Fight For Me

I have been thinking some more about what happened yesterday. 

I know that being unintentionally late for my session was intensely triggering. But I also think that the way my therapist responded to my lateness added fuel to the shame fire. 

I suppose I was sort of stunned that she seemed so unfazed and unconcerned by my lateness. Her response that the hour is mine to use however I want to use it is fundamentally true, but it wasn’t good enough. 

What does that really mean? If I just never showed up again, would she even care? Am I so disposable that she can simply wash her hands of me if I stopped coming to sessions? Do I mean so little that she could simply walk away from me if I put up resistance?

Probably. And probably for good reason. But that is not cool. 

I don’t necessarily think I wanted her to be in a state of panic about me being late. I have never been more than slightly late and I’ve never missed a session (even when I wanted to) because I am very cognizant of not being manipulative or doing too much communicating through “acting out” behaviors.  There are moments when I want to behave in a way that would be provocative, but I work hard to avoid that because it never truly pays off. 

However, her (apparent) utter indifference was startling. And this is something that I quite often feel from her. I am sure that if I spoke with her about it, she would deny indifference and give some eloquent explanation for why she responds the way she does. 

But the truth is that I wanted her to fight for me. 

And she didn’t. Which really hurts. 

Her presence in my life is powerful. I have given her the privilege of getting to know me and our work together has allowed her to become part of my support system – a system that is vital to my ability to remain functional. 

If it means so little to her, what does that mean for me?

I feel so alone. 

Why won’t she fight for me?

Why am I not worth it?

Why do I not matter enough?

13 thoughts on “Fight For Me

  1. kat says:

    maybe you need to consider if a different therapist might be a better fit.? i would be pretty upset if my therapist appeared not to notice or care if i was late or missed a session.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      I think she’s a good fit and I also think (intellectually) that she cares. This just triggers a very deep, primal sense of rejection that I need to address with her. Thanks, kat.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. NextInLine says:

    You are worth it. Training makes therapists do things that make we clients go crazier. I have called mine on things in the last six months, about feelings and thoughts he has in response to my opening up or revelations or whatever, and things, over a long and slow and excruciating exchange, have changed. For the better. I can now say things I would have never before. They avoid discussing their feelings because the work is about us. but I made it clear to my therapist that his not letting me know his feelings when I was so vulnerable was working in the wrong way, like as in backward. I would be worried like you if he didn’t exhibit some sort of concern when after all that consistency I didn’t show for an appt. I am surprised that she didn’t text you to just check in.
    Simple enough.
    I wish I could help more. just wanted to let you know you are heard and this really sucks for you and I am sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much. I feel very similarly – I don’t want “personal” information from my therapist, but I do need her to be open about the way she is experiencing me emotionally because that absolutely has an impact on the work.


  3. Laura Black says:

    I always get the impression from your posts that your therapist cares. But I suppose it isn’t her role to fight for you, because then it would be her choice for you to be there and not yours. I imagine that she would have been concerned you were late, but if she controls the therapy then it isn’t truly your space. I do understand how it feels though when you get the impression this vitally important person isn’t bothered about where you are. It does hurt. And in that situation, my therapist will always nudge me to be curious about why!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Laura Black says:

        That’