I want to smash something. I thought writing might be a better outlet for my anger. Smashing things is, in the best case, expensive. The worst case is I end up harming myself. And I’ve already harmed myself today.
I had a good morning at work. The boss was travelling, so we didn’t work very hard. We chatted about a lot of nonsense and did a few jobs in between. It was fun.
As soon as I left the office, I started thinking about what to say in therapy this afternoon. My thoughts tracked back to my session yesterday and the young emotions I felt. Without any warning, I was suddenly just thrown back into it. I was overcome with horrible, distressing feelings from my childhood; loneliness, disappointment and shame.
When I got home I had an uncontrollable compulsion to cut myself. Usually I try to reason against it. I ask myself why and what it would achieve. Today I didn’t feel I was worth that. I felt like cutting myself was the right thing to do. I felt that I deserved it.
Walking to see J today, I decided I should explain to her what had happened. She’s always saying we need to work more with the young parts of myself. I arrived feeling scared and insecure, feeling like a lost child with no security or reassurance. I was hoping to get some of that from being with her.
But before we started, she told me she’s going away. She shared the dates with me and I put them in my phone without looking too closely at when and for how long. It was exactly what I didn’t need to hear. It made me feel panicked.
I tried to contain that feeling and get on with the session. It was challenging. I felt defensive and prickly. We talked about how I’d felt earlier today; in particular how it felt for me to deal with the aftermath of the abuse alone as a child. It was really painful, but it also reminded me that I have someone helping me now, someone I can rely on.
The wounded child in me has never had that before. She didn’t have an adult who cared for her in the way she needed. I thought about how different things might have been for me if J had been around when I was little. That was incredibly sad, but at the same time, it made me feel closer to her and that brought me some comfort.
The problem is, all of that reassurance I had taken on board during our session has now evaporated. I just sat down to look at my diary and realised that J will be away for almost the whole of December. I usually see her three times each week. I feel like I need that. So it’s crappy knowing that I will see her three times in total next month.
Realising this, I got really, really angry. I’m angry she didn’t tell me about it sooner so I could prepare. I’m angry she didn’t mention that I will have over three weeks of no therapy in the hardest month of the year. I’m angry that I thought she cared enough not to let me down – and I do feel like she’s letting me down. I never expected that. This all might seem like a disproportionate response, but it’s how I feel. And I have to just sit with it until I see J again on Tuesday. If I can even make myself go.
Rationally, it isn’t her taking a holiday that I see as disappointing. Of course I want her to take leave. I imagine the job is one that you need proper breaks from to keep yourself healthy. But I’m disappointed in her because it seems like she didn’t put much thought into how this might be for me. If she had, she would’ve delivered that news more sensitively. She knows that I struggle when I can’t see her, even if it’s just one session in the week. So she should have guessed that the best part of a month with no therapy would be a distressing prospect for me.
This has all left me feeling like she doesn’t care as much as I thought she did. That’s a horrible thought, because I’ve always felt like she was incredibly caring and did really understand my problems around attachment and our relationship. When I was little, I was massively let down by every adult caregiver in my life. That young part of me still seeks a caregiver I can trust and safely confide in. I was just starting to think it was her, that I could let her see that part of me and still feel safe. But right now it’s hard to convince myself that she isn’t just like all the others.
That really hurts.