Shouldn’t Have Skyped…

I’m really aware that I have been AWOL here since before Christmas and have kind of left everything hanging for weeks on the ‘live rupture’ that started in the last session before the break. There are a few reasons for me not writing here, but the main one is I don’t even know where to begin. Things have been so bloody awful that I haven’t been able to formulate my thoughts or ideas about what’s happening.

I have been flipping massively between, ‘I have to leave therapy with M’ and ‘Maybe it’s just me and things can get better’… I guess deep down I have been hoping this stuckness we’ve been experiencing and the feeling of being on completely different pages might resolve and I could come back here and basically go, ‘Haha, look at me being an idiot, freaking out and creating another Christmas rupture… but it’s ok now.’ Only I can’t say that even a few weeks and sessions down the line and I am not sure that it’s all me. Lots has happened and it’ll have to go over a few posts which may take some time.

Also, I just want to quickly say a huge thank you to all the people who have been checking in with me on email. It means a lot that this community cares and we notice when people might not be ok. Also to my closer friends, thank you for putting up with me these last few weeks and not muting your WhatsApp but also being patient when I haven’t responded to you.

So here goes. I am the ‘ringmaster of the shit show’ right now. I saw a hoodie online the other day with that slogan and I am so tempted to buy it because that’s exactly how I feel.

Christmas break was a bit different this year. I wasn’t drowning in young parts’ attachment pain and managed to immerse myself in my family life (well until my wife had a meltdown and threatened to leave…the joys of menopause!). Actually,  I just had a huge resistance to even thinking about therapy on the break and had absolutely zero desire to go back to my sessions on the 3rd January.

Sometimes I can feel a bit distant and detached but as the sessions approach the needy parts come back online and I literally cannot wait to see my therapist. Not this time, though. I just felt so disconnected and disappointed by everything that had happened before Christmas that there was a part of me that just couldn’t face more of the same. There is only so much abandonment and rejection I can cope with. I am sure she wouldn’t see her behaviour as abandoning or rejecting but that’s how it felt to me.

As it turned out I couldn’t get to my session on the Friday because my wife was working and my kids hadn’t gone back to school yet. I spent a good while pondering  what I should do. Should I just cancel my session again like I did on holiday? Would it be better to wait til we were face to face to talk? But of course I am no so used to looking at things from a multitude of angles that I began to wonder whether I was just being avoidant and needed to push through and have the hard conversations.

On the morning of the session I text M and asked to Skype which she agreed to. I was not feeling all that great as I dialled in and the moment she popped up on screen I knew immediately that something was up. It was like the still face exercise – she didn’t smile and gave absolutely nothing away. Her voice was cold and it felt like she didn’t want to be on the line. I felt the same.

I didn’t know where to start the conversation so basically did a fill in about the stress that my wife having a meltdown on Boxing Day and how it had really unsettled the young parts who fear abandonment. She asked me how I felt about the Skype and I conceded that I wasn’t keen.

And then it began…

The boundary talk.

Again.

I could feel myself brace ready for what was coming next.

The usual stuff about keeping therapy in the room, how she doesn’t do outside contact and whilst other therapists may do all kinds of things (i.e when I text her cancelling the session from holiday I had said about other people getting check ins, transitional objects, notes, being encouraged to write, getting tangible reassurances, playing games, therapists sitting closer to clients etc etc) she doesn’t work like that, that I am self-sabotaging by reaching out and essentially I know her parameters. I felt like she had slammed a door in my face.

She made no reference to the difficult last session we’d had or the fact that I was clearly massively unsettled as the break began. It felt like it was all on me and nothing about what may have triggered me to reach out, cancel sessions etc… which is odd because I would have thought after nearly 5 years and never having cancelled on her that this might be something big on her radar.

She then decided to launch into some shit about me maybe wanting her to be my friend, or be partners, and that I might have erotic fantasies about her… honestly I nearly fell off the chair. Like WTAF?? And even if this were the case is this how to reconnect about a 3.5 week break that was in rupture? I felt like she was in total panic mode… ‘must reassert boundaries!’

She was so far off base. It felt like she’s read my notebooks, freaked out about the need of the young parts and suddenly thinks I want to move in with her and start fucking her. Talk about snowballing and overreacting.

And then it got worse.

The boundary talk became a gift talk…

I was already reeling from all that had just happened when she said: ‘I didn’t want to reject your gift when you gave it to me at the end of the last session but in future I think it’s best that you do not give me gifts. You pay me already and I am just your therapist. I am not rejecting you’.

Wow. Way to go M. Thanks. The young parts fell apart at that moment. It was like, what am I doing laying myself bare with this woman who clearly doesn’t give a shit. And honestly, not rejecting? How else would I see it after the last ten minutes of her talking at me?

