Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 998348

Shown: posts 1 to 19 of 19. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

shutting my T out

Posted by pegasus on September 30, 2011, at 9:29:18

I just did a really childish and stupid thing with my T. The background is that I've had a couple of bad sessions recently, due to being in an anxious, self-critical place. When that's going on, I find myself hating anything I can think of to say in therapy, so I don't say much. I feel very vulnerable, and become wary of anything he says, too. Which is too bad, because when I don't talk, he talks a lot. I take everything he says negatively, on purpose. Like I'm trying to pick a fight. I suspect that I'm really unpleasant to do therapy with in this state.

So, then I usually email him a few days later, and dump a summary of what's going on inside me on him. It puts him in a tricky place, because anything he says in reply is fraught with peril. So, he generally replies very briefly, but "supportively". Which also feels bad.

So, this happened again this week. In my email, I told him all of the things I want him to say, and then forbid him to say any of them, or anything else one might reasonably say in response. Then I canceled for next week. Sheesh, what's wrong with me?

He wrote a very careful email back, telling me that he's listening, and he thinks I should come in next week, even if I feel like I don't want to. I replied "No thanks, see you on the 11th".

I think I'm about 14 years old in this interaction. Where did this belligerent 14 year old come from?

I realize that I'm shutting him out. So, exactly why am I in therapy, if I'm going to do this? He can't help me if I won't let him say anything, and then won't even come in for sessions when things are hard.

On the other hand, I have to do some difficult, triggery things next week for work. I don't think it's going to be a good week for me. If I have another one of these icky sessions, it will not help. So, I'm not *only* being a belligerent teenager. I'm also being a reasonable adult, making a rational decision to protect myself.

blah, blah, blah. thanks for reading if you made it this far. how do I get out of this?

- Peg

 

Re: shutting my T out

Posted by Solstice on September 30, 2011, at 14:12:38

In reply to shutting my T out, posted by pegasus on September 30, 2011, at 9:29:18

Wow, Peg.. I think it`s amazing that your more mature self can so accurately observe that wounded 14 y/o from the sidelines! You`re actually working it out! Kudos to your therapist for taking care in managing his side of the dance. I think you are right on point when you say that you are somehow protecting yourself. Maybe you should send what you wrote here to your T? My T always says that *I* am the one that has to lead the therapy... because I will instinctively know when it`s too much too soon, or whatever. I think what you did is great! It`s telling you something important about what you need (or don`t need :-)... and it`s your therapist`s job to help you figure it out.

 

Re: shutting my T out

Posted by annierose on September 30, 2011, at 20:38:04

In reply to Re: shutting my T out, posted by Solstice on September 30, 2011, at 14:12:38

All I can say, I've been there. Sometimes the teenager wants to say "F you" to our therapists even though they sit there with open arms. Maybe we're angry because they are making us do the growing up, hence the work ... and we want someone to take care of us and/or our needs ... "to make it all better" so to speak. A teenager needs to push away and figure out stuff on their own, coming back to the nest now and again for reassurance.

My best advice - that I do follow myself - despite the urge to cancel (even for the good reasons like work or family) I go. I go and tell her exactly (mostly) what I'm feeling. Sometimes those sessions go terribly wrong because I push too much (I have a strong personality and my t is so kind and gentle .. I think I'm a handful for her - she's admits I'm a handful but insists I'm not too much for her). Other times, the teenager accepts the kindness and love and relaxes - and balance returns. It is hit or miss but the only way to the other side is through.

Good Luck ... don't be too hard on the 14 year old inside of you. She probably needs lots of loving attention and a hug.

 

Re: shutting my T out

Posted by Solstice on October 1, 2011, at 7:33:30

In reply to Re: shutting my T out, posted by annierose on September 30, 2011, at 20:38:04


My therapist has stood by, and has hung in there with the *brat* in me too... and T`s ability to not let the threats to the relationship threaten the relationship.. is exactly why I`ve been able to progress. From it, I`ve learned to believe (at least most of the time) that I`m worth it.

