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About a week after my last post, I was fired from my contract. I have to work out my two weeks’ notice, which has been excruciating so far. I have one more week plus a day to go. I wish I could afford to quit, but I can’t – who knows when I’ll next be working.

After the last post, where I was experiencing all kinds of anger with this manager, I calmed down. However, she started in with the silent treatment. She’d try and pretend she didn’t see me come in when I arrived in the morning, though as we sit side by side, it’s not actually possible that she didn’t. I’d say good morning to her, forcing a response. But that would be the end of any communication through the day. If she needed me to do something, she would email me or message me.

I find this behaviour very painful. I was treated to this practice extensively as a child, and it makes me quite crazy. So I was frantically trying to figure out both what I’d done, and also what I should do in response. Did it make sense for a contractor who has only been onsite for two weeks, to ask for a meeting with the manager about the strange behaviour? I talked to friends, and Ron. There was no clear answer, but most thought that in the circumstances, I should let it alone and see what emerged.

So I did that. And what emerged was she fired me. She also fired a fellow contractor who was more on the technical side, who had been there two months. One final contractor remains, a database guy.

I hadn’t yet had a chance to turn in any real work. I was finally assigned something, which the manager didn’t look at until after I was given notice.

I am quite angry and also quite traumatized. I don’t know what I’ve done. The agency I got this contract through has informed me I am not to ask the client what happened. Ron has suggested I ask anyway. He was quite outraged on my behalf actually, asking in what sense is this a contract, when it’s for six months, but they can fire me without cause with only two weeks’ notice. I considered going to my manager’s boss and asking her what happened. I realize she has signed off on all this hiring and firing, but my manager seems impossible to have a conversation with.

The agency is not important to me – I can work through any agency, so it doesn’t matter if they disapprove of something I do. The agency has been extremely poor overall. Some person I didn’t know from them called to inform me of the two weeks’. Then my actual recruiter emailed me a few days later to say she would call me, and she hasn’t. They really only care about the client, not the workers.

I waited three weeks without pay for this job to start. There was no on-boarding whatsoever – I wasn’t even introduced to anyone, not even the other contractors on the team. As soon as whatever it was went wrong, I was treated to the silent treatment instead of feedback or discussion about what is expected. Now I’m heading into the holiday season, when hiring stops altogether, so may not work again until next year. I’ll have a huge gap on my resume, or, I’ll have a tiny job I’ll have to explain, for which I won’t have references.

This manager continues to act as if I have done her some huge disservice. She’s worked for the bank for thirty years – has she ever gone without a paycheque? Is she really the injured party here? I suppose in her mind she is.

I’m trying to keep my spirits up by asking fellow contractors to join me for coffee breaks. They are these techie guys, and don’t seem to care about having human companionship, but once in a while they join me. I’m trying to avoid the situation of having no one say a word to me all day long. When that happens, it’s easy for me to slide into a morass of feelings that I had as a child being ignored.

This is in a way an opportunity to confront within myself this particular bad situation. I keep reaffirming that I am not at fault here, there is nothing wrong with me. It really helps. It’s hard though – 8 hours a day, with nothing much to occupy me – it’s rough.

One more week. Plus a day.

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One thing that really is hitting home for me from this week’s evening session is the realization that I’m being triggered.

Work continues to be an enormous struggle for me. This has been a theme for me pretty much since I started in the workforce, basically seventeen years ago. The difficulties change, but it remains the case that I am struggling pretty hard nevertheless. Usually the trouble is not the work per se, but troubles with bosses, with co-workers, or sometimes with such low level work it bores me to tears.

This particular contract seems to be triggering massive anxiety for me. A second person was fired from our small team at the end of last week. They don’t even get their two weeks’ notice – they’re just gone. We’re told the person was being difficult with the client. Who knows what their side of it is.

