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Therapy has not been helpful lately. I believe that I do have to do my own work, my own healing. It’s not magic happening in the therapy room that will do the trick.

I have felt absolutely full of criticism, complaint and hurt feelings concerning Ron. His style of therapy seems unsuited to my situation. I’m not sure I want to write out all the mental criticism I have of him, because I’ve been working on letting it be. Not thinking about it any more. I considered quitting, but am not quite at that point I don’t think.

It doesn’t help much to bring it to him, because a lot of it is just how he practices. This is what he offers. If I don’t think that’s what I need, I should try something else, or be therapy free for a change.

I am somewhat better for going to therapy. But, the things that are better, Ron doesn’t even see. They’re not things we ‘worked on’. It’s just that because he is supportive, I’ve been able to feel things and think about things during the week that have helped somewhat.

I’m still in parts. One of the most hurtful things Ron did was last week, when it somehow came up that I’m not sure therapy is helping, was that he thought because I’m not speaking from the parts lately, or leaving session in such a dark place, that this means I’m better.

I’ve been going to session right after work, and am in this buttoned-down coping kind of a place. So I haven’t had parts speak, and haven’t accessed any difficult emotions. Sessions are boring, where I tell Ron I don’t know what to talk about, things are OK. Or I talk about some things that bother me, but this doesn’t really go anywhere and the conversation peters out.

Does this mean I’m better? Because I can’t relax enough in therapy to feel anything?

So, that hurt my feelings. Plus the idea he has that if parts just stop speaking, they have integrated magically. Does that happen by magic? I don’t actually know, but it hasn’t happened in my case.

Another big divide we have is that Ron has no vocabulary about therapy, on principle. I do believe that if you have no vocabulary, you can’t really work on anything in any systematic kind of a way. So I feel that I don’t know what I’m working on or what I’m trying to do. Everything is just one big ball of badness.

I wrote him some of this in an email last week, to which he didn’t really respond. We did agree to try a different time, later in the day, so I have a few hours to come down from work.

I’m intending to work on parts. That’s who needs Ron. I’m personally fed up with him. I know a lot of people go to therapy for a sympathetic ear. I’m wanting more.

The other thing is his super receptive attitude. To me, it reminds me of my very very withdrawn mother in particular. The whole session seems up to me – he doesn’t offer much direction, if any. I can see how it can be good, to simply be receptive. How it can be a practice for the therapist even. But for me, it feels like too much emptiness. Especially if I go there without much of a plan, if I’m reluctant to plunge into hard topics….It feels just like not much guidance.

I believe there is some transference/counter transference stuff going on, but this is not Ron’s area, so we don’t discuss it. I wish he did have knowledge in this area.

So I’ve complained about Ron afterall. Couldn’t resist. But since I’m not ready to quit, I want to stop resenting him, stop criticizing him in my mind. It reminds me of how I get when a relationship goes wrong – this is familiar territory. It feels bad to think so negatively. I want to be able to soak up the goodness Ron does provide, and stop thinking of how I wish he were different!

This is my fourth day of being mostly unable to function after a therapy session, if I count Thursday, when I had a session in the morning. Yesterday a friend phoned me, and I answered the phone, but when she asked me if I wanted to do an activity with her, I couldn’t answer, I was so down. I apologized and told her i shouldn’t have answered the phone, and she said she was going to hang up and if I decided I wanted to do something together I could call her back. OK.

It would have been nice if she’d asked me what was wrong or if I wanted to talk. But I know this friend doesn’t really do feelings. Still a bit hurtful that she didn’t say anything but that she was going to hang up.

I thought I’d be better by now. I thought at least I’d make it to church, and it seemed impossible to go when the time for it came. Since then I’ve been lying on the couch and in bed mostly. I did do the dishes, showered and dressed.

