The Bubble Has Finally Burst

So here I am, for the first time, blogging from my iPhone (is this to be the longest text message ever?!), sandwiched between my two kids, on a plane heading out for some much needed winter sun in the Canaries. Doesn’t sound too bad really… and isn’t now that I’ve actually got in the air and am up over the clouds but the airport was a different ballgame and the week leading into actually heading out – well all I can say is eff me!!!

Still, I’m not here to whinge about 5am starts and hyperactive small people! But I am going to splurge about the worst lead into a therapy break I’ve experienced in all the years Em and I have been working together.

This is usually the time of year where I sit back and take some time to reflect on the year…and by all accounts 2019 has been a bit of a shit show outside the therapy room and now in it.

Therapy breaks this year have felt tricky (ha- so British!). I’ve been dreading the three week Christmas break pretty much all year since booking this holiday on Boxing Day. At the time I felt it was a bit ridiculous to not book a holiday just because it would add a week to the therapy break. I knew how hard I find winter and knew that sun would do me good. I also hoped that by now, almost another year into therapy I might not be a complete basket case around therapy breaks.

I’m nothing if not optimistic!

But I’m also clearly delusional… what was I thinking?!

I knew this break was likely to be a disaster when Em took most of the summer off. Break one wasn’t too bad but she was back for just a few sessions and then gone again for another two weeks. My system just doesn’t cope with too much disruption and I’ve struggled to settle back into therapy since the summer because the young parts of me are on high alert and have never really been given the chance to talk about how bad the break felt.

Sooooo… a few weeks ago I wrote in my therapy notebook that I was struggling and that I really wanted to work out how to let the young parts out and also to figure out some strategies to get through the break. Em agreed with me and it felt positive to have shared some of my concerns.

And then life got crazy and there were loads of stressful life things to get through and somehow the young parts got left behind and preparing for the break fell by the wayside. I knew that Friday needed to be a connecting and containing session and I wanted to be able to in and just be how it felt and share some of what I (young parts) have been worrying about with Em.

This year I’d bought Em a Christmas gift (first time in 8 years) and so I also wanted that to be a meaningful exchange. I’ve always bought really nice, thoughtful cards for her. A couple of years ago I gave her a 3D laser cut paper snowflake card and wrote something about how even though she sees lots of clients each week, that like snowflakes, each relationship is meaningful and different. I also referenced Michael Rosen’s, ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ and how sometimes therapy can feel like being stuck in a ‘swirling whirling snowstorm’ and yet ‘we can’t go over it, can’t go under it, oh no, got to go through it’.

This year I bought her a handcrafted glass snowflake Christmas Tree decoration (trying to link back into the old metaphor). That was meant to be it but the last week I came across ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ and fell in love with it and it totally resonated with me as another metaphor for life in the therapeutic relationship. If you’re unfamiliar with the story I really recommend getting hold of a copy.

Neither of these gifts were of high value but were instead loaded with meaning and feeling. I hoped she’d appreciate them. My young parts were excited to give them to her and my adult was full of gratitude and wanted to express that before heading into the long break. Everything was written, wrapped, and ready to go on Friday

Then the general election happened.

And what in fuck’s name has the UK just done? I can’t even. I’m absolutely devastated that we’ve (well I haven’t!) voted in a party of liars, bigots, racists, homophobes, xenophobes, who plan to privatise all that we hold dear, can’t even be arsed to debate on climate change, who simply couldn’t care about the most vulnerable in society and, in fact, blames them for mismanaging their finances because they need foodbanks, suggested that those in the Grenfell fire lacked common sense for not evacuating when they’d been told to stay put, say that single mothers are bringing up ill-raised kids, and think that 3 million kids in poverty in the sixth richest nation on earth is acceptable.

I could go on and on. I know no party is perfect, far from it, but given the choice of ‘caring for all’ or ‘survival of the fittest’ I know I choose to have a social conscience everyday of the week. Having worked in schools for so long and my wife giving the last 30 years to the NHS it simply isn’t possible to vote Tory seeing the impact of the last 9 years.

I was in a state of disbelief on Friday morning. I knew Boris and his celebrity buffoon status was popular with some but a landslide victory for the conservative party… ugh. I’m proud of my city for remaining a red island in a sea of blue but I worry about what the next few years brings with Brexit etc. I mean we can’t go on for another 3 years as we are but I feel like people have voted purely on ‘get Brexit done’ and forgotten about everything and everyone else… or maybe they just don’t care! I know it’s not black and white… but I just don’t understand it.