And the fact is, I’m not meeting my metrics unfortunately. Last time I did, kind of by a fluke. But this week, I have to fix up last week’s documents, as it turned out I was writing in a different way than what is required. Would have been nice to get that feedback sooner, but oh well. The thing is, fixing up these ‘old’ docs is taking precious days away from the seven new docs I am to produce over the next two weeks.

Anyhoo. I had a real low Monday. I came home completely overwhelmed and convinced I too was about to be fired. I had the overwhelming urge to quit this job, both to avoid the stress of it and to forestall the humiliation of being let go. But – I knew I had just quit another job recently. What’s with all the quitting? In addition, ye olde bank account was crying for funds.

I decided to phone people to ask for advice. My friend J was home, and after I’d semi hysterically explained my situation to him, I started to feel better. He actually came over and brought me food, he was so concerned, which was kind. It was amazing how much more tolerable the situation became once I could discuss it. It was difficult to explain why I was so sure I too was about to be let go, and I realized the situation wasn’t that clear. Though I think the relief I felt had more to do with telling someone else what was going on than with re-jigging my thinking. Maybe it was both.

I went to therapy and explained about the job, about my fears, about my extreme need to quit and how I dealt with it the day before. Ron asked if I was anxious, and I told him I thought I was having massive anxiety, and did I seem anxious. He said he thought there was a layer of anxiety over top of a lot of other feelings. And that I am likely triggered by the work situation into past feelings.

There is a part, V, that has been loud and prominent. This is a young teen part of me. That part experienced so much pain, loneliness and rejection. I spoke a bit about that time of my life, how I more or less stopped speaking to anyone. How I was depressed all the time, and sure this was my fault and my failing, but not able to work out what I could do about it. I remember the heaviness and hopelessness of that time.

So lying there on Ron’s couch, I started to feel some of those feelings. They hurt to feel, but feeling them reduces the anxiety.

At work, my co-workers have been commenting, asking if I’m OK or doing better. I guess I’ve been giving out distress vibes. I’m trying not to do that – I want to be seen as capable as anyone else.

If my feelings at work are kinds of emotional flashbacks to my past, at least my extreme feelings make some sense. Those feelings of alienation and helplessness are feelings I had as a teenager.

Today we had a meeting at work with the big boss. I felt completely alienated, and he actually asked me if anything was wrong. I stood there, as the meeting progressed, and started to acknowledge to myself that a lot of these feelings were coming from that part, and from the past. And it helped a lot. I tried to focus on the here and now, where bad things are not currently happening to me. I was then able to engage a bit with the meeting, asking some questions not in a hostile way, but just in a normal conversational way, and the response was good. So then I again felt more a part of the meeting, and more a part of the team, and less under threat, and less angry.

Ron said that the task is to separate the present from those past feelings. And I knew that before, really. But for some reason this thought is really meaningful to me right now. There is nothing so terrible happening right now. I have a job with some challenges, but also some good points. The boss/PM continues pleasant and seems actually good at his job. He seems to see his job as helping the team get things done rather than harass us or whip us into shape. My co-workers also are fairly decent and we all rub along. And I’m earning good money.

Anyway, it doesn’t make sense that I keep falling into despair or fear because of this contract. It makes a lot more sense if I see it as flashbacks to my past.

So Mr Coffee Date is not even going to respond to my email. What a change from when we hadn’t met yet, where he responded to every email right away. Personally, I think it’s rude not to say a polite no thanks, when someone has taken the trouble to meet with you and sends a follow up. At least I found out he’s a bit of a jerk right away. I suppose it’s a bonus that I’m not that attractive – men won’t deceive me by pretending when they just like how I look.

I feel better knowing he’s not interested, instead of wondering and trying to read the tea leaves. Trying to date will be painful for me. I don’t have social ease, men see me and think they have to try and be intellectual, and then are bored, I have parts that can cut in if I get anxious, which then makes me look like I’m kind of stupid. I need someone to see past all that to the greatness within! Without insulting me on my appearance, which has also happened to me.

