Denied Anger?

Morning WP guys,

I was woken up with a shock this morning as my husband shouted and flew out of bed.  Turns out he snoozed his alarm and it was 8.10am instead of his usual get out of bed time of 7.00am.  I panicked with him and started rushing around to get his clothes out, got his shoes, bag and jumper together, made him some toast and a cup of tea etc.  It’s these silly things which make me realise how much I feel other people’s feelings and how much I HATE it when someone around me is angry or stressed.  My husband is truly the loveliest, calmest man ever and on the very rare occasion he is angry or stressed, I panic SO much.  We actually have a bit of a joke about it where he says “You don’t know what angry is! You’ve been wrapped in cotton wall you entire life”.  Clearly he is playing and we both laugh when he says it. I remember literally maybe two or three occasions in the last 4 or so years where he has shouted at one of the kids for misbehaving, I find myself sitting there wide eyed and solemn like I am one of them.  He has often asked me why I get so scared and awkward and I’ve never known the answer other than I guess my fear and panic gets triggered from when I really was a child.  Anyway, back to the point…

It is now 8.50am and I went to sleep by about 10.45 last night so I’ve had plenty of sleep. I often sleep well after my therapy session, usually deeper than normal which I think was the case last night as I have a dull kind of headache which I sometimes get after a deep sleep. On the flip side, I came on my period yesterday afternoon and I have woken up to a ginormous spot on the side of my nose (not a good look!) and stomach cramps. Isn’t being a woman just wonderful? On the more serious side, that does indicate another month of unsuccessful conception.  Possibly not a bad thing considering my emotional state, but very disappointing.  Last month I fell about crying when I came on but this month I feel I have so much on my plate that it is probably for the best.  As much as I hate to admit it.

So, I am waffling. The point of writing this morning is meant to be about my session last night.  My first session back after 3 weeks.

I felt anxious all day about my session last night. Nervous even.  I didn’t want to go on one hand and yet I was desperate to go on the other.  I was in touch with feelings of shame, I felt weak and embarrassed for having fallen apart these past few weeks.  I kept myself very busy yesterday, going to the shops, going to the sea, driving a lot, car wash, cooking, yoga. I even watched an episode of something on tele which took me up literally until the minute I had to leave to drive to T’s. I think in hindsight, that was avoidance of the feelings about going.  I knew I had to go, needed to go and partly, wanted to go.  So best I just get there and deal with the feelings after right?

As I parked up outside her house, I had about 5 minutes to spare. I sent my friend a voice note telling her I was feeling sick with nerves. I acknowledged that I knew I would have no reason to feel like that, and that I would come out feeling a hundred times better than when I went in, but right then, I felt sick with nerves and embarrassment.  As I told her at the time, sometimes I feel that T is so strong and tough and well put together that she makes me feel inferior and stupid.  Now obviously I know that they are meant to be those things and that if we were getting therapy from someone we perceived to be weak and not well held together, then that wouldn’t be very helpful and that therapy wouldn’t work. I also understand that in attachment work like this, she has to take on the role of my mother figure and so I guess naturally that means she is going to seem stronger, wiser, tougher etc AND obviously she is a professional therapist so that is natural right? But I think clearly it does tap into some older feelings for me of being shamed by my mother for having needs – this is not a new realisation but times like this I guess it is made all the more obvious.  I don’t know if everyone feels this way when going to see their therapist?

I went and knocked on the door when it turned half past seven and kind of dreaded her opening the door (LOL).  She opened it and smiled at me in her usual way, I felt awkward and said hello, how are you and asked if she had a nice break.  I ALWAYS feel awkward those first few minutes. Always.  I hate that first part still now, 4 years later. I find it uncomfortable the way she watches me walk in, sit down and then wait for her to ask “How’s Twink?”.  I don’t know why I find this so awkward really… anyway she asked how I was and I just pulled a face of “pffttt.. meh… ” (the globally recognised face, right?). T asked if I had been to the doctor and if I had been signed off etc and I filled her in on the practical stuff.  She said it was good that I had been signed off as it would give me a bit of space. She then asked if I wanted to come twice this week which I said I did, she offered me a slot on Thursday afternoon which I took immediately and said I was going to ask for an extra session.  She asked how it felt that SHE had asked me and I said that I was relieved.  I wonder now why she asked that?

T started pretty instantly by telling me what she thinks happened, can you guess?  She said it was the break that had “really got you in touch with the feelings”.  I have said this lots of times before but it really does make my eyes roll.  Whyyyyyy does she always think it’s about the blinking breakkkkkk??? It kind of irritates me when she says this but because I love her I just try and smile obediently and agree that hmmm possibly.

