Don’t be disappointed, please. It had been a month since my last therapy session. I was feeling that dark, weighty void, even though C and I have maintained intermittent email contact in that time. We decided to have a proper termination session (at her suggestion) on Friday the 30th. I was so apprehensive to go and see her but probably not for the reasons you might think. It wasn’t because I still had animosity, it was because I missed her. I missed her and I was afraid seeing her again wouldn’t give me the closure I needed but would, instead, make me regret closing the door. And, you know what? It did. I am questioning.
There was a lot wrong in our therapeutic relationship but there was quite a bit right, as well. She is skilled and knowledgeable that was never questioned. I got better in the beginning. After she made the changes I got worse but I think that was on me. I think maybe I was doing the whole codependent thing in the beginning and I think maybe she was, too. I was getting better because I was taking everything from her that she would give and she was giving more than she could sustain. We set ourselves up for failure. But, I question, did it have to mean failure?
The therapeutic relationship is still a human relationship and we made very human mistakes. I was so hurt by her mistakes because I felt like she should have known better. And, yeah, maybe she should have known better. It is undeniable that she could have done better. I was making it so clear how unheard I felt. I was asserting needs and she was ignoring them. It felt like her boundaries were the only ones that got to matter. That hurt. It hurt in a reenacting the painful past kind of way. I felt like she should have seen and known that. So the fact that she didn’t led me to believe she didn’t care. I couldn’t get past that, not until now, facing the reality that it is completely over. We’ve terminated. I hate that word. It is so final.
All the hope she held is gone. I don’t have a right to it anymore.
I have to hold my own hope now. I don’t get to bask in the radiant light that was present at the beginning of our therapy relationship. I don’t get to have the glorious end of session hugs anymore. And, let me tell you, they were glorious. They made all the broken pieces feel temporarily whole. They were the kind of hug that lasts just a little bit “too long.” But it never felt wrong. They always felt natural and warm. They were the kind of hugs where you hold each other’s arms or hands after just to maintain the connection a bit longer. They were the kind of hugs where you look at each other warmly and you know, “I’m okay.” I’ll miss those. I know they’re a taboo in the counseling field because therapists “aren’t supposed to touch their clients” but I don’t care. I had the hugs and the hugs were valuable to me because they were my choice and I got to have that choice. And now, they’re gone and I probably won’t find that again. I guess I can find that in my friendships and maybe it will feel the same. Still, it doesn’t erase the longing and sadness.
I feel like I’ve lost a close friend.
I know it isn’t supposed to feel this way. I know that is taboo in the counseling field, too. I know that is why things went the way they did because we were blurring the lines between therapy and friendship. We were both to blame in this. I knew better. She knew better. But we let it slide for so long under the guise of “building the therapeutic relationship.” We let it slide because it was so hard for me to trust her and to express needs and that’s what it took for me to get there. And, I think, part of her was having needs met, too… which I get is also “wrong.” But I just don’t care anymore. I miss the good things. I just keep thinking how things could have kept going well if she hadn’t had the need to change things, to exert power over me and to lie about the reasons. The impasse that created felt so impossible at the time. I felt like the only choice left was to leave but now… now, I don’t know.
What I do know is I’ve made a ton of progress since leaving therapy. I finally had to do things on my own and fill my own cup. In our termination session we talked about my progress toward the goals she and I set initially and we talked about what I still had left to work on. It really helped put things into perspective for me in terms of what I’ve been able to accomplish. Here are the discharge notes:
Despite the session being enlightening, I didn’t gain perspective on everything. C was “in agreement” that I should start fresh with someone else. That hurt. That felt like rejection. And, I don’t know if she felt that way because she got tired of me or if she felt that way because she sees that we never could overcome the impasse for real or if it is because of all the progress I’ve made since or maybe she felt rejected by my leaving and reacted in kind? I have no idea. It’s just really confusing. How can I have so much compassion for someone who needlessly hurt me? How can I be this crushed by the loss? It seems so silly to me, that I’ve allowed this to happen again. And this time in therapy. Literally the only place I didn’t expect this to happen. And, yet…