I am obsessed with this last session. Or my feelings about Ron. But it’s not like normal thought, it’s more like a crisis. It’s as if I’ve been shocked, and can’t calm down into a normal state. I’ve started doing a meditation tape I have in an effort to relax, to let this stuff move through and process instead of staying stuck.

I’ve been going over what happened. First of all, I’d wanted not just to give a recap of my life in the last week – I’d wanted to go with something meaningful. I told Ron a dream I remembered, as he’s really good with dreams. This was at the start of session – maybe that was too intense for me. The dream had to do with my childhood. It wasn’t obviously distressing, but my childhood is distressing, and talking about a dream seems to bring feelings rushing to the surface.

I think it’s a problem that when I’m discussing things with Ron from an adult perspective, it’s like speaking from a distance, because a lot of my feelings are stored in parts. So I don’t get the full force of them, and then I don’t communicate them to Ron, and he thinks apparently that what we’re discussing isn’t having much effect on me. I can be thinking that also actually. I feel vague uneasy feelings that things are going on in the background though, and then all of a sudden it’s too much, and so I try to stop the discussion because I’m truly overwhelmed. Ron then thinks I’m avoiding my feelings about whatever we’re discussing, because I’m afraid of the pain, and that it’s his job to push and persist at this point. Then we have an unpleasant mild type of conflict, where I never do get to express what’s come up for me, and I don’t get his support, as he thinks I’m avoiding the whole thing. Then I go home and cannot function. This time for days at a time.

I’ve really just figured this out. It’s been happening all along, but has been worse this past year. And then Ron feels I’m not making progress, and it’s because I’m avoiding, so he escalates his part in this.

I did try to explain a part of this to him. It is extremely hard to explain how things are working to a therapist in the middle of your own therapy. The transference is this black and sticky substance, and somehow, you have to try and ignore it and explain something, which goes against what your therapist believes, and it’s his profession, so he’s not likely to change his mind on anything he believes. Especially as you cannot put your emotions aside far enough to make any kind of convincing case.

At one point, I said that a problem I have is parts are involved in these emotions. So why not let parts speak here. Which Ron is agreeable to. The problem being, I don’t have control of parts. They do not wish to jump into a current discussion. They want to be themselves. If B comes forward, she starts speaking on a completely different track to what we’re talking about. Then Ron concludes that I’m distracting and avoiding. So B stops speaking, her feelings very hurt, and more frustration and conflict with Ron ensues.

At one point we were speaking about my mother. How difficult it is that she doesn’t respond. And Ron had a lot to say about my family, none of which I can remember now. I was feeling worse and worse, and the sense of him going on and paying no attention to how I was feeling was so strong. And I see now I expressed myself poorly. I knew I wanted him to stop talking, but wasn’t clear what the problem was. If I could have expressed my feelings of overwhelming sadness, or despair, or whatever they were, I bet he would have been supportive. It really was as if I was bleeding out at a traffic accident, and the person trying to help me started lecturing on blood clotting properties. I couldn’t pay attention to him or understand him either.

I can see now how he is not seeing how distressed I am, and it’s partly my fault, as I’m not expressing it. I’m so used to keeping my distress under wraps. It would be nice if he was looking for that problem, but he’s not, for some reason. One thing about Ron, he is definitely empathetic to emotions and distress once he sees they are there.

I did send him an email the day after the session in an attempt to repair this. The email was pretty much like my post describing the session. He replied that evening. His reply made things worse though. To me, it read so condescending. “I can see how hard this is for you.” Not addressing a single thing I said in the email. I am tempted to email back Fuck off and die. But – how would I feel then? He would not respond. I would feel like an abuser.

How to wrap this up. I’m hoping if I keep writing, somehow I’ll get my balance back.

 

I’m still suffering the effects of my last session. I wake up at night, my stomach clenched, as if I’d been kicked there. I can’t work out if it’s because I feel unconnected to Ron, or if it’s about my family and what we discussed in session. Likely a mix of both.