She missed a massive opportunity to explore why I had decided to give her a present this year after all these years of working together and the meaning behind them. I gave her a copy of ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ (which basically is a must read for anyone with attachment wounds and in therapy) and a glass snowflake Christmas tree decoration – because I have previously likened the therapeutic relationship to a snowflake: there are lots of snowflakes (clients) but each one is different and so each relationship is meaningful…

What could have been a connecting moment was just shat on.

I couldn’t cope.

And I couldn’t believe she was dropping this on me via Skype. Surely these kind of conversations need to happen in person.

Usually, I would dissociate at moments like this and internalise everything, feel bad, and just tolerate what was going on despite being massively hurt and angry. But I didn’t. I don’t know what came over me but I just felt so missed, so unseen, so badly judged that I said, ‘I don’t want to talk you to you’ and disconnected the Skype call at 10am with twenty minutes of the session left!

I sat staring a the screen for five minutes (felt like seconds- think I may have dissociated) hardly believing what I had just done and then I panicked.

Clearly she wasn’t going to dial back in but I could see she was still online.

So I typed into the message bar on the Skype:

Me (10:05am): I can’t do this over Skype. It’s too hard. You feel really far away.

M (10:06): Ok, I understand that it’s hard. See you on Monday.

[I couldn’t quite believe she was just going to leave it at that and panicked. I sat there for a minute and fell apart]

Me (10:08): I am sorry for hanging up on you. Everything feels wrong.

M (10:12): I think that the younger parts of you feel stirred up and ambivalent.

Me (10:16): Perhaps. Or maybe it’s just I feel completely at sea and like you actually don’t really care about any of it and it hurts. This is absolutely not how I wanted it to be after the break btw. I really missed you. It’s felt horrible. See you Monday.

M (10:20): Yes, I imagine that you didn’t want this and so it feels particularly hard, but I think it’s best to talk about it on Monday. See you then.

I felt sooooo upset after this. I haven’t gone into huge detail because I can’t actually face going back to the recording now to give a better account of it. All I can say is it felt shit and it was enough to make me make contact with another therapist and arrange an appointment.

giphy-4

I wrote the email below after the Skype disaster – but I haven’t sent it or taken it in to session. I don’t see the point really. It’s long and would take a lot of time to go through when it can be boiled down to some simple things. Since I wrote this I have verbally brought some of what’s bothering me to session and had some helpful discussion but I will post about that in another post when I get chance. For now, I am just trying to keep swimming and keep adult me front and centre. It’s hard.

M,

I don’t even know where to begin… Seriously.

My brain can’t even process what’s going on. I keep trying to make sense of it all but I’m so confused, angry, and overwhelmed by where things have got to this last month that it just feels like a massive mess and part of me can’t even see the point in trying to fix this. My gut is telling me to call it a day and yet part of me is thinking I should give things a chance to work out…I don’t know what’s best or even if things can mend?

It feels like the need to run away is perhaps just a trauma response and maybe I need to stick with it and try and create a different narrative… but then maybe keeping battling on is actually just another example of a trauma response because I keep trying to adapt to fit in with someone else when it doesn’t work for me and I’ve done that my whole life.
I don’t know how you think the lead into the Christmas break was, but from my side it was a complete disaster.

I was so upset at the end of the last session that I ended up texting you. I never want to text you because it makes me feel completely rubbish and full of shame because time and again you ignore me. I suspect you’ll say, ‘this is the boundary, and if you choose to ignore it, you’re knowingly walking into that rejection’. It’s not as simple as that, though, because that scared, connection-seeking part is already so frightened that something is terribly wrong in that moment that it can’t really imagine it getting any worse. Of course, it usually does.

With the break looming and my holiday just about to begin I knew myself well enough to know how it gets if things are left to escalate. I was already really unsettled and I absolutely did not want a repeat of Christmas break two years ago. I hoped that you would reply to me, say something reassuring, but no. It felt utterly abandoning and rejecting…and I think I used the word ‘punishing’ in the letter I put in with the notebooks. That is how it feels even though you say that’s not what you’re doing.

Things felt so bad that over that weekend that I was certain that if I Skyped from holiday it would be a complete shit show and I didn’t want to be stressing about how bad things felt all week whilst I was away. If we can’t connect in person then how likely is it to happen over the phone? And that’s why I sent the books to you before I left. It’s not something I would generally do and I get that it was stepping completely outside the regular boundary. I just felt like things have been so stuck for so long that maybe if you could see what it’s been like in my head it might move things along a bit.

I thought that I might change my mind as the week wore on and want to talk to you by the Friday but I absolutely didn’t want to have any contact with you at all and so that’s why I text you asking you to read the books instead.

Of course, I was worried about your reaction to what I had written but at the same time another part of me just didn’t care anymore. What is there left to lose when everything already feels so bad? You always ask me what I imagine the worst thing is that can happen if I tell you whatever it is that I am struggling with– it’s this: that you will finally confirm what I have believed all along, that I am too much for you, that you don’t care, and finally something will happen that’ll push one or other of us to terminate the therapy.

