Okay… so. I had therapy a couple of hours ago and I’ve had an hour or so to just relax and distract myself from all the feelings and now I am going to attempt to put some of what happened down on paper (well, on here anyway). It feels like I will probably only remember half of what was said between us but hopefully that will be the most important bits if they are the bits that have stuck. So here we go.
I felt rather angry about it all last night. I woke up feeling stressed and confused and angry about it all this morning. I was really dreading seeing T today, I felt nervous and scared and angry all at the same time. My main thought behind the anger was that T was not hearing me out, that she was kinda dismissing me and my wishes and that she spoke to me in a negative (child-like way) and that I felt backed into a corner. On top of all of that, I felt hurt and scared about the state of our relationship because of this but also because she suddenly seemed like.. well, she felt unsafe I suppose.
Typically of all the bloody days, I got stuck in some temporary traffic lights for an age and was late to my session. I am NEVER late. When I realised I was, I rolled my eyes and thought how T would surely take this as a sign of my “acting out”. That was annoying because it genuinely wasn’t – I don’t do things like that. I mentioned this to T at the end of my session and she said she had thought that, yes. I laughed and said I didn’t do it on purpose and she made a comment about how we can do these things subconsciously …but honestly, I left at the same time as I always leave so I really wasn’t acting out at all.
When we started the session I decided to just come right out and say it. I opened by saying that I have felt stressed since Tuesday’s session and that I had a few things that I wanted to talk about. I said that 1) I didn’t need to stop my second session for the house money now because I had miscalculated and forgotten about some money that we have left from our mortgage deposit which makes all the difference (£3k!!). T was visibly happy about this and went on to say something like “see, this is why I say we need to just sit on it for a while and not make knee-jerk reactions…” and I thought to myself, Oh God, don’t get too on that bandwagon.. wait a minute… so I interrupted and said BUT.. but I do want to stop my second session however I don’t need to do that immediately and I want us to really talk about it and plan ahead for it and do it properly so it is not done on impulse etc.
I can’t really remember the order that followed this but I told T some of my reasons, being logistical – getting up so early every day and working these long days is hard to sustain on a long-term basis… financial: whether T likes it or not, I don’t want to be spending that extra money each month if I don’t feel I need to be; and lastly, I feel like I will be fine without it and that the second session feels much like a luxury and not a necessity.
I explained to T that my Tuesday session (which has been consistently there for 5 years now) feels like a necessity and feels important and just part of my life now, but my second session does not have that feeling and it no longer feels like something I NEED. More to the point, I WANT to try to go without it.
T didn’t seem to realise that I saw my Thursday session as a luxury and looked a bit surprised – not shocked, but like it was information that helped her somehow, new knowledge I suppose. She said that having two sessions each week helped with continuity and meant that the gaps were smaller between sessions so the work could flow more naturally. I said I understood that. I again explained to T that I just want to try to “move on” a bit now. I feel like yes, in September I fell apart a bit momentarily and I clearly needed the extra support but 6 months later, I feel I have been stronger and I feel more content and happy to try without it again.
I told T that I didn’t feel she understood my reasons or what I said on Tuesday and that I felt quite angry about it all. She said “I know you did. I knew you would be feeling angry”. I told her that what I was desperate for was to not have a repeat of the rupture that happened last time I quit a session about a year and a half ago. T kind of raised her eyebrows and said “it was a rupture, was it?”. That kinda pissed me off to be honest. How could it NOT have been a rupture? Clearly it was a rupture, it was fucking AWFUL. I said “Yes, to me it was at least – it was horrific for me. That session was dreadful and I felt awful for a long while afterwards too!”.
We really spoke a lot about how it all felt to me on Tuesday and I was very honest with her, more than I have been before and I told her that I didn’t like some of the things she said or the way she said them. I said I particularly didn’t like the “banker” comment and she said “what do you think I meant by that comment?” and I said, I took it to mean that I was taking money OFF of her, to give to someone/something else. She said that is not what she meant and that what she had meant was that I was making my therapy purely about money. In all honestly I am not sure that if that is what she meant or not. She said “I did think I should have explained that comment” – I presume she means afterwards, but I don’t know.
I told her that I didn’t like the way she was, that she was angry and dismissive and that I felt she was telling me off and that I bit my tongue because last time I argued with her, it was so awful I didn’t want a repeat but that yes, it left me feeling very unheard and very pushed down and resentful and angry and scared. I told her that it made me feel like she didn’t listen to my reasons and that it was just a “no” and that was the end of it. I said if I am brutally honest, it felt to me as though she was struggling with the rejection and taking it personally and that she wanted me to feel guilty for what it was that I wanted.
