Stuck

I don’t know what is going on with therapy right now, but I’m feeling very…stuck. It seems like the therapist and I keep just missing each other at several points throughout session recently. This happened during both sessions last week.

I went into Friday’s session feeling admittedly vulnerable since I’d shared not only a photo of myself as a child that was directly linked to a trauma memory I’d disclosed, but also because I’d read her my letter regarding my hopes and expectations for treatment.

I think part of the problem may be that we didn’t get enough time to really process the letter. We had about 10 minutes or so and the conversation we did have was a good one. But I don’t think it was enough. Thus a lot may have gone without saying and it’s adding this other layer to our work that we’re struggling to navigate through.

I’ve become extremely sensitive to the way she reacts to me. The questions she asks, her tone, her body language, her words. I feel very tense during session. There’s this underlying feeling that I’m going to fuck up. So I act defensively, which then puts her on the defensive. We tend to mirror each others emotions and behavior, even if only subtly. She pointed this out and I said I agreed, but it can be hard to know who is responding to who.

It’s like the chicken or the egg question: which comes first – my emotions or hers? Is she reacting to the emotions I’m bringing into the room? And then I’m reacting to her reactions, which then brings up even more emotion within her? Or is it the other way around? Ugh. So confusing!

I was also especially giggly during session. It had been a weird day and I felt blended with Parts that I wasn’t even sure of. It’s a strange sensation that feels very out of control. So I tend to laugh a lot to mask how insane I feel. I was just telling her random (but purposeful) updates about my life. I wanted to tell her some good stuff: keeping my 4.0, nailing a headstand in yoga, my wife FINALLY signing a full-time contract, crossing 500 followers on this blog. I needed to share something good.

Which is valid, but I think she sensed I was also using that as a mechanism to distance myself from her. I was. She said something (don’t remember it exactly) and I laughed.

“Everything I say is funny today, huh?”

“Yes. Well no. I’m not laughing at what you’re saying…I’m just laughing because I’m so ridiculous.”

“Why are you ridiculous”

“Am I not allowed to be ridiculous?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“I didn’t say you said that, I’m just asking.”

“Okay. You seem defensive right now. I’m trying to connect with you, but it seems like maybe you need more space today than normal. Maybe you don’t want to delve deeper into things today?”

“I’m not trying to be challenging.”

“I didn’t say you were challenging”

“OMG! I know you didn’t say that. Did I say you said that? Why do you take everything so literally?!”

“I don’t really know what’s going on today, but this feels like a power struggle – like you don’t want to allow me any control to ask questions or dig deeper. You don’t want me to get close to you.”

“Obviously you just don’t like what I was talking about or how I was talking or whatever.”

“It has nothing to do with what you said. I’m just reflecting back to you what I’m observing.”

“Ugh. Whatever.”

And then I just shut down. I couldn’t find any more words to find my way back to her or to the work. We seem to reach these critical moments in session lately where I just malfunction. Something she says or does in reaction to what I’m talking about causes me to suddenly and abruptly withdraw. I can feel myself throwing up a wall in defense. And I know she feels me pushing her away. I don’t want to be doing that. I want to connect with her. I don’t want to push her away.

Yet I can’t seem to stop it.

She asked me if I knew what it was I am trying to protect. She said she got the impression that whatever we were talking about was very difficult for me and that was causing me to feel frustrated. It was, but no – I don’t know what I’m trying to protect.

I wish I did.

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17 thoughts on “Stuck

  1. Amb says:

    I can see how that would be frustrating. It almost seemed like she was arguing with you rather than trying to give you the space that she claimed that she thought you needed.. I agree that she seemed pretty defensive and that’s not okay. We’re all human, even our therapists, but they have an obligation to be aware of that and to remove their person emotions from your sessions. I am sorry that you had such a terrible session. Sending kind thoughts your way. Take gentle care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel says:

    You don’t know? I’m asking, because you always seem to have insight, at least some inkling of what you are feeling vulnerable about. Or what you don’t want to talk about with the therapist, but know it would be to your benefit to do so.
    My first thought and reaction is that your vulnerability in reading the letter and sharing a trauma memory (but more the letter) and not having adequate time to process the letter, could be part of it. So you’re left with all these vulnerable feelings, and she hasn’t brought it up because she is a therapist who takes the cue from you. But it is SO important to you, doesn’t she know that? Type of situation. I could be completely off track here, but I wanted to share my thoughts. Take care, I am sorry the sessions felt rough last week. I know how disappointing two back to back rough sessions feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I really don’t. Which, believe me, I share your surprise on that. I wrote about it some more to try and gain more clarity. Although I don’t know that I feel much better about it…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rachel says:

        Gotcha, I hope my comment didn’t come across as accusational or like I don’t think you know when you don’t know. I suppose even the most insightful among us have moments of not knowing! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andi says:

        Oh gosh, not at all! I thought it was funny that you noted my lack of understanding, since I agree – I’m generally hyper-aware of this stuff 🙂

        Like

  3. Cat says:

    I’m wondering if you’re feeling stuck because you’re in neutral gear right now…mmm…how can I explain… you’ve talked a lot about Zoeey and the fears and obstacles that experience puts in your way. Now you are facing “the deeper work” to come with this Therapist. Does this make sense? It’s similar to how I feel right now, empty and lost. I’ve talked so much about childhood and my parents, but now that this subject is exhausting itself, I am only left facing myself and the next leg of the therapy journey. I feel like I’ve moved out of one gear, but not quite engaged into the next one. I too have been grumpy and sensitive… my guess is that we are shit scared to move forwards… just a thought that might be completely off key for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Yes that’s totally possible, and something I’ve been pondering myself. I think I’m at a point where the “next gear” is to really engage with her and start to build on the relationship. Not sure I’m ready for that just yet…

      Like

  4. Sam Ruck says:

    Andi,

    Maybe you aren’t stuck. Maybe you or one of the others is just testing your new therapist to make sure she’s not going to pull a Zooey before you move forward. I was tested by each of the girls: it may be frustrating from this end of things, but once I passed each test, we moved forward. It may feel personal to her (me) and it is to some extent, but it’s really not. It’s just the way a trauma victim tries to be sure that his/her healing partner is trustworthy…I’m not saying I liked it: I didn’t. But it is what it is and if your therapist is as good as you describe her, hopefully she’ll see this for what it is: preparation to move forward.

    Sam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Hi Sam. You make an excellent point – something I was sensing, but unable to articulate. I definitely think this is part of what’s going on. Thanks for your input, it really helps.

      Like

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