T said that it was no coincidence that I woke up the very next morning after our last session feeling such anger.  (I admit I hadn’t thought of this link) and that she thought I’ve been trying to hold it all in for the last 3 weeks and it again, was no coincidence that I fell apart exhausted from it all at the weekend, Sunday in particular, knowing she was back at work the following day.

Hmm.

The more she spoke about it being the break, the more I find myself thinking “it’s not” and so I try to smile and nod and accept that hmm yes, it could be possible I suppose.  I found myself telling her “possibly but not consciously”.

At one point she said, lovingly but sarcastically to prove a point “Twink, it isn’t just a huge coincidence that the day after you realised it was a break you woke up feeing fucking furious, that you then spent 3 weeks feeling shit and you’ve collapsed with it all the day before I am back!“. We both burst out laughing and she laughed “God I love you Twink but come on!” (me thinking OMG she said she loves me! LOL). I laughed with her and said “It is. It’s a giant coincidence” but I was laughing too.

T started to say that I was feeling FURIOUS that she went away and not only did she go away, but that I felt she hadn’t even warned me! that she was just suddenly not coming back for 3 weeks.  She said that not only was I dealing with all the shit with my mother, but that my mother was going away and so was T and that T was leaving me there to cope with all that shit on my own.  She said how it would be perfectly understandable for me to feel angry with her.

I just smiled… nope…

She asked me about the dream which triggered me on Sunday and I told her.  She said that she thinks the dream was trying to tell me something and trying to get me to piece something together BUT that she did not think it was an actual physical event in the way she thought I did.  I told her that was my worry and that since that dream, my heart had been beating so quickly, that everything was making me jump, that I kept getting these sudden hot flashes and that the overwhelming thought was “I can’t cope with any more pain, I can’t handle anything else”.  T said we had already uncovered the horrific thing and the horrific thing was my mother’s neglect and abuse.  She said something along the lines of “throw another incident of abuse in there and it wouldn’t make any real difference – the real damage was done by your mother“.  I note that T has always maintained that stance, I have often felt I put more weight on the physical sexual abuse than she ever did – perhaps she is right or perhaps it is her style as a therapist, she is very pro attachment and so I guess that would make sense.  Even I can see that whilst the sexual abuse was physically awful, the emotional side effects from a lifetime of neglect, abuse, boundary invasion etc is longer-lasting and yet it remains in my head that the physical is worse somehow.  T has said before that she thinks that I think that way to keep myself safer, put the blame on him rather than my mother.  I don’t know.

Either way, hearing T say that she didn’t think I had another abuse situation to uncover helped me to relax a little. Thank Fuck For That.

T said that she does think the dream is trying to tell me something (heartbeat starts to elevate again) but not in the way I think.  She said she thinks the dream is indicating I haven’t quite made a link, uncovered something that I need to and that she thinks that link is that I am feeling so much anger towards her.  She thinks that it is so terrifying for me to “turn her bad” that I am totally and utterly denying those feelings and dream is telling me I need to uncover it.

T said that it is imperative I can access those angry feelings towards her and that we can deal with them.  She said that it is my chance to get out all the angry feelings from when I was young in a safe place.  She said that all that anger had nowhere to go when I was young as my mother could not handle it, as it was terrifying as a child to feel anger towards her because she was dangerous and that I had to push it away to keep her good – to survive. She said that now, if I can direct all those feelings to T, they will be released and I will get great healing from that.  She said that she is safe and that she won’t turn on me, won’t abandon me etc.

T said that “it’s all there in your writing! you’ve told me it all, cleverly” meaning my anger and that she thinks I’ve directed it all towards my mother because that is safer now than directing it towards T, particularly when she isn’t there.  She said it is very scary to admit to yourself how much you need me.  I agreed with her, yes it is.  She said that because of how important to me she is, it makes sense that it would be terrifying to risk being angry with her, because I would naturally assume she would leave and that is the very worst thing that could happen.  I agreed with her and said that I knew that because last Christmas when we had that awful rupture over her sending me that text message which was meant for someone else, that one incident caused me SO much pain that I made it mean she didn’t care for me AT ALL, that it was all fake, all a lie, that she never cared and honestly I felt absolutely horrific.  So yeah, it makes sense that I wouldn’t want to revisit that place. Being angry with T is not something I am comfortable with. Being angry in general isn’t something that I am comfortable with.

She said when I said in my email at the very beginning of the break that I couldn’t let my mother have my anger because it was pointless, that I couldn’t “sock it to my mother OR to her”.  LOL at the word “sock”. 

