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A Follow-up

Posted by Daisym on February 1, 2011, at 19:27:42

After an extended period of impasse, we seem to be finally being thawing the ice a bit. It has been hard (really, really hard) because the person I would normally talk about all this with is my therapist. And yet I haven't been able to talk to him much and the parts I do get out reduce me to wordless tears.

We started to make some headway...and then he was sick.
And then we tried again...and I ran away to Florida for a few days.

I finally went and got a consultation around the whole thing with my old group therapist. I thought maybe rejoining group was what I needed (which is why I called her) but really, I just needed her to listen. She was great - she didn't try to tell me it would ever be the same or that it wasn't my fault or even that it was. She listened and then normalized it all for me - said it is her experience with survivors that we tend to react this way to these kinds of ruptures. And she used this great metaphor - "think about your favorite bowl - the one you love and use all the time. And think about what would happen if you found a crack in the bowl. You might repair it, you might use it differently or you might throw it away and get a new one. But no matter what you choose, the bowl is cracked and changed forever. But only you can decide how to react to that change." And she said I can't use group to avoid dealing with this. She also said that based on all she knew about my therapy relationship, she was confident that the love was strong enough to endure this rupture - on both sides. And then she said, "it is totally OK to love your therapist and be really mad at them. And yet even if you're mad at them, to want them to still love you, anger and all. And I'm sure he still loves you, how could he not?" Which made me cry - a lot. But later I thought how cool it was that she wasn't afraid to label it "love" - not just "caring" and all the usual words we put on this relationship.

I also felt relief because I think I knew my therapy relationship couldn't simply go back to the way it was but the consultation helped me think about building a new normal in the relationship with my therapist. The other thing she brought up during the consultation was that perhaps this was an entry into a different, deeper part of the work I needed to do. Maybe it has been such a huge deal because there is fear and upset about showing the less-than-perfect, shadow-side of me and I'm terrified of hurting my therapist. What if there is a sexually-aggressive side to me - one that could potentially turn abusive? (With words, never with deeds.) It is hard not to wonder if telling the stories to him is hurtful or even abusive.

So yesterday I asked him that exact question - if he ever felt abused by me. And he was careful not to just jump in and say "no." We talked about what I was thinking and how we might look at the stories and dreams, etc. And he did, in the end, say an emphatic no. But he agreed that we need to look at the shadow side and said perhaps this rupture was necessary to bring that out. And then he said he was feeling extreme relief that we'd been able to talk deeply and he felt that finally we were making some real movement to repair. He told me that over the weekend he'd been thinking that perhaps we just needed to "begin again" and sort of "hatch" together - and just take it slow. I told him that I could feel that he felt calmer and he said he felt more secure that I wasn't going to just quit, which had been his fear. And he also said that I seem to keep forgetting that this was upsetting for him too - and it feels terrible for him too. Today we talked more about the rupture and trust and how we are relating to each other, instead of the dark side, but it feels like we are building a plan to go into some of that - just carefully. And he told me again how glad he is that I'm beginning to open up to him again.

I think it will be a two steps forward and one back process. But I finally feel hopeful and not quite so alone. Thank you all for being here for me as I've written long, long posts about all of this. (as is this one.)




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Psycho-Babble Psychology | Framed

poster:Daisym thread:978502