Anyway, on Friday I arrived at therapy feeling anxious knowing this was the last face to face session this year. I sat down and said, ‘can we just leave the world outside today, I can’t believe it. I’m so depressed’. Em asked what was bothering me. I told her we’d just found out my wife’s nan had died in the night and that I was in a state of shock about the election result.

Now, Em is usually blanker than a blank slate – she never tells me anything about herself. I know she has a kid but not because she’s ever told me. I know she’s married (I’ve seen him awkwardly once). But I couldn’t tell what she’s into. So to suddenly get a 25 minute rant about politics and how Corbyn is an antisemitic communist blah blah blah and how the EU is run by France and Germany … well Jesus what a way to burst the bubble! It felt like I’d landed feet first on a front page Daily Mail story.

I’m all for people expressing differences of opinion but the way this came over wasn’t a debate it was a triggered letting it all out. I could feel myself shutting down, she wasn’t listening to what I was saying at all, and in the end I started to lean into what she was saying because it felt like we were poles apart and I didn’t want that. Or at least the little ones didn’t.

I said how I hate how divisive this whole thing has got and how we’ve all lost sight of what the country has needed focusing on Brexit. It was classic fawn and people pleasing- it felt like a conversation with my mum- it was interesting to see it playing out but also really shit timing.

I needed that session to be about consolidation and creating a sense of safety and instead my system was like, ‘who the fuck is this woman?’ I ended up trying to change the subject – she said something about how it had been interesting to have this kind of chat (so different from others) and that she never talks politics usually. (I might recommend she doesn’t again in future!)

She said we’ve been stuck and that maybe I could let stuff out like I had just then because if I don’t think the protector parts will step aside I’m perpetually stuck in painful feelings. Ha! After what’s just happened my protector parts were very glad they were there!! That conversation didn’t feel freeing or air clearing. It felt quite attacking, actually, as if I was some kind of idiot and naive for wishing for something better. And since when was socialism communism anyway??!!

I started talking about a dream I’d had the day before because I could feel myself dissociating and knew time was ticking away. I needed to find a way back to her.

It all felt really awkward and distant, though.

By the end I was so far gone that when Em said that the time was up and that we had a break coming up I felt desperately sad. Basically it was left that we will speak on Friday, if I can, otherwise I’ll see her on the 3rd. No space was left or made to discuss the break. Nothing has been put in place. I just get the feeling she’s glad to see the back of me.

Needless to say everything went to shit the moment I left.

And then I sent a long text which was a desperate attempt to seek connection even though actually underneath I felt raging.

Oh man it’s really long:

I don’t suppose it’ll come as any great surprise to you that the wheels have fallen off after today’s session. I feel completely all over the place. It’s not because of the political stuff at the beginning – it’s actually nice to see some of you in the room for a change.

I just really feel like we’ve missed each other again lately. I felt so dissociated by the end today that it was really hard leaving. All the young parts that really needed to know that you don’t actually hate me (because that’s what they feel especially when there’s a holiday) walked out in tears because the reassurance I need before breaks just didn’t happen and so I’m just left feeling really unsettled. I feel embarrassed that this keeps happening.

I get the feeling that you’re frustrated by how it’s been lately (always!) after your comment about us not getting anywhere if the protective parts won’t step aside. I know you’ve been trying hard for ages to get through to me – especially on Monday – and whilst there’s a load of pushback from the critical part and it must feel like running into a brick wall repeatedly I do appreciate it and I can see what you’re trying to do. Those parts are there for a reason, though, and whilst they clearly didn’t begin life in the room with you there’s definitely something stopping the wall coming down.

I’d like to think between us we could find a way of taking a sledgehammer to it but it just feels so impossibly hard right now.

After Monday’s tough session I just really wanted to feel like there was a secure foundation to our relationship today before disappearing off for three weeks – and yet I’ve come away feeling like things aren’t secure.

There is so much I’ve been sitting on this year – and I cannot believe that the next time I’ll see you is 2020 and even then I know it’s going to be difficult to trawl through all the stuff that’s been accumulating.

I feel really reluctant to Skype next week when I’m away because it rarely feels as connecting as I’d hope for and I’m worried it might actually make things worse.

I am resilient, I’m not deliberately wallowing in misery and attachment pain, but there are parts that just cannot hold all of this and it’s a nightmare.

I miss you and I also hate that I do – because right now I’m sure this just feels like I’m bombarding you and after what you said in April about that I hardly want to push you to a place where you end things.

It’s a mess.

She hasn’t replied and that’s just set the cat even more amongst the pigeons. So much so that I’ve cancelled my session on Friday. I couldn’t go on holiday with this stress hanging over my head all week. Perhaps it’s a mistake. Maybe it’s running away. But I just can’t have another session like Friday and Skype is rarely perfect.

