As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I scheduled an extra session for today with the therapist I’ve been seeing. It went well.
I started the session by saying, “so that was a LOT of stuff last session, eh?” To which she agreed and asked how I felt about sharing all of it. I explained that I prefer to just lay it all out there so we have the full context with which to connect dots and synthesize information. She responded by saying that she felt that was indeed a good way to go about it and, also, we should continue talking about it. I was just like OMG YES! YES WE SHOULD!
In sessions with Zooey, we’d often pull out these really big, important things and then never actually talk about them. This left me feeling really alone and overwhelmed because now I had all this really heavy stuff to carry around by myself. It kept adding up and adding up and eventually became impossible to balance. I would try to bring up the topic again, but she had this way of just refusing to truly engage with me about certain things.
So I was hella relieved when this therapist suggested we keep talking and processing everything that happened. I needed to hear that. I needed her permission to keep breaking this all down because sometimes I feel really silly that I have such intense emotions and reactions to a former therapist.
I talked a lot about my perception of and reaction to Zooey’s behavior in the end. I really feel like her choice to use certain words and phrases, such as “highly inappropriate”, “please be respectful of this”, and her (incorrect) statement that I’d been contacting her “regularly” are particularly difficult for me to sit with. She knows me well enough to know that those particular statements would be triggering for myself and certain other system members.
We were constantly painted as this difficult, manipulative, clingy patient by various mental health professionals, especially throughout our adolescence. As someone who was severely abused by our primary caregivers (among others), you can probably imagine that we’ve had some pretty serious issues with attachment and boundaries. Rather than helping us learn and grow in these areas, people tended to just get exasperated and expect us to magically know how to fix it. It was very painful and shameful to try to navigate these relationships. So we are incredibly sensitive to being called manipulative or to people suggested we aren’t respectful or mindful of their boundaries, especially in a clinical setting. Zooey knew that.