I have felt ill when I have thought about you actually reading some of what’s in the books. The fact that it’s taken a year for me to let you see that stuff shows how difficult it is to let you in and how unsafe I have felt in the room. I started writing in the books last year because my hope was that somehow, it’d contain what was going on and help stick within the no outside contact boundary. If I could write down what had been triggered in the room it would be out, to a degree, and then we could work with it in the sessions. It seemed like a reasonable plan because so much hadn’t been making it into the room because I dissociate the moment I get close to that stuff.

Only it hasn’t worked, has it? It’s been so rare that I have felt able to let you see any of what I’ve been struggling with because the parts that are so terrified of being abandoned haven’t felt like it’s worth the risk opening up to you. You say you aren’t frustrated or annoyed with me, and maybe you haven’t been, but I also haven’t felt like you really want to connect to those vulnerable, young parts either. It so often feels like I’m being observed rather than met where I am at– like you can see things are wrong, tell me even, but there is this huge wall that stops any real connection. I feel totally stranded and exposed and want to disappear because you feel so far away.

I was dreading Friday’s session and almost cancelled again. I felt off. It felt like everything was wrong. I knew that Skype was risky and so there was a potential that things could get worse but at the same time I am trying to be less avoidant and what if not talking to you is just running away? Now, I wish I had trusted myself and not bothered because now we are here.

I am so sick of you returning to the boundaries of the therapy and outside contact with me after almost every break. I get it. It’s rigid not flexible. There is nothing I can do to change it. You didn’t even really make any sense on Friday when you were trying to tell me why you still think it’s the best thing…you changed the subject telling me you were glad I’d let you see the notebooks. The idea that it’s best to keep the therapy in the room makes total sense to me. I don’t disagree with you. I am REALLY trying…hence the books. HOWEVER, no matter how many times you state this stuff about texting and emails it doesn’t help the parts that are sometimes terrified that something is wrong or that you’re gone. The problem I have with object constancy is real. And the shame I feel around this is massive. And I have no idea what to do to help make this feel better.

It’s not the case that forcing me into the room by refusing to acknowledge me out of it will somehow suddenly make me more engaged and trusting in the room. If that was working, I don’t think we’d be where we are right now. All that seems to happen is I dissociate more and more because nothing feels secure. I am trying to bug you as little as possible but that in itself is making this feel worse because the parts that are absolutely certain you don’t like me keep getting the same message – she’s not safe and she doesn’t care. This is absolutely hellish for me. I literally want to crawl into a hole and die because it’s so painful and embarrassing.

I am trying to do what you want but at the same time what do I with the parts of me that are really struggling – what do I do to help myself when the abandonment and rejection stuff is so live because nothing works? When things feel pretty ok with the relationship, I have zero desire to contact you. I don’t need to. I am fine. But when things feel really unsteady it escalates so quickly and then it’s awful because the moment I reach out to you all hell breaks loose inside. There is so much shame and self-attacking that goes on, but also so much sadness from the young parts that keep getting the same message – ‘you’re unimportant and she doesn’t care’. The worst thing is that when it gets bad I seem to reach out more and more. It doesn’t work for either of us. It irritates you and it just reinforces the fact that there is nothing for me to connect to and so then when I see you I don’t trust you.

It’s way more complicated than this but essentially it all comes down to being too much and also being easily ignored or feeling unimportant. I don’t want to text you all the time. I don’t want to do the therapy outside the room. But I am struggling with how to make things feel safe enough with you. The sad thing is that actually there have been some times when you have responded to me when I’ve reached out and it’s made a huge difference. It’s like a switch gets flicked and absolutely everything settles immediately. I know that sounds insane. It feels like this is an ongoing problem and we haven’t come up with any strategies to make this better.

I wish you could understand how bad it feels when everything is falling to pieces for those young parts. I know you can’t fix what’s gone in the past and you can’t fill the hole that I feel inside. But we need to find a way of settling that part that gets triggered sometimes, that fears that you’re dead or in some way not safe anymore…because it’s so bad when it’s happening. I can’t regulate that part very well…at all…and when it’s terrible I need to feel like you are there…and I don’t.

And yes, I know you are just my therapist, I’m not stupid. Oh god, and that’s something else…

You’ve said it a maybe two or three times over the years and I have always noted it as feeling ‘off’ but never responded to it, but I am genuinely really confused that yet again you have brought up the idea that I might want you to be my partner and that I have sexual/erotic feelings towards you. I don’t know what I have ever said to give you that impression but it really isn’t how I see you at all. It actually makes me feel a bit weird even trying to put you into that place in my mind.

