Letter To My Therapist…Do I Send It?!

Hi everyone – it’s been ages since I have blogged. And even this, today, isn’t really a blog, it’s a letter that I have written that I am debating recording in a voice note for A. We are on a break (ffs!). Things have been horrible for ages now. This ongoing rupture is bloody agony and is driving me crazy. My life is also falling apart… not because of therapy but the instability in the therapy is certainly not helping matters.

I don’t know what to do, really. I appreciate I sound like a brat in what comes below (which is why I have put it here first whilst I decide what to do). I get that this feels quite out of context as it’s been such a long time since I have posted and so the background isn’t there and there’s a lot of ‘big feelings’ coming out.

Anyway, I’m hoping to write something and catch up soon as I have a few days off now. I am sorry I haven’t been commenting much on your blogs. I just haven’t been here…although looking at my reader today, I think a lot of us are AWOL. I’d like to think it’s because things are going well for everyone but I suspect it may be that people are worn out and on their edge. Big hugs x

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A, everything is a right mess and I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve written something in order to try and process things a bit but I don’t know if it makes any sense because I feel so upset. I’m going to read it anyway because I need you to hear it.

The first time I contacted you to see about starting therapy with you I grilled you on whether you thought you were able to work with complex trauma and if you had done enough of your own work to work with someone like me. I remember sending the email and thinking I was probably asking a bit much, probably overstepping what was acceptable to ask a new therapist, but it was all heading south with Em and there was no way I was going to go blind into another therapeutic relationship and I really needed to be sure that any new  therapist really understood what they would be dealing with.

You assured me that you had experience of working with CPTSD and that having received my message you had thought carefully about whether you had the capacity to take on a complex client because you understood the need and how delicate the work is …but yes, you thought you could and you commended me on trying to take care of myself in asking those questions and so we arranged to meet.

Our first session felt so different to anything I had experienced in therapy before. It felt like you were really ‘there’ with me and for the first time in ages I felt seen and heard. But not only that, I felt ACCEPTED and UNDERSTOOD. There was no sense of being judged, you just felt warm, and open, and perhaps someone who might be safe enough to work through a lifetime of trauma with. The relief I felt was palpable, but I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy transition leaving Em…little did I know at that point just how bad it would get and the lasting damage that would be done.

Em’s tick analogy has lodged inside me like a jagged piece of shrapnel. It is so painful. I feel sick and tearful every time I think about it – which is daily, and to be honest it’s not even conscious thought, instead it’s like a shadow that follows me around, or worse, a deep sense of shame that I carry inside me. I’ve told you about that thick tar that I feel like I am coated in and runs through my veins – well it’s that. Even though all this happened a couple of years ago, it’s not gone away, and I am not sure that it ever will.

I don’t know if you know how much this enduring sense of shame and of being ‘too much’ is present in the room when we are together and in our relationship in general? Whenever I want to be close to you, to hug you, or to see you, or now simply reach out and text you my brain serves me up those words “It’s like you want to be inside me, your young parts want a constant drip feed of what they need, a permanent breast, they are adhesive, like a tick…” and I am floored. I can’t really explain how bad it is, but it makes that vulnerable part want to curl up and die.

The steady work we have done together on building trust and safety had silenced that voice a lot, the one that tells me I am draining you dry and am an unwanted parasite – the one that says I need to be careful, or you’ll leave. But it’s got louder and louder again in recent months since you’ve stepped back. The part that feels ‘unlovable’ and ‘too much’ is always looking for confirmation of that and so not being able to do longer sessions and you not replying to my texts is taken as evidence that I’m finally too much for you too, and it’s so painful. As much as I try and work round it it’s playing out in our sessions over and over again.

I know you say your need to retreat isn’t about me and you have tried to reassure me that this is your stuff and Adult Me can hear that and gets it. But the young parts, the bits that actually need to be in therapy, don’t get it and I need you to understand what’s been happening for me since February because things aren’t ok. Well, clearly, they’re not. I’ve run out of the therapy room so many times now because it feels unbearable being so disconnected, and other times I have struggled to make it into the room. I know things aren’t going to change but we still need to look at this because whilst you probably think it’s settled down now, it hasn’t, I’ve just taken it inside and it’s eroding my sense of safety in the relationship.

I feel so far away from you now. My protectors are on high alert because when they look for evidence that you’ve gone, it’s all they can find. The week before your break I texted you and told you I missed you. You didn’t acknowledge it. Then I asked if we could find a way to connect so that I didn’t feel so alone, and you said “absolutely” – but then the Friday session happened, and it felt like you hadn’t understood how desperate it actually felt. On Thursday before our session I sent you a picture of a crying child. Nothing. You used to send me messages saying things like, “looking forward to seeing you” before our sessions but you don’t now and so when I have already spiralled off it feels really precarious coming. Like do you want to see me or am I just another thing on the list that you have to get through?

The week leading into Friday’s session was awful. I was falling apart. Massively. For the first time in years, I seriously considered self-harming. My brain was wandering into not being here anymore. Things felt so bad, and I just felt like there was no way through it. I felt so alone and scared. You couldn’t have known from the messages I sent you how bad it was because I didn’t say it explicitly, but there would have been a time when I would have text you and told you that, or at least asked to check in or if we could do a longer session. But I don’t ask now because I know you don’t have capacity and so instead, I try and hold it on my own.

I didn’t self-harm but it was there like a shadow all week. What I did slip into like a comfy pair of slippers was not eating. I didn’t even know it had happened until Friday when I realised I hadn’t actually eaten a meal all week and had just been dashing about and had a few biscuits here and there. Fortunately, I caught myself quickly and have been on top of it. The last thing I want to do is go back down that road- especially on autopilot. Things are really bad at the moment – it doesn’t really get much scarier than thinking you could lose everything, but it’s been compounded by feeling like I am on my own now. I felt like I had dragged myself through the week and just needed to be able to put it all down for a bit and be safe with you but that didn’t happen. I worry that telling you that makes me sound manipulative but it’s not, I’m not trying to make you do or feel anything, it’s just a reflection of how bad it’s been feeling and I think you need to know because I always seem to be ‘coping’ when actually I am so far from it.

