Well. Life is continuing very difficult. Another job interview today, for a job that doesn’t pay very well and so I’m not sure I want. And yet, it doesn’t seem to have gone well, and I am dejected. I found the interviewing manager surprisingly likeable and soft spoken. However, he didn’t really ask me questions. He discussed his ideas about communication, and told me all about what he’s looking for. I jumped in a few times trying to show how I’d be a fit for the role. But, while at the start of the interview he seemed very eager to talk to me, by the end, he was not encouraging at all. And I look back trying to think what I did, or didn’t do. And I never know. I don’t get feedback on what went wrong – I just don’t get an offer.

I have now been unemployed for four entire months. With the last job ending on a very bad note. I do worry that I just won’t find anything. Well, I’m finding things, but seem unable to get through an interview for some reason.

I am worried.

In addition, I’ve been reviewed by the tax people for my last three years returns. They’ve now sent me a bill for over ten thousand dollars which supposedly I owe. This is a complete shock to me. I have diligently sent them taxes every month – the full amount their calculator tells me to send. I have never knowingly not paid what I should.

I’ve spoken to my tax preparer. He says the agency is in the wrong, but cannot explain what’s gone wrong. I’m wondering if he prepared my taxes improperly in some way. Anyway. I can object, but would likely need to hire either an accountant or a lawyer, I don’t know which. Lawyers are so expensive, it might be hard to justify one for what is in tax terms not a large amount. If my objection were not successful, I could end up paying more, the amount plus thousands in legal fees.

I feel like Job at the moment. Shit. I’m not sure what to do. I can pay, but those are my savings I’m depleting anyway by not having work. That’s my emergency fund, and then I’m into really using up savings that were for my future.

I didn’t start working until I was forty. Due to having messed up my early life. OK. So there’s not much time to save anything for any kind of retirement. There’s just not much wriggle room.

Um. The topic of the blog is therapy, and I went on Thursday. I think the session was helpful. I told Ron I needed to not be overwhelmed because I had an interview the next day, and I can see now he takes that to heart.

First I moaned about my taxes. Which is a waste of therapy time but I have no one to talk to so it is tempting. Then my difficulties with interviews. He tried reframing some of the negative thoughts I’ve had about past contracts. I found it heartening to hear him describe some of my experience in positive terms, so it sounds like I prevailed and succeeded. We talked about self-confidence, having a lot to offer, shit like that.

There is a topic too that’s been a bit of a theme in our sessions. I find a child part jumps in and takes over, or comes up, in various social situations when I get the least bit anxious. I want to separate from the child part so I can function and present as a competent adult. It’s very hard for me. I know a lot of therapy clients are looking for their inner child, and cannot find it. My problem is more that I can’t separate from it enough.

When I’m in the middle of an interaction, I do not realize that I’ve switched, or that a child part has taken over for portions of the interaction. That child is overwhelmed, unsure, fearful and anxious. No wonder. Children are not equipped to deal with adult life. Or maybe it’s that it’s a hurt child, hurt by my past, so for her, everything is frightening.

This then makes a bad impression on people I’m interacting with. They of course don’t understand what’s happening with me, why should they. Then I simply seem somewhat mentally slow and very anxious. However, there’s actually an intelligent adult in here that wants to be part of the world. So I end up not making a good impression, and people I would like to get to know judge me and do not give me a chance.

At the beginning of the session, Ron said he thought I was in a bit of a kid place, although I wasn’t aware of it. I was just speaking a bit about my past week. I did feel anxious while I was speaking though. So maybe that’s a bit of a sign that I’m in that state – that vague anxiety. He said one thing I do is that my sentences start to go up at the end, so that every sentence is a question. It might be a clue for me when this happens.

I can get out of it if I realize it’s happening. It’s kind of like stepping aside – protecting the child part internally, and taking over as an adult. I don’t tell Ron this, but one thing I do to try and get the adult back is try to mentally feel the outline of my body – it reminds me that I’m a grown adult, and seems to help.

I am relieved that Ron finally gets that this is a problem for me. For the longest time he seemed to be saying that it’s fine to express that child part and that the issue was that I was ashamed of it. But the actual problems I’m having involve being too merged with that part. A term I’ve read recently that describes this is unblending – trying to let an adult function and take care of child parts, instead of becoming them.

I believe this is key for me, and having Ron on the same page is so great. It’s not about locking away child parts or being mean to them, but about protecting them by not sending them out into the adult world, and having an adult function out there as needed.