At least I made an effort.

The anxiety has left. My method for conquering it was to play dead – I went to bed, I read a classic I already know very well, I dozed and stared out the window. And like magic, no more anxiety. Instead I feel calmly sad. I got nothing at all done today, though I did go for a walk. Job hunting activities made me more anxious, and I couldn’t bear more anxiety. Sometimes giving up is the way to go. I am appreciating being able to sit and write without all the fear I was experiencing today.

My session last week was one hundred percent more helpful than the last. We talked about how unhelpful I’d found therapy the week before, about how I wasn’t feeling trusting. Ron brought up the fact that I hadn’t sent him any tracking – I had decided to wait and see if he would bring it up, or just let it go by. I’m glad he brought it up, otherwise we’d be in denial land, where I no longer wish to live. I brought up that Ron seemed to be taking a bit personally what I’d said the week before about him not seeming caring to me. And that I’d left the session with a kind of pain in my gut that lasted for days.

Ron listened and did not seem to take anything at all personally this time.

However I did have a major therapy hangover this time, which took up the rest of Friday and all of Saturday and most of Sunday. Which did suck. If I’m going to do any socializing or see anyone at all, it tends to be on weekends, so if I can’t function for those days, it really affects my life.

Ron asked by email if I had thoughts on what part of the session caused me to collapse afterwards. I think it’s because I pretty much completely switched into B in the last part of the session. This was crying and upset B. I was trying to switch back out so I could leave and it was really difficult to do. So maybe it was that. One painful thing leading to another at home until I was completely flooded with sadness? And perhaps stuck in a young part, with my mind not working correctly.

Another topic that came up was my sister. My mother did greatly prefer my sister to me as a child. I’d had some dreams where there was some kind of theme that related to being ignored in favor of other people. It seemed to be about that. Maybe that was the trouble?

Hard to say. I don’t really understand why therapy affects me like this. Ron has said this doesn’t happen for his other clients. So it’s not something he’s trying to do, or thinks is especially positive. I’m not sure he thinks it’s entirely negative either, but to me it is. I do need therapy, but I don’t need to lose all those days either.

But, all in all, it seemed a better session. I felt cared about and connected. I felt Ron was hearing me on some things. For instance, at one point, I said I feel like I don’t want to answer that question, and he was ready to back off, as I’d asked him to. But then I went ahead and answered the question anyway – it actually didn’t feel like too much after all. I’d asked him to back off, weeks ago, if I said I didn’t want to discuss something, so it was nice to see that he was prepared to do that.

Unfortunately, I was not in good enough shape to record the session after, so I’ve forgotten most of it. I do remember the dreams, speaking about sibling favoritism, discussing the previous bad session…. That’ll have to do. It’s good enough for now.

 

Today I went for my second acupuncture session in a community acupuncture clinic. I learned about it from a flier in a cafe. It’s low cost – from 20 – 40 dollars, depending on what you feel you can afford. The price means I feel I can go at least once a week without worrying about the cost, which is a load off my mind as I’m also paying for therapy. The difference is you recline in a large room with maybe ten other patients at a time. This means you don’t uncover, so just the more basic points are used, and there is no longer discussion, as you’re in a room with other people, so you just mention your problem briefly (stress).

The first time I went, it was comfortable, but it seemed to set me off with a lot of sadness for quite a few days after. I looked this up online, and apparently this can be seen as a ‘release’, therefore fine. But it’s not what I was looking for really – I’m already sad. However, it did show that there is an effect from the needles – if nothing happened whatsoever, I wouldn’t go back.