I miss feeling connected to you and I know I have to learn to find another way, but it feels like a big shock to my system. I miss the goodnight messages you would send. I miss the photos of places you’d been that helped bridge the gap when you were away. I miss you checking in with me when things were difficult. And I know it’s not like that’s completely stopped but I miss feeling like you were ‘there’ and I hate that you being ‘gone’ makes me feel like it’s happened because I am not important enough or worthy enough of your care and attention. Things are really bad at the moment, terrible in fact, and it feels like you just don’t care at all.

I know all this is hurting much more than it should because of how things used to be when I was little. But it’s very hard for the young parts who grew up without a mum in the week. You had begun to feel ‘real’ and I had started to get a sense that there was something maybe a bit solid and safe in the relationship even when I can’t physically see you. I was heading towards the sense of there being an ‘invisible string’ and I felt myself relaxing and beginning to breathe in the relationship. But now – to go back to what they’ve always known – well it’s like being body slammed. I know that seems extreme, but it is how I am experiencing it.

The young four-year-old part of me that had started to cry and reach out has gone back to silence and hiding because no one cares, and no one comes. She’s used to coping alone…surviving…and so it’s returning back to what is known. The baby is still screaming to be picked up and soothed but again it’s a scream that is going unheard and cry that will eventually stop. You told me once that a baby doesn’t try and annoy its mother by crying when it’s hungry and that needs don’t work on a timetable – but now we are trying to work on a timetable and it’s so hard because so much of the upset I experience is triggered from being left. It’s the sense of abandonment is what sets everything off inside. I try and get through the week and not be ‘too much’ and not contact you ‘too much’, but the internal chaos and upset is intense.

I try and coach myself and all the young parts through the week. I tell the parts to “hold on” and say that, “it’ll be ok” when I see you and that “nothing has changed”- but more often than not, when I arrive now, the despondent older child parts (especially the teenager) won’t let you anywhere near. They feel rejected and abandoned in the week so why would they let you close in person? That’s what happened on Friday. I was in complete agony, trapped and terrified. I don’t think you really got how bad it was, I could hardly speak and it was an effort to tell you anything at all. When I say things like “my body is in pain”, it’s physically excruciating and a symptom of how much emotional distress I am in.

Earlier that week I had I told you I needed cuddles in a text. I feel really stupid asking for anything like this, stories, whatever, but what you tend to get in messages is the youngest parts’ needs being expressed. They’re the ones that get imprisoned in the room and can’t reach out easily. So even if I arrive and seem stand-offish or shutdown or whatever it is that keeps you far away as you said, “keeping you at arm’s length” (which incidentally is how I feel about you – I feel like I am being pushed away and that’s why I am so protected) I need you to reach through that and get to those young parts. I know you asked if I wanted stories but I was already so far gone that I couldn’t get back to you.

I need you to know that when I say “no” to a hug it’s only the protector saying “no”. There has never been a time in the entire time I have been seeing you when I have not wanted you to come closer to me or hug me or hold my hand or give me some physical signal that things are still ok. I don’t know how we get round this, but I think I said before, maybe you could ask, “Is that what all the parts of you want, or is it a protector trying to stop the little ones from getting what they need because it thinks you’ll get hurt?” That sort of thing really cuts through that protective part that feels like it’s unsafe and you don’t want to be with me. When you acknowledge the young parts it gives the protector permission to step back.

I know how nuts that sounds –  and I think you asked me twice on Friday if I wanted a hug. So I do get you were trying. You’d think I would be able to respond to that, wouldn’t you? And I REALLY wanted to. I wanted to shuffle over to you and snuggle in and just feel safe. You’d think I would understand that you asking me more than once if I want a hug means you aren’t trying to get away from me or push me away, but I get frozen in fear. I don’t want to be too much and the longer we are far apart and silent the worse that feeling gets.

I can see the time ticking away and I feel desperately sad. Those little ones have been hanging on all week to see you and then this happens. It’s so painful, and so reflective of what it was like when I was a child. I needed my mum to look like she was pleased to see me when she came back after a week away, to give me some kind of physical cue that everything was ok, that I was still wanted…and this is what is playing out with us and going so badly wrong at the minute.

I am so filled with shame for needing you so much that I can’t even look at you now. I don’t know what your facial expression is like so can’t read what’s there, but it feels too scary to look at you or make eye contact. When I am frightened, we hardly talk so I can’t even judge your tone of voice and I read your silence as frustration, anger, or lack of care. I really, really just need for you to reach out and let me know it’s safe. I need for us to find a way to connect quickly at the beginning of sessions so it doesn’t spiral into something terrible where I feel like there is no option but to leave.

I’d told you I felt like I was drowning in that last session. You told me that people who are drowning usually put their arms out for help. That might be the case – but when I feel like you are not even ‘there’ I don’t register that I can reach out. That’s how bad it feels. The level of dissociation was off the chart. I genuinely felt like I was in freezing water, in a choppy, grey sea, and was totally alone. I might have looked like I am with you, but I was nowhere close. Adult me is a really strong swimmer but when it’s like that, and I tell you I am drowning I’m little and I am scared and I can’t swim.

You said once that you wouldn’t let me drown. You said there would always be space for me with you. You told me that I didn’t need to stay out in the cold. And I trusted that. You told me I was brave for trying again and you understood that coming to therapy was almost like asking me to run back into a burning building when I have already have third degree burns. It felt like you got it, but now I tell you it feels like you are watching me drown and you tell me it’s because I’m not accepting help. It feels like you don’t really care. If I was able to reach out and ask for help I would.