The mother transference stuff is absolutely accurate but even then I still do know you are my therapist and not my mother – and not my partner, my friend, or anything else…and I don’t want you to be any of those things because I have all of them in my life already. I need you to be my therapist. However, I don’t think therapist should feel like it’s a nothing relationship – you are important to me and every time you say ‘I am just your therapist’ it feels so clinical, sterile even and what does ‘just’ mean, anyway?

All I can think of to make you say this again now (thinking I think about you in a sexual way) is that it comes from the dream I wrote about in the notebooks [*I was showing M my rearranged wardrobes and she asked me about my sex toys that were in a drawer!…CRINGE!] – but that wasn’t a sexual dream at all – it was like asking me what my favourite colour or flavour ice cream was – really matter of fact and at a time when I was showing you a reorganised wardrobe. And I think this dream has way more to do with the fact that we have never discussed sex at all in all the time we’ve been working together rather than it being something about the dynamic between me and you or having those kinds of feelings for you.

I don’t know?

And then this has made me wonder if you seem to be keeping your distance because you think I want to be with you and are in some way finding it awkward with me because of that. I’m gay and you are a woman…but you’re not my type!

Anyway, that all felt off because I am really clear about who you are in my life and I am not interested in the least about our relationship existing in any other capacity. However, I do very much need you as my therapist and I want you to help me work through everything. I want to be able to talk to you but something is wrong and I can’t fix the attachment stuff on my own. You often say that we can’t repair what went wrong when I was little. I get that I can’t change what happened and you can’t be all that I needed then but actually I know that repair can be made in the relationship because sometimes I can feel it happening. Sometimes you feel really present and connected and caring and it really helps…and then other times you don’t at all. You’ll probably say this is me projecting.

It feels like giving you those notebooks has fucked everything up even worse than it was before. First sessions back are never easy but again this one felt really bad. The fact that I disconnected the Skype should tell you how terrible it felt. I’m sorry I did that but I couldn’t bear it. I can’t understand how you might think that saying what you did when we weren’t actually face to face would be in any way helpful after what’s happened lately. I get that you have stuff to say and maybe it felt really important to you to restate your boundaries in the first session back but it just felt like you have put your walls up in the biggest way and you felt so cold.

It would be hard to tell over Skype what was going on for me. You probably wouldn’t be aware that my heart was racing from the moment I saw you on the screen, that I felt sick and shaky, that I wanted to hide because you didn’t feel safe to me, that I was trying really hard not to slip into dissociation, that the young parts were absolutely terrified and were hoping that you’d say something that would be connecting and settle them after what has been a hellish month but it just kept getting worse and worse. It felt like you were a stranger…which I guess, in lots of ways, you are.

I was reeling from the stuff about the boundaries and the relationship and then you added in the bit about gifts. And that was me done. Saying ‘I am not rejecting you’ doesn’t make it feel any less rejecting. I’ve known you eight years now and whilst maybe that doesn’t make any difference to you it means something to me. Without doubt, gifts are a communication and have meaning and it is important to work out what they are but all you seemed to do on Friday was reinforce your fortress. It is so hard to get close to you.

I didn’t want to hurriedly throw the gifts at you as I was leaving in December but the last session did not go in the way that I had imagined. I had wanted to give you the gifts at the beginning and explain why I had given them to you and what they meant – because there is a lot behind them.

You have told nothing about yourself in all this time – I mean you really excel at blank screen/Teflon – and then on that day spent twenty minutes animatedly telling me how you think Corbyn is a communist and the labour party is antisemitic and why the EU parliament is flawed and how Scotland wouldn’t get accepted into the EU and taking the piss out of the Lib Dem leader and how loads of people lie about needing benefits… I mean I wasn’t really expecting that to happen especially as it was our last session. Next time if you get the urge to reveal stuff can you maybe tell me something about the music you like, books you’ve read, or places you’ve travelled to instead?!

So much of that session was taken up with that, that there was no opening to discuss Christmas or how I might be feeling about the break. I mean I guess we both know by now that it’s never easy for me so what’s the point in going on about it but actually it needs to be talked about over and over again …because when we don’t it makes me feel like my feelings aren’t really welcome and that I must be embarrassing you and it just makes the anxiety I feel a million times worse. So, it’s little wonder everything was rushed at the end. I wish I hadn’t bothered now.

I don’t understand why, on Friday, you didn’t have the conversation with me first about why I had given these things to you, unpicked it, done the work round it. Instead it was just another pushback. You say you don’t want to hurt me but I don’t see how you think how you handled this would do anything but hurt me. You didn’t check in with who was there on Friday and just leapt in with both feet- it was really hard. It would have been hard to hear, anyway, but when I had just told you that [wife] had threatened to leave on Boxing Day I would have thought it would be clear that my system would have been activated and feeling vulnerable and worrying about abandonment and rejection.

