Inconsistent

My therapist has always made a big deal out of scheduling and consistency. Each time we’ve transitioned to a higher number of sessions per week, she’s reinforced that we need to stay with that number, even if our schedules shift.

That is why we’ve done so much rescheduling throughout the last nine months. (NINE!)

And I loved it. I felt really cared about and taken care of by her. I knew it was all part of the way she conducts herself as a professional, but that’s not to be underestimated. Many of my previous therapists could not bring themselves to maintain even essential professional standards. So it always meant a lot to me that even when something came up during a normal session time, she’d push for us to find a time to reschedule.

And then I recently canceled a session to meet a new shrink during the same week some other part of me canceled our second session (which I then un-canceled). That event, as I’ve talked about extensively, prompted her to let me know that the shifting of session time was “less than ideal” and that she was not very impressed with my decision to cancel, even though it was to meet with a doctor. Which sent me reeling into a shame spiral that I’ve (clearly) yet to recover from.

And then it got worse.

Two weeks back, my Clinical Instructor told me that she wanted me to work a full day at clinic on my last day, which is this Friday. I mentioned this to my therapist last week and said, “So that Friday – the 20th – I won’t be able to make my normal appointment time.”

We spent a few minutes trying to reschedule, but my week is insane and there was just no other time that worked for us. She once again reiterated how important it was that we see each other the three times, per are usual schedule, and that if something else opened up, we could try that.

I said, “Ah. So I can reschedule this appointment because it’s ‘acceptable’, right? Since it’s around school obligations?”

I know she responded to me, but her response was so triggering to me that I dissociated it. I have no idea what she said, but I know it upset me and sent us into a power struggle that has yet to be resolved.

So that’s two sessions this week.

At the beginning of yesterday’s session, I mostly sat quietly. One of the first things I asked was about next week:

“Are you working next Friday?”

“The day after Thanksgiving?”

“Yeah.”

“No, I won’t be here.”

There was silence for a bit.

“So we have two sessions this week and one next week?”

“Yes. I have openings, if you want to try and add another time.”

I just furrowed my brow and shrugged. I knew there was no way I could fit another session in my schedule next week and she seemed pretty neutral about the whole thing anyway. Her response sounded more automated than authentic.

It didn’t even seem worth it to fight for another session.

And then I felt a wave of panic. Why hadn’t she already told me she’d be out both Thursday and Friday of next week? Those are both days we have session, so that automatically cancels out two hours of therapy.

It seemed unlike her to not have brought this up with me. She didn’t care enough to do her usual meticulous planning around weekly sessions. Nor did she care enough to allow me plenty of time to process that she would be away, even if only for two sessions worth of time.

I pushed down those feelings and started talking about something else: Food. Fear around the impending holiday celebrations filled with scary food. I carried on for a few minutes and she didn’t respond, which is uncharacteristic of her. I paused and thought very carefully about my next question. I tried to control every muscle in my face and throat and entire body so that I could speak with respect and calmness. I asked,

“Do you care?”

And I meant it. I was asking it authentically.

She paused for a bit and then nonchalantly sent it back to me: “Do you think I don’t care because I’m not responding to you?”

I just looked down, feeling totally alone and ashamed. I asked her why she always challenges me. She asked if I felt challenged, which annoyed because WHY ELSE WOULD I ASK THAT. But I stayed calm and said,

“Yes. And I think there are these important moments where I really need kindness from you, but you choose to challenge me instead. And that is really difficult.”

I wish I could say the conversation evolved into something beautiful, but it didn’t. We just stayed locked in this horrible place of disconnection and frustration.

This just feels so…bad. Like, really really bad.

I’m hurt that she didn’t tell me about next week’s vacation, regardless of how short (or predictable) it may be. I’m hurt that she’s leaving me with 1/3rd of my normal therapy hours during a week that is literally centered around the consumption of food. I have been in a panic for weeks now, sharing that fear with her (something fairly new for me), and she won’t even be around to help me through it!

I don’t know how much difference it would make since I feel a million miles away from her anyway.

But, you know what, it would mean something to know she was still there; still herself – consistent and reliable in the way she conducts therapy overall.

Why all of the sudden is it not important for me to know when she’ll be away? Do I not deserve those three reliable sessions per week anymore? Do I not deserve her consistency? Has she just totally checked-out on me?

What a mess.

