At what point do we look at the broken thing and acknowledge it cannot be unbroken?
I had therapy again yesterday; we were trying twice a week for a while, trying to repair the damage. I guess now we are going back to once a week, that is, if I go Monday. As it stands, I’m just not really able to separate all the different voices in my head, to figure out what it is that I really want and need. At the end of this I’ll definitely ask if you all still think I need to move on (because that seems to be the case, overwhelmingly).
This last session, C and I colored together again. We had a laugh about her eye coloring page. I colored a turtle with palm trees. I managed to color precisely 3 trees. I was really moving along at turtle speed.
We talked a little bit about my having called the doctor and switching my medicine; they messed up prescribing Prazosin for someone with irregular sinus tachycardia (this isn’t a big deal usually; it just means my resting heart rate is almost never below 130 off meds and it’s usually between 150-200 when not medicated). The Prazosin, as you might recall, caused my BP to plummet but my heart rate remained incredibly high. The fact that I usually take a beta blocker to slow my heart rate, meant that I couldn’t take both. Long story short, the doc changed the med. I told C about this yesterday.
She finally asked me what all my allusions to a “heart thing” were about. And I told her, it’s nothing really, just my heart beats too fast and sometimes skips beats or beats extra. They couldn’t find underlying secondary causes.
She said, “I don’t mean this to sound insensitive but have they considered it might be the anxiety?”
I told her, “I’ve been telling them it’s probably anxiety since they found it when I was 17; they don’t care about that. According to them, it doesn’t matter, what matters is the damage that could be done with my heart consistently overworking like that.” Regardless of a mental or medical cause, it isnt normal. And, yes, I found the comment dismissive and insensitive, but we moved on.
We talked about some feeling I’ve had recently that reminded me of the way my mom used to make me feel. And we talked about how it meant I didn’t get taken care of and how I felt unworthy of being treated like a human. I don’t really remember the specifics of that; I think I checked out for that part of the conversation. I do remember at some point during this exchange, however, me saying,
“I should have just kept it to myself” and her responding, “but you aren’t responsible for my emotional reactions to you.”
Except, yes, it does kind of feel that way; that the container needs to be big enough to accommodate both of our emotional reactions because she isn’t containing her own well enough.
At the end, I showed her the finished piece of art that I was working on last session. I told her she could have it if she wanted, but I was sure she would say no. Sure enough, she said,
“it isn’t that I’m saying ‘no’ indefinitely; it’s just that it would probably have to just go in your file. So maybe hold onto it until I have a place where it could go.”
That’s a diplomatic, “no.” I don’t want to think about my art, a part of me, something I poured some part of my heart into, being stuck in a raggedy file folder. Brought in and out of a filing cabinet/drawer. It deserves more respect than that. So, I said, “Yeah, no, that’d be a waste.”
We hugged and I left. On the drive home it set in just how rejected and dismissed I actually felt that session. I know that the ethical, boundaried gray areas aren’t easy to navigate but if one were to just be human and respond in a kind, human way, we would have so little issues.
This leaves me with the following voices playing war in my mind:
1) I’m just something, someone to be stuffed into a file.
2) I’m just a paycheck
3) If she really cared, she would have asked about the offering of the gift, the motivation, prior to turning it down (even if diplomatically)
4) Nothing either of us does at this point is going to be right for either of us. In fact, she said, “I don’t think it’s doing any good for me to answer all of your questions.” And she said, “it can feel like a lot of pressure to be analyzed so closely.” This was in response to a text that I sent that said, “I hope the honesty/openness applies to the hugs, too. I know the push-pull exists there, too. But, also, I don’t ever want obligatory hugs. It means a lot to me that I get to choose when and how I am touched and by whom. And that it is safe, even if we are in a rocky patch. But, even still. I need you to please just tell me if you’re ever not really feeling human contact. We’d probably have to deal with hurt, rejected parts but… truth is still preferable.” And her response was “truth it is :)” I know she was being kind but the English teacher in me couldn’t get past the fact that with or without a comma the meaning of that sentence changes. As a general rule, I never correct the grammar of friends and fellow adults but I brought my concern up to her anyway. This apparently made her feel a lot of pressure. Maybe I am too much for her.
5) Everything felt so right in the beginning: the validation, the teaching skills and mindfulness, the emails (I’m awful at auditory retention; I literally need visual supplement), the encouragement, the holding onto hope, etc. If that was possible then, surely it’s possible again.
6) I don’t want to lose the hugs. I know that one is small and silly but it is part of the narrative.
7) I finally felt like I found someone who, at first, was attuned enough to “get it” and get me. Now that’s gone. Or flipped, I’ve become more attuned to her.
8) She specializes in co-dependency, trauma/abuse, and shame; all of which I struggle with, so I thought she’d be a good fit. This makes me wonder if I’m the problem. Or, if she specializes in those things because she, herself, still struggles with them and is using her clients to heal herself.
9) Along with 8, my therapy isn’t a space for her to figure out her boundaries.
10) Maybe I’ve just found someone to reenact all my past hurts with and maybe that’s why I’m so reluctant to leave. I’m falling for the therapy because it’s familiar and comfortable.
11) We are probably both in over our heads. I don’t think she had any idea what she was getting into with me.
12) We are all human. Any therapist is going to make mistakes. Part of me wants to stay and see what this could grow into, even if it means risking it falling apart.
13) I’m tired of running. How do I know this is a time when it’s actually justified to run?
14) her presence, in person, despite a long period of coldness has finally started to feel warm, to feel good, to be something which some part of me craves.
15) I’m all alone with my needs when I leave the room (except, of course, I have my friends. I have the support network I built on my own, without her help… Except that, at that point, I did feel like she was a secure base, until she mucked that up).
16) I think, somehow, despite the hurt and confusion, I’m already attached in some kind of way. Even if it’s just parts of me which are attached. I’m scared of the hurt that’s going to happen walking away. But my life has literally started falling apart, not getting better.
17) She is very, very knowledgeable which I admire, appreciate, and need in a therapist. I’m difficult in that regard. I need my therapist to know as much as me or more than me, which is maybe pretentious and arrogant but I won’t feel like they’re able to properly challenge me otherwise; they’ll fall into my traps and we will end up playing the same ole games.
18) Maybe that means C wasn’t as resistant as I thought, because I think she has fallen into the traps, too. I don’t mean to set the traps. They’re just there to protect me, to get my needs met. I know they’re maladaptive. And I don’t know I’m doing it in the moment. I can only see it in the collateral damage afterward. But, regardless, I need someone perceptive enough, attuned enough, objective enough to not fall into the rabbit hole with me.
I think I already know the right decision…. I’m just scared to make it…