Impasse

I’m not sure starting a blog post with ‘FFS’ is necessarily appropriate, but it totally encapsulates where I am at right now with therapy, or rather the therapeutic relationship. I’m angry, frustrated, upset, exasperated, annoyed, sad, hurt, anxious, scared, lonely, not bothered (no fucks given), shutdown, agitated, full of love! I know that is a list of  complete contradictions but this is what is so difficult about fragmented parts – every part feels different things and reacts independently so in the end it just becomes an exhausting noisy mess inside.

Part of me is just doing a massive face palm and sighing a huge ‘for fuck’s sake!’ I haven’t had much free time to post anything here for a bit but actually this weekend when I have had time to think about what’s going on, or what I might post, I really haven’t got a clue what to say. I literally do not know what to write. I don’t know how to explain what is going on right now. There is a part of me, too, that feels like what’s happening in therapy right now is so huge that whilst I’m in the thick of it I can’t really write about it in any detail.

I am all over the shop: one minute I am absolutely raging and wanting to run away from the therapy and the next I want to roll up my sleeves, get my adult front and centre and do some serious advocating for myself and do the work. Em and I have hit a bit of an impasse. We’ve been stuck for a while now but this last couple of sessions has been incredibly hard. I can’t remember if I said this recently but I told her in session the other week that I felt like she didn’t care about me. It’s not just one part that is feeling like this, it’s several. I’ve been struggling to shake the feeling and so it’s been impossible connect. I can’t even look at her at the moment. The trust, that is so fragile anyway, has been steadily eroding since the half-term holiday in October and the empty chair text (which she never brought up).

I know I should bring this stuff up more but as I said recently, often I have ideas of what I want to say and then I get in the room and suddenly I am overcome by shame and switch into a part that is either really fucking annoying (the one who talks confidently about my here and now life so that the ‘real’ feelings don’t come out) or one of the parts that either has no words (v.young child part) or a withholding and silent part (angry teen). I mean it’s more complicated than that and I definitely shift about between different parts A LOT or feel like there are several competing for attention all at once but generally the part I need to go and talk isn’t bloody available. I don’t know where she’s fucked off to, but I suspect she’s sitting drinking a latte peacefully somewhere … but she certainly isn’t in the room! She’s a fucking moron though because it is her that is paying for this circus.

Knowing that this is what’s been happening I sent my last post to Em just before I left the house on Monday morning. I knew I would sit silently and not mention anything if I went to session without it. I’ve still got stuff I wrote weeks ago sitting in my bag and I just can’t get myself to bring it out. SO ANNOYING. I brought it up and asked her to read it. We had a conversation about my sending stuff to her when I know she won’t read it and all that. Ugh. I tried to explain that when I send something an hour before the session, despite writing it days before, it’s about making sure I can’t back out of talking about something that is important – which is what’s been happening a lot.

She read the post. I felt sick. I can’t really remember everything that we talked about in relation to it but she said something about how she had to admit that she had lost sight of the vulnerable young parts lately because what she sees as the ‘high functioning adult part’ (Little Miss ‘I’ve Got My Shit Together’) does such a fantastic job of distracting and hiding what’s really going on. That pissed me off. I know that’s what I do. What I have been doing. BUT I pay Em to see through this crap. I have told her enough what I do and why I do it. When I feel really vulnerable and unsettled I get out the smoke screen.  To hear her say she’d lost sight of those who need her most was really painful. Yet again, those parts are not being kept in mind…which is what they are terrified of and why they went into hiding when I was a kid.

I know I did try and talk about how futile it feels when I have things I would like to try and work on/ask for and yet ultimately I know that I can’t have what I want so it just feels really painful. She asked what I meant. I said how I read something recently by another therapist about coping with breaks and how they had mentioned a way to maintain connection that really resonated with me. The idea was for the client to send three dots in a text message and that at some point the therapist would respond in the same way. I liked this idea because there are no words to get hung up on, no chance of misinterpreting the tone, no getting into ‘doing therapy outside the room’… it’s simply a checking in process that says ‘I’m still here’. And for someone that genuinely panics that my therapist is dead on breaks it would be perfect.

I knew, though, that Em wouldn’t go for it and said as much to her but she asked me to explain it anyway. I did. And yep. It was a no. Or should I say another no in a long line of nos. She told me that she couldn’t commit to it or something and that she didn’t think it would be in my best interests and then I just shut down. Like what is the fucking point? I keep reading that relational trauma is healed in relationship and yet I am really really struggling to feel like there is a relationship. I know I should, by now, be able to see that she’s there for all my sessions and that she is consistent in how she operates… but there are parts that just can’t see that as enough. When they are breaking their hearts and panicking on breaks it’s no good saying ‘she’ll be back in x weeks’ the fear and anxiety is real in that moment; if I could rationalise it out there and then I would…but I can’t.

