Please Don’t Be Someone Who Hurts Me

At the end of last session, I stood up to leave and then suddenly remembered that I forgot to tell the therapist that I can’t do my normal Tuesday session time this week because my professors swapped schedules for Monday and Tuesday. So I quickly blurted all of that out as I was literally walking towards the door. I think I assumed she’d just be like “Okay, no prob, I’ll see you next Friday then.” She didn’t. What she actually said was,

“Okay, well…we have time. So let’s sit back down and try to figure out another time that works because we need to see each other.”

Um, what?

I did as she asked and managed to reschedule the session for Wednesday evening after work, but the entire time I felt my heart racing in my chest. When I finally left, I felt really strange and unsettled about that very short, but obviously significant interaction. I couldn’t figure it out, but something about it just pissed me off.

I think my main reactions are

  1. why do we “need to see other”?; and
  2. what is this “we” shit anyway?! There is no “we”. And I don’t “need” anything from her (right?).

If you’ve been reading along with my posts about sessions with her, I think it’s fairly obvious that this therapist and I get along quite well. Things have gone smoothly thus far and she’s been a tremendous resource for me during the aftermath of Zooey’s termination bullshit. But I have approached this therapeutic relationship with more caution than I think I’ve ever used in any relationship, ever. I feel super protective of myself now and especially protective of certain system members. I feel so much guilt over what happened with Zooey. I want to make sure I don’t let anyone hurt them like that again. I think it’s safe to say they’ve been hurt enough already.

 

I guess this idea that I need her is scary to me and I had a very visceral reaction to such a statement. So much of what made Zooey’s termination as devastating as it was is that she’d become so central to our daily lives. I’d allowed her to become someone I needed very much. And when she decided she didn’t want to be that person anymore, I was left with nothing.

So now I’m tempted to just skip session altogether. I want to cancel them all and never talk to this woman ever again. I know that’s not a good idea. I’ve worked so tremendously hard in these last three months to be resilient and strong in the face of such a traumatic therapeutic rupture. I’ve been fiercely determined to not let Zooey’s behavior cause any more damage than it already had. I’d gained a lot of momentum in recovery and I wanted to use some of that to forge ahead. I’ve done that.

But now shit is getting real. I’m beginning to share the darker stuff. I’m slowly letting my guard down. I’m talking about things that aren’t just related to my last therapist. I’m answering her questions to elaborate and giving her small pieces of myself.

I don’t like it.

I wish so much that I could trust her. At the same time, trusting her sounds legit terrible. I know trust takes time and I’d rather she prove it through actions than words. Zooey said a lot of pretty things that ended up not matching her behavior. I don’t need more pretty words. I need someone to show me that they’re trustworthy. And that generally takes time.

So I’m going to try to stick this out. But I definitely think we need to have that conversation about the impact of increasing session frequency. And I should probably tell her about my reaction to this specific comment, shouldn’t I?  Ugh. But that sounds so SCARY. What if she responds in a way that’s really lame or weird or hurtful. I feel like this is a lot to ask, but really all I want from her is to be decent and kind to me, even if I’m pissing her off or being frustrating or difficult or scary or whatever else I tend to be throughout sessions.

Maybe I should just walk into session and be like, “Please don’t be someone who hurts me.”

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17 thoughts on “Please Don’t Be Someone Who Hurts Me

  1. Boost Connection says:

    I understand why you feel you’re asking for a lot. As a person who has been through some shit, I imagine you often feel you don’t deserve, or can expect, better treatment from people. But you’re literally asking for the bare minimum of courteous and respectful human behavior (which should be the baseline and foundation of all human interaction… not the goal). You deserve so much more.

    So proud of you and your reflections on this therapeutic relationship. You know yourself best and what you need. You have been truly courageous and I know you will continue to be in ways that make sense to you. Sending supportive vibes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anxious Mom says:

    Maybe she thought it would be upsetting in some way or difficult on you for your twice weekly schedule to be disrupted?

    Would walking in and showing her this post before you get down to business be possible? That might be easier than trying to get the words right in person.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Zoe says:

    First of all, I don’t think your reaction was wrong. As I read what she said, I actually flinched. I flinched because it just sounded very personal, almost intimate. I understand that there is some an intimacy of sorts between patient and therapist interactions — in the sense that we share some of our most private experiences and thoughts. Still, I think there needs to be a considerable distance and a mindfulness of word choice (on the professional’s part) that is of utmost important to our overall well being.