Instead, I’ve mailed her my notebooks with a note asking her to use our session time to read what I’ve been sitting on the last 11 months – hoping to break the deadlock in a way. I don’t know if she will or not. All I know is I am not ok about this break. I don’t feel safe in the relationship and Em feels further away than ever.

Christmas rupture?!

Ha!

Right, that’s the 4 hour flight done!

35 thoughts on “The Bubble Has Finally Burst

  1. angellic23 December 15, 2019 / 3:07 pm

    Wow! Didn’t think therapists were supposed to talk politics? Seems a little strange to me. I’m so sorry she didn’t get your viewpoint of things and try to understand where all of you were coming from. Ray

    >

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 15, 2019 / 8:05 pm

      It was totally out of character for her. I don’t know what happened. All I know is I’m really paying for it now. And she seems not to give a shit. Great 👍

      Liked by 1 person

  2. truthspew December 15, 2019 / 8:04 pm

    Ah, you have my sympathies. Here in the U.S. we have a buffoon for President and well I just can’t wait until he’s sent packing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 15, 2019 / 8:07 pm

      I can’t believe it! It’s like we’ve got a carbon copy of Trump- crap hair, weirdo, only ours is less orange. Sad times!

      Like

      • truthspew April 19, 2020 / 8:38 pm

        Ah yes Boris Johnson – I’m familiar. But even his level of buffoonery pales in the light of what we in the U.S. have.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sirena December 15, 2019 / 9:00 pm

    Utterly horrendous. You know my thoughts. You deserve much more and much better x

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:27 am

      Huge piles of dog shit. Honestly- it just gets worse the longer it goes on. To think it’ll have been my session in an hour and even then she won’t think to respond to that message just feels so abandoning. Big hugs 🤗

      Like

      • Sirena December 16, 2019 / 9:30 am

        Yep 😔

        Like

  4. LovingSummer December 15, 2019 / 9:06 pm

    I really hope you can manage to enjoy your time away in the sunshine, bit envious about that part, but not the therapy rupture. What is it about the most important session being the one that goes so wrong? I’m ever so slightly dreading mine this week!
    Just have to say it made me smile about the being British part about describing therapy as being a bit tricky. Also think your gift is so meaningful, you clearly put a lot of thought – and yourself – into your gifts and I’m sure that will be greatly appreciated (even though you probably feel like snatching it back and burying it under the patio!).
    Hope you can find the 3 weeks fly by faster than you dare hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:25 am

      I almost didn’t give her the gift. I just basically threw it at her as I left. The moment was lost. I really couldn’t have anticipated what happened on Friday. I mean it just falls so far outside the realms of what we do in session. I feel like she’s had enough of me and can’t help so is just getting irritated. I dunno. Could certainly do without it. I hope your last session goes well. X

      Like

  5. lavenderandlevity December 15, 2019 / 9:21 pm

    I definitely cried when Trump was first elected. I am so sorry for all the sane folks of the UK. But, wow. What a shock with Em! I have to admit…I made my Progressive politics quite well known. If I’d gotten an inkling my therapist could be a Trumpeteer I’d have had a really hard time. Ugh. Wish I had better advice:-(

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:22 am

      Thanks for the understanding. I don’t know how and if it’ll resolve. Maybe this will be thing that finally gets me to leave. Right now I’m fed up!

      Like

  6. Bourbon December 15, 2019 / 10:43 pm

    That seems way out of line to me from how you’ve described it. It’s your time to talk your thoughts 🤔 does it help knowing that people are also a bit confused? Or does it make the disconnection feel worse?

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:21 am

      Yeah it’s not been great. It is comforting to see that others are a bit confused by it too but it does also highlight the disconnection. I’m beginning to wonder if the whole relationship is a sham. She literally tolerates me 50 mins at a time and outside that she doesn’t care. Ughhh this is not how I wanted this to go.

      Like

      • Bourbon December 16, 2019 / 9:32 am

        I haven’t been able to follow blogs closely this year; but can you think of any times when she HAS shown she cares and the relationship isn’t a sham? It might help to rebalance the angst. Yes this shouldn’t have happened and yes really you deserve a reply to your text. But to save agonising over it for a week I wonder if it’s possible to balance it a bit. You know the whole, therapists are human too, thing 🤷 (though if I went into my job spouting politics too that’s past being “human”!)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. slantgirl December 16, 2019 / 12:42 am

    oh my GOD!!!!! i would have been so upset, RBCG. i hope you can stay ok during the break, at least the sun will be a nice change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:17 am

