Therapy Thursday

I had a bad session today. It wasn’t ‘difficult’ in that I didn’t dive into bad memories or difficult topics. I was in a bad space, trying to recover from my bungled interview yesterday. Maybe that made it harder for me to deal with therapy and Ron.

Ron always waits for me to bring up topics, so everything is up to me. I’m still going with not trying too hard in therapy, because when I do, I end up with huge therapy hangovers.

I’m not actually sure what happened or why I felt it went wrong. I again brought up our relationship. This is rowing against the current actually. Even though he’s said in the past he works with the client therapist relationship, I don’t think he actually does much of that. He does in the sense that if I were angry with him for something he did, he’s comfortable discussing that with me. But I don’t think he’s used to discussing it any more than at that level.

I’ve been wondering if part of my therapy hangover problem is a problem I have with him. Not a problem of who he is per se, but more, of how I relate to any attachment figure. I always assume he’s not very interested, while in fact, I know with my rational mind, he’s actually very attentive and likely wants to give me lots of space in which to speak and feel. So I appreciate that, and at the same time, I emotionally feel he doesn’t greatly care. I suppose I feel that because my mother didn’t care much. Or rather, any emotion was too much for her, so she rejected emotions from her children. The end result was her turning away from any need or expression of emotion I might make.

So it makes sense to me that I could be projecting this lack on to Ron. The thing is, if it’s not discussed, I just keep right on feeling the same way. So I brought it up. He wanted to know what he was doing to make me feel that way. But the thing is, he doesn’t have to do anything – it’s just the way I would feel about anyone close to me who acts in that reserved kind of a way. I’m not totally sure he is into this concept of the relationship being something to discuss in this way. I wonder if he feels I am accusing him of things, when this is not my intention at all. He just asks what he’s doing, lets me say anything I have to say, and then moves on.

By the end of the session, I had the strong feeling he was angry, and was just holding it together. Right before the end of session, he firmly said it’s almost time to stop, which he never does. I wasn’t exactly rambling on either. So I was stung and felt rejected, and said sharply, I know! And then that I felt rejected. To which he didn’t reply, but got up to check his appointment book. He then stayed standing, while I asked him a logistical type question. Unusual for him to be standing while I sit – it’s always a sign that he’s wanting me to get going. So then I got up to go. Really like getting kicked out. He said goodbye in this odd clipped way. I had such a strong impression he needed to get me out of there. Who knows why, as we were not at all over time, so I guess I am jumping to conclusions it’s because he was angry and fed up. Maybe some other reason. Maybe he was feeling sick or something.

For me, a constant theme is that he doesn’t understand what it’s like to have parts. The stuff he says about it doesn’t resonate for the most part. So I tend to dismiss what he says, and I figure that it’s hurtful after a while. I don’t dismiss everything, but usually once a session I’ll be frustrated that he doesn’t seem to know what this is like.

So I feel hurt and kind of sick to my stomach.

We only discussed the tracking very briefly. It was all up to me again to mention it and then to try and discuss it. I’d wished he would have had some ideas about it or some thoughts of how it could be useful. He did say a few things, but only when I asked him. I have this feeling that the tracking can help me make sense of what it’s like to be me. The fast changes of mood, the bits of parts dropping in. I forget all that if I don’t write it down.

I am still feeling bad about mucking up the interview yesterday. I fear I will never work again. My age is also working against me. That, and then the challenges pulling myself together, are not a winning combination. I must not give up. I just saw a piece on PBS about the difficulties of older women who need to find work – it can be really hard, even for very well qualified women. We do face ageism, and that’s just a fact. In my life, I didn’t start working professionally until I was forty, so I never did get those great years in my thirties to establish myself. Those years were just a loss. I actually make a better employee now, in my fifties, than I would have made when I was younger, because now I have a handle on my issues, whereas then, my issues ran the show. Unfortunately, that’s not something to put on the old resume!

I just need to keep trying. However difficult it all is.

  1. Your perseverance is admired and I really respect how hard you are working at this. It does sound like maybe Ron doesn’t want to or isn’t comfortable for whatever reason addressing the relationship – but these relationships we establish with our counselors is what the work is all about. A brought up our relationship and openly told me today that that is what our work is about and so when I’m rebellious or defensive or tantrumy – that her job is to still be there after (to a point). And I never thought of it that way. So if you can’t discuss the relationship it must feel slightly restrictive and like being dismissed.

    I want you to know that I have every faith in your ability to interview and find a job. I would love to have a woman in my company working for me who is the woman you described. Keep on keeping on, the right place is there for you. Xx

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you PD. Interesting about your relationship with A and how she brought up your relationship. In my situation, I can actually bring up the relationship – it’s not that it’s off limits. It’s just that he doesn’t see it as ‘the work’ in the way other therapists might, and I’m at a point where I think that would be a fruitful direction. But – he provides a kind of therapy, and if I don’t want that kind, I’ll have to go elsewhere. He’s very open, yet, he does have his views and methods and that’s what you get when you go to him for therapy.

      Thanks for the kind words. Wish I could apply to your company. 🙂

  2. I agree with Paper Doll, Ellen. He is a therapist, why then isn’t he working with you actively on transference issues? The session could have gone into a better and far more dynamic place if he did. I think you were right to feel dismissed, That said if he feels you don’t trust him maybe his own personal issues are leading him to be a bit clipped. Its true at times we all need therapy to deal with what happens in therapy 😦

    On the job front, I hope you can try to stay positive. One failure doesn’t mean you will always fail. It must have been painful to feel you botched it in some way. I really hope you can find another opportunity. Or maybe for now you are jus meant not to be working. Take care of yourself.

    • Ellen said:

      Yeah, I wish he’d work with the transference. He’s never actually said that word, though I know he knows the term. I do think I’m triggering off his own issues.

      Thanks for the good wishes. I’m actually getting some new ideas about approaches I can take in future, just writing all this out.

      • Writing things out helps it to become clearer than when its just kicking around in side our mind. It also helps at times to get some outside feedback.

  3. ellen, its too bad that ron doesn’t seem to get it about parts. some therapists don’t though. its not that they don’t, but they aren’t trained in dissociative disorders or trauma. you’d be better off finding someone who is. otherwise you’ll keep going in circles. sending hugs. xxx

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