Therapy is tough at the moment. Last week I wrote about wanting to give up on it, because I was feeling insecure and disconnected from J. I don’t know exactly how that occurred, but I can guess there are a few reasons.
Back in November, there was a big rupture in mine and J’s relationship. She told me she was going to be away for most of December and it came as a shock. I felt that she didn’t consider how hard it would be for me to hear that news and figure out how to be OK without her over the difficult Christmas period.
I managed to talk to J about how upset I was over this. We discussed it and I did feel somewhat better about the whole situation. But I am not sure that my trust in her and my confidence in her care for me has been fully restored. She mentioned last week that she’ll be taking time off in March and I didn’t feel terrible about it. At the same time, the way she brought it up stirred my insecurity. I felt as though my reaction to her taking leave before caused a problem for her, and I don’t want to be a problem. I don’t want to feel as though I am a difficult client – but I do.
The long break in December meant that starting therapy again in January was strange and uncomfortable. Although I often have email contact with J when she is away, I know that I also disengage from her. I retreat from the relationship, because I feel protected that way. It’s how I deal with her being unavailable.
That means that any break and then the return to our routine feels like a roller-coaster in terms of my attachment to J. I can’t just come back after a long gap and immediately re-engage. It has to happen gradually, and this time I feel like it slowly was.
Then the furniture thing happened. I wrote about it here. A couple of weeks ago, I turned up for my session and J had completely rearranged the room. It feels like a huge overreaction, but I was really upset by it. This place that had been constant and familiar and safe had suddenly changed and it was a real shock to me. I felt angry with her for changing it, and I felt incredibly sad at the loss of how it was before.
We spent a session talking about the impact of this change, but I still didn’t feel like it had settled in me. It left me feeling destabilised and uncontained. And I think that with all of this combined, it’s become difficult for me to feel close to J now. It’s hard for me to feel safe and comfortable with her like I have in the past.
The lingering doubt, insecurity and resentment over this combination of events is possibly what’s stopping me being so open in my sessions now. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but today I felt really closed down and I was irritated by J asking me questions. I simply didn’t want to let her in.
Perhaps I have just reached a point at which the vulnerable child part of me that is so active when I’m with J can’t sit in anxious silence anymore. Maybe she finally needs to speak. But I am so scared of what she might say. That fear is powerful, and when it’s combined with my conflicting, confusing and distressing feelings around our attachment, I suppose it might explain why I want to push J away at the moment.
I don’t want to feel like this. I want to feel safe and secure about therapy. I want to feel like I could tell J absolutely anything and our relationship would survive and remain solid and reassuring. I want the young part of me to be more resilient; so I can feel less needy and dependent in my relationship with J.
This is all really hard and confusing. I am so tired of things just not making sense.
Photo: Vincent, Creative Commons.
2 Comments Add yours
What you’re saying about getting stuck because you are worried about going a step too far and damaging the relationship resonates with me. That is a big worry for me in going back to Dr L, that in trying to go further in therapy I’ll push things too far, or push him too far, and lose what I have. It’s frustrating and painful yo-yoing back and forth and not getting anywhere. I figure that the only thing that will work in the long run is to take the risk and talk, even if I don’t know where it will lead (but I am definitely going to take things very slowly).
If you have a solid relationship with J then all you can really do is trust that she will be able to stay with you through whatever you have to say to her.
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I hear you. Frustrating and painful are definitely the right words. I agree about taking risks, I’ve done it before and it’s all turned out OK. I haven’t really pushed myself in a long time now and so maybe I’ve lost confidence. It’s tough when you know what you need to do, but can’t get yourself to do it. x