It feels like such a long time since you laughed and told me that you had a cupboard full of chocolate. With Em I had been told the cupboards were bare and that statement felt like you really saw me, understood the trauma I had experienced and knew what I needed. You said I needed a different experience of relationship – I was looking to do the deep relational work and you said you could do that with me.  I don’t know if that’s how you feel now, or whether I’m too much for you. I get that all this is probably a reflection of the depth of the relationship we have. It’s messy and sticky and covered in feathers not neat and clean…and maybe this is where the healing will come but right now I am face down in the pain.

You have never shamed me for my big feelings, you say that I am not too much, and sometimes you say you love me… but not as frequently as you used to.  After years and years of feeling chronically unsafe things had begun to settle but now… it feels like I’ve lost you or I am losing you. Or as I said last week, like I am lost. And it’s scary. I don’t even know if I am making sense it’s such a mess inside.

When it’s really bad, I sometimes wonder if I was sitting in floods of tears instead of frozen and silent whether you would still stay away from me? My silence and freeze is how I express overwhelm – that is my crying. Sometimes I cry with you but it’s not even a tenth of what’s stuck inside, it’s still ‘controlled’. I wish I could just fall apart and let it out but it wasn’t safe to cry as a child, and I learnt early on that no one comes anyway. But that’s the reframe that needs to happen – if I am silent and still,  I am not keeping you at arm’s length, I’m massively distressed and need you to come close. I know this is a difficult area but we need to figure something out because I can’t keep getting to the place where it feels so intolerable that I can’t bear to stay and run out because it feels like I am being abandoned and that is how it feels.

When I said I was going home last week you didn’t say anything – I guess you’d had enough too – but the message it sent to the young parts, again, is that you just don’t care. Rather than try and fix things you let me leave and then stayed to chat with whoever it was that was sitting on your front step. That really didn’t help. I guess it’s my fault for leaving before the session was over, but that whole episode just made me feel exposed but also highlighted that other people are more important to you even if I am falling apart.

With a break coming up it was always going to be tricky, but it really couldn’t have been a worse way to leave with a long break looming. Usually, I would have given you my elephant to wash just before a break but I didn’t this time. This wasn’t because I didn’t want to, it’s because I didn’t feel like I could, it didn’t feel safe for the young parts to express that need…and that’s where I am at. It feels like those young parts have been completely forgotten about and abandoned. There’s been no preparation for the break and now I just have to tough it out and frankly it’s not been going all that well.

It’s Thursday now and this is the longest period of time we’ve ever had no contact and I suspect that you won’t contact me before Tuesday’s session. It feels like a punishment. I get you need a break. I get that you are tired. I get that you have a lot on. And I get that I am hard work…but it gets to be even harder work when the young parts aren’t attended to, and it feels just like total confirmation that you have had enough. You’ve totally backed away. And I get why you are doing it – a bit – but the impact it’s having on me is enormous. I get you have to look after you, of course you do, and I have to look after me but so much of my looking after me comes through the relationship I have with you right now. I get I need to ‘individuate’ and take care of the little parts inside and I am getting better at that but we are still in the thick of this work and …I don’t even know what to say.

The fact that you and your supervisor have had discussions about referring me on makes me so unsafe because I feel like if I don’t do what I am meant to do or I get too upset about how different things are you get to decide to get rid of me. In so many ways I feel like the rock I was standing on has turned to quicksand. And none of this is meant as a criticism. I don’t want you to hear it in that way at all. I know this is the work. All these triggers and feelings need working through. This is life. But I need you to know that this is really painful and I am bracing myself for you to tell me that you can’t work with me anymore after this holiday…  which on top of all the stuff that is going on in my day-to-day life feels horrendous.

There’s a part of me that feels like I should just tell you I am not coming anymore and protect myself from more pain because I can’t see how it’ll be anything close to Ok on Tuesday as things stand. There is so much hurt right now. And I don’t know if you are meaning to hurt me or whether is accidental but either way I am struggling. If things can be mended, then I really need us to find a way to connect in our sessions and to have a plan for when things hit the skids because I am finding it hard enough to adjust to feeling like you’re gone in the week without also feeling like you’re not in the room with me. I need to feel like you have your end of the rope, or invisible string, and lately it feels like you’ve taken scissors to it and I am left completely alone.

52 thoughts on “Letter To My Therapist…Do I Send It?!

  1. Mac June 2, 2022 / 1:57 pm

    This all sounds incredibly difficult and it makes me sad to hear you’re struggling so much. I really hope you and A can find your way through this as quickly as possible. I’d send the letter to her because then at least you’ll know that she’ll know where you’re at and there won’t be any guessing. Sending you heaps of love..xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 2, 2022 / 2:08 pm

      Thanks Mac. I can’t believe how everything feels so bloody awful. I suppose, though, it’s tapped right into the mother wound and the feeling of being abandoned is really triggering. I don’t know if I’ll go on Tuesday. I guess maybe I’ll record the message and send it on Monday and see if she responds. If there’s no acknowledgement then I’ll probably just stay home. X

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thesilverliningwriter June 2, 2022 / 2:42 pm

    Being in this space of little parts needs and therapist burnout is horrifying. I’m in this space too. I could send this letter to my therapist and most of it would make sense. I hope we are both able to get through this. I think you should send it. Sending love 💕

    Liked by 5 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 2, 2022 / 2:46 pm

      I’m sorry that this resonates so much for you. It is bloody awful feeling this. It’s painful knowing there’s nothing I can do to change things because it’s not actually me that’s the problem and yet it’s me that’s suffering because of it. Man!!!!

      Liked by 3 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 2, 2022 / 3:05 pm

        It’s so hard when someone has spent such a long while building trust and saying they won’t deliberately hurt you and that you’re not too much and making you feel like you are important to them … and then suddenly it all falls apart and you’re pushed back out on your own and the painful reality that you’re just a client and work that can be dropped is evident. Talk about replaying childhood trauma!

