Broken

I haven’t written in a while. The truth is that everything feels broken in therapy right now.

Why?

I have no clue.

We’d been ebbing and flowing in a natural pattern of rupture and repair, coming out all the stronger for it with each pass. Our bond has always been sturdy, but it felt like something special was happening; I was letting go of something. Fear, perhaps?

Regardless, something has shifted.

I don’t know what it is. I can’t point to a specific moment or even series of moments. There was no gradual decline or pulling back. I remember her telling me last Monday that she was worried if we didn’t dig deeper into the patterns we were recreating in that space, we’d grow further and further apart.

I knew she was right. I agreed with her. And that is not what I wanted. So later that evening I broke my arbitrary rule that I could no longer call her after sessions and did just that. I called and left a simple voicemail asking her to return me call when she was available. When she called back, we spoke for about ten minutes and had a nice conversation.

The first thing she said was, “You called!” with joy in her voice. I said, “Yeah. I decided today would be the day I’d stop being punitive about this and just make the call. It was an experiment.”

“And how does it feel?”

I smiled, “It feels really nice.”

Yet, somehow, in the time since then, we’ve done exactly what she warned me against. We could not be further from each other (which is all the more painful when we’re literally sitting across the room from each other three times a week).

It was like a switch was flicked that completely shut me down and shut her out. I can’t explain it. I don’t think I even understand what is going on or where it is coming from. Apparently part of my feels very frightened and mistrustful of her. In session earlier today, we were trying to have a conversation about what has been happening and I blurted out,

“I just don’t trust you!”

She quietly said, “I know. I know you don’t. And I think of how awful that must feel? I feel it, too, being here with you – the absolute danger that you feel in this space – the feeling that is keeping you so tightly bound and keeping me so far away from you. And I can understand why you’re doing that; you’ve been hurt so profoundly, and sometimes in the most subtle of ways. I sense that I am a lot like your mother to you lately – someone who did hurt you and who was not interested in what you had to say. But I am…I want to know what you’re thinking and feeling about this and I’m here. So I know this is awful and painful right now, but I wonder if there isn’t something good that can come from this? I think we’re in uncharted territory here and that makes it all the more scary…but maybe if we stick it out, it will be really helpful to see what’s on the other side.”

I just sat there. Then I said, “You don’t understand!”

“Understand what?”

 

I didn’t respond. It was time to go anyway.

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27 thoughts on “Broken

  1. Tina says:

    I know exactly how that feels to be sitting right across from your therapist & a part of you wants to let them in & just lay your head on their shoulder & let them comfort you & let all the fear & worry fall away and yet feel mistrustful, hurt, misunderstood & a million miles away. Ugh … it’s painful. Her response was very touching. Sometimes, all I can do is promise myself to show up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. La Quemada says:

    Please don’t give up, Andi. Go as slow as you need to, no rush. Test her in a hundred little ways. Ask questions. Take a rest when you need to. But don’t give up. It must feel hard and painful and lonely (and some other things that I am not getting). And yet I know there is hope. You can connect and reconnect with her, many times if need be. In fact, maybe that is what you need, to learn that it’s possible to keep reconnecting (???). I hope this comment won’t piss you off. I guess what I really mean is that I’m routing for you, and as far as I can tell from you blog, she really does care and want to help. And you deserve that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cat's Meow says:

    This sounds incredibly difficult to experience.

    I have no idea if any of this is going on or not, but for some reason your description of the dynamics brings to mind a time when I was incredibly angry with my therapist. A lot of that anger came out as, “I don’t trust you,” but it took me awhile to figure out just what was going on. It turned out that I was furious at her for “not saving me.” The parts of me that still experience the abuse memories in the now believed that if she really wanted to, she could save me from what happened. But of course she can’t, because it’s all in the past. She can’t even “save” me from the feelings that I am experiencing now.

    And, as so often is the case, the person I really was furious at was my mother, who was the one who could have saved me at the time and didn’t. And who I still feel like I can’t address anything directly with. But at least I was able to admit my anger and desperate desire that she “save me” to my therapist and grieve that no one can change what happened now.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Karen Beth Courcy says:

    In all the years I have been in therapy, I have to say this is quite normal to go through phases like this. There is a ebb and flow, but eventually you have to start trusting the one person who does sit across from you waiting and willing to hear anything and everything that is welcomed in the room …. you have to put that voice in your head to silence and say “I am worthy of showing up in this space of healing and nothing is going to stop me from healing”.. when I was able to bring myself to that point, it was like FREEDOM! The ruptures in therapy began to become less and less and far in between.. I began trusting my therapist more an more … He shows up and I finally have come to understand that … your therapist wants to hear and wants to support.. let her in, trust me, it’s worth it!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sirena says:

    This is so difficult and seems like such an isolating headspace to be in Andi. I’m sorry you’re both going through this. I like her replies and I believe she is feeling the pain of this space too. But you’re both trying so hard to connect and that’s really brave. And the fact that you reached out via a call to her, is such an important step. I don’t think anything is broken, Andi. Quite the opposite! Take care, this will pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you, Sirena. Yes, it is very difficult. I feel like an insane person because it’s like “What is my problem?!”this makes no sense to me. Where is it coming from? What does it mean? Ugh. I know she’s feeling this pain and perhaps she mirrors me a little *too* well. Sometimes I think I need her to be more herself and less an image of me. I need her to be able to separate from the emotional space I’m creating and be the stronger, more compassionate presence in the room. I hope this heals soon.

      Like

  6. Rachel says:

    I’m sorry this feels so shitty. I can only imagine how awful it feels for everything to feel broken and for her and your connection to be unreachable or non-existent.
    What I feel from this, is that you are working through something important, and I remember when this relationship felt very nurturing to you. I remember when you did feel a connection and trust, and I hold that. I know that big rupture over her unavailability and decision to change the parameters was a huge blow to your trust. And maybe accepting this lack of trust is the first step to somewhere else. Really leaning into it, really feeling into how it feels in your body. I don’t know, I just think that where you are at is okay, even if it feels fucking awful. Have been thinking of you daily, and very happy to be reading a post tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Yes, it’s the literal worst. It feels like death. I don’t remember. I can read back and know my words were true, but I’ve been forbidden access to my own warm, nurturing emotions. Mutiplicity is such a bitch sometimes. Thank you, love xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. myblackspotblog says:

    I’m going through a very similar pattern with my therapist at the moment. I totally get that feeling distant but yearning for closeness. And not trusting. Like you, I’ve no reason to mistrust my therapist, but I’m just too insecure to take any big risks. Hope it gets better soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amb says:

    This sounds so rough. Please try to let her back in. I think she’s made some bad calls and maybe she’s a little lost at where to go from here, but you deserve the care and support that I truly believe she’s willing to give you. Don’t give up just yet. I think you’ll fall back into the flow of things soon. You’ve come too far not to. Many hugs, my friend. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. BorderlineBabbler says:

    I feel like you could literally be writing my experience of therapy – wow. Thank you for explaining it in words better than I ever could. I relate hugely. To the need for consistency, to the ebb and flow, to the love-hate relationship, the transference, all of it.

    Like

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