She asked me to explain the guilt bit and asked me “why would you feel guilty?” and I said, half jokingly, “because that’s what I do” and we both laughed which helped defuse the atmosphere a little.
I said guilt for money but also perhaps guilt that I was “done” with needing her as much and that I imagined it was a bit like a mother and daughter and the daughter growing up and not needing the mother so much….
T asked me what my feelings reminded me of (and I knew perfectly well where she was going with this) so I said “Yes, I know. I know the dynamic is that of me and my mother when I was younger and I can clearly see that – I knew you would say this”. I said, truthfully, that I fully expect this is why I feel so angry about it because I was feeling like I didn’t have the right to make my own choices or decisions and that my choices were not being respected or listened too and that I felt like I was being told off by a parent who was treating me like a child rather than an adult in therapy which is something I do through choice.
T told me she was not “telling me off”. I said it felt like it. T explained that she knows she is extremely passionate and that maybe that doesn’t come across very well. She didn’t say sorry for that but she said something about trying to make sure it doesn’t come across as angry or telling me off in future.
We spoke quite a lot about the similarities between our session Tuesday (and last time) and my mother. T said that my mother was never able to attune and that she was never really interested in what I wanted or was doing and was certainly not trying to protect me. She said she WAS trying to protect me, that she was looking out for the parts of me that do need her twice a week. She said that clearly I am very much in my adult self at the moment, buying a house etc and that she understands the harder, sad feelings are not present and so of course I would want to stop therapy because nobody WANTS to have to be in therapy because something went wrong in their childhood. Nobody.
I said something about how it isn’t about HER that if you separated her and the therapy… and then caught myself and said I know that doesn’t make sense because you ARE the therapy / the therapy and you are the same thing… she said not to worry about the words and to just talk… I explained that it is nothing to do with not wanting to see her. I said that clearly everyone would benefit from having therapy twice a week – I said who wouldn’t enjoy having someone there to talk to and to see etc, BUT that equally at the same time, I just want to be able to see that therapy has really benefited me and actually see the benefit in terms of only going once a week and not having to change my hours at work and work stupidly long days and that yes, I admit, I would like to have the extra money too!! I said to her “I know you don’t like the money thing but it just is the facts. I only have a certain amount of disposable income and it is all going on therapy”. She did actually agree and understand this which was a relief… I really didn’t want her to go on about how it is worth the money etc because clearly I know that.
I told her I resented some of her comments on Tuesday because I have been going to her for 5 years consistently once a week and I did one of those years at twice a week, and the last 6 months at twice a week and I was committed. I never cancel sessions and I’ve never said I am sick or anything. I said I felt a bit insulted actually and very misunderstood that she would act as though I didn’t give a shit about my therapy or about my mental health because I really, really did and do and I felt that proved it. I also said I do not want to quit therapy altogether at all and that I have not even thought about that for a second. She said “you are not there yet” and I agreed with her. She started to say when it is time to end we will know that together and we will talk about it together and it will just feel right…. then I started to cry a bit as she spoke.
I told her I still want her, I still want therapy and I really, truly do.. but right now I just wanted to lessen down the sessions and try to live a bit more of a “normal” for want of a better word, life. She seemed to understand that.
I said I worried she felt rejected and felt as though I had picked her up when I needed her in September, she had given me the second session and then now I felt better I was dumping her and throwing it back in her face. She said that I didn’t need to worry about her and that she could look after herself and that she has her own therapy and other things. She also said that was the entire point of therapy, that it isn’t forever – that of course I need her more when I am struggling and that is what it is there for. That helped to relieve that feeling a bit.
I asked her outright “do you not think I should drop a session? Do you not think I will be able to cope?” and she said “of course I do” but I got the feeling she heard that as a more aggressive comment so I said “No, I mean, genuinely – what do you think about me dropping a session?” and she said that she felt I would be absolutely fine with just one session but that therapy has different stages and she had thought that we would be going through a lot of rupture and repair and that having two sessions would be really helpful to get us through that. But she did add that we haven’t and that we would just have to rely on writing (email/sending blogs etc) or phone calls. I liked that she said that, I was worried she would give more of an ultimatum like “if you drop your second session don’t think I will offer any extra support outside” kind of thing. Not in so many words – obviously.