        Liked by 4 people

  3. SunsetCherryBlossom June 2, 2022 / 3:33 pm

    Hello, hoping you know who this is, I’m the one holding it together with my two friends Ben and Jerry…..
    Just sending you hugs. As someone who has just emerged out the other side of a rupture, in a better and more solid place, both within therapy and outside of it – I do understand, so much, and I hope that you both will work through this and come out in a better place. You’ve done so much good work with Anita, keep at it – remember this is the work….

    Liked by 4 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 2, 2022 / 3:38 pm

      Of course I know who this is 😊. Just drowning here and angry too. I don’t know what’s going to happen now. I suppose it’ll depend on how she responds (or not) to the voice note when I finally record and send it. I bet she’s actually got no idea how bad it feels. 😞

      Liked by 3 people

  4. SunsetCherryBlossom June 2, 2022 / 3:45 pm

    I’m sure she will reply, but if it was me sending it to my therapist I’d get a short response and “we will talk about this tomorrow.” Would you be ok with that?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. SH June 2, 2022 / 5:06 pm

    Oh my dear RBCG, I so want to hug or wave at all of you and your parts inside, depending on what they’d prefer. I know it’s not the same as cuddles and texts from A. She’s your and their attachment figure. I really hope that she and you can mend this, it is of course not your fault nor that of any of your parts ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 2, 2022 / 5:28 pm

      Thank you SH. I just feel utterly lost right now. You know well what it’s like for your ‘everyday life’ to go tits up and that alone has been really hard. I’m so stressed out and on edge. I barely sleep and when I do I have nightmares. A knows how bad it is and yet she’s just not able to hold me in the way she did. It feels like she’s checked out. So devastating having let her so close. I don’t know what’ll happened. Old A would have sorted this double quick time but current A is… well… she’s not A that I knew 😞. Hugs to you all x

      Liked by 1 person

      • SH June 3, 2022 / 9:05 am

        It’s definitely incredibly difficult even when I’ve had the consistency, stability of my T to help me when my life went tits up, lurching from crisis to crisis this 6 months. It means some of my system members are less afraid of my T now, since even as we imploded and became chaotic…she handled it all. I “lost time” a lot too, which shows up because there’s a bunch of emails where I ask my T for a session summary…so many, that me and her can even track my amnesia by what I recall in the session. Hell, even my eating patterns, how much food I managed to eat, if I ate out VS cooked my food, how much I slept etc…it all got affected in major, major ways.

        For your life to implode / explode AND you and your parts not having Anita as a secure base, and her pulling back even as Adult You recognises its not your fault? I’ve noooooo words. That’s unimaginably difficult and no wonder you have nightmares the rare times you can get some sleep!

        I really hope you send the letter although I can image how terrifying it might be. I feel its important based on your words. Particularly how you’ve written over time that you appear as coping, instinctively masking the difficulties you and your parts experience out of session.

        I also learned the hard way (when my life imploded) that I have similar difficulties… things actually shook my therapist and then later (when I was still in crisis but not at imminent risk of suicide) I looked back and I myself was shaken. It is/was the worst crisis in my entire life, and I’m only now shakily getting to my feet 6 months later.

        I have a trust in A, given how she’s been (she reminds me of my T in some big ways), and I have a gut feeling she would take the letter seriously and find ways that help both you (and every part within) and her.

        I remember sessions when I forgot so much of the session, and yet one where I actually remembered a lot more… to the point that my T asked what did I think caused that.

        It was a session where I (probably while aldo experiencing a lot of influence from my system protector selves) was very combative resistant, fighty, full of despair and saying, “whats the point of our work? My life won’t get any better and I can’t keep seeing you for free, it’s unfair… you’ll get sick of difficult, ungrateful me…”

        …and she fought for me. I Hooe you send the letter, and give Anita a chance to fight for you and all your parts.

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 3, 2022 / 11:38 am

        I’m so glad your T has been able to be solid and consistent for all of you at a time that sounds utterly horrendous and difficult. It must have been really scary. Are things improving now? I haven’t seen any posts for a long time from you. I’m so pleased your T fought for you. It’s connecting when they step into the pain and the pushback and grab your hand and hold on (metaphorically). Sending love to you all. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • SH June 4, 2022 / 7:35 am

        I still post now and then but I think it doesn’t show up in the Reader because my entire site is private. I’ve been considering opening it back up, and password protecting old posts (since there’s unsafe people out there who legit keep tabs on me).

        Things are slowly improving, and it can still be quite rough, but I think perhaps the system members skeptical of therapy have softened towards it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 10:04 am

        It’s really sad that there are crap people out there which make it feel unsafe to post openly- but I completely understand going private if that feels safest. I’m glad things are getting a little better. You deserve so much happiness and safety. I hope before long it’ll come xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • SH June 4, 2022 / 11:11 am

        I definitely am thinking of you and all your parts and hoping A and you can come out of this safely and with solid repairs.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Q June 3, 2022 / 12:55 am

    It’s hard for me to find words that feel right as a response to what you are going through. I see how painful it is. I see how hard you are working, doing your very best to reassure the little parts (sweet little ones), showing empathy and compassion for A’s needs, not blaming her for your struggles but trying to communicate that the changes have be very hard on you (to put it mildly). I really want to recognize all your effort and care towards yourself, as well as your kind intentions toward A. But sometimes effort and care aren’t enough. We also need a trusted person at our side, so we don’t have to face all the hard stuff alone. Right now, for reasons of her own (NOT YOUR FAULT, little ones!) A is not playing that role the way she once did, and that’s so sad and hard and hurtful. I’m really sorry, and I send you many hugs and much care.

    P.S. I think you can send her this letter. A should be able to receive it as intended. She’s a good therapist. I very much hope she can read it and respond in a helpful way. xxoo

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 3, 2022 / 12:01 pm

      Thanks Q. It’s so hard. I recorded my voice note and at the end something unexpected came out, ‘I wonder now if I am imagining the relationship we had and constructed it rather than it being real’ … my god the pain. Honestly. I don’t know what’s going to happen. A of the past would sail through this, burn out A…. I have no idea. Big hugs to you and thank you for your kindness as always x

      Liked by 2 people

      • SH June 4, 2022 / 11:20 am

        The relationship is definitely real, and not imagined. Such connection cannot be faked. My T always says complex trauma patients can sense authenticity.