It feels like we are on completely different pages right now – I don’t mean about the politics; I don’t really care about that. I mean about the relationship. It feels like all the things I have worried about, about being too much is exactly right. It feels like you have taken a big step back from me when actually that’s opposite of what I needed. I can’t seem to fully explain what I mean but what seems really complex is actually really simple.

I need you to help me hold the feelings I have and normalise them and actually accept them. I need you to help me break through the shame I feel about needing connection to you and work with me to find workable solutions to the problems I have with outside contact when things get bad because it’s not going away. It just feels like we are perpetually re-enacting what happened when I was little. My mum and wider family were so emotionally and physically withholding that just being in the room with you feels traumatic because you are so distant.

I need you to know that despite how ‘much’ there is in those books and how intense my feelings seem I am not suddenly going to start texting you all the time, ringing you, turning up on your doorstep or whatever else it is that you think might happen – I’m not that crazy and I don’t want you to be anything but my therapist. And also, just because I’ve let you see that stuff doesn’t mean it all feels ok or that I can just start discussing it because it’s out. I still feel really shutdown and fearful about it.

There’s loads I could say but I’ll stop now – it all feels shit.

45 thoughts on “Shouldn’t Have Skyped…

  1. individualmedley17 January 15, 2020 / 3:43 pm

    Oh my god. I know it isn’t helpful for other people to slam your therapist, but really you have done absolutely nothing wrong. She appears to have no knowledge of how to work with the effects of developmental trauma. I cannot think that anyone who is in long term therapy would have coped with how she approached that skype session. I think you have been really brave to try and work out what is going on with her, because it sounds like she is not being a “good enough” therapist right now.

    >>

    Liked by 6 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 15, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      Yeah. It’s been a complete disaster and I really don’t think I can lay this squarely at my own door… especially having met with another therapist on Monday. It’s incredibly painful to be met with all this and her seemingly not seeing her part in any of it!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Kerry January 15, 2020 / 5:28 pm

    Oh shit love, I’m so sorry you’ve had so much going on with you.
    Is Em’s specialty trauma and attachment? Personally, I don’t think I could work with a T who had such strict rules, especially in those moments when it feels like they’ve gone and disappeared and abandoned me forever. I could never hold onto those feeling for extensive periods of time–something would have to give.
    After such a long time together I would think she would know how to talk with you regarding whatever you bring to the table without getting so defensive over it all.
    I hope you can work things out soon, because it all seems really uncomfortable. xx

    Liked by 4 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 15, 2020 / 9:40 pm

      Thanks Kerry. Em is a clinical psychologist and seems to have an interest in attachment and trauma but there’s something not right with us. There’s some tough conversations happening now and I have been to see another therapist who was SOOOOOO different. It’s so hard. The attachment to Em is sooooooo strong but the new therapist literally gives me everything I need: check ins, calls, texts, hugs…. and that is so appealing. Guess we’ll have to see how things pan out. Hope you are hanging in there xxx

      Liked by 2 people

  3. LovingSummer January 15, 2020 / 6:16 pm

    I can really see why you would react by shutting down after that. I’m really sorry it happened, I’d have struggled with it massively too.
    What was the other therapist like, by contrast?

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 15, 2020 / 9:42 pm

      Ah it’s been a fucking nightmare… excuse the language! I have no idea what’s going to happen now but the other therapist was really different. Much more in the room and was willing to wade in and get her hands dirty. She offers all the things that Em has refused and it feels like that’s the way I need to work….thing is, Em knows me and I love her! Ughh!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer January 15, 2020 / 10:03 pm

        That is sooooo hard. It’s great that the other therapist works more the way you want but if only Em would offer the same. Such a pity, eight years is not to be sneezed at. Whatever happens, the good parts fro those eight years are always yours (and Em’s) and nobody else can take that history from either of you.

        Liked by 3 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 16, 2020 / 7:09 am

        It is such a shame that Em won’t budge on some stuff. But she’s firmer than ever right now and it’s just not working for my young parts. I need to feel she exists and is invested and I don’t, well, not the parts that need to in order to do the work I need to do. I could seriously do without the upheaval but I do feel like I’m starting to fight my corner a bit rather than accept the status quo. I’m devastated, though.

        Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer January 16, 2020 / 7:38 am

        I can well imagine your devastation. I’m really sorry to hear what you’re going through, it must feel like the ultimate re-traumatising experience. If you do decide to switch, I really hope you find that having your younger needs met will settle your into therapy faster than you dreamt possible. If you saw the new therapist on Monday is it possible to have her as your younger parts therapist and keen Em for the adult bits – or return to Em later down the road?

        Liked by 3 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 16, 2020 / 8:57 am

        It is retraumatising! I wish it was as simple as having a therapist for different parts but that wouldn’t work… because ultimately the system has to come together and all I’ll end up doing is splitting ‘good therapist/bad therapist ’ and run to one or other when stuff gets hard… or at least I think that’s what they think happens if you have more than one at a time!

        Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer January 16, 2020 / 9:03 am

        Yes, as I was writing it I wasn’t sure it would work… just trying to think of every possible solution! I suppose I thought it’s sometimes easier to jump ship when you can see dry land, and thought seeing both for a while could drive you into one office over the other more easily.
        It’s a tough old situation but I have a sneaky feeling as we watch your blog you’ll come good on this, and be able to look back and say it’s alright in the end. Tough to go through at the time but you’re all the better for it now…

        Liked by 3 people

  4. Ellen January 15, 2020 / 7:15 pm

    This T does not sound helpful! Unless you are writing from one particular part that is angry, and there are other things to say? How did you find the other therapist? It is hard once attached to a T to then contemplate leaving. I had to do it, and am glad I did, but I know it is very hard.

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 15, 2020 / 9:44 pm

      No. No angry parts taking centre stage here. It’s how it was, unfortunately. I found the other therapist online and liked her website and what she had to say. It’s shit or bust right now…. but I am encouraged by the way I felt with the new T. x

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Lucy King January 15, 2020 / 8:07 pm

    Oh god I feel so awful for you. I want to reach through my phone and give you a big hug (if wanted). This is so shit. None of it is your fault. NONE! You’re the client and should never be made to feel bad for any of the things that you’ve done or said or requested (which are all completely reasonable things). My initial thought when she started ranting about you wanting to be closer to her or erotic transference etc I just thought… is she experiencing strong counter transference and it’s freaking her out!?? That’s my big guess. For her to have such a strong negative reaction to you, it really does look like she’s been triggered. Which of course is nothing to do with you and is not your problem. She should be in therapy herself and seeking supervision. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Your therapy should not be traumatising you. I’m so glad you sought advice from another T. I really hope you can work your way towards something that feels safe and therapeutic soon 💕 also sorry things have been stressful with your wife and hope things are settling down there as well xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 15, 2020 / 9:50 pm

      Thanks L. It has been utterly horrendous. I can’t even…. you know? I have begun to challenge her on some of this bullshit last session but ultimately unless something huge shifts I can’t stay doing this to myself. I don’t think she can work with me in the way I feel I need and I keep putting up with bare minimum because I am so attached. The new T I saw on Monday was so different and is willing to meet me on all the areas Em won’t budge on. I have to work out now whether check ins, hugs, hand holding, etc are the deal breakers. Starting again after all this time with my history feels daunting. The idea of leaving E, and never seeing her again feels heartbreaking. I am so sad. Take care and thanks for the hug x

      Liked by 3 people

      • Lucy King January 15, 2020 / 10:51 pm

        I really do feel like i understand everything you’ve written here. The fear of leaving her because she is what you know and all of those years of work. Could you see it as a growth thing maybe? It doesn’t eradicate the good work you did with her but you’ve grown beyond what she is capable of offering you. As much as it’s happened in a messy and painful way, perhaps it’s time for you to move on. You now know what you need and you’re prepared to ask for it, perhaps you need to be prepared to move on in order to get your needs met. I know that’s easier said than done… the ending of your work with E will be work in itself and any left over pain and grief can be worked through with the new therapist (I know because I’m doing that, fucking slowly!). Also, it won’t take you as long to form an attachment with a new therapist. For a start, your system knows it can do it. Also, the other therapist is willing to do the things you feel you need in order for an attachment to develop. Thirdly you know yourself so much better now and you know the therapy game inside out which you didnt 5 years ago. You’re in a different place now… I’m rambling… sorry! I feel for you and hope you know in your heart that none of this is your fault x

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 16, 2020 / 7:12 am

        Thank you for this – you are right 🙏. I’m trying to positively reframe all this but it’s not easy. I just wish Em would move a little bit on things but she just won’t. I need a more humanistic approach for the young parts to feel safe and held. Argh this is so painful.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King January 16, 2020 / 9:52 am

        So so painful. I can’t actually imagine withstanding it so I hope what I’ve said isn’t in any way come across as ‘oh this is easy all you have to do is move on!’ Because I know the pain of it. I just also see your strength and I see you deserving so much more than what you’ve been given 💕

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 16, 2020 / 12:25 pm

        Not at all! I know you get it. I know I need to advocate for myself and be realistic about what I need and what I am prepared to sacrifice. Either way there’s some big work coming with me finding my voice and power… if I can side step the dissociation!! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King January 16, 2020 / 1:19 pm

        I was really impressed and proud of you when you describd how you didn’t slip into the dissociation during the SKype call and instead you advocated for yourself and put up a boundary. I mean, that would be hard for most people but for people like us who are used to sacrificing all of our values for the sake of the other person and have lived for so long ignoring our instinct that we often don’t even know the reality of a situation, I really was moved by your strength. I think you can do it and I’m right here cheering you on whatever decision you come to. x

