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Relationship ReBuilding (very long)

Posted by daisym on December 3, 2004, at 0:19:35

I was reminded today how lucky I am to have the therapist I do.

If you've been reading my posts you know I've been struggling -- with him, with therapy, with feeling connected and then disconnected. It sort of all came together last Wednesday and exploded with a misread by me of his intentions and a semi-complete meltdown.

Intellectually, I accepted rather quickly that I had misread the situation. But inside I was so hurt and angry with myself. And really embarrassed about how childish I felt. I kept looking in the mirror to remind myself that yes, I am a grown up woman, and yes, I am still in one piece and should be able to just move foreword. So I resolved that the adult would retake charge, and while I wouldn't quit therapy, I would no longer allow it to interfere with the rest of my life and I would think about it only during sessions. And this dependency stuff, well, it just had to stop. Good plan, right?

I suffered throughout the long weekend (I canceled a phone session) and tried to cancel Monday with a lame excuse. He moved my time so I could make it. And of course, he wanted to talk about what happened last week and how I was feeling about things. So I told him my resolve and my plan and he said, "Wow, I really hurt you." He kept saying that it didn't matter if it was a misread on my part, I DID get hurt and he felt really bad about that. I said I was being ridiculous and overreacting but the episode had served to shake me out of the severe dependency feelings I had been dealing with. He said he didn't want my youngerself to go back into hiding, we had worked so hard to let her have a voice. I softened some but kept my guard up. The next day I lost my voice, not completely but it was pretty raspy. (Any Freudians out there?)

Yesterday I was completely in adult mode. We talked about a really important topic but it was a "safe" topic. The session was completely unemotional but there was a quiet tension, like he wasn't going to push and I knew I was avoiding any conversations about feelings. But after I came home, I just fell apart. I wrote a journal page and what kept coming out was that the little kid parts of me missed him -- that not allowing feelings into sessions was horrible and to pretend like the dependency didn't exist was like ignoring an open wound. I was so mad at myself because how can I simultaneously want both things? And my pride kept saying that I needed to keep pretending that everything was OK. It was a long, bad night and I knew I needed to talk to him about it. I just couldn't keep going if it was going to feel like this.

Today my voice was still fragile so I took in the journal page and asked him to read it and not make me so I could save my voice to talk about it with him. After he read it, I told him I felt like a pinball machine with the flippers broken and ball bouncing wildly around. I also told him that I wasn't playing games or punishing him, that I really did know that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. I just couldn't get past the hurt to open up but I desperately wanted to because otherwise I felt completely empty. And that I needed him to help me. I burst into tears and said I didn't want to stop coming, that I wasn't done but I couldn't keep going feeling so conflicted either.

So he helped. First he said he knew I wasn't playing games, that I have been struggling for weeks with some really intense negative feelings. He talked about how therapy had widened the bandwidth of my feelings and now I was flooded with them and not used to sorting them out. So of course I felt overwhelmed and confused. And he said that these really old dependency feelings had never been met, except in therapy, and the prohibition against being dependent was so strong that when I really let my guard down, my internal smoke alarm eventually goes off. He said dependency doesn't just magically go away, not that he would want it to. So he knew it was lurking still, he just wanted to give me space to bring it back up myself. And that it was totally OK with him, like he has said a million times. He reminded me that he doesn't really like the word "dependent" because it implies so many negative things. What he prefers is "connected or attached" and that is what he wants me to feel with him -- safe and connected, so I can let my guard down and we can just talk about whatever comes up. He said he usually feels very connected to me, did I think this was a bad thing? And since I didn't, why did I get so upset with myself for feeling connected to him? So we talked (again) about needs, frozen age states and how much therapy was too much therapy?

Before I left he said he thought it would be really important for us to process those feelings that came up last Wednesday, as much as I wanted to avoid revisiting them. He said something important was hiding there and he really wanted to know what I was feeling in the three hours between the time I left his office and the time he was able to call back. As we talked about it, it became clearer and clearer that the feelings were very similar to what I felt when my dad left home. The absolute devastation yet relief mixed in. My therapist said essentially I felt abandoned by him for those hours, or at least little daisy did. And that caused this huge flashback of feelings that were just too huge for her to handle so she went into hiding, but this time alone. But being alone doesn't work anymore, now that she has experienced this connection to him. So no wonder the push/pull was tremendous. He sort of leaned back with a sigh and said, "I know she thinks I abandoned her, but I'm still here. And I have no intention of letting you quit therapy. Or of letting little daisy hide from either of us." He said he knew today was hard, but he thought it felt so much better than yesterday. I said I was hard. He laughed. And I did admit that it felt SO MUCH BETTER.

I know by now that this probably won't be even close to the last time I go through this. I just wish someone could tell me how to trust completely and securely that he won't get sick of this...or me...




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