      Trying hard to hang it together! Feel a bit in shock but also feel quite angry so that’s keeping the youngest parts in check (for now!)… we’ll see what Christmas brings! 😳

      Like

  8. pink December 16, 2019 / 4:27 am

    I’m so sorry; this is horrific. I felt that sick, gnawing anxiety just reading your post. You’re handling it so well; I would be going proper crazy in your shoes. I genuinely have never come across anyone who works as a therapist who is pro tory/pro brexit-urgh you must be feeling so sick & so confused. I hope you manage to step away from it mentally & enjoy your holiday. Take lots of care

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:16 am

      I feel really sad about the whole thing. I don’t even want to talk to her as things stand. The longer it goes on the less likely I’ll be wanting to return. What’s the point? It’s not the politics it’s the leaving me to struggle on knowing how bad it feels on breaks. I’m over feeling abandoned! 😓

      Like

  9. Lucy King December 16, 2019 / 8:36 am

    Oh ouch. I’d have found that so hard. You didn’t deserve to have to sit through that and I think in the new year she’s going to need to hear how her outburst negatively impacted you and she’ll need to work hard on repairing that. It was well out of her professional remit to even share her political views let alone argue them with you. I’m a strong SNP supporter up here 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 and if I had an inkling that Anna was cons I’d find it very hard to push past that. As it happens I’d guess she has the same views as me.

    I really hope you enjoy your holiday, you deserve a break. Enjoy the sun, it’s freezing and dark and wet here. Gentle hugs if wanted 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:12 am

      Thanks L. I’m glad I’m
      away from home now although it is all swirling in my mind. It feels pretty horrendous. I’m staggered that this happened. I’m not sure if we’ll get through it, actually- the political stuff is one thing but the flat refusal to even respond with a short holding message after my text just feels really punishing. She can’t think Friday went well and potentially leaving this festering for three weeks isn’t really good especially when she knows breaks are hideous.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King December 16, 2019 / 9:33 am

        It sounds like she’s lost a grip on her role momentarily. Did it seem completely out of character? My understanding of it is that it’s totally unexpected and not what you’d imagine from her. Almost like she’s been triggered or something. Not that we should have to think this way about our therapists but we can’t help it (and sometimes they give us little choice). I’m really so sorry this has happened, it is THE worst timing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 17, 2019 / 9:55 am

        It is out of character but the politics is just one element. It’s the fact that yet again I’ve said how bad breaks are and absolutely nothing has been put in place to help. I think we’re at an impasse – she feels like she can’t help but won’t adjust to try new strategies and I feel like I’m trying hard to make what she can offer enough when it clearly isn’t and doesn’t work. It’s a very expensive way to make yourself feel shit twice a week! Hope you’re doing ok x

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lucy King December 17, 2019 / 10:50 am

        I totally know what you mean. It’s just so disappointing that she can’t be more flexible and put some more things in place to make the breaks easier. I don’t understand why she won’t – it would make things easier for her too! I hope you’re managing to enjoy your holiday despite this. I’m doing okay thanks, to and down. Got a session tonight which will hopefully help. And yes- very expensive way to make yourself feel shit! 😔 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 19, 2019 / 12:31 pm

        Hope your session was all you needed. I’m so pissed off with how stuff has turned out but I’m starting to realise I can’t change her the only thing I can change is whether I’m prepared to keep doing this to myself. Tbh an extra £5k in my pocket wouldn’t hurt each year 🤨

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lucy King December 19, 2019 / 12:48 pm

        Tell me about it! It’s so much money 😭 do you feel like this is a deciding factor for you? Does it outweigh the ‘good’?

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 19, 2019 / 12:53 pm

        Yeah – and it’s nearly an hour’s drive each way and even with an economical car it’s another £50 at least in fuel each month! Ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. individualmedley17 December 16, 2019 / 9:29 am

    Dear RBCG, I’m so sorry this happened. There’s no way Em should have allowed her political views into the room, but I am impressed that you are able to recognise the way you responded to it. More worrying for me is that after all these years she is still unable to hold in mind how difficult the upcoming break is for you and your need for connection and containment. You have told her this before and yet she didn’t make time for that in your session. Maybe she is tired and in need of a break but I hope she that in the new year she recognises how her errors have impacted on you and makes amends. I hope the sun is shining where you are and the kids are having an exciting time. IM

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 16, 2019 / 9:34 am

      Thanks IM. Yes. I hope so too- but I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to do in the new year. Like you, I’m surprised by the political outburst but actually it’s the lack of support around the break and leaving me to struggle when I’ve reached out that are the big issues for me. I keep laying myself bare and then nothing ever changes. Maybe I need to stop banging my head up against a brick wall and realise she is not the therapist I need her to be and no amount of hanging around and waiting is going to change that. I know, whatever happens, the next three weeks aren’t going to be as I hoped. Ffs! 😩