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 16, 2020 / 9:24 pm

        Ah thank L! I was proud of myself too… and a bit scared and shocked! Lol. I’m finding my power but sadly, not quite in the safe, contained way I’d hoped for. Thank you for cheering me on- I could do with a squad and several pom poms!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King January 16, 2020 / 10:02 pm

        Pom Poms at the ready 🌟 🌟

        Like

  6. Me January 15, 2020 / 8:15 pm

    This sounds horrifically painful. I am so sorry. X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bourbon January 15, 2020 / 11:49 pm

    I feel like she is being reactive rather than therapeutic. I think, trust your gut. You talk SO MUCH sense here. Sometimes we don’t want to lose someone, but when we know they just can’t be what we need, we owe it to ourselves to move on. Honestly? I think you deserve better. This isn’t me slamming your therapist. This is me slamming the situation you are in. To me, basic humanity in therapy IS a deal breaker. E.g. outside contact, not throwing up walls everytime something gets close or presses a button. You are worth more than reactive x

    Liked by 4 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 16, 2020 / 6:50 am

      I agree. It was reactive and not in the least therapeutic. I wish she’d be honest enough to tell me why, what happened her end… I’ll ask on Friday. I’m drawn to the new T because she is so human and just gets my need for emotional and physical holding. Lots to work through this next few weeks!!xx

      Liked by 2 people

  8. droppingintome January 16, 2020 / 2:19 am

    Oh my goodness… my heart is aching on your behalf. I am really, really feeling for you in this.
    I’ve no idea how realistic this is, but if the other therapist offers what you need but the resistance is that your current therapist knows you well, is there any financial / scheduling wiggle room to see both that way you can feel out the new one?

    On another note, I just referenced the velveteen rabbit today and felt so connected with it and reading that you gave your therapist a copy of the book is just the most tender thing. How could someone respond to that with anything but love?
    I echo all sentiments from others in these comments. Not even knowing you I am confident you deserve all the good things that the therapy gods have to offer.
    xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 16, 2020 / 6:47 am

      I have sounded out the other therapist about a transition period and she seemed to agree but when she ran it by her supervisor they said no. That makes it all the harder because just cutting and running feels impossible without an established relationship to go to.

      Yes! The Velveteen Rabbit is amazing… but sadly the whole thing fell flat. My young parts are so sad about it.

      Thank you for your kind comment – thank god for this forum!! Xx

      Liked by 2 people

  9. behindapaintedsmile30 January 16, 2020 / 10:09 pm

    Woah Em really isn’t owning her shit. This is hugely reactive and strikes me as counter transference. Maybe she has such strict boundaries because she is triggered by the needs of others. 🤷🏼‍♀️
    I don’t really see any other solution other than seeing how it goes with a new therapist. You have spent years blaming yourself for not being able to connect and trying to ignore your own needs to fit in with Em’s boundaries. You would probably go round in circles for years. I still maintain the opinion that it’s an unhealthy attachment and maybe there is a part of you that feels comfort in getting what you have always got because it’s ‘safe’.
    I know it will be hard to not see Em anymore, but surely it can’t be harder than things have been if you will get the support you need. You deserve better and I fear that you will spiral if things stay as they are.
    I’m sorry this has happened. Sending love x

    Liked by 4 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 18, 2020 / 11:18 am

      Yep. I agree with you. My adult can see exactly why she is doing what she’s doing and how she thinks the process works but the young parts just don’t understand it and it’s painful as hell. The positive is that I have laid it bare this week and said I am thinking of leaving. It was a hard conversation to have but at least she knows how bad it feels to me. I will write about it at some point …and also about how it was with the other woman I went to see on Monday. I am making steady steps I think but it’s not easy! Thank you for your support as always. I don’t know what I’d do without the band of motherwounded souls here. Hope you’re ok. I have been so wrapped up in this drama that I haven’t checked blogs. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. CC January 17, 2020 / 4:44 am

    Oh man, I was kind of hoping that your silence meant you were sorting things out. I can’t even imagine the stress you’ve been under, and I’m seriously impressed by how clearly you’ve laid out your thoughts and feelings. I’ve certainly had ruptures with my therapist, but never for this long and with re-rupturing in subsequent sessions. It sounds heinous, and I can’t fathom what good Em thinks could come from this.

    Your “boundary violations” sound pretty benign, and when I’ve engaged in similar acts (my T wants to keep all communication outside of session strictly to logistics), we’ve discussed them in session, including their self-sabotaging aspects, but never in a shaming/ chastising sort of way. I guess I don’t quite understand why Em is pathologizing things unnecessarily.

    “I might have erotic fantasies about her”

    I believe you when you say you don’t have erotic fantasies about her, but even if you DID, I don’t understand why she is bringing this up in terms of you (supposedly) pushing the boundaries. I get that erotic feelings can be very uncomfortable even for therapists to discuss, but that would be her problem to deal with, not yours.