I think, too, that this particular ‘no’ stings so much because it is literally THREE DOTS. It doesn’t require much time. It doesn’t require really any thought at all. BUT it would make such a huge difference to me. What hurts the most is that she is unwilling to do this for me. It’s like I am asking for the smallest fucking concession and she won’t do it. And of course this feeds all that stuff about being unimportant, her not liking me, there being no genuine relationship. It’s horrendous. It’s making me so sad and angry recounting this right now.

Christmas break is approaching and I am absolutely terrified that it is going to be another car crash like last year. The feelings on breaks don’t change. Sometimes I reach out sometimes I don’t. This year I won’t no matter how bad things get, why would I? There’s no point. All that’ll do is fuel the part that is ready to walk away. I contacted another therapist this last week because things feel as though we are heading towards a drop off. I don’t know if we can work through this… I don’t know what to do.

I had to do a Skype session on Friday because I was working ten minutes after the session. So it was Skype in my car. Great. Not! Trying to connect through a tiny iPhone screen that would only show her in one third of my screen…it was like therapy on a postage stamp. Em felt really far away. And, I know I sound like a complete mental case but she just felt really therapisty. The session felt really formulaic. I could almost predict what she was going to ask me. Therapy questions 101. Painting by numbers. On more than one occasion I rolled my eyes when she said stuff and how I didn’t hang up on her I have no idea.

Look, I get it, I am upset and angry and feel like I am not necessarily seeing the wood for the trees which is why I will go to the session tomorrow. But I won’t lie. There is a huge part of me that doesn’t want to go. There’s a part of me that wants to cut and run before the Christmas break. I don’t want to be left with all these massive feelings over the holidays and keep looping back to ‘she doesn’t care’. I don’t want my Inner Critic to get a foothold in my mind and ruin the holidays.

I am really aware of this thing where, yet again, I have to sacrifice a need, ok albeit a childish need (my adult doesn’t need three dots – and is mortified that I need Em at all) in order to fit in with what the other person wants. I have done that my whole life and I don’t know how to get to a place where I can ‘accept’ this therapy boundary. I am not ok with the no touch thing but I can sort of accept it. I am not ok with her not responding to my texts but I can sort of accept it. BUT this … three dots… I don’t know if I can. It sounds ridiculous that something as insignificant as … could cause such a huge rupture…but that’s the problem, something so small is so massively significant.

I’m very aware that this is not one of my finer blogging moments and I probably sound like a petulant child who isn’t getting what she wants and is having a meltdown about it…but actually that’s exactly what this is. Adult Me can see this for what it is but the little ones feel utterly rejected.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings. I’m guessing some anger with a giant dollop of shame! Wish me luck. I really hope that I can break through the shame and the wall and get things moving again. I think the reason this is so hard is because it’s tapping into that core wound again. It’s like these three dots have functioned as a giant cattle prod right into the #motherwound and fuck me – it hurts.

* I had some comments that went to moderation recently (I have this as a setting new readers/comments) that were really nasty and I didn’t ok to go on the post. Please, if you haven’t got something constructive to say just don’t comment at all. These mental health blogs are written by real people who are going through real struggles. I do not need to be told that ‘I am in danger’ and am ‘obsessive’. This obviously isn’t aimed at the merry band of WP warriors who are always sensitive and empathic. x

img_5992

Author: rubberbandsandchewinggum

Mid-thirties. Mum of two. Procrastinator. Therapy and mental health blogger.

25 thoughts on “Impasse”

  1. I’m finally coming out of the woodwork to comment; sorry I’ve been MIA from your last couple posts! Reading this makes me both sad and frustrated for you. I feel like you are doing everything you can to reach out and try to share the things that feel most shameful to say, in whatever ways feels least distressing to do so. You want her to help draw you out, to acknowledge and see the hidden parts. But there they sit, almost invisible to her somehow. You’re being so vulnerable, trying to help her see, but somehow she’s missing it. And on top of that, she refuses to engage with you outside of the room, which baffles me. What works for one client may not work for another, and the no contact rule isn’t working for you. Like you, said, it’s three dots. More parameters could even be set around it if she wanted! You are repeatedly asking for more and getting shrugged off. I would want to hide too.