Today I think was better. She added a needle for the centre of my chest, where she thought I needed to move energy through that was stuck there. Reclining there with the needles in for about an hour felt fairly good this time. Last time I’d felt a bunch of trauma type feelings come up, but this time, I felt kind of warm and supported, and I could feel a warmth seeping into my chest. I think I’ve got a positive transference to the acupuncturist, because even though we didn’t have a lot of conversation, her manner is kind and caring, and I think she’s doing me good. I’m hoping this will be another tool in my arsenal against depression and anxiety. I really need something that doesn’t trigger more stuff out, but that helps me bear what’s already there instead.

I just feel an edge of happiness this evening, the first time I’ve felt anything much positive for weeks. I’m also real tired, which is a common side effect. It’s evening, and I have nowhere to go – it’s not a problem.

Every day, I’ve been considering whether to go back to my therapy. I have these strong misgivings and feelings of distrust towards Ron. I just think I might do better with a more body-based approach that focuses on calmness.

I know Ron’s approach makes sense to him. He wants to always explore feelings and open them up further. Go to the hard places. He is very good at not shying away, which a lot of therapists do. If you need to go somewhere bad, Ron is able to accompany you.

Just that I think I need to learn how to be stable. How to bear the bad stuff without shutting down. I think my main issue is this strong habit I have of shutting down, which happens so fast to be almost outside of my awareness. So while he’s wanting to address all the strong emotions, my nervous system is clanging shut automatically.

I know though also that my issues with men have now well and truly been triggered. My distrust, after six years of seeing him, is very high, and he’s done nothing to really deserve that. In addition, all the feelings I have had before of needing to leave therapies, basically five times, are now also in play. I can see there might be sense in staying to work this through and leaving from a more stable place.

I still have not decided what to do. I’m also not sure how much pain I’ll be in if I decide to leave someone who has cared about me for so long. Actually though, I think I’ll be in less pain than if I’d tried to leave in the first year.

I guess if he’d had any explanation for why I feel apart and couldn’t function for an entire week after his therapy, I’d have more trust in him. The things he says don’t actually seem to fit my situation.

For instance, he mentioned that he personally has had a psychotic type experience that seemed to have lasted for the length of a therapy session, where he lost touch with external reality. Well, OK. I appreciate that he’s trying to show we’re similar and he doesn’t hold himself as better than me. I’d said that a feature of what I went through was that ‘my mind stopped working’. For me though, this is not psychosis. My mind doesn’t throw up hallucinations. It just becomes massively difficult to do ordinary things – it’s like I’ve forgotten the automatic parts of processes I usually do without thinking. I try to explain, but he doesn’t get it.

Anyway. I don’t really want to think about it. If I must think about it, I try to concentrate on the advantages I might find in working with someone who is more on my wavelength regarding trauma and how I might help myself with it. I might just push my first session in January out a week, and see how I feel then.

I do notice a pattern here – it’s that I want to leave things. Job, Christmas dinner and family, therapist. Criticism and distrust – that’s me at the moment.

 

Ugh. Maybe I’ll just start writing. I did bounce back from last week’s depression. Now I feel I’m back in it, but this time don’t feel positive about my therapy. I’m back on the roller coaster – from therapy is so helpful, I’ve changed so much, to Ron doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s making it worse…..round and round.

I went to therapy twice last week, and until now I really liked that. I didn’t have time to miss Ron, and it felt like I was taking care of what I need by going twice. But now it feels like too much – therapy plunges me into worse depression than I already have, and going every few days means I never have time to have days without therapy hangovers. Plus I can’t really afford it at the moment – I’m time rich and dollar poor. Even though I get a bit of a break on the second weekly session – nothing is coming in, so outgoing should be curtailed. Of course, when I’m working, I am then time poor and unable to attend twice a week.

Now Ron suggested a bio-session – apparently he books some room with mats and it’s a more physical type session. And longer than usual. I have some curiosity, but really mixed feelings about this. Because I know he wants me to try it, and I am curious, I said yes. In order to make up the cost, I’ll cancel my second session next week. In any case, I feel negative about going to see him, so I’d probably cancel the second session anyway. Although I really wanted to try the two sessions a week. His bio room experiment is really badly timed for me. I don’t think there will be time to just do two ordinary sessions a week for a few weeks in a row – holidays coming up etc.