It felt really good to know she agreed I would be fine. AND it helped to know that her main reason for thinking the second session was important was in case of a phase of rupture and repair. I told her I just don’t think we are going to be like that, that I read plenty of blogs where people go through that and that perhaps it was just different for me – that we all do therapy differently don’t we depending on our experiences and our needs and our personalities and the type of therapy and therapist etc etc. She said that this right now was a type of rupture and repair and that it was clearly really important and helpful that we had today for me to go back there and we could have this conversation – whereas if we didn’t, I would be holding it and all these feelings for another week! I agreed and knew what she was saying.
She said she thought I was very brave going there today and being able to tell her. I told her I was dreading it. I was mainly dreading her being aggressive and telling me off and me getting resentful and angry and feeling unheard and misunderstood. She said it was really hard and good work that I was doing and that it was very painful when I feel she is doing things my mother did, like not listening and that I have never had a template of someone genuinely caring and protecting me and so of course I felt she was only saying the things she did out of self-interest. I kind of laughed.. and she smiled kindly at me.
I felt so much better at this stage.
We decided that we will have my 2 sessions next week and then she is on a break for 2 weeks so we will see where I am with it all then and how I feel and then we can think about making a plan if I still feel the same. I am happy with that and said so. It gives me time to make sure this is truly what I want. I do worry that this decision was thought up in anger (as much as I wouldn’t have admitted that this morning) and, for the record, I am NOT saying it was.. just that I would like to give that a chance to dissipate and see if I still feel the same. It is easy to not want a second session when you are livid with your therapist isn’t it, not so easy when you are happy with them.
I cried a bit on the drive home and felt such a huge relief that she was back to being “good”, kind T and not the horrible and aggressive one from Tuesday. I know that is pretty black and white thinking, but I am just being honest. I didn’t like how she was and I felt shit. I feel so much better now and I told her so. I felt more heard and more understood etc.
The feeling I have right now is relief and I find myself feeling a bit torn between wanting more independence (dropping a session) and loving T and so enjoying each session and the feeling I get afterwards (like now I suppose). I cried and could cry now in fact because I feel so stuck with this… I think there is a fear in there that if I don’t see her enough something will change and be lost and I admit, a huge guilt feeling of leaving her behind which IS something I’ve written about with regards to my mother and my “leaving her behind” over the past few years of my individuating etc. I know that T can show me a healthier experience than that, that I don’t have to be right up in someone’s grill for them to be able to still love me and treat me kindly and for us to still have a really good and stable and reliable relationship…. but there is definitely that fear inside me right now – one that I am more open to feeling now the anger has passed.
With my mother I had no choice but to become un-meshed and to pull away and put distance between us – for my sanity!! but with T it isn’t like that. I love her and I want to see her but also I want to move on and get on a bit with my life….. I want therapy to be so beneficial to me in living my, oh god.. hash tag, best life… that it pushes me to be able to do these things and be less dependent and not have to make so many logistical and financial sacrifices you know? T said that she absolutely understands that I don’t want to let my need for therapy dictate so many aspects of my life when I shouldn’t have to be having it in the first place. I am so glad she gets that and doesn’t feel it is about her personally. It is hard because I keep wanting to separate T and “the therapy” and say things like “If I could keep T around but not have the therapy, I would” and by that I mean, if I was family with or friends with T, if I could pop in now and again for tea or a chat or if I could meet up with her for dinner… I would – without having to have “therapy” at a set time but of course I understand that T IS the therapy – that therapy and T are the same thing. I wonder if that makes any sense when you read this…. possibly not. It is the harsh reality that you can’t have one without the other. I can’t keep T in my life as often unless I go to and yes, pay for, therapy as often – that is just the facts. But does that mean I NEED to? I am not sure right now.
I am going to let this settle and see what comes up… knowing me I will have all sorts of conflicting feelings and I’ll probably have some really fucked up dreams. I will probably have a huge panic and at the same time feel really empowered with my choice… we shall see. The main thing is, there is no rush. No rush at all.
I didn’t (and don’t) want to feel held back against my will – but yes, I don’t want to be abandoned either (real or perceived).
I want to fly, but still have that safe nest waiting for me. I don’t want to have to do what I’ve had to do with my mother and have all or nothing. All leaves me feeling totally suffocated and kills my authenticity and “self” off and yet nothing leaves me emotionally destitute and missing and grieving and full of pain.
Maybe one session will bring me the right balance. T will be there – but not as prominent. I will have more “independence” if you like, but have the security to…..
Or maybe I will just regret it and feel as though I will fall apart. HA. Fuck knows.
I wonder if the original need to save quickly was just a good “excuse” to do this and now that reason has fallen away, it has given me the chance to explore this more sensibly.
Does anyone get this?