        I can imagine how all this must be so so terrifying to all your parts. When would you next hear from A, with regards to the voice note?

        And is not your fault, dear little ones!

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 12:13 pm

        She text me yesterday sending hugs and love…. This morning I think she listened to it and sent a hug hug and a message saying we’d talk more on Tuesday with ‘xx’ … I feel anxious but also she has at least reached out. X

        Liked by 1 person

      • SH June 4, 2022 / 1:15 pm

        I’m glad she reached out! I hope that your hurting parts and protective parts can settle a bit, and that the session is reconnecting and healing, even a little bit ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 1:32 pm

        Thanks SH. I have a bit more adult online today. I think I needed to get that stuff out as it’s been festering a while. The break is almost over. Fingers crossed Tuesday can be the start of some mending and reconnecting. A will be completely her usual self and I’ll realise I’ve lost my mind (again!). 😂😬

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 1:34 pm

        💕 this is what I came back round to last night rereading some old blogs. It hasn’t been fake. It’s just wobbling.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SH June 4, 2022 / 2:07 pm

        ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

        Like

  7. LovingSummer June 3, 2022 / 1:58 am

    Oh RBCG, this is such a hard place and I’m sorry life outside of therapy is also painfully difficult for you too.
    Your letter is so well put together, you leave no stone unturned and you deserve an equally genuine and thorough reply. I hope A comes up good for you. I missed the referring out conversation, which blog post is that? I looked back over all your posts in 2022 but can’t find the reference and I hope all’s okay. A seemed so different from E, I really hope you’re still as safe as the first day you met A 🤗♥️

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 3, 2022 / 11:59 am

      Thanks LS. I haven’t written about all the ‘how we’ve got to where we are’ stuff yet. I needed to get the letter out my system first and it’ll be a long blog post I think. A is still A she’s just not as solid as she was because her life has changed. My trauma is triggered by her stepping back and so it’s hard. I am feeling so upset and lost right now but it isn’t helped by life going arse up. Sending you love and hope you’re hanging on in there xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer June 3, 2022 / 2:14 pm

        That must be really hard, for both of you, but of course my invested interest is in you more than A, though of course if A is okay then you’re more likely to be as well. Sounds really tough 🤗

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 3, 2022 / 2:25 pm

        💜 I recorded the voice note and sent it. I don’t know if she’s listened to it but she has sent a message telling me she’s sending me bug hugs and love and care so that’s gone some way to settling things. X

        Liked by 2 people

  8. pink June 3, 2022 / 3:44 am

    Hi RBCG, i’m not sure if i’ve commented before (or you know who I am) but I have followed you for a long time and have such respect for your courage and honesty about how tough this journey is, and I wanted to reach out just to send you some support for how much pain you are in just now. I’m a long-term therapy client myself who went through a similar thing to you with Em with my last therapist (after 5 years working together) and it was a devastating experience that did me huge damage-you get it. I’ve been with my current therapist for nearly 8 years now and it’s solid & good & calm and the dissociation and parts are much less powerful thanks to a combination of brainspotting & EMDR, but it took years of fighting with him & his rock solid stupid bloody boundaries for me to start to feel safe enough even to begin to do that work. I am so sorry you are suffering so much; your letter is great and I read it remembering those awful feelings, there are just no words in the English language for how much pain and suffering you are in and just such a state of raw trauma and terror and fear. None of this is your fault, and your little parts are frightened and stuck in time and doing their absolute best to survive with the limited abilities that children have. Oh RBCG, it’s genuinely hard to read your letter because the level of pain and distress that you are in is just so intense. None of this is your fault and I’m so sorry you didn’t get what you needed when you were a kid.
    If it’s ok for a total random on the internet to share some thoughts:
    1. It sounds as though A is doing this (reducing her availability between sessions) to try to save the relationship; she’s fighting as hard as you are to keep what you have together. Maybe she is overwhelmed but that does NOT mean you are overwhelming; she over-promised at the start for whatever reason & ideally now she will hold you through your understandable feelings of grief and loss and fear about the changes whilst still staying rock-steady in her boundaries so she can keep you & the work safe; an example might be a parent who has to hold their child’s distress aboit a disappointment (eg not going on holiday bc of covid); they are not going to be able to give the child the holiday to make the bad feelings go away but they will stay present with the child and give them a sense of safety and that all of their feelings are acceptable. Even a fostered child with significant relational trauma, for whom this might be devastaging, needs a grown up who can accept all of their big feelings and hold them steady through this. I really hope that Anita can do this for you because there is potential for healing here; a positive experience of being re-parented instead of turned away from when your fear and pain & grief and disappointment & mix of past trauma/flashback & present distress make it hard even to breathe, let alone think or function. I am so so sorry you are going through this again and I hope that she can be steady and hold you through this. I don’t know what’s going on with the conversation with her supervisor but I don’t think she should have shared that with you; that would have had me vomiting with terror and in such a state of high distress that I could not have functioned at all; it’s not fair to give you that burden & uncertainty to hold because it’s just going to make you more terrified & dissociated; it would be like making that child cope with the grown up’s own anger & disappointment about the cancelled holiday & then blaming the kid for it. She promised you something and you have the right to be hurt and disappointed and upset that it has been withdrawn, but if she can stay steady now it could be healing for you.
    2. I think your letter is really good but I’m not sure that you should send it or a voice note. If she’s already overwhelmed & saying she can’t manage out of session contact & feeling las though she’s not good enoigh for you it will just set up more dread & defensiveness in her to see the message, and it leaves you alone in fear and terror again wondering if she will reply or has listened to it. This work belongs in session, not outside it, and it can’t really happen outside the safe container of a session. I really do understand that you are in such a state of rigid fear and trauma and terror and rage just now and the parts are running the show, but if you can find it in yourself to go on tuesday and give her that in person at the start, or read it to her, that is the place where it can be held and worked through. These difficulties are not going to be solved by text messages; you and your parts have not ever had the experience of a safe adult holding them through all these big difficult feelings in a live session but there is nowhere else that healing can happen. I don’t want you sitting there feeling awful for your therapy hour knowing that she is sitting in a clinic room thinking about you, and then having to suffer and sit with uncertainty for another week because she doesn’t text you back and keeps her boundaries; it just prolongs the torture for you. I really do get how hard it is and if you need to walk in there with the protectors running the show do that, but give her the letter too that tells her what those protectors need to hear.
    I really hope that she is solid enough to keep you safe; none of this is your fault RBCG and you absolutely deserve a solid and strong therapist who can hold you through this and help you heal from the significant trauma that you have experienced. You are not in any way to blame and you deserve to heal and live a life free from this; it’s really possible & so much easier when you’re not carrying this burden of trauma everyday.
    Please feel free to ignore everything I’ve said if it does not feel helpful, I’m just some random on the internet. I really hope that she can hold you through this and that you find Tuesday session helpful and powerful and healing in a way that you haven’t experienced before. You deserve love and care and safety and peace and affection and all of those wonderful things and I have such deep respect for you and all that you have achieved. Take lots of care RBCG Pink xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 3, 2022 / 11:29 am

