Yesterday, was therapy day. If you’ve been following my blog then you know things haven’t been the greatest with my therapist since we had a pretty significant rupture. Or, at least, that seems to be the consensus. If you’re not hip with the therapy goings-on, you may want to check out Text, Touch, and Therapy Changes and Therapy Ruptures, Running, and Rebuilding Trust first.
I felt pretty certain that she, my therapist, and I were not going to be able to move past my anger at her for changing the policies the way she did and for delivering the news the way she did. Somehow, though, I don’t feel angry anymore. I worry that maybe I’ve just locked away the angry, angsty part of me that was feeling abandoned. And, that the anger is actually still there, but that this work stuff forced some super mature, superhuman part of me to the forefront because I have been in major clean up mode with my life. But, I don’t know; it could actually just be gone. Either way, this last session actually felt like a step in the right direction and I feel like she has really been making an effort to be kind in our professional out of session contacts (just schedule changes and little reminders for in-session).
In my last two sessions I have been making efforts to connect in different ways in the room, since outside is no long an option. The first of those two sessions I just asked her to sit closer. That didn’t do much. Haha I don’t think she was close enough for it to make a difference. This time, I brought art/coloring books. Consequently, she was even closer this time… which, probably did help with the connection. It was easier to sustain eye contact without it feeling super weird. I mean, it was still going to be weird though because I was working on art and she was coloring, so every instance of eye contact was incredibly intentional.
Right so, I wanted to share what I/We were actually working on in terms of the art/ coloring stuff before I actually get into the nitty-gritty of the session. There is this art piece I started working on Monday, to try to find the hope that C held onto for me before this whole rupture happened. I guess I was trying to use my art to reconnect with her outside of session (ironically, it ended up helping to connect in session). Anyway, that’s what I took with me to therapy. For C, I brought 4 coloring books she could choose from because it makes me really self-conscious to be in the zone and have someone giving me the therapy stare down. Not that I ever actually feel uncomfortable when she stares. Her gaze is soft. But still. Staring is always a weird feeling. The coloring thing worked out well. She chose a creepy page that looks like a whole bunch of eyes, fitting to the whole staring thing, huh? 😉
This is my art (the first thing I’ve done in ages):
The quote on the left is from a Turkish author, Mehmet Murat Ildan (his initials are down there, just a bit hard to see). The quote on the right is from my therapist, C. She told me once that If I lost hope, she would maintain hope for me, if I’d let her. I don’t know why but it really stuck with me; it meant a lot… just to know that even when I was feeling hollow, like a husk of a human… there was still hope being held for me. It was there when I was ready to come to it. I guess it didn’t matter that the hope wasn’t initially mine, just that the hope was there, that it existed, and that it was for me.
This is her’s (unfinished, of course, but you all had to see the creepy eye-ness of it):
I think yesterday’s session kind of helped me piece the trust box back together a bit. That thing was looking a little ragged, with all the trust for her just sort of seeping out. Or, maybe, it all fell out the bottom suddenly. Whichever. There wasn’t much hope or trust there (according to C, we hadn’t ever really fully filled it up anyway, which might make this whole fixing things easier… she may have been onto something). Yesterday C actually talked to me about some of her internal process these last few weeks. She said that she had been giving what happened between us a lot of thought. That felt good, like she was finally trying to figure out her part. It made me feel like, maybe she does still care.
I will admit, I didn’t completely like hearing what she had to say. She owned up to having felt, at times, angry, confused, and hurt. She said that the push-pull I was exerting was… I can’t remember if she said exhausting or frustrating; two very different words, I know. Both, negative connotations. I hate knowing that I elicited those responses (especially because I know that it happens with pretty much everyone at some point in my relationships with them). Part of me still wonders if she felt those things because I was right with some of my accusations, or if it was because when that protective part of me gets to come forward, she is ruthless. It is in those moments that being good at words, does not bode well for the other person. I’m perceptive and verbose. Not a good angry combination.
C also admit that despite feeling these things she was still trying to do the “unconditional positive regard thing” by just taking my lashing out at her and by remaining somewhat detached, to contain all the anger I was throwing at her and that she was feeling from her own emotional store. She acknowledged that this tactic was not genuine (which I had been saying all along) and she finally saw how and why I perceived her words/actions as being disingenuous. Her intentions weren’t malevolent or even selfish; I think she was trying to shield me from her anger, to prevent me re-experiencing what I experienced in childhood. Had she lashed out at me it would have just confirmed that my emotions are bad and that I am bad and I probably would have completely shut down to feeling anything at all with another person.
The conclusion she came to, after reflecting, is that keeping her feelings to herself isn’t going to be beneficial in our relationship. She said, I’m too attuned to her and what’s going on with other people. She apologized for inadvertently making things worse and she promised that from now on she will be honest about what she is feeling in the moment with/toward me… even if it might hurt. That is seriously all I had been asking for! LoL the truth. All of it, the ugly and the not so ugly.
We did cover quite a few other things in that session as well. Like, diagnosis. After my psychiatrist appointment and after my lashing out at C, I started to wonder about my own diagnosis. I have always, always thought maybe BPD fit, but no psychiatrist ever sees any of those parts of me, so that diagnosis would be unlikely to actually happen. And, C, as it turns out doesn’t really care much for diagnosis when it comes to trauma. She says that a person may fit the label one day but somewhere down the line, they no longer meet that criteria and that it doesn’t make sense to stick them with the stigma of a diagnosis, when they may actually stop exhibiting those “symptoms.”
As for my BPD concern, she both confirmed and denied it. She said that most people with this much childhood and adult trauma do exhibit some of the “symptoms” of BPD but that it is a result of the trauma, that those behaviors/reactions were necessitated by environment. One thing she did mention, however, that has left me a bit unsettled is D.I.D. I’m not unsettled by this because I think being diagnosed with this would be “bad” but I’m unsettled by it because, even despite knowing I have very distinct parts warring it out in my head, and despite often feeling fragmented and not very much like an “I” at all, and despite having gaps of missing time, and having what feel like alternate memories… it literally never occurred to me that it might be D.I.D. So… now I am all in my head like… “wait, was she saying that is what she thinks is going on? Is that how she would diagnose me?” And, also, of course now I’m trying to decide if it really fits… I guess it might. The fact that I have a whole mess of dissociation going on, is irrefutable, so maybe it isn’t a stretch at all. Hm…
I don’t actually think it changes anything for me one way or another. As long as I’m getting the appropriate treatment for what’s going on… that’s all that really matters.