Everything has been such a mess lately; a very slowed-down, restrained type of mess. My calorie intake has been so low recently that it’s hard to think clearly. All I can do is feel and I mostly feel irritated. Or nothing at all.
The disconnect from therapy is strong right now. Deliberately. Volitionally. Except not at all. I don’t want to feel this way. Quite the contrary, actually. I want to feel connected and invested in this work, in my therapist, in myself. But I can’t. It feels like I’m being pulled or held or standing still with walls being built around me like a fortress. I have no control over these walls. I just watch helplessly as she gets further and further out of reach.
I can’t tell her this. Not much, anyway. But she feels it. How could she not?
I told her that I’m doing this on purpose, but I don’t know how to stop. She said this feels very “not me”. She wonders why there is such a strong effort to sabotage the therapy. She recognizes the influence of other and she says she asks herself, “Why? Why is she doing this?”
I ask myself the same thing.
She wonders why I’m pushing her so far away. She says I’m telling her things, dropping them in the middle of the space and saying, “Not my problem! YOU fix it.”
I tell her I disagree. I feel like I’m trapped within my own body, screaming for help. I want to be different. I want to reach her. I can’t. Something holds me back. Someone doesn’t want me to connect with her. That part is strong and I’m doing everything I can to communicate with her; to be authentic and share what I need while this other part of me strangles me to death.
She gets fired up. She asks, “What does this part want? Obviously to keep you safe, right? But what else is it trying to say? What does it need? What would it tell me if it could talk right now?”
I’m not sure, but I’m reminded of a dream I had and I tell her about it:
You asked me to share about someone or something that I love. I decide to share a memorial video about a loved one I lost several years ago. I own it, but I’ve never even watched it because it’s so painful to think about that loss.
I’m in a room I’ve never been in before, sitting on the floor in front of a television. My family is there. My brother sits behind me, slumped over. My sister sits across the room. My father sits on a sofa behind my brother, my mother next to him, you are next to her.
I put the disc in the DVD player. The video starts playing.
I start acting out because I’m uncomfortable and I know watching this video will hurt. My father snaps at me, I snap back. My mother jumps in, I snap at her. My father intervenes to tell me to stop talking to my mother that way. I tell them both to fuck off and turn towards the television screen.
My mother walks up behind me. She says, “Your behavior has an impact on people.”
I think to myself that she should shut the fuck up.
Then I turn around and you’re leaving. I jump up to chase you. You’re crying. I ask you not to go. You leave anyway.
My mother says, “She was so upset and disgusted by your behavior that she had to leave. Nice job.”
My therapist says the dream explains a lot about the fear, the dynamic, the presence of my mother in our work. She says it needs to be there; my mother needs to be there; this is important. I think she’s right, but it’s paralyzing. She points out her own abandonment in the dream; her collusion with my mother. She says, “That really IS a nightmare!”
She wonders if the increased restriction is a message. I tell her it is a way to blunt the intensity of all this chaos and distress. I tell her I like it this time, this way. I barely eat, I barely sleep, yet I get through each day seemingly without much change. It all seems the same. It all seems surreal. Nothing matters anyway.
We’re out of time, but she says this is good and we should keep talking about the dream. She reminds me that I can call her if I need to and she adds that her offer may seem paradoxical since the very thing she offers is the thing that has brought on distress. Parameters. Change. Fear.
I’m reminded of the battle between logic and emotion. I can’t tell what is now and what was before. I try to remember when she felt safe, trustworthy, anchored. I try to remember when I loved her. I try to remember anything before this rupture.
I shake off the remnants of any time before right now. I don’t think I want to remember when this felt better. I don’t think I’m supposed to feel that way.
I tell her I don’t want to repair it this time. Not yet. Not all of me, anyway. Part of me wants to stay in the rupture. She ponders the significance of the rupture and the potential benefits of suspending our relationship in a state of disrepair.
I’m not sure of the answer, but I know it’s here somewhere.
I start to leave and I feel scared. It’s the first time I’ve felt anything all hour. I wonder if this will ever get better. I wonder if I will ever want it to get better.