    I’m not telling you what to do either way, just trying to echo the emotions that I can feel through your voices, know that I’m empathizing for you and that everything you feel is valid. Sending so much love xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ah thanks lovely! I’ve been thinking of you this weekend and wondering how you’ve been getting in and holding up. Thank you for validating the feelings. It is utter agony. I honestly don’t know if I can find a way through this. I feel like she wants me to hurt and grieve and do it all alone. I don’t know. It’s crazy making. I feel so bloody lost and bonkers and just stuck. Can hardly wait for Christmas 🤪! Sending you heaps of love xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can understand your parts being raging at Em. It would piss me off too. Some of the lengths they will go to to maintain boundaries are pretty ridiculous in any other context but therapy. It’s what therapists do though. It’s (I guess) teaching you to tolerate your un-met needs and still tolerate her as a therapist; not meeting them. My ex therapist wouldn’t do the three dot thing either. I wouldn’t even have to ask her to know that. I think a lot of therapy is about frustration and anger (in my experience). And we gave legitimate stuff to feel frustrated and angry about (in the context of our fucked up childhoods) I’m very sad that you’re feeling these feelings and I totally get it. This isn’t a shit blog post. None of your blogs are. They are real and from your heart ✍💛💛💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yeah, this is my feeling too – that she is trying to prompt you to tolerate unmet needs and to figure out strategies for meeting them. does she know the part about how she disappears for you when you’re not with her? maybe that could be the central tenet of the discussion. I think she is trying to hold a boundary firm to be consistent and to offer you the stability born of consistency — like, if she let go of her boundary, what would that unleash? It would satisfy your need for this kind of contact, but other things might be unmoored by her moving a boundary. i doubt she is trying to hurt you, even though you are indeed hurt by her actions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I think this is what she is trying to do but crikey…it doesn’t feel like it’s helping! 😉 I have told her everything- it’s been a big exercise in shame and embarrassment this last year or so. I think she thinks I should be able to breathe my way through feeling like she’s dead – I’m serious. Thanks for this. I am trying to hang on tight to the ‘she’s not deliberately trying to hurt me’ thing…and is just being a therapist.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ah thank you! Yeah. It feels like a massive exercise in distress tolerance… which is funny really because my whole life has been an exercise in distress tolerance. I could really just use a bit of reassurance and validation right now and yet she seems hell bent on getting the adult to scoop everyone up and take deep breaths (more on that next time I post!). I’m certainly not liking what’s going on right now. God knows how Christmas is going to be! FFFFFUUUUCCCCCKKKK!!!! Sending you heaps of love as know you have been surfing your own wave of personal hell. xxx

      Like

      1. I am the interpreter. I emailed Imani’s old psychologist to tell her what is happening. We rang the crisis team yesterday too and the mental health team today. We are scared about Christmas yikes! It is busy in our head as there are lots of us in here. We want the adults to make it better too. Why are they so mean!!!? Love and hugs xxx

        Like

      2. I’m sorry it feels so hard right now. I hope that you were able to get a helpful response from the crisis and mental health teams. I am guessing that the old therapist may not respond? Boundaries. It’s so tricky. Christmas will be ok. You are surrounded by people that love you and you are safe in the here and now xxx

        Like

  3. That sounds so painful and frustrating! I’ve had a few different therapists over the years and have crashed and burned many of those relationships so I’m not going to say I have all the answers, but I’ve come to the view that when therapy is going well, even a therapist with the strictest of boundaries will be able to validate what is going on for you and find some way to give you at least a little of what you need, even if it’s not exactly what you ask for. I totally get the annoyance with the fact that they’re the ones with all the training and they’re being paid into the bargain, so why can’t they come up with something a bit more constructive?! Thinking outside the square and all that. If this is just a temporary glitch then maybe you can push through the break again this year and come out the other side, but if it’s a long term pattern of not getting your needs met then you’re probably right to look at the possibility of changing therapists.

    That note at the end makes me immediately think of the ‘Midvale School For the Gifted’ Far Side cartoon 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha. I always get doors wrong…! 😉
      I have no idea what’s going to happen with therapy. Today felt agonising… again. I think part of the issue is that my T seems to think I should be able to hold all the young parts and cope. … and I simply can’t when it all goes to shit. She suggested today that I want unrestricted access to her! Errr… no, a dots text occasionally does not equal that. FFS. I sometimes think I get stuck in black and white thinking but jeeezz!!! I don’t think Em has any intention of meeting my needs – I just need to grieve the unmet needs with her. Joy! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gahhh, sometimes I really wonder if therapists themselves have their own black and white thinking. Wanting a “…” text = wanting unrestricted access??? Err, that’s so what the heck??? And even if you DID want unrestricted access (nothing wrong!), you clearly are trying to compromise and she’s not budging! Sigh.