I’m still pondering leaving this therapy. There are many good reasons to leave, and if I list them, you will likely agree that I should. And yet….and yet. Is this still my process? Should I be learning to tolerate feelings, not trying to change them by leaving?

I’m not sure that it’s standard procedure to lose at least a day every week to feeling so bad I can’t function, after pretty much each therapy session. After six years, that works out to almost one whole year of not being able to function at all. I understand therapy is painful, but is it effective to be painful to this extent? The reason I’ve put up with this though, is one, hope that this will help, and two, the fact that without therapy I do lose days to black depression on my own. With therapy, I do have some decent days now, while before, I was mostly in a gray fog.

But maybe now, if I stop, I won’t descend into that fog. The thing is, I can’t seem to try and fix my life with so much of it devastated by these after therapy states. I can’t go out, I can’t try and make friends, I am just shut down. As one of my chief problems is lack of relationship, this is not good is it? I do think that any relationships I do have have improved. So I have one friendship, basically, and we’ve become somewhat closer. I am maybe closer to my son, a bit. However, if I see him too close to therapy, I end up not relating well to him at all. So the last two times I saw him this was the case, and I was not able to be supportive, being in too much pain myself.

My career is obviously in the toilet at the moment. I don’t think therapy caused that. It didn’t help a whole lot either.

I don’t have confidence Ron understands enough about parts and dissociation to be able to help me with them. He wants to do therapy on parts. I really don’t see how that would help. It’s not as if I have DID and parts take over and do dangerous things.

I truly don’t think Ron appreciates how far down I go after sessions and how much of my life is lost to coping with the aftermath of therapy. And when I try to limit what goes on in therapy, he pushes against that, as he thinks I’m avoiding. Yes, I am avoiding. Because I can’t handle the fall-out of addressing everything at once. This is actually recommended in dealing with trauma. Why does he not get that.

Anyway. There is an aspect of my frustration with him that has shown up in other relationships I have. I am sure there are unpleasant or unhelpful aspects of myself that are obvious to him, that i just can’t see, as is the case for everyone. It could be it would benefit me to stick around and figure it all out.

Meantime I feel so alone. There is just no one. I will feel better once I’ve recovered more from the session though so I’m hanging on to that.

 

 

Bad session yesterday. I’m back in the place where I want to give up and quit therapy. I may just take a break for next week anyhow. I actually started in a pretty good place too, and now I’m back in the black hole, and it sucks a lot.

I know this will pass in a day or two. I know the theory of psychodynamic therapy – you feel a lot worse before you feel better. But how do I know that I will feel better? How do I know that I’m not just injuring myself over and over here?

At some points, I’ve felt like yes, this is healing. Many times I don’t know. Sometimes, like now, I suspect this is just suckiness – I’ve been triggered to no good purpose.

I did write Ron an email yesterday evening about what I disagreed with. It wasn’t super long, but it had some substance. He did reply, which is something I suppose, as I didn’t specifically request a response. His reply was the generic ‘I can see this is hard for you.’ That was about it.

I’m not sure I want to go into details because trying to think about it brings it up more strongly again. We didn’t talk much about the bio session, I just said I’d found it helpful. Ron wanted to schedule another and I said OK but I’m going to cancel.

We spoke about my family. My mother’s kind of erasing of people. I’d seen them at a birthday dinner, and for some reason I’d started complaining to my mother about my health insurance, which is expensive and covers very little. She made no response whatsoever, just kind of blinked at me. I guess in her book you never complain.

Ron said that as a little girl, getting no response from my mother would have felt terrible. Yes it would. Then Ron started going on about my family, and after a bit, I couldn’t listen any more. So I said I didn’t want to talk about it any more. Ron came back to it a few times, and said something about how I shut him down, like my family does to me. But the thing is, I was so upset, struggling with so many feelings about this that I couldn’t articulate, that I couldn’t take in what he was saying to me. I just knew I needed him to stop talking.