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23 thoughts on “Inconsistent

  1. Rachel says:

    What is going on with your therapy right now? This is god awful. I am so sorry, Andi. I would be devastated and horribly confused if my therapist gave no notice of two missed sessions around the holiday. Sending so much love and support to all your tender parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. La Quemada says:

    This seems so strange, given all of her earlier emphasis on consistency and her commitment to you. I can’t really understand how this fits with all the things you’ve written earlier. It would make me very confused and distrustful too. What is she thinking? I’m so sorry; it seems like it just shouldn’t be this hard. Prior notice about missing sessions, that seems like just a normal professional standard. Sending you kind and loving thoughts… and sending her some “wake up and notice what Andi needs” energy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sirena says:

    woah, I would have really, really, struggled to stay in that aptmosphere, no wonder you checked out for some of it! WTF is wrong with her. I do wonder whether she’s mirroring you in energy or attitude or something, you know, reflecting back to you what she’s seeing as an ” intervention” or maybe she feels a bit scared to challenge you on keeping to your 3 hours per week and not changing it since it’s kind of cause ruptures before? Or maybe she’s caught up in some counter-transference stuff? The only way you will know is to ask her. I hope you can both get to a more comfortable place together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I didn’t realize how spot-on this comment was until I just finished writing my last post. I think what you wrote here is very very reflective of what’s going on. Very insightful, Sirena. Thanks for the support x

      Like

  4. Amb says:

    You absolutely deserve her consistency. It sounds like the disconnect is on her end. I am so sorry that she is putting this burden on you. You don’t deserve it and she really needs to get herself in check. It sounds like you’re in a really tough place right now and she’s definitely not being fair. Sending you so much love and hugs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. iamcynical says:

    I wonder if she is reacting this way due to something an alter said. But I believe it would be beneficial to let her now how you feel like that she did not warn you about the holiday appointments you will miss. Communication is very important. I think you do a great job already and I can see it is not easy to do. I realte to that. Just keep trying to voice your feelings as much as you can.

    I know it may sound lame but practicing I statements is helpful for both yourself and the listener. Let her know “I feel like you don’t care when you did not respond to me because without any response I don’t know how you feel or what you think…”

    I hate when people are unresponsive my BF does it a lot 😦 drives me crazy

    Anyway I hope you can let her know that you’re having issues and feeling as if she is checked out. Being specific really helps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      It is essentially always a possibility that she’s responding to an alter interaction I am not privy to, which is super frustrating. I’m not sure if that’s what is happening here, but I think it probably plays a role. I took your advice last session and tried to focus on phrasing things from the “I feel” perspective. I think it helped, so thanks! 🙂

      Like

  6. Anxious Mom says:

    That’s so strange. I can understand where she might assume that the Thursday and Friday holiday would be a given, but when she’s given you shit for rescheduling to see a psychiatrist (something a bit more important than turkey and shopping), you’d think she’d hold herself to the same standards she holds you on sticking with the times/hours. I’m sorry she’s dropping the ball on this, especially around such a difficult time of the year. You deserve better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Exactly. That is exactly it. Not only should she hold herself to the same standards but, in my opinion, she should be held to HIGHER standards. I need her so much right now and this is just…ugh. Hanging in, though. Hoping it works out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Karen Beth Courcy says:

    Nothing is worse than a rupture in therapy and that feeling it brought on. I do have to say, this therapist is not doing a very good job making sure you stay out of triggers… if this were my therapist, he would have wanted to FIX it before I left, we would never be in a rupture past one session…. and he would fix his faults which your therapist is not doing a good job at being consistent.

    If next THUR and FRI were your normal days of therapy and she didn’t talk to you about it? THAT is very unprofessional of her. I know a month ahead of time before breaks.

    This made me so mad… you deserve so much more than this and I hope she pulls it together before the holidays.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I see what you mean. I certainly wish I never had to leave therapy with ruptures in place. That would be the dream! I think my therapist doesn’t really think that’s necessarily something we need to avoid. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I know she sees value in allowing us to just be in a difficult space and then figure out how to find our way back to each other. I definitely need to clarify that I need her to tell me ASAP when she will be out. I know she’ll take a holiday break next month and I’m irritated that she hasn’t already talked with me about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. ambivalencegirl says:

    As I read this I became so frustrated. Actually I’ve been frustrated all along. While 3 sessions may be optimal by emphasizing that you “can’t miss” is veering from the point. The point should be building a feeling of safety, security, healthy attachment and a solid relationship. To feel as if when you begin to work on an issue you will be able to process it. So that you won’t flounder and feel alone in between sessions. Instead it seems there are unrealistic and unhealthy aspects. Like extreme worry when something comes up or life happens and then your thrown for a loop and worried she will be angry with you. But she is allowed to break the rules without much notice and expects you to be fine. It’s really quite crazy. This seems to be a neurotic relationship and based on inflexible rules that will obviously be broken at times. There’s no room to breathe and you’re getting paranoid and hurt and anxious and defensive…and she is judgmental and controlling. The power and control wheel tells us that relationships should be equal and really that has such a different healing feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Good point. I know she doesn’t want me to feel stressed and anxious about rescheduling sessions – much of that comes from within myself, rather than from her. But I do think that my intense reactions around this particular issue are being mirrored by her and thus making it a challenge for her to bring it up and talk about it with me in a productive manner. I’m hoping this will smooth over as we continue working through this extra hard stuff. Thanks for the support.

      Like

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