        Like

  4. Oof. Felt so angry at your therapist. Some people NEED outside contact and some don’t. And a good therapist, in my opinion, is flexible. Sorry yours is being so rigid on this. 😦 Mine, (I asked, then she offered)I can call the clinic and ask to speak to her when I need it, and she’ll return my call. Of course we discussed what need meant and boundaries and all. And there’s things other clients can do, but I can’t… It’s so hard to witness your therapist flat out say no. Does she hold this boundary for all clients?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah there really isn’t any flexibility. I think she thinks that holding firm boundaries at all costs is the way forward. I have no idea what she does with other clients. I think I am supposed to see that her offering me two sessions a week is a demonstration of her commitment and care – but then I can be committed and caring for that amount of money too… grr!! haha. It’s all a mess. Thanks for your comment. xx

      Like

  5. :/
    It’s three fucking dots …
    You aren’t asking for a lengthy response or a phone call or anything like that. You aren’t even telling her she has to respond right away. Can she not take 3 seconds to send 3 little dots? Her responses just feel so punishing to me–I don’t know why, they just do.
    Her boundaries seem wickedly rigid–especially when dealing with someone who needs a bit of extra support during therapy breaks. You’re only asking for a little something to keep you moving forward–not a goddamn organ donation.
    I couldn’t last the entire break not hearing anything that’s for sure, so you are definitely not alone in that department.
    It all just feels really, really unfair and I can understand how you would feel so upset by what’s happening.
    Sending great big hugs to you.
    xx ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Kerry. It does feel really punishing – because I view it through the lens of a lifetime of being treating like my needs don’t matter. I don’t know what her rationale for not doing this is other than I think she wants me to find a way to hold all this for myself. The irony is, before therapy I was holding all my pain by myself. I had no idea half what I know now was even there! And now I have to try and hold it all and my arms, that were already exhausted, are now struggling under the weight. I fucking hate this! x

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I get the whole ‘you can do this by yourself feeling’. T keeps reminding me that I’m an adult and can take care of myself and that I don’t need anyone to take care of me. Intellectually, I completely get it. Emotionally, fat fucking chance. I just want to hand everything to him and say ‘make it better’ like a small child does with a broken toy or a skinned knee.
        I, like you, think I was also functioning much better before therapy. I sometimes wonder what I’ve gotten myself into and that maybe it was better just being oblivious to all of the chaos that was on the inside.
        Therapy would be perfect if there weren’t any breaks. :/
        xx

        Liked by 1 person

  6. FFS sounds appropriate to me!
    I don’t even know where to start because I can’t work out what is going on. As much as I get boundaries – it’s three dots. You have asked for something so minimal.
    I don’t know whether it’s appropriate for a trauma therapist to ‘challenge’ a client as my T would, but she needs to see through the acting and acknowledge those parts. The fact that she doesn’t use the information you have sent her outside of sessions is baffling.
    I’m sorry that things are so difficult. You have been so brave and vulnerable, and T really isn’t meeting you where you are. I think the issue is with her. It’s nothing to do with your worthiness or needs. Sending love and hugs xx 💜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you lovely. I feel like I could cry about this…and maybe that’s the whole point…pushing me to face the pain of the past through activating it in the here and now. I feel done in, though. I just really want to feel contained and safe in the relationship and right now it just feels so traumatising. hugs back x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s such a basic core need to feel connection and I think it’s so evident, in what you’ve described here, that this need is not being met. I do not see anything shameful in what you’ve expressed and can’t really fathom how anyone with a heart could feel anything other than great compassion for your pain. I would have hoped that any person seeing another human being in such pain and asking for so little in attempt to lessen that pain, would want to do what they could to help you with it. You should not feel any shame for being so human.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. I know. I guess the thing is, she’s ‘just’ my/a therapist, and she’s maintaining her boundary on outside contact. Seeing her as just a person that sits for 50 minutes twice a week makes what’s happening less painful but the thing is, so much of me is invested in the relationship that if I see her as a cold robot then I think I’ll leave. It’s going to be an interesting month or so. I’m putting my seatbelt on! 😆😬😞

      Like

Leave a Reply to Eva Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s