It is odd, because in general Ron is not pushy and not talkative. But this time he would not stop talking and seemed offended when I asked him to do so.

And the second problem was with parts. I was trying not to just speak from my adult, but let parts have their say. And Ron kind of said OK, but also, he feels parts are a distraction. Or something. And he said something about how B never says what’s wrong, she just chats, which is like my mother. Which is totally not true. My mother never chats and never wishes to connect. If she does say anything, it’s about high culture and BS like that. B is a tiny child, but she’s also all about her real life, what’s happening that day and that week. Ron thinks she should be speaking about traumas, and I can’t do that. I can’t make her speak about traumas. It’s not that she knows some, as far as I know, and is withholding them. She’s just like she is. When B speaks with Ron, we feel all this connection happening and it’s nice. But for him, he wants traumas, and sees her as a diversion I’m using.

So that was hurtful. I know if I’d just stayed with the adult, and talked about my mother, and felt worse and worse, then it would have been fine by him. That’s facing your feelings. Even though a bunch of other feelings are locked away in boxes.

Oh and he also said parts want to be heard, but they don’t want to connect with him. I suppose he meant they have trouble listening to his interpretations. Plus he’ll ask therapy type questions of parts, who don’t know what to say to those, and then get kind of P’d off that they don’t respond with deep therapy type answers.

I’m really hurt and really angry. Plus all this stuff about my mother hurts so much. Yes it was bad as a child with a mother who didn’t respond to me. All those feelings are stirred up and it feels like I won’t survive. On top of that, I’m not doing therapy right. It’s not enough to have to touch on these really black sticky feelings, in addition, I have to keep the therapist happy that I’m trying or whatever it is he is looking for.

So, I may quit. I’ve been here before, obviously, so bear with me if I don’t. I’m not quitting right now because I know I may change my mind.

Sometimes Ron just gets in this mood where he thinks he has to figure it all out. Those sessions are so hurtful.

 

Day two of being jobless. I’m still depressed but it’s better. Today I went for a longish walk in the park, and started enjoying it half way through. Amazing fall colours and blue skies in this part of the world this week only. Another few days and all the leaves will have fallen, but this is still that magic time before that happens.

I think I need to try and find work for start of December. At least it is a goal. Because three months out of work is not a good thing at all. I need to be back out there – to get back on that horse, so to speak.

I am still so angry with Ron. I don’t understand why he chose yesterday, the day after my last working day, when I was extremely depressed, to start in again on how I need to not avoid issues. It seemed like the whole session I felt like I had to try and dig up things for him, so he would like me again. It felt oppressive and unhelpful. I just needed someone to sit there and be sympathetic, and let me put myself back together. Not the time for pressure and thoughts on what I’m doing wrong in therapy.

I know I’m probably going overboard in my feelings of needing to get away from him. I started to feel some of the anger I was feeling for my boss towards him, and he’s definitely done nothing to me the way she did. I suspect I’m feeling a lot of angry feelings that maybe belong to other people.

At the same time, what can I do? This is how I see it. I don’t want to see him, I think he’s making things worse, I am fed up to the eyeballs with this story about how I’m avoiding things, when what I’m trying to do is titrate the pain so I can continue to have some kind of functioning existence, such as it is.

No point cancelling now. I’ll wait until next week, because by then I may feel differently again and then it will be embarrassing to ask for the time back.

I don’t even feel like having a ‘closure’ type session. Why should I pay for something that’s just going to be painful and awkward and, well, painful and awkward.

I feel so betrayed. That when I go to him, in such bad shape and in so much pain, he is uncaring. I think sometimes he gets low self-esteem episodes actually – he kind of panics that I’m not making progress, and decides he has to put on the pressure for me to dive into painful topics. It’s more about him than about me – I’m obviously overwhelmed and incapable of deep diving at the moment. I think in his more regular state he would register that and be sensitive to it.