The idea with the bio session is that I’d get at some of the deeper traumas and Ron would help me to process them. I don’t have much trouble calling up traumas, although it’s true I don’t seem to get anywhere with them. I don’t remember any more details, and never get the feeling that anything was put to rest. I am worried that Ron will dump me into a bunch of trauma and then leave me in it. He has no techniques for getting me feeling more grounded or ready to get back to normal life. I don’t really trust his judgement that this is what is best for me right now.

On the other hand, at times I am more trusting of him. So I’ve said yes. I can always not do whatever it is he does, and just sit there, if I want. I’ll see how it goes in the session.

I think I end up in this untrusting place when I do therapy like an adult. Last session there were no parts, and I discussed everything from an adult type place. This still stirs up despairing feelings, but they’re at a distance. So I feel black chunks of misery and hopelessness, but not sad with crying or any separate emotions I could name. The fact that Ron always thinks this is just fine bugs me. I understand I’m not reacting the way clients often reacts, but he’s known me long enough he should be able to help me avoid this. I think these types of sessions are just counter-productive. Too much and dealt with in an unhelpful way.

Grrr….Bitch bitch bitch. In my session also, I was complaining about everyone I had dealt with that week. I think I’m just depressed.

I made it. I’m home from my last day at work. I’d had this idea I would leave at noon, having little to occupy me there. However my co-worker said that would be unusual, people usually put in a full day. So I compromised and stayed until three, which was hard enough. Just before, I did the rounds of the department, saying goodbye to everyone. It was a bit hard to do that, because I was so stressed out after waiting all day to leave, but it was OK. Some people were nice. I actually had a longish discussion with one long-time worker there just as I was leaving. He said the whole department is stressed out  and lacking ‘civility’. I wondered if maybe he could have become a friend, because at least he liked to talk. I didn’t have to pry anything out of him – he had lots to say, but also listened if I spoke. Kind of an unusual person though – very intense. So who knows.

I was very scared to say good-bye to one of the directors there. At first I’d really admired him, because he seemed so articulate, then realized he’s pretty controlling. I never had much to do with him directly actually. He is very important to the department. Anyway, I decided to say goodbye, and felt all emotional for no good reason except that I was stressed out. He didn’t actually seem to know why I was saying goodbye to him anyway. Sigh. He’s very good pals with my boss anyway. Well, who cares. That life is behind me now, and I no longer need to care about these personalities.

C, who was the director who was so nice to me when I worked with him, totally withdrew once I resigned. He was nice and smiled when I came to say goodbye, but again I felt emotional and so forgot to thank him for being so kind, and just said goodbye. A few people, including C, said they’d miss me, and I said truthfully I’d miss them also. There is one co-worker, N, who clasped my hand warmly and said he’d miss me. He’s a complete numbers guy, but he was always nice and never felt threatened by my questions or suggestions. He seemed so emotionally open somehow. I don’t know how to describe it. Like he brought his whole self to wishing me goodbye, standing up and clasping my hand, gazing at me with large open eyes. He’s from a middle eastern culture – I wonder if that’s a warmer culture than my own chilly Canadian one.

And interestingly, I had this whole whispered conversation with B in the morning before boss arrived, on how we could have avoided accepting these jobs with J as the bad boss. I was wondering how I could improve my interviewing, to be alerted to bad situations before I take the job. Two of the red flags B told me about when she interviewed with J were also there for me, but mostly after the interview. I honestly didn’t see in my interview with her, I didn’t see issues or warning signs. I really don’t probe at all, I guess, and am so eager to be hired I don’t evaluate properly perhaps.

I am so relieved to be done with this. It is fairly possible I won’t be employed now until spring though. The time leading to the holidays tends to be dead for hiring, even for contracts, and ditto for January, where people are just recovering.

