Feeling Abandoned

I really miss my therapist today.

I saw her in session yesterday for two hours, but today I miss her. I don’t normally feel this particular sensation; it seems lonelier and more bereft than my ordinary “I miss my therapist” emotion.

It feels like I’m actively grieving.

I think part of what’s happening is that the conversation we had yesterday about phone contact and enacting tighter boundaries around the work we do outside of session has triggered me. I absolutely understand the reason she wanted to talk about this issue and I appreciate that she’s genuinely trying to protect me and our work.

But still, I think something has shifted in a way that leaves me feeling more inhibited in the relationship than I want to be. I feel abandoned by her. I feel like she’s been taken from me in some way.

Prior to yesterday’s session, I felt as though I’d arrived at a place in our relationship that made me feel rather comfortable about reaching out to her. She’s always emphasized that I don’t need a “good reason” or a justification for reaching out to her; I can call simply because I want to connect with her.

I think those feelings of security and ease are why I was okay emailing her on Friday even though she didn’t call me back Thursday night. I felt safe enough in the attachment to believe that she wouldn’t hurt me. Not so much consciously (because I was imagining that she hated me), but subconsciously enough that I was actually able to send the email and ask for extra session time despite not hearing back from her the night before.

I’m sure if I asked her, she’d say that she maintains the opinion that I can call whenever I need to connect with her and that she wants to support me. The problem, however, is that I don’t believe it. Not really.

Something about simply having that conversation causes me to feel very small and pathetic. I feel embarrassed about reaching out to her and needing her. I feel ashamed of myself for bringing so much of my thoughts and feelings outside of our work in session and putting her in a position to have to re-negotiate our boundaries.

know that it’s her job to do this, but I didn’t want her to have to do this. I didn’t want her to feel like something about us connecting outside of session needed to be adjusted or modified. I didn’t want to feel like something about me needing her is causing us to change the parameters around our relationship.

I hate it.

And now everything feels different. I haven’t needed to call her since yesterday, but whenever she comes to mind (which is fairly often), I feel this sense of incredible sadness because I think that if I did need her, I wouldn’t call. Not anymore. It feels too charged now and there’s too much risk involved.

I hope that changes soon. I hope we’re able to work through some of this relational stuff over the next few sessions in a way that will help me arrive at a similar place of trust and ease that I was feeling before yesterday’s session.

I really, really need that back.

20 thoughts on “Feeling Abandoned

  1. SassaFrassTheFeisty says:

    I think bringing it up was a good thing about the boundaries, even though it’s triggered you. It will take some time to get back to where you were with your therapist in the safety zone, and just know that she IS still there for you. You are very fortunate to have such a wonderful therapist to help you in many ways 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thanks, Sass. I also feel that, overall, it was good that this was brought up. Part of what has always been challenging for me is having therapists that won’t bring up these issues. So although it’s painful and I hope we can move past this, I’m grateful that she’s so vigilant in her role as my therapist.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amb says:

    You are absolutely not pathetic in any way, shape or form!

    I really think you should share this post with her if you felt like you could. I truly believe that she can help you work through this and process a lot of the feelings associated with the last session. I think we’re already ashamed of asking for anything-for needing anything and therefore our every being tries to convince us that we’re a problem or that we’ll be abandoned for needing too much, just as we were as children. I think that addressing the boundaries with out of session contact could have been her way of trying to diminish that shame.. You are so conscious of asking for too much and I think she was just trying to take that burden from you, if that makes any sense? Hang in there. It’s tough. It hurts like hell, but you’re strong and brave. 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. La Quemada says:

    Hi Andi, I’m so sorry this is painful for you. I know your therapist wouldn’t want it to be–but it seems almost unavoidable. You struggle with boundaries, you know that, and that is what therapy is supposed to help you with. That means sometimes you’ll hold back, and she’ll encourage you to lean on her more, and then maybe she’ll be concerned the balance isn’t right and try to make the boundaries really clear. Then you’ll be hurt because she clarified them (even if that is ultimately what you need. The worst is that you blame yourself and see yourself as pathetic for not intuitively knowing the perfect balance. And how could you? No one ever provided you the support and care and safety to learn that. And on top of that anyway, in every relationship there is always some ebb and flow with boundaries.

    Be gentle with yourself. You are such a tender, lovely person. Your therapist cares so much about you and is trying to help with this painful issue. She won’t always get the balance right either, but I do believe she will always be on your side and trying to do what is best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I really love the idea of balance. It makes it seem less punitive and more about a very natural part of any relationship. It’s as if the boundaries are a living dynamic thing that can and will shift as our needs change. So as something pulls us in one direction, her role is to “right” the balance. Thank you so much for your kind and loving comment 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachel says:

    My heart goes out to you. I’m sure your feelings have shifted since writing this post. Interesting, my therapist used the exact word “bereft” to describe the feelings I expressed to her, that I feel outside of sessions. I get it. I hope your session goes well today, and that you can feel a sense of connection from her. I also just want to say that we can know something logically, but other parts of us, the young parts with such tender emotions, don’t understand. (I know you know this, but I just wanted to speak to those younger parts). It is okay to want her and need her and reach out a lot. And a framework to contain all of that sensitivity and need is absolutely essential for this work. I know a change is going to hurt, but I sincerely hope she can establish a framework that does feel contained and supportive for you. I understand logically why flexible boundaries seem helpful, but in my experience, they aren’t. At least on some level, there needs to be that concrete structure with which to ebb and flow in. But there needs to be some kind of concrete parameters established so you aren’t wondering if you’ll get that call back or not. Because that deep knowing of getting a response is why the work can happen; without that, re-stimulating, re-triggering happens. And I don’t want that for you. I know I am projecting like mad all of my stuff here, but I care so much about you and your therapy and I want you to feel safe.


  5. La Quemada says:

    Hi again Andi – Just wanted to say I nominated you for the Liebster Award, which I see you’ve been awarded before. Nonetheless, I hope it helps direct other readers your way. I really get a lot out of your insightful blog. No obligation to answer the five questions unless you’re in the mood. Cheers, Q.

    Liked by 1 person

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