Solstice

> All I can say, I've been there. Sometimes the teenager wants to say "F you" to our therapists even though they sit there with open arms. Maybe we're angry because they are making us do the growing up, hence the work ... and we want someone to take care of us and/or our needs ... "to make it all better" so to speak. A teenager needs to push away and figure out stuff on their own, coming back to the nest now and again for reassurance.
>
> My best advice - that I do follow myself - despite the urge to cancel (even for the good reasons like work or family) I go. I go and tell her exactly (mostly) what I'm feeling. Sometimes those sessions go terribly wrong because I push too much (I have a strong personality and my t is so kind and gentle .. I think I'm a handful for her - she's admits I'm a handful but insists I'm not too much for her). Other times, the teenager accepts the kindness and love and relaxes - and balance returns. It is hit or miss but the only way to the other side is through.
>
> Good Luck ... don't be too hard on the 14 year old inside of you. She probably needs lots of loving attention and a hug.

 

Re: shutting my T out pegasus

Posted by Dinah on October 1, 2011, at 12:35:30

In reply to shutting my T out, posted by pegasus on September 30, 2011, at 9:29:18

Maybe it's a new phase in therapy, and something you need to go through before you can attach on an adult level?

It might be interesting to do some self inquiry on why it's what you need right now.

 

Re: shutting my T out

Posted by emmanuel98 on October 1, 2011, at 20:24:04

In reply to Re: shutting my T out pegasus, posted by Dinah on October 1, 2011, at 12:35:30

I've never "rebelled" against my p-doc. I think my actual adolescent rebellion (leaving home at 14) was so extreme, that I want to have a happy and loving and caring relationship with him no matter what. I almost wish I could rebel, or at least detach. I never fall asleep without thinking of him.

 

Re: shutting my T out pegasus

Posted by floatingbridge on October 1, 2011, at 21:48:04

In reply to shutting my T out, posted by pegasus on September 30, 2011, at 9:29:18

Pegasus,

You could keep your cancellation, then on your following visit tell him basically what you told us or the version that develops during the interim. I think sending it to him might keep you in the holding pattern longer, but you might want that right now, too.

Such interesting comments to your post....

I think I left my old pdoc at about the 17 year old stage. I find your post good food for thought.

 

Re: shutting my T out pegasus

Posted by violette on October 2, 2011, at 6:14:27

In reply to shutting my T out, posted by pegasus on September 30, 2011, at 9:29:18

What you said here is that you are acting out to avoid discussing how you are feeling. That is not uncommon, but i think that repeatedly cancelling sessions is only hurting yourself. It might be self-destructive behavior realted to how you are feeling inside:

"..due to being in an anxious, self-critical place. When that's going on, I find myself hating anything I can think of to say in therapy, so I don't say much. I feel very vulnerable..."

Maybe you want him to chase you...or maybe you feel you don't deserve his care...maybe you are cancelling to try to punish him in some way-to make him feel how you feel-anxious, self-critical...because it's too hard to put into words or work through these feelings so you are trying to tell him through your actions, not words. This acting out might be a form of communication right now because you find yourself so vulnerable that you are unable to talk about your feelings.

If you have a historical pattern of being self critical, it can sometimes be difficult to hear someone challenge that reality of yourself, so you might be unknowingly fighting to retain the (distorted) reality of your self-worth...which might also tie into unconsciously not deserving his care.

When your mind is conditioned to your reality for so long, when conflicting feelings-thoughts start to try to elminate that reality or break through to consciousness, it can bring immense pain and intense affect. So, you might be trying to defend against that by not talking, not going.

I've had my childish moments too. I hope you can look back on this and laugh about it someday. :)

 

Re: shutting my T out Solstice

Posted by pegasus on October 3, 2011, at 9:45:25

In reply to Re: shutting my T out, posted by Solstice on October 1, 2011, at 7:33:30

Thanks Solstice,

Thanks for your perspective. Maybe part of what's happening is that I'm testing whether I can be the brat that I want to be, and he'll still be there. I have confidence that he will be. But I still don't want to go this week. I'm definitely not going. It's not a week in which I can handle it well if it goes bad.

- P

 

Re: shutting my T out annierose

Posted by pegasus on October 3, 2011, at 9:48:35

In reply to Re: shutting my T out, posted by annierose on September 30, 2011, at 20:38:04

Oh yeah, you get it for sure. I so want to be able to accept the kindness (I doubt there's love - there isn't on my end) and relax. But I expect it would go bad again, and then I'd be a mess for a few days, like the last few weeks. And I need to not be a mess this week. Too much real life to deal with.

Thanks for your thoughts. It does help to know others have been there. I know I probably should go, as you say. But when I canceled for this week, it felt like a big burden off my shoulders, and I've been really much happier since then. So, I'm going to give myself a break this week. And get back into the thick of it next week.