I hope I don’t fall back into depression. Right now I’m OK, just wishing I had someone to talk to about all this. Maybe I’ve done my grieving and now get a break?

I’ve booked another longer therapy session for tomorrow. I’ve remembered that just before I took this job, Ron and I had decided on twice a week sessions, and I’m thinking maybe I should try that during this work hiatus, even though funds are not coming in at the moment. I’d never be able to do that when working, because I need evening appointments, and Ron only offers those three times a week, so taking two of them would be difficult. If I want to do this, I have to ask right away though, otherwise the time will just go and boom, I’ll be employed again.

 

I had a half a therapy session by phone tonight. I’m glad I asked for it. I didn’t make it to session this week due to being sick, so I asked for a check in or half a session, and we did half a session. It felt vulnerable to ask actually. A part of me really wanted the contact, and another part felt I should let it go, save the money, I’m not in a crisis or anything.

Actually I got the impression maybe Ron thought I was feeling really bad, and I wasn’t, so I felt bad about that, having a call under false pretenses. I know he doesn’t generally work Friday evenings. I’d just felt bereft cancelling my session, and had various things to talk about, and so I asked. It did make me think that maybe I should ask for check-in calls when therapy pulls me into really dark places, because it helps to talk to him.

We spent about half the time on something that came up last session. And it’s only been an hour and a half, but I can’t remember the details of what Ron said, it so didn’t resonate with me I guess. Plus it was complicated. It’s a hard topic for me. I actually just after writing the last sentence spent time reading some meaningless news for a few minutes without realizing what I was doing. Avoiding.

I was not in agreement about Ron’s approach to parts last session. He was talking with B, a very young child part. B mostly chats, but it feels vital and important to her. She talks about the things in her day that interested her. She’ll often tell some detail which I would never mention, but that strikes her as important. How some person acted, or maybe some treat we had.

Ron started asking her, I can’t remember exactly, but why she is so separate, and doesn’t she want to merge with me. Which to B was like trying to persuade her to die, and she was horrified, and soon disappeared. I didn’t say anything much about this last session, but it still hurts a week later, so I brought it up on the phone.

I said I don’t think that’s how parts are integrated, by persuading them to do so. From what I’ve read, it’s more that the trauma they carry is dealt with, and then they can integrate.

Ron waited for me to say all I wanted to about this. I added that he’d hurt B’s feelings. Then Ron said a bunch of stuff, as he tends to do. What was it? That parts can originally form as a response to trauma, but then they become a way of dealing with further trauma. Yes.

That he thinks dialogue and communication between parts is key to integrating them. Which I don’t really get. My parts don’t seem to have an interest in dialoguing with each other. It’s enough of a job to have them talk with me or with Ron.

I accused him of confusing trauma based parts with the parts that everyone kind of has, like the inner critic. Because for those kinds of parts, yes, I can see how dialoguing with them would help.

Then he said he’d had experience with people whose parts were more separate than mine are, who lost time, and that dialogue between them had helped.

That kids usually want to grow up, so he thinks asking B why she doesn’t might lead to the key of why she exists. I didn’t say anything, but I know it isn’t going to help. I say something like these parts just are. They didn’t ask to be created, and I didn’t choose to have them. And B doesn’t want to grow up because she isn’t a real kid, she’s part of me.

And that’s about it. I started feeling really afraid at this point, which was not the point of the call. Ron asked me to feel into what the fear was about, but I really couldn’t. Something about wanting him to remain this nice supportive therapist, but it seemed like he wasn’t. Ron asked if it was a part having the feelings, and I said maybe, because I don’t really know how come I’m feeling afraid.

And I changed the subject.

The rest of the call went better from my point of view. I didn’t feel afraid, and I talked about a few things I wanted to touch on.

I’m still glad we talked, even though the conversation about parts was difficult.