    Here’s the thing, I DO have erotic fantasies about my T, and although this has led to some of the most cringeworthy moments in my life, we discuss it and I’ve even shared a blow-by-blow (no pun intended) account of part of one of my fantasies with her (I thought I was going to vaporize!). I actually kept calling it transference, and my T doesn’t want to call it that because she thinks that that doesn’t account for the richness of what these feelings are about and reveal about me. She doesn’t treat it as a boundary violation or as a problem, but welcomes it as a sign of our deepening therapeutic relationship and a source of all kinds of interesting information about me.

    I do hope you find some clarity about next steps to take, and continue to advocate for yourself and your absolutely reasonable needs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 18, 2020 / 11:25 am

      Thank you for this. It’s always really validating to hear that perhaps it’s not just me being too needy and resistant!

      It’s really difficult. Em doesn’t exactly chastise me for the outside contact stuff but she knows I find it agony when I reach out and she ignores me – we talk about it and what gets me is that I keep saying how big and issue this is and yet we don’t find workable solutions – I just feel more rejected.

      I know my attachment system is completely fucked. We talked about it a lot this week but it doesn’t ultimately help when I feel like she’s not close enough. I went to see another therapist on Monday – it was like night and day. I will get round to writing about it when my life actually settles to allow more time to write here.

      I don’t know what I am going to do but I did tell Em that I think it’s not working and that I don’t feel held enough to do the work…so that’s something.

      It shows how connected and safe you feel to your T that you were able to talk about your erotic fantasies…amazing work.

      x

      Liked by 1 person

  11. spring0song January 17, 2020 / 2:58 pm

    My heart breaks for you. Such painful stuff to relive. And it doesn’t sound like Em is there with you for it.

    I have to thank you because I started following your blog recently and it’s been a massive help. I was having the same problems with my T and seeing them outside of myself made me realise how much I needed to switch. I’ve now been with my new T for a few weeks and it’s night and day. I feel like I can breathe again! She is more focused on attachment and it’s a relief to get what I need. My last therapist felt “comfortable” because she was cold and eternally misattuned like my mother always was. Now I deserve better.

    Obviously, your situation is different and I don’t know all the details. But sometimes moving on is best. It’s painful as f**k because growth hurts. Hope you can find a peaceful resolution.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum January 18, 2020 / 11:28 am

      Ah thanks. It is bloody painful and I do feel like my heart is breaking a bit…the child parts at least. Adult me just feels disappointed that I can’t break through this and do the work.

      I am so glad the blog helped you…but I’m sorry that what resonated was the shit that you experienced as a kid being played out again. I feel this way…re-enactment central.

      So pleased your new T is more what you need. I will get through this eventually but it’s not going to be easy! x

      Liked by 1 person

  12. easetheride January 19, 2020 / 6:32 pm

    I am SO ANGRY for you. Sorry I am late to the party with this comment (and that I have not been a better blog friend in general lately), I read your post days ago and just couldn’t seem to figure out what I wanted to say to you in response to it, because nothing really seems to touch on how much M missed the mark here. How unfair her responses were to you. I’m so relieved you were able to tell her that things aren’t working, because it’s so clear that she is not meeting your needs. I know you’ve ebbed and flowed on that one before, but I feel like you can’t ignore now the ways in which some of her responses are re-traumatizing you. I hate it when therapists cling to boundaries in such a way that ignores the importance of your relationship and that’s what she did. What can I say that no one else has already said? Nothing helpful I’m sure, but I’m thinking of you a lot and hoping you’re hanging in there. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  13. lavenderandlevity January 21, 2020 / 12:26 am

    Honestly? It feels like something is going on in Em’s life right now that is breaking her *own* hold on herself. The politics thing? The weird accusations? Feels a bit like her desperately clinging to control in her professional life – and making it worse, because that *all* feels on her, not you – as a result. I think exploring whether you might find another therapist who is comfortable with some of the things that you think would help if you ask up front (like transition objects or email) plus helping you sort out the “politics” thing might really help. But, maybe you can think of it as a trial period that you can do alongside her sessions and make a final decision in a bit, so not everything is so momentous all at once?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. skinnyhobbit January 25, 2020 / 9:11 am

    I really don’t want to judge but HOLY FUCK at M… I’m so sorry, my friend. I’m so sorry M threw this whole clusterfuck mess at you instead of owning her own countertransference. This is SO WRONG of her.

    My own therapist did admit to feeling “uncomfortable” when I told her about maternal, romantic and erotic transference (I’m bisexual aaanndd my therapist is my type, and she’s straight) but she did NOT shame me or be rigid and punitive with boundaries.

    I feel you deserve better. Even though I also understand just how hard it is to leave M. You deserve better.

    Liked by 2 people

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