      Thanks Pink, yes, I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Adult me gets what’s going on but it’s just carnage inside with the young parts right now. Unfortunately, A’s life has shifted massively and that’s why she’s having to change things. The problem is it all feels so abrupt. This latest change in the break (zero contact) feels punitive because I didn’t know it was coming. And because things were bad on Friday it just feels like she’s washed her hands clean. None of this is helped by the fact my everyday life is on the ropes. It’s just a terrible coming together of bad things. I don’t know if A can handle this. She gets quite avoidant when put under pressure and I know she doesn’t want to hurt me so runs away because she’s so overstretched in her personal life too… it’s just utterly mindblowing to go from feeling so close to someone to feel like they’ve chucked you away. I’ll get through it. I don’t know what I’ll do on Tuesday. Part of me can’t bear the idea of going in on Tuesday and her looking like she’s not got a care in the world and has had a great time off and I’ll come in on my knees. Anyway, I am rambling and see you have written another comment! Take care and thank you for reaching out x

      Liked by 3 people

  9. pink June 3, 2022 / 4:26 am

    Hi, not sure if wordpress has eaten my last comment. I just re-read your letter and was trying to understand a bit more about what might have happened from A’s point of view. It sounds as though she is saying you are not accepting help and won’t reach out, and your bewilderment and pain and hurt about this is so clear. I have been coming up against this in a more minor key with my therapist & a recent discussion really helped me: a young part reached out to him for affection in session & he didn’t respond in the way i wanted (bloody boundaries king) and i felt rejected/unlovable/immediately just shut down. I used to just walk out of sessions when I felt like that, and feel crazy for a week, but I’m solid enough now that I named it with him and said that he was re- traumatizing me by withholding affection when I needed it. He totally held me, and said kindly & gently that I was in flashback in those moments experiencing him as not there when he was right there with me, and that what I need from him is not a facile gesture of affection that makes the rejected feeling go away, but someone to be there with me and process the trauma flashback feeling of being unlovable/rejected. It was a really powerful moment for me as it made complete sense; he’s been right there alongside me all those times I couldn’t feel it or see it because trauma was blinding me in the present. All of your parts are flashbacks; they’re frozen in time & unmet need, and they think A can love them enough to make the pain stop. What they need though is A to sit with their pain, and I wonder if this is what she is trying to do and say to you. Kids don’t need a cupboard full of chocolate; they might want it but it’s not healthy for them in the long run. They need vegetables and teeth cleaning and healthy limits set around bedtimes & video games & all the other tough work of parenting. I wonder if this is what A is trying to do now; to give you what you need instead of what you want?
    I don’t mean to minimise what you were going to as the changes she has brought on must be absolutely terrifying for you and frankly you should not have had to deal with it; you were clear with her about who you are as a client and what you needed before she started working with you and she could have put different boundaries in place from the start to protect that work. But in fairness the pandemic has changed huge amounts for many people and perhaps things have changed for her in a way that she could not have predicted when you were first working together.
    I hope this is helpful but if it is not please feel free to ignore it, I really hope that you can find a healing way through this and she can keep you safe. If she can’t, it is her fault and not yours xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 3, 2022 / 11:36 am

      Yes… absolutely. It’s complex and definitely hear what you are saying about flashbacks. I think part of the problem is how quickly things seem to have changed one minute everything was fine and working and the next everything shifted but without any consultation or collaboration. Feeling ‘done to’ and having ‘no power’ isn’t ideal for my system. It was A who said she had all the chocolate…and I don’t think the shift now is anything about trying to give me what I need. I am not centred in what’s going on. She’s at burnout from all the stuff that’s going on in her private life and so she’s making changes in her work. This is nothing to do with making the work move on for my benefit or reaching a new part of the therapy. She’s literally doubling down to be able to keep going…which in some ways should be easier to handle because it’s nothing I’ve done or my fault. She tells me she wishes she could still give me everything she has before….but then actually it being nothing about me is crap because IT IS AFFECTING MY THERAPY! Argh. I just really need a solid person right now and I don’t feel it. x

      Liked by 3 people

  10. pocketcanadian June 3, 2022 / 4:55 pm

    Reading your words, I feel this attachment pain so acutely. The felt sound of all those terrified abandoned little parts who need to know it wasn’t all a dream. The rage, shame, and mistrust of older ones who berate you for ever having put yourself out there. It is hard, coz I understand that therapists are people too, people who have their own hooks and triggers and demands on their life…and it’s so hard when that gets in the way of their capacity to be attuned and “dialed in” to their clients. Getting something, then having it taken away…well, it doesn’t even matter why, does it. It just hurts and hurts and hurts and sends the whole system into orbit. I’m so sorry you are in this horrible untethered place right now. I think many of us know it well and though that doesn’t really help anything, perhaps it may quiet the shamey bits. You’re not wrong for feeling what you feel. You’re responding to a very real experience of having had the comfort of presence, which has now been retracted and diminished. It is excruciating.

