nice enough. OK, here he’s not being defensive. And so then I feel guilty for attacking him. I know he doesn’t talk about theories because he doesn’t want to pathologize clients – I know it’s not simple.
I haven’t replied, not wanting to stir up anything else. Maybe I’ll say thanks for replying or something.
Today I’m super paranoid. I’m avoiding things – chores, and even going into a store because I can’t face the clerk. I forced myself to get out and go to starbucks at least, to try and break the paranoia. Just sitting at a table pretending to be a regular human. That helped a bit.