J challenged me in therapy today. She started with the eating thing again (Tuesday’s session explained here). She asked me when I will stop starving myself. She said she was worried about ‘where this is heading’. She went into her ‘duty of care’ spiel and talked about our ‘contract’ (a vague verbal agreement about our work together). Unnecessarily, she pointed out that under-eating is bad for me and reminded me that if I get sick because of it I won’t be well enough to do therapy anymore.
It was all a bit much. I felt bombarded by all of this. My eating issues have been in the background for probably six months now, so I am perplexed as to why this has suddenly become a priority. For some reason, I’ve just been put on the spot, and I am expected to have something to say about it.
I don’t have a plan. I am not under-eating with the ambition of losing weight. I’m not consciously attempting to starve myself to death. I think I am in control enough that if my eating habits started making me sick, I would have the incentive to change them. But I guess that’s what all addicts say. I remember thinking I could just stop drinking if I really wanted to. The trouble was, I never wanted to badly enough.
Pretty much the whole session went like this. J pushing and challenging and asking me questions she knew I wouldn’t have a reasonable answer for. It was one of those sessions where I leave with the impression that therapy is all about proving me wrong. I say something, it gets disputed, I have to look for evidence and prove why I think that thing, and in the end I am proved wrong but still feel the same way. I still have whatever feeling or worry we discuss, it’s just that after the conversation I feel irrational and stupid for having it.
Somehow we ended up talking about our relationship, which is literally the topic I hate most in therapy. I can’t even begin to explain why, because I don’t understand it myself. All I know is that I love J and feel heavily dependent on her and at the same time I don’t fully trust that she won’t reject or abandon me. Thrown in with that are all the emotions. I mean ALL of them. So you can see why it is complex.
J pointed out that I find it hard to tell her when she has said or done something I’ve found upsetting in some way. I am aware of this. And I avoid it because I am scared of somehow breaking a relationship that is very precious to me. She said I need to learn to take things, to ask for things, to say when something isn’t good enough. I know all of this, but I lack the courage it requires. I rarely even ask her for simple things, like a glass of water or to adjust the heating. It always feels like something I shouldn’t do.
This got me thinking tonight, about what I would ask her if I could ask any question at all and she would have to give me an honest response. Would I want to find out something about her ‘real’ life? Would I ask what her long term plans are for her practice? Or why she decided to become a therapist?
But really, if I were brave enough to ask her any question, I think I would want to know what she thinks about me. I’d want to know for sure that she doesn’t dread her sessions with me, that she does really believe I can recover and move forward. I’d like to know whether she really thinks I’m a lost cause, but keeps working with me out of some academic interest, or because she’s put in too much effort to want to quit now.
I’m interested to know; if you could ask your therapist anything at all, what would you go for?
Image: Beatnik Photos: Creative Commons