    Liked by 4 people

    • pink June 3, 2022 / 6:51 pm

      This is such a lovely, wise, compassionate and insightful message & analysis of the situation. This *with bells on* in the british vernacular

      Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 7:51 am

      Thank you PC. It’s all of that. I know you get it. I think all this stuff has been massively exacerbated by the break too. Disruptions are never easy and so leaving in such a mess on Friday just put fuel on the fire. I am hoping A and I can work this out. In real terms there hasn’t been a lot of change: the occasional longer session is now off the table and she doesn’t text as frequently as she used to – but the reaction is huge and it’s rocked the foundations. There’s a lot of work there. I was feeling really ‘was it even real?’ yesterday and fortunately I have this blog to read back over old posts and see that, yes, A has been amazing and it’s not all in my head. Thank you for your ongoing support and lovely comments x

      Liked by 1 person

  11. behindapaintedsmile30 June 3, 2022 / 8:48 pm

    I’m sorry that you’re still going through this.
    If I’m very honest, it’s something I had feared would happen but hoped it wouldn’t. I think that the boundaries around outside contact are there so that the impact of anything happening in the therapists life is minimal on the client. I suspect that she has withdrawn because she may feel guilty for neglecting you. I wonder if she is a bit of a people pleaser and is now having to put herself first because she is maxed out. She is probably only being advised to refer you out because her supervisor may think that you can’t do therapy without things as they were and A just isn’t able to do that anymore.
    It is the work, but it shouldn’t come around in this way by replaying past dynamics with your mum and then Em. I do think that A has rescued the younger parts rather helping them to grieve, but maybe that would have become the work had things not changed in A’s life. I don’t mean that disrespectfully because you have gone along with what you and A agreed and what she has allowed. If she has the same level of contact with every client then it’s not surprising that she is burnt out. I don’t mean that in the way that you’re not important to A, but I’m thinking practically.
    I think what you have written is all valid and needs to be heard, but will what you’re really trying to say get lost in it all? Will A not descend into guilt again? What you’re really asking is for her to communicate with you and look at how you can both move forward. It’s very complex and I think that you’re both going to have to compromise.
    This is all said with love and care 💜 xx

    Liked by 4 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 7:58 am

      Thanks lovely. I know that this is all meant with care and I can see where you are coming from. So much of what A and I have done has worked brilliantly for me and if I had to have her or Em I would hands down choose A even with things as they are now because I know that she can hear this and understand where it’s all coming from. I am having a strong reaction to what’s happened because it taps into my wounding – the good thing is being able to express it but also I do get I am going to have to compromise. Adult me understands the situation but the blog and the letter are there to let all the mess out. A and I have some tough weeks ahead but I actually think it’ll be ok and healing. We keep having big conversations and all this rupture is being processed in increments. I wish I had have had the time to keep up with my blog because there’s such a lot of stuff gone on…but I don’t even keep a journal now so it’s going to be a big piecing shit back together effort to get it down here! I hope you are ok xx

      Liked by 2 people

  12. P.S June 3, 2022 / 11:16 pm

    Dear RB,
    I’m sorry things are so rocky right now. It sound so exhausting and excruciating and absolutely terrifying. I’m not sure if this will be of any help, but there is a psychotherapist in New York who specialises in complex therapeutic relationships. He is very well trained, educated, and experienced and provides consultations for clients and therapists (both together and separately, I think) when things are rough and uncertain. He’s practical, but attuned, kind, and empathetic. He’s written extensively on the complex dynamics between inner-children and therapists, so he really, really gets it. You can contact him through his website https://www.howtherapyworks.com/ … sometimes an objective, specialised, third-party can really help to settle and solidify things, you know? He was my light when things when my therapy was dark and choppy. I hope this might be of some help … sending big love and hugs, and best of luck weathering the storm ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • P.S June 3, 2022 / 11:20 pm

      (p.s … it might help feeling like you’ve got somebody on your side in all of this … so you’re not just thrown out there alone waiting for somebody else to decide how things are going to be … you get a say in all of this, too, you know? xx)

      Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 8:02 am

      Hi there. Thank you for your comments. I am actually really familiar with this therapist’s website. He makes a lot of sense. I don’t think I am at the stage of needing external expertise just yet but thank you for the link. I think Anita and I will be fine (Adult is more on board today) but it’s important that all that stuff has come out and that A and I can work it through. Being able to tell her how hurt I am and how much the change has impacted me is a huge step really – especially after my last therapist. This break has really thrown an additional spanner in the works but I am hoping when I go back we’ll be able to get knee deep in processing all that’s been triggered – because ultimately this is all childhood crap 😦 Thank you for the love and hugs xx

      Liked by 2 people

  13. catlover2021 June 4, 2022 / 5:19 am

    I posted a long comment earlier but it’s not showing up! Posting again.

    RBCG, I am so sorry you’re continuing to go through this. I’ve been following your blog for years (though I don’t typically comment) and your experiences resonate so much.

    I wanted to offer a different perspective from Pink and BehindaPaintedSmile30. I do not think that Anita was “rescuing” you in an unhealthy way or preventing you from grieving by tending to your young parts in the ways she has (touch, holding, out of session contact, etc). It’s very clear from your posts that you have started to heal in your relationship with her, and that’s precisely why this change hurts so much. I think some therapists (and sometimes their clients) are a bit too invested in the “tough love” approach to therapy, that is all about grieving and accepting unmet needs and so on. That tough love/strict boundaries approach did not work for me when I experienced it with previous therapists. My current therapist is a lot like you describe Anita, and she has helped me more than any other therapist (and I’ve had many!). I also know how tough it is when a therapist who is usually so loving and available has to retreat because of their own stuff. For me, a similar thing happened a few months ago, when my therapist was caregiving for a close family member with cancer and was less available to me than usual.