- P

 

Re: shutting my T out Dinah

Posted by pegasus on October 3, 2011, at 9:51:02

In reply to Re: shutting my T out pegasus, posted by Dinah on October 1, 2011, at 12:35:30

But, how do you do that self inquiry? My reasons seem opaque to me. I can connect to a lot of unfocused fear, and anger, but that's as far as it goes.

Although I agree that it seems like something is about to change in therapy. I'm excited, and I'm really afraid.

- P

 

Re: shutting my T out emmanuel98

Posted by pegasus on October 3, 2011, at 9:56:25

In reply to Re: shutting my T out, posted by emmanuel98 on October 1, 2011, at 20:24:04

I'm so sorry. I can't imagine what it would have been like to leave home at 14. I could barely do it at 18, when I was supposed to.

And maybe that's part of what's happening here. Could I be enacting some kind of teenage rebellion that I never had? The separation I couldn't actually accomplish IRL?

Honestly, I still cry when my mom leaves town from visiting me. I feel so . . . left. Which is, I'm sure, very significant psychologically.

- Peg

 

Re: shutting my T out floatingbridge

Posted by pegasus on October 3, 2011, at 10:03:19

In reply to Re: shutting my T out pegasus, posted by floatingbridge on October 1, 2011, at 21:48:04

Thanks for understanding. Yeah, I'm going to keep my cancellation, but I know we'll have to talk about all of this next week.

I think maybe I will take your advice and bring my post, or whatever modification of it develops between now and then. He does need to know this stuff, and I think we talked about some of it. Although, frankly, I was dissociating through most of our last session, so I'm not really sure what came out of my mouth. :(

The one part I didn't mention before is that in our last session, he got stuck in traffic and was about 10 minutes late. Then he couldn't go over because he had another client. So, I left him feeling cut off prematurely, and angry about that. Among many other things that had less to do with him directly. So, some of this petulance is a response to his cutting me short by 10 minutes, and leaving me waiting for him (although he texted me so I knew he was going to be late before I got there myself).

- P

 

Re: shutting my T out

Posted by Solstice on October 3, 2011, at 18:14:41

In reply to Re: shutting my T out Solstice, posted by pegasus on October 3, 2011, at 9:45:25

> Thanks Solstice,
>
> Thanks for your perspective. Maybe part of what's happening is that I'm testing whether I can be the brat that I want to be, and he'll still be there. I have confidence that he will be. But I still don't want to go this week. I'm definitely not going. It's not a week in which I can handle it well if it goes bad.
>
> - P


I did some of that with my T... being overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, etc.. and cancelling. We'd talk about it the next time. And bit by bit, over time, I gradually reached a point that it didn't matter how upset I was or how bad I felt - I did not miss therapy. During that period, there were several times that I'd show up, and was harboring much upset about something in the therapeutic relationship. T asked, "So why did you come this time, considering how you feel?" T was noting that my pattern was to cancel when I was distressed in that way. I really had to think about it - over time - before I realized that I showed up because I believed in the relationship. I had learned to believe what T told me from the beginning "If there's anything going on in this relationship that's a problem, talk to me about it - and we will work it out together." Maybe my cancellations in the early part of our relationship were because I had no way of understanding, much less believing, that T would take the lead and ensure we 'worked it out together.' T ended up working things out in the session after the one I cancelled :-) I guess over time, my experiences with being safe time after time after time enabled me to just go - even when I was very fragile and in acute anxiety, fear, or pain. At this point in my therapy, I feel wholly safe in that room - regardless of what ails me. I wish for you to have experiences with your therapist that strengthen your confidence in the durability of the relationship - and in his ability to 'hold' that brat gently :-)

Solstice

 

Re: shutting my T out pegasus

Posted by Solstice on October 3, 2011, at 18:20:06

In reply to Re: shutting my T out floatingbridge, posted by pegasus on October 3, 2011, at 10:03:19


OMG! That is hysterical! I have done the exact same thing, reacted the exact same way, for the exact same kinds of irrational reasons!