    That’s why if a therapist threw that statement at me I would have reacted the same. In fact, it’s especially troublesome to process specifically because of how things turned out with Zooey.

    I definitely think you should bring it up. I would be kind of nervous and terrified, but you want her to be on the same page and perhaps aware that her words have consequences. At the end of the day maybe she is able to disconnect from her work… because that is what it is for her. However, this is your life. You don’t get to shut it out. You are exposing yourself, your deepest wounds, your pain, the feelings, your parts… you are giving her access to your life and that means you have a right to say: “What you said the other day upset me.”

    She’s proven, thus far, that she listens to you and tries to work with your thoughts and feelings. She hasn’t dismissed you. She’s reflected on things and made adjustments. If anything, having ironed out these details has helped you move toward opening up, so this could be a similar milestone. You have to look out for yourself, for the system, for your future. I’m sure she will understand it like that too — you are looking out for your best interests. It’s your right.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Thanks, Zoe. Good to know I’m not totally off base with my perception and reaction to this comment. I definitely think it brought a layer of intimacy that I’m just completely unprepared for right now.

      I DO want her to be on the same page as me. I like what you said about her being able to sort walk away from this while I’m, you know, kinda stuck with it. I think I said something like that to Zooey once when she was whining about something. Ugh.

      But yeah, she’s been good so far at tracking with me, so I’m gonna bring this up tomorrow (somehow…) and hopefully we can talk about it in a way that feels meaningful – not just me saying how I feel about what she said and her being like “oh okay.” It’s important to me that she then integrate that information into how she interacts with me/us.

      Like

  4. Devin says:

    If she is really a good counselor, she will listen (or read) and take into consideration your feelings and why you reacted the way you did. I think it would be best to be honest about how you feel about what she said, so that it’s out in the open. And then she can explain herself too. That way you each have a chance to say your piece. For me, when I have these situations, it is also easier for me write it out and then show the person. When I’m trying to explain things out loud, I get flabbergasted, and fear they aren’t understanding what I’m saying. I can write those things A LOT better then explaining them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      I agree. If she’s worth anything, she’ll listen to me. I think I’m just afraid she’ll turn out to NOT be a good counselor and I will have to start this crap all over again. Don’t want to do that…

      But you’re right, I need to be honest and give her the chance to prove herself. I will generally bring things in to read if I’m worried I’ll stumble all over my words, so perhaps I can print out this post and have it on hand just in case I forget what the heck I’m trying to say. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Like

      • Devin says:

        Sometimes it can get really frustrating, trying to find a good counselor. I will say that one of my counselors pointed out to me, that when I tend to get close and into the deep stuff, then I switch counselors. I have done that in the past and I am hoping that I won’t do that anymore with my current counselor. Good luck! ~Devin

        Liked by 1 person

  5. jenasauruswake says:

    It took me a long time to believe my psych when she said she wasn’t motivated to hurt me, and sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the work we do which hurts and her, but she’s proved over again that her goal isn’t to hurt me. I’ve had similar conversations with her and she’s never minded, just repeated that the work might hurt but she isn’t motivated to hurt me. I believe her now.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Hmm, that’s actually a really cool way of looking at it – that the work itself might be painful, but that doesn’t mean SHE is the source of the pain. Need to remember that one….

      Not sure this therapist would say something like what yours said. Not sure I’d even like it if she did since I’m still in “NO ONE IS TRUSTWORTHY” mode. But…yeah, I think it’s hard for us to believe what people say, especially if they’re saying they won’t hurt us.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. S.G says:

    I don’t have a lot to add that hasn’t been said by the other brilliant comments you’ve had. But I really hope you can have this conversation with her, I think it’s those conversations that can lead to therapy gold and give you both a greater understanding of each other. x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cat says:

    I can’t believe I’m so behind on reading your posts. Where did this week go?

    It strikes me that she is maybe trying a bit too hard to get you to trust her with the royal “we”. I imagine her comment was genuine and the “need” part is probably referring to the crucial stage you’re at in building this therapeutic relationship. I doubt she’ll be pissed off at how you feel… this is all part of patching up the damage from Zooey and moving forward with missy-new-Therapist. I hope you can talk it through 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Yeah, I think that’s more or less where my reaction came from – that sense of pushing trust onto me. I am not ready for that yet. We talked it through yesterday so I will probably post about it later. Thanks for catching up and commenting on my posts! 🙂

      Like

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