He did encourage me to express anger with him, and I did some of that. It felt shitty basically. I didn’t want to be angry with him, I wanted kindness and understanding. But I was trying to do therapy right, so I did that. It’s really hard when I go in overwhelmed, because I don’t have a whole lot of judgement then about what to do that would help. I just flail around.

Today I went to the doctors. I have this strange thing on my leg – it looks like the fat there has wasted away. There was a medical student there. He spent so much time noting down every detail! It seemed so funny he had so much time to  ponder this, while the actual doctor would have me in and out in ten minutes. It was actually nice though to have someone consider my issues so intently, with no rushing. I also mentioned some congestion, and so he did a long intake on that also.

So when the doctor came in, she decided in about two minutes that neither complaint was worrying in the least. Then had to have a PAP test which was unpleasant but I did it. And a quick conversation about my son.

In the last year or so, I’ve really gotten a sense that this doctor cares. I’ve gone to her for a long time, but never had that sense before. So she’s likely the same, but I’ve changed, and can take in that she cares.

Sometimes at home I feel I can’t interact with the world at all – it seems impossible to go to the doctor’s appointment, find parking, get there on time, go through with the appointment. I don’t really know what I’m worried about. I manage fine. It’s like a part of me worries so intensely about every detail, when there’s really nothing much to worry about.

Ron says I have fragments of selves that have strong feelings about things. And that then, they can’t find a way to take care of those feelings, because they’re fragments.

I guess that could be true. When I try and express how I feel, usually younger parts end up speaking, and suddenly I feel all these emotions that they have.

Well, that’s me today. I got a doctor’s appointment taken care of, and took a walk in the autumn light. Now for some dinner and trying to relax before bed.

 

I had what felt like a bad and destructive session today. It was a longer session again, since i had the time. I wish I’d cancelled. I did have the thought that because I’m currently feeling quite traumatized from ending my job, it’s not a good time for therapy. I already feel overwhelmed, and cannot really talk about anything, and don’t want to open up any other issues either. However, of course I didn’t cancel. I’m supposed to go for a longer session again next time, but I’ll cut it back to a regular length instead. If I go.

I have fallen back into a depression, triggered off by this job situation. Although I still do believe it is for the best that I left. This manager is so toxic, and triggers me so severely, I would just be in an uproar all of the time there.

Stupidly, I tell Ron that I don’t want to get into any heavy issues today, I’m already very depressed and can’t really think. And he gets on his usual ‘rant’ about how this ‘might’ be part of the problem – I’m avoiding talking about what I need to talk about. Which I don’t agree is true. There are times to dive into deep issues, and times to try to shore up functioning again. IMO.

I believe my system gets overwhelmed sometimes, like now. I keep shutting down, sleeping or just lying there. It’s really hard to get up in the morning, figure out what to wear, have a shower and such. Right now, everything feels traumatic. I don’t want to add more to all this, so excuse me for trying to cope and make things better.

The whole time in session felt heavy and difficult. I couldn’t find words for anything. Ron encouraged me to vent my frustration, and I did somewhat, about his approach, and how therapy wasn’t working. And it doesn’t make me feel any better. Though maybe there was a bit of a lightening, when I expressed anger. But overall, I feel I spent time with someone I’m in conflict with.

I have trouble feeling, in general. I get overwhelmed, but I can’t cry or feel regular emotions. I think because it doesn’t feel safe. So a session with conflict with Ron is not helping me feel any safer.

Ron did talk to the part of me that seems in charge of shutting me down. This is also a child-like part. She believes she must stop me from talking no matter what. Why, says Ron. Because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about anyway.

This part was interesting. Then that part got fed up with Ron’s questions, and vanished. So Ron said she was shutting ‘us’ down, meaning that part and him. Why be so negative? He could have been pleased to have talked to a new part who had never come forward before.

Anyway. I wish I hadn’t gone. I just feel more hopeless.

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.