Sol

> Thanks for understanding. Yeah, I'm going to keep my cancellation, but I know we'll have to talk about all of this next week.
>
> I think maybe I will take your advice and bring my post, or whatever modification of it develops between now and then. He does need to know this stuff, and I think we talked about some of it. Although, frankly, I was dissociating through most of our last session, so I'm not really sure what came out of my mouth. :(
>
> The one part I didn't mention before is that in our last session, he got stuck in traffic and was about 10 minutes late. Then he couldn't go over because he had another client. So, I left him feeling cut off prematurely, and angry about that. Among many other things that had less to do with him directly. So, some of this petulance is a response to his cutting me short by 10 minutes, and leaving me waiting for him (although he texted me so I knew he was going to be late before I got there myself).
>
> - P
>

 

Re: shutting my T out violette

Posted by pegasus on October 4, 2011, at 9:01:41

In reply to Re: shutting my T out pegasus, posted by violette on October 2, 2011, at 6:14:27

Yes. All of this is not even completely unconscious for me. I am aware that when he challenges my self critical stuff, I want to grab on to it more. And, yes, it is very difficult to accept care from that place. I feel almost angry, or at least irritated, when he tries to be caring. And I'm aware that I'm pushing him away, and protecting myself from that alternate view of myself. What I want at those times is someone to listen and understand, not reality check. That just makes me feel more self critical. Because I *know* that I'm so screwed up that I'm even thinking and feeling wrong.

If I'm trying to make him feel what I feel in order to communicate it to him, then that is definitely unconscious. I wouldn't consciously want *anyone* to feel what I feel. I usually find it pretty satisfying to find the right words to put to my feelings, and I like to work through things that way. But . . . well, who knows what crazy stuff my unconscious will come up with.

I would say that it's not so much that I feel too vulnerable to put my feelings into words. It's that I can't connect meaning to those feelings, so they seem crazy. And then I can't figure out what to say about any of it.

In my own defense, I've never canceled a session before (at least that I recall). It's not a pattern with me. I'm really good at showing up, and working through hard stuff. Just . . . not this week.

- P

 

Re: shutting my T out Solstice

Posted by pegasus on October 4, 2011, at 9:08:37

In reply to Re: shutting my T out, posted by Solstice on October 3, 2011, at 18:14:41

See, that's the thing. I *don't* feel safe there, sometimes. I feel really unsafe there, sometimes. I'm sure that's coming from me, not him. He seems to almost always say the right thing. It makes me a little suspicious, actually, how right he is, so often. Like, he has the right therapist book, and has memorized all of the lines. See? It's me. I know it.

Except when he's late. Three times in the past 6 months, and then one time he had to reschedule me right before my session, for a (reasonable) personal reason. Ironically, while I find that annoying, and question whether he has something going on that makes him not want to show up for me, it doesn't feel particularly unsafe. I'm actually not at all surprised by it, somehow. It's just irritating.

- P

 

Re: shutting my T out violette

Posted by pegasus on October 4, 2011, at 9:10:25

In reply to Re: shutting my T out pegasus, posted by violette on October 2, 2011, at 6:14:27

Oh, I'm laughing about it now.

 

Re: shutting my T out pegasus

Posted by Solstice on October 4, 2011, at 9:38:06

In reply to Re: shutting my T out Solstice, posted by pegasus on October 4, 2011, at 9:08:37

> See, that's the thing. I *don't* feel safe there, sometimes. I feel really unsafe there, sometimes. I'm sure that's coming from me, not him. He seems to almost always say the right thing. It makes me a little suspicious, actually, how right he is, so often. Like, he has the right therapist book, and has memorized all of the lines. See? It's me. I know it.


I know what you're talking about, Peg. It took me forEver to feel safe - and my therapist didn't do anything different to get me there... except stay there. It took me a long, long time to trust the safe feelings I had in that relationship. It really was a matter of time.. of having enough time to have repetitive experiences of *being* safe, in that relationship - over and over again, until it finally silenced my inability to trust that it was real, and that it wasn't going to disappear.


> Except when he's late. Three times in the past 6 months, and then one time he had to reschedule me right before my session, for a (reasonable) personal reason. Ironically, while I find that annoying, and question whether he has something going on that makes him not want to show up for me, it doesn't feel particularly unsafe. I'm actually not at all surprised by it, somehow. It's just irritating.

Mine has done that - along with other minor technical infractions (like a stupid cell phone ringing) that I interpreted in light of *my* issues. They didn't have the meaning I attributed to them, and the messages I heard in the context of those things were messages from my own painful past - not from my T.

Solstice


This is the end of the thread.


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Psychology | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, bob@dr-bob.org

Script revised: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.