      Like

  11. behindapaintedsmile30 December 16, 2019 / 10:47 pm

    I’m sorry hun. What a rubbish way to start Christmas.
    It’s strange and does seem out of character. You paid for 25 minutes that you didn’t get and that is wrong. I wonder what happened to make her think that it was an invitation for a political discussion – I’m baffled!
    I do think that it is worth considering whether Em is the right therapist for you. The younger parts may be attached, but I question whether that is in a healthy way. I have sometimes wondered whether the relationship with Em echoes that of your mother to a certain extent. The younger parts are holding out hope that Em will change and see them. In this respect, I do think that you are stuck but it’s not all because of you.
    I’m not saying that Em is a bad therapist, but I know how much physical contact means to you. I think it would help the younger parts to feel safe and cared for. Even just a therapist who is prepared to sit with you and hold your hand may be the key to unlocking some of the younger parts. I sometimes question whether you are being re-traumatised, but I’m not qualified to make that observation.
    It’s difficult to see you in constant agony. I think that Em’s boundaries are too rigid for your needs. I’m sure that Em is frustrated because she wants to help you and not because of your steady progress, but she needs to meet you halfway. I know that she has made an effort recently, but it has taken a while.
    I could be totally wrong in all this, but I think the session is a reflection of a wider issue. I hope the change of scenery and sunshine is helpful. Feel free to DM me on Twitter too. Take care xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 17, 2019 / 9:51 am

      I agree with everything that you’re saying. I’ve had a few long chats with my friend, Sirena, about this and no matter what angle you come at it from what I need and what Em is prepared to offer just don’t really align. I keep trying to make it enough but fundamentally the physical distance and the emotional lack of containment just keeps putting me into a trauma state. I feel like I’m more or less in a constant state of pain and no matter how I hope for change, a little less rigidity, some sense that The relationship is important beyond the paid slot, I think I have to accept she’s not gonna budge on any of it…the fact that it’s been total radio silence this week speaks volumes. She’s not on her break til Friday night and so she’s perfectly happy to let me suffer it out til 3rd. Thanks for your support as always… really dunno what I’d do without this place! Xx hope you’re ok xx

      Like

  12. CC December 19, 2019 / 12:10 am

    Brutal. I’m not sure how I would cope with finding out something like that about my T, especially at a time when I’m already feeling insecure about the connection. I saw some indications once that my T was considering buying a gun (I’m in the US and totally against guns for ‘normal’ people), and just that was enough to make me question whether I really knew her even though I actually do know quite a bit about her. I don’t know if she ever did buy it, so it’s been fairly easy for me to ignore, but obviously there’s always the potential of learning something I’d rather not know.

    When I was reading about your 3 week break, I was thanking my lucky stars that mine would only be 2 weeks (technically 13 days), which I’ve been steeling myself for. But then my T got sick and cancelled our remaining sessions this week, and it’s unclear whether she’ll be able to do the sessions scheduled for next week before the holidays (probably won’t know till Sunday). So I’m now staring down the dark tunnel of a 3 week interruption, which is the longest we’ve ever had (like I said, I’ve been lucky) and my usual transitional object is locked in her office because I had assumed I’d see her again this week and could take it back home. All this with some particularly stressful holidays lurking, and discussions of some intense stuff last week that I feel we haven’t processed. It seems like after 3 weeks of no contact, we’ll be about 3000 miles apart and it’ll take ages to re-establish a connection that could let us go back to the point with the intense stuff where we left off, if we can even get that far.

    My thing is that she tends to keep texting strictly logistical, and generally I’ve stopped texting her for other purposes. This situation feels daunting if she cancels sessions next week, and seems to warrant something more than just a perfunctory text, but I’m wondering whether there’s even a point in asking her for some kind of reassurance/affirmation to help me get through. You can’t get if you don’t ask, but asking and not getting can be worse than not getting because you’re not asking. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise to her that I would ask.

    I hope the change in scenery is helping with getting some clarity about the situation, and even if not, that you’re managing to get through each day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum December 19, 2019 / 12:29 pm

      I really hope you are able to navigate this break ok if it turns out to be longer than expected. It’s no fun is it?

      I really understand the quandary of the asking for reassurance. It’s great if you get it but reaching out and being met with radio silence is utter shit.

      I’m loving my holiday but I have the constant dull ache of this therapy nightmare gnawing away inside. I feel so sad as it couldn’t been so easily avoided.

      Ugh!

      Take good care of yourself x

      Like

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