    Here’s what helped me during that time:
    1) We talked about it openly (including how it was impacting me) and my therapist was not defensive even when I expressed negative feelings about the change in her availability .
    2) She set me up with a colleague who I could call when she was not available outside of sessions as she usually is.
    3) My therapist made it clear that her more limited capacity/availability was temporary because she’s going through a tough situation; this helped abate the feelings of loss for the young parts and helped them hold on. She also reassured me that she still loved me, her feelings hadn’t changed, and so on.
    4) My therapist found ways to reach out to me and/or comfort me to the extent that she could–for instance, sometimes a call was difficult to manage when she was caregiving, but she could send a text. This really helped me feel that I was still important to her, even when she was overwhelmed.
    5) My therapist sought out support for herself, including her own therapy and also eventually finding someone to help her with caregiving her relative so her capacity wasn’t so limited.

    Now things are back to normal between us, and actually, I think that experience increased my trust in her in the long run. The most important things were that she was open with me (without oversharing) and she still made efforts to connect with me and also reassure me that she was working on her own stuff so she could go back to being more available.

    I really hope that Anita can do something similar with you to help you and all your parts through this. Therapists are human and in any long-term close relationship, there’s going to be rocky periods. I think you are handling this with incredible maturity and I hope Anita can do her part to repair this–including getting treatment and/or support for herself so she can meet your needs in the way she has in the past and in the way you deserve. I also get questioning whether the relationship you had before was even real—but from reading your posts, and from my experiences with my own therapist, I think it was.
    I think sharing the letter with her was a good call. You can’t control her reaction, but it is important that you put your feelings out there for her to know about.
    Sending you compassion. Hugs if wanted.

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 4, 2022 / 8:12 am

      I completely agree with you. Thank you for this. I genuinely think that A and I can come through this but we’re in a part of the work that is really uncomfortable. These are not new feelings, I experience them in therapy with people….because it’s the same wounding and triggers that keep coming up. I do think Anita and I have done enough work and have a strong enough relationship to come through this. I am going to have to accept that things have changed and I can’t have what I used to – for now at least. Seeing the things that you and your T put in place are great. A has done a lot of this kind of thing. Tough love doesn’t work for me AT ALL and I think any therapy will have its challenges because it’s a relationship with another human…but the benefits to what A and I have done these last couple of years by far outweigh the negatives. I am having a big moan and upset but it will be ok… I think!! (hope!!)

      Liked by 2 people

  14. chloesryan83 June 6, 2022 / 9:53 pm

    So sorry to hear things are so tough with A right now. It sounds incredibly painful. I did hope she would have been able to navigate her ability to be there for you more skilfully than she seems to have done. I know your T is great but it doesn’t sound like she is doing a great job handling this in my opinion but I know I don’t know all the ins and outs of your relationship. I know you mention she is facing challenges in her personal life which is impacting her availability and responses etc but it feels like these types of things should have factored into her decision making when she initially make these promises to you. I don’t know I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m c$#$ing on A as I’m not. She does sound amazing but sometimes I get worried for you as she does seem to promise a lot which doesn’t always sounds sustainable but I know reading your posts also brings up feelings of envy for me as I would love if my therapist was a little bit more like A in terms of out of session contact. Out of curiosity can I ask if there were ever boundaries around out of session contact? e.g Were you able to text her whenenver you felt the need and she’d always respond as much as was needed or were there parameters? I ask because my T doesn’t allow any out of session contact but I think with parameters i could be very helpful so am going to bring it up. Also when you say that A has been very healing for you these past few years can you explain in what ways? Is there any concrete ways? Again I ask because I ‘feel’ I need a more relational T but then I wonder if it’s just what I want or what I need. It’s hard to know which is which sometimes so hearing others successes with someone more relational is helpful

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 25, 2022 / 1:19 pm

      Hey Chloe – sorry for very late reply to your message. Things are much better now with A and I am going to try and write a post about all the stuff when I get a minute. So far as outside contact went she said from the beginning I could reach out if I needed. Largely at the start I would message her rather than end up firing something to Em. Then that died away as I became more attached to A. Text have usually been just short check ins – literally a couple of sentences or a gif. Occasionally if there’s a rupture I would send something longer – as you’ll have seen in this blog but mostly it’s just a check in. There’s never been a ‘you can send this or not send that’ – it’s just kind of evolved. Which isn’t very helpful for you trying to figure out what to say to your T. I mean, what I wanted really was midweek check in with Em – something to bridge the gap between sessions. I clearly have more access to A than that but some weeks we don’t engage much at all. It really depends on how things are. It’s easier for me to explain how A has been healing for me though. The feeling of a genuine caring relationship where I am accepted fully in all my states has been huge. Being able to have a complete teenage meltdown and throw my toys out the pram on repeat and have her still there steady and welcoming has done such a lot. I know I don’t need to hide my feelings or be a ‘good girl’ for fear of being left or rejected. The touch aspect of the therapy has done huge amounts for my healing. I have felt chronically unlovable and untouchable my whole life and this was compounded by the the therapy with Em. A sitting beside me, holding my hand, and giving hugs has shown me in a very tangible way that there’s nothing wrong with me. She is not disgusted by me and I am not too much. I am not a tick. The depth of the work A and I are doing means we do hit a lot of my triggers. Hence this most recent post!!! But when we come out the other side (rupture and repair) it’s huge and shifts such a lot. Everyone needs different things in therapy and I hope that you are able to talk to your T and see what you can figure out together. Big hugs xx

      Like

  15. catlover2021 June 17, 2022 / 3:52 am

    How are you doing, RBCG?

    Like

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 25, 2022 / 1:21 pm

      I’m good thank you…well, not good – life is hard – but A and I are ok so I feel more steady and less like an untethered abandoned child!!

      Like

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