Therapist holidays

That old chestnut. I know it’s a sore topic for a lot of us in therapy. None of us welcome the prospect of our therapist taking time off. Especially when we are working through the difficult emotions connected with childhood trauma; attachment is complex and frightening. We often feel over-attached to a compassionate therapist who has been listening to those vulnerable young parts of ourselves so neglected in the past.

For me, all of this means I feel abandoned or rejected when J takes time off. It’s frustrating because she of course needs to have holidays as much as the rest of us. At the same time it feels like a solid and unwelcome reminder of the fact that I am ultimately on my own with all this stuff. It reinforces my fear that she can and might walk away from me. Despite her frequent reassurances that this won’t happen, I’m still scared that it’s possible.

Today, J and I coordinated our calendars for the coming month. There’s a lot going on for me, particularly in the weeks preceding the birth of my nephew – my abuser’s baby. I’m struggling not to fall into a pit of poisonous emotions around that. I realised when I talked to J about it last week, that the least tolerable aspect is thinking of my mum with the baby, her grandson. While she’s with him, nurturing him and giving him her love, she can’t be doing the same for me. That thought opens up a very deep wound in me.

What makes this whole situation feel even worse is the knowledge that J is taking time off for the birth of her own grandchild. So I’m being abandoned by both of the maternal figures in my life at the same time. I find it hard enough when she’s on holiday, without all of this being thrown in on top. It’s an unfortunate echo of what’s going on in my family and I could really do without it.

I know that for two weeks in August I am going to be without J. And possibly without my mum. Dr H is away too for one of those weeks, so I won’t even have EMDR – not that I enjoy seeing him really. But it’s like all the structure and support is falling away at once. And potentially I’m going to get a decision from the police on whether my allegations against my brother will be taken to court. That wasn’t meant to happen for months, but the detective in charge is having a meeting with the CPS soon and he expects to know what their decision is after that.

Whether the case goes to court or gets thrown out without them even charging him, it’s going to be difficult to manage. I know that whichever way the decision goes, I am going to have to work hard to get through what happens next. If they charge him, we’ll be preparing for a lengthy court battle in which I’m likely to get cross-examined by the defence. Everything about the abuse will be heard by my family; details I’ve not shared with anyone yet – not ever. If they decide not to prosecute, I’m going to feel ignored, rejected, angry he’s got away with it. Neither option will be easy. Staying safe with myself in either scenario is going to be a big ask.

I’m left today with a load of fear about the coming weeks. I’m sitting with uncertainty. On everything from whether my dog is going to need surgery through to what’s going to happen when the CPS give their verdict, or when my nephew is born. It all feels huge. It feels unmanageable. It’s like I’m reaching some kind of emotional bankruptcy. There’s so much to feel, I just don’t have the capacity to keep feeling it all anymore.


Photo: Richard Walker, Creative Commons.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Alexis Rose says:

    First, Im sending you huge hugs of support. So much to work through with the case, the baby, financials, etc. Second, I TOTALLY know what you are saying when our therapists go on vacation. No matter how far I am on my journey, I still have those feelings when mine leaves town. I keep hoping that will go away some day. That trust is a hard one to hold on to sometimes. Thanks for writing this post. I bet many will relate to what you’re saying. Hang in there this evening!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Hello. Thanks for the support and the hugs – they’re always welcome. It helps to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with therapist holidays. You’re right about the trust. I want to believe in it, but I can’t force myself to. As you say, it would be nice to think those difficult feelings will go away one day!


  2. I can so relate. My weekly visits happen ‘religiously’… Except when Dr H is on her own vacation. I’m assured that I can call her colleagues– 2 especially– if I need her & I can always leave a message for her to call me, but I don’t feel comfortable with either option. These weeks feel so long & I feel so needy.
    I am sending you positive thoughts & strength. Know you aren’t alone but you are stronger than you know…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thank you for the kind words and thoughts. I get not wanting to call anyone else, I have been resistant to setting up a ‘holding’ therapist for when J is away. At least this time she is in the country and had insisted I should call her if I need to. But it’s hard to reach out and intrude on her free time, I find that really difficult!

      Liked by 1 person

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