Anyway I think that I’ve written out the gist of the session and I don’t think there is much need for any more she said and I said’s, so what am I thinking today having slept on the session?

Well.. the thing is, I can quite clearly see that her theory makes sense AND I can see why accessing anger and directing it so her as a safer environment would be helpful.  I hope that hearing her say this, AGAIN, will give me permission somewhere if it is needed but I also find it frustrating that she is so convinced I am angry and that I cannot feel that in  myself at all. I almost wish I could!

I can see that I’ve always been a people-pleaser and a “good girl” and so it makes sense that anger isn’t really something I’ve ever allowed myself to feel and as I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve seen a lot of destructive anger and violence and so it makes sense that I’ve learnt to deny those type of feelings, particularly towards someone who is kind to me – why would I want to take the risk of pushing her away when I need her so much? I guess the feelings will come if and when they want to/need to… I am almost willing them to come now because the idea that at the end of them is some relief, is very appealing.  My husband suggested I go in there and “fake it out” he said you know if you pretend to be in a mood with someone, sometimes it can end up actually making you moody!” he was joking but I have even thought about trying to write a pretend letter to T telling her how angry with her I am for leaving me and seeing if that unlocks it…. seems a bit fruitless but you never know.

Has anyone felt anger at their therapist for breaks before? Have you told your T and was it helpful? I would love to know.

 

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Denied Anger?

      1. Haha, my T has been prodding me for 4 fecking years about anger towards her taking breaks. I fear it is a hopeless cause. I have shown her anger before in 2 ruptures, one last Christmas and one last Oct/Nov so I have expressed anger to her before but just not over the breaks. xx

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  1. i wonder if what she’s tapping into is the historic anger you feel for your mom, and its transfer over to her… she is likely pushing you to get that anger out so you can see it and deal with it and leave it behind.

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    1. Oh yeah she is, 100% that is what I meant when I said that she told me my anger when I was younger had nowhere to go and now it can. I know that she thinks I have lots of stored up anger about my mother’s neglect and that t should be being triggered by her breaks, but I just cannot find any of that anger. She thinks I am just pushing against it because it is too scary – which although totally possible, I cannot feel at the moment. I wish I could to be honest xx

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      1. i went through this *exactly* with my therapist — here wanting me to tap into it, me not really being able to locate it. somehow, it passed — as i’ve come along further into grieving the mother figure i never had, and learning to accept my mother’s shortcomings, the anger piece has fallen away and instead I am left with sadness and grief.

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  2. My sister and I both have that same reaction you’re describing to being around other people who are expressing anger or conflict. It makes us want to run or hide. As an example I once left a show that I’d gone to see because a friend was in it, before she’d even come on stage, because I was anxious to the point of feeling sick over two people behind me arguing over the seating.

    I found it immensely helpful being able to express my anger to Dr L in therapy. It wasn’t something we’d discussed explicitly beforehand, it just sort of evolved in my writing semi-ranting emails to him after some of my sessions. I was rather worried that he would eventually crack it with me and get angry back and demand I stop, but that never happened. At worst he was sometimes a bit defensive, and over time I got better at identifying exactly what it was that triggered my anger and able to see that it wasn’t entirely about him, and the need to write the emails gradually faded away.

    Cat is similar in some ways. When I got really angry with her and quit and then came back it didn’t seem to faze her at all. It’s confusing to someone who has grown up with a parent’s anger being the way they show you’ve crossed a line (and that line shifts constantly). I was thinking just recently about this and wondering “how are you supposed to know where the boundaries are with your therapist if they never yell at you?” How messed up is that?

    I don’t think you can force any anger you might feel toward to T to come out. It will happen when you’re ready.

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  3. This resonated highly with me. I always felt in the early days that T’s interpretations of me being angry actually made me angry – I felt they undermined my existence, as if she knew me better than I did and I couldn’t see what was going on. It frustrated me and I used to try and find the anger. I hoped that if I felt the anger I would feel better. What I actually discovered (when I did feel it) was that my anger was impotent, that T could not and would not take my pain away. This in turn has freed up the energy it has take to fight the pain and actually face it.

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    1. Hello, thanks for your comment I had to re-read this to remember what I wrote. Ah yes, how annoying they feeling is!! I agree, I also felt like my T as saying she knew me more than I knew myself and that was so annoying!

      So have you felt your anger now? Have you directed it to your T? Did it help? X

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  4. Ah ok! I did send a private message yesterday saying how wonderful the blog is and how much I could relate. I think my latest comment must have gone that way too. Anyway, working my way through your posts and finding them fascinating. Will probs add more comments when I get time x

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