Therapy Ruptures, Running, and Rebuilding Trust

“What does rebuilding trust look like to you?” my therapist asked me today during our session.

“I don’t know. That isn’t something I do. I run. I’m a runner,” I responded.

This is my reality now. It has been for the last 4 years at the least. If I’m honest it has probably been  that way for much, much longer. That’s probably why I am so reluctant to run now that I’ve “suffered a major rupture” (her words) with my therapist. I’m tired of running. I’m tired in general.

I’ve spent way too much time closed off from people; running at the first sign of discomfort. I learned that I couldn’t protect myself if I stayed in relationship with people so I never stayed too long. I was a cardiac nomad, trudging along from one heart to the next. I’d stay just long enough that our hearts would start beating the same rhythm and then I’d  bounce. It was always safer that way. But, so, so lonely. My heart has become a desolate wasteland. Still a patchwork but of sharp, jagged parts. Anyone who came close risked injury, so it seemed to me. It was inevitably going to be one of us. It isn’t going to be that way with this therapy relationship. I don’t want it to be. I’m scared out of my wits and the jagged bits are erect and ready. But, I’m not running this time.

The irony of this running business is that I am most decidedly “not a quitter.” I said as much in therapy today. But, I sure know how to quit at relationships. And, I rather thing it would be a beautiful irony were I to quit at life. That’s where my mind is currently, despite having actually had a session  that was about as ideal as it could have possibly been under the circumstance.

If you read my last post, Text, Touch, and Therapy Changes, then you know that my therapist, we shall call her C, did something that hurt me very deeply. It shook my trust to its core. I mean, I was already on rocky terrain with her, but then she pulled the rug out from under me. I was pretty certain that I was done letting her walk this journey with me. But, despite that, I gave her one more chance today after having written a pretty lengthy letter for her to read. I don’t know if she actually did read the letter but she gave me exactly what I needed. She gave me the truth, finally, and she owned her part of this. She owned up to the hurt she caused. And she explained her intentions and how things got so messed up. That was really all I ever wanted; the truth. She had already hurt me enough with her actions. I thought, at the very least, I deserved to know the why and how. I’m “hypervigilant” for goodness sake. It isn’t like I’m going to miss the little details. I see things whether I want to see them or not. And, yeah, sometimes I make those things into something they’re not but there is usually at least a nugget of truth even in my delusional constructions. I guess she finally realized that or she had some more “consultation” and she was told she better tell me at least some of the truth if she wanted to salvage this thing. So, that’s what I got. I still don’t feel satisfied that I got all of the truth but I feel like I got enough and I’m okay with that for now. Which leaves us at… how do we rebuild the trust that has been lost? Because right now, I have nothing for her. I know that she said trust isn’t black or white but in this moment… it kind of is… She said, maybe I just learned how to trust myself more in this situation. There might be some truth to that. And, that is a good thing. I did need to trust myself. But, I need to trust her, too. I just don’t know what that is supposed to look like, coming back from something like this. It’s also exhausting.

I’m exhausted if I run and I’m exhausted if I stay. I guess that means it is better to stay, if the outcome is the same either way. I hope I’m making the best decision. I just couldn’t stand the thought of starting over. Learning how to trust an entirely new person, another stranger, another wildcard, another someone who could possibly hurt me. I hate the risk of human relationship. I hate that if I invest something of myself it means putting my neck out, hoping there isn’t a guillotine hovering out of sight, filled with potential energy waiting to turn kinetic. I suck at hope. I suck at faith. I’m a tangible gal. I like the concrete. I like the material. It’s easier than this abstract feeling business. Is there any way to turn trust into something tangible so that I can believe in it?

14 Thoughts

  1. God its tough. I get it totally. I am with my therapist even though you know we had problems after Mum died. LIke you I could not face starting all over again. I am glad your T apologised, I hope things progress as the big work of this kind of therapy is about healing ruptures instead of running that is how trust is built, by staying as long as she is helping you more than hurting you, mistakes can be moved through and no one always gets it right. I hope this helps in some way.

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    1. This rupture really made me feel like she was hurting me more than helping me so, we shall see where it goes. I know she is human and that mistakes are going to happen. I really do know that but this mistake just felt so careless, even though she says that she has tried to do what was “the best way to care for” me. I just can’t see it. I hate the uncertainty but I know that’s a normal part of relationship. I have so much more respect now for people who go through rupture in their therapy and make it through to the other side. It takes a lot of strength, resolve, and hope.

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  2. Trust is so hard. I can understand not wanting to start over. I went through a rough spot with one of my providers as well and honestly, I’m glad I stuck it out because our relationship is much stronger now. It was very hard for me though because I, too am a “runner.” Whatever you decide is best for you, hang in there.

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  3. You should be totally proud of yourself for sticking with your appointment and fighting the urge to run away. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for you.

    I’m glad she was more honest with you over what is happening. It’s unfortunate that it needed to get to the point that it did, but it sounds like she is a least trying to work her way towards the middle and owning some of her own shit.

    I hope it gets better for you. Trust is such a fragile thing. Maybe if parts get overlapped when you’re building it up again, it can become stronger in the future. I hope so, for your sake at least.

    Take your time. Trust yourself. Go easy on yourself. It’s okay if things slow down a bit and you aren’t quite as far as you were before. And if you decide in the future that you can’t work your way through the hurt she caused, well, that’s okay too, because at least you’re trying you’re best.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It’s so kind and warm. And, I may need this reminder in the future, if I have to remove myself from the relationship. It doesn’t look like this is going to be an easy one for me to let go because it seems my ethics and hers (both based on the same codes) are very different. And, when it comes to justice and fairness, I’m pretty immovable. It seems she is as well. Could be problematic.

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  4. That’s good that were able to get some closure on the issue (closure’s not really the word I’m looking for, but I’m drawing a blank). It sounds like the kind of situation where there really isn’t a “right” decision, and you’ve just got to go with what feels right at the time. The fact that you’ve got such good insight into your own thoughts/feelings about this is really amazing.

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    1. You’re right. I don’t think there is a “right” decision. Just what sucks less, I guess. It’s hard maintaining hope in this situation but I’m trying. And, thank you for commenting on my insight… I guess I hadn’t actually thought about that as a positive. LoL I just think I overanalyze everything and get lost in my own head and feelings. I like your perspective better.

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  5. I’m glad you were able to take your thoughts to her and that she seemed open to accepting her part in it. The consultation for her is a must if she hopes to improve, because I would bet you are not the only one she has had inconsistent boundaries with. Anyways, it sounds like it was a big step for you, considering how difficult it can be for you to trust. I hope you’ve given yourself the credit for going, not running. Ruptures can be so tough, I know it. They make it seem like the stable ground is about to crumble away beneath you. No matter what happens, I hope you can find some solace in the fact that you stuck it out long enough to advocate for you and resolve at least some of your feelings in a healthy way.

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    1. Thank you, that is big, isn’t it? Being able to advocate for oneself. I’m so grateful for the perspective you all bring to my life situations/ my blog.

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  6. “What does rebuilding trust look like to you?” my therapist asked me today during our session.

    “I don’t know. That isn’t something I do. I run. I’m a runner,” I responded.

    I relate to this SO much.

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    1. Trust and staying present in discomfort are so, so hard. Taking risks: hard. There has to be some sort of benefit to breaking the cycle, surely?! I hope anyway. I’m always sorry when people relate to the things I write about that make me feel exceptionally shitty because I most definitely don’t want anyone else to have to experience those things/feelings. But, at the same time, it is nice for both of us, I think, to know that we aren’t alone.

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