My therapist called me back late this morning. I told her I had a few things I wanted to say.
First, I explained that I absolutely do not remember getting to her office on Friday or any of the time during session before being violently thrown back into my body at the last minute. I told her that it has been a while since I lost time like that, especially during session. I will lose a few minutes, or maybe half of a session, but even when that happens I generally have a sense of who was out and why.
She told me she had a feeling I wouldn’t know what happened or who was out. She said that the part she spoke with had “a very different opinion of therapy” than I do and that clued her into the fact that it wasn’t me. She doesn’t believe she’s ever met this part before.
I reiterated how terrifying that is for me, to lose time like that. I also shared that I have soreness and bruising that seems to have come from something that happened within session, which also makes me very nervous.
I said, “It is very important that the physical space, the therapeutic space, and the therapeutic relationship do not somehow become another source of trauma for me, which is a pattern I seem to enact over and over. And part of the problem, I think, is that when things like this happen, my clinicians won’t talk to me. They won’t communicate with me about what’s happening. They just start making decisions and setting parameters on everything from how I can sit in session to what I’m allowed to say. I don’t like that and it doesn’t help anyway. I want to be able to just talk to you about what is happening and how it is impacting both of us.”
She agreed and said, “I think part of your fear is due to the fact that therapy has so often become a source of trauma for you in the past. And I definitely don’t want that to happen now. I want us to work together to figure out a way to help you feel safer and more contained within the work. Not feeling safe and having chaos doesn’t feel good to you or to me. It doesn’t allow us to do what we need to do.”
Then I shared my concern that she has an expectation that it is on me to “fix” this and make it all better. I explained that I can’t do that.
She said I didn’t have to.
She also said it would be important for us to process the last couple of days. She gave me a rough outline as to how she understood things:
“I saw you Thursday. You called that night and I wasn’t able to call you back. Then you sent an email Friday morning and asked for extra session time, which I wasn’t able to offer, either. So it seemed like you really needed something that was important.”
I said, “I know! I know that something was important. I can’t remember what that was right now, but I can think about it later and tell you tomorrow. But that is what makes this feel so deliberate.”
“What do you mean by ‘deliberate’? Can you talk more about that?”
“I just…I needed you so much. I needed to connect with you and to talk with you. I was able to get so close to your office. And I was out until just minutes before session, but then right as I was preparing to walk there, I was pulled out. And that, to me, feels as though someone very deliberately kept you from me.”
“I think that might be true. But the impression I got is that this part came out to protect you.”
“This always happens. Whenever I get close to something, and I can’t tell you what that something is as much as that it exists, I start losing time in therapy sessions. I start to get pulled away from the relationship.”
She empathized with my frustration and reiterated that she sees the switch as a protector part doing what they believe is best for the system. I know she’s right, but that somehow doesn’t make me feel much better. It feels so far away from me and impossible to know how to regulate or shift in any way.
She tells me that the option of having a double session is still open for tomorrow if I want it and have the time for it. I tell her I don’t know what to do because I am afraid. She asks if I can name those fears.
“I’m nervous to come in…to even be in that physical space again. I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if I will even get to come to session. I don’t know who will be there. And I don’t want to destroy the relationship anymore than I already have.”
She pauses a moment and says, “You have not destroyed the relationship at all and I think maybe you need to hear that said out loud. I think it’s really important for us to be able to talk about what happened, you and I. So regardless of who shows up during session tomorrow, I will make sure to ask for you and call you out so that we can talk. Because I think we need to be able to connect and process what happened.”
I tell her I’m not sure I want to do that. I am terrified to have the blank spaces filled in. It’s generally never anything good.
She reassures me that the part she spoke with did nothing alarming or damaging, but that she is concerned that their method of protecting is, in fact, damaging to the system and that we need to formulate some sort of plan to prevent further internal chaos from unfolding.
Then she says, “And we don’t have to talk about what specifically happened in here on Friday that you don’t remember. I didn’t mean that. I meant that we could talk about what happened overall and re-connect on a relational level.”
That sounded much less scary.
I don’t know what I’m going to do. I should probably take up her offer for a double session. I certainly want it. But I feel so shaken up and the idea of going back at all makes me want to throw up.
And I may be paranoid, but something sounded “off” about her today. I can’t quite explain it, but she just seemed more…hesitant? nervous? distant?
I’m not sure what it was. Possibly nothing. But I know it didn’t feel good.
I sincerely hope I am not ruining this.