This is obviously not an issue for people with different responses to trauma than I had and is difficult to explain. But figuring out that this is a problem for me is huge. Sometimes I think the hardest thing is figuring out what it is that is going wrong. Once that’s pinned down a bit, you can actually try and think of what might help. Without knowing what the problem is, it’s hard to address it.

  1. Wow, taxes can be so scary. Being an independent contractor can make this more complicated. Sounds like you already have a person that prepared your taxes, were you able to ask them what was happening? Good luck with that.
    I like your way of describing your idea of protecting the younger parts. We were not protected as children, so I guess it is difficult to know what that looks like. I am cheering for you from my computer. Hoping things become a little less like Job’s first half of his life and a little more like the later years when all was returned. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes they can! I have definitely spoken with my tax guy and he kind of explained but explaining is not his forte at all. However, a friend just came by and had a look and apparently I owe half of what I thought. They’d summed the amount in one of the letters and I thought it was just one of the amounts. So that is a relief. I now am going to actually phone the agency at the number provided and see if they can further clarify what’s going on.

      I’d forgotten about Job’s later good years – thank you. 🙂 . Hugs

      • Yea, I hope you can get more clarification and things sorted out. Hugs.

  2. Ashana M said:

    I have a suggestion, which may or may not be useful. So if a child part is overwhelmed, anxious and fearful, the adult needs to know this and attend to that. The interviewer needs to not see it. I speculate the switching can happen because it seems adults don’t get overwhelmed–only children. But adults do feel overwhelmed. Take care…it does seem like a discouraging patch.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m not sure about this Ash. For some reason, I have child parts popping up in very many if not most social situations, not particularly interviews. I’m used to letting that happen and I think a way forward is to at least notice, if only in retrospect, and try to look for more calmness in my interactions with people. Thanks you. And bon voyage!

      • Ashana M said:

        Yes, that seems about right…take care and good luck with the job search.

  3. leb105 said:

    “I find a child part jumps in and takes over, or comes up, in various social situations when I get the least bit anxious. I want to separate from the child part so I can function and present as a competent adult.”

    I’m noticing this, like Ashana. why does it function in your makeup, for a child to take over when you’re anxious? Maybe your adult has NO emotions? maybe she could reclaim anxiety, build up her tolerance for anxiety… and practice in less fraught social situations (if there are any).

    The tax thing sounds scary – doesn’t your tax preparer have to take responsibility for his work? You should definitely be able to work out a payment plan which takes into account that you’re unemployed at the moment.

    • Ellen said:

      Um…I don’t really know why it happens. I don’t think my adult has no emotions, they’re just more nuanced and less intense.

      As to taxes – it’s always the taxpayers responsibility, thought that seems unfair sometimes, unless you want to start suing people, which I certainly don’t. Luckily the situation hasn’t turned out as expensive as I first thought, and I’m going to appeal, so we’ll see.


  4. Hi Ellen,

    I’m sorry to hear about the challenges finding work and the tax problems (those kind of problems make me very anxious and I have a hard time dealing with them–I postpone them a lot because they upset me). I can see from your many posts how intelligent and conscientious you are, and it’s just so obvious you would be a good employee. It’s so aggravating when we don’t show ourselves at our best in interviews. I know this happens a lot. For a few years, I was on the hiring side of things and conducted over 100 interviews in less than two years. And I came to really mistrust the impressions I got off interviews. Sometimes I really liked someone in an interview, and we hired that person, and s/he wasn’t as strong as I thought–just extroverted and charming, maybe, but not easy to work with or not as experienced as s/he suggested in the interview. And the other way around–sometimes I wasn’t crazy about someone, but I’d be overruled and we’d hire that person, and s/he’d be great. Interviews are just not the best way to find good employees.

    On the topic of an anxious child part coming out when you’d rather show your capable adult part, I have no advice or insight. But I see that you have a lot of insight and increased self-awareness, and I do believe that is what will lead you to making changes, all in good time. I’m very glad to read that Ron is getting it.

    Personally, I think you’re great. Wish I had a job to offer you! Hugs, Q.

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Q, Your comments on the hiring process are so encouraging – thank you. I know I don’t come across as well as I’d like in interviews, and it is frustrating. You last line made me laugh! 🙂 .

  5. ellen. i’m sorry your having trouble findinga job. but I wanted to say, you have made great progress in recognising the parts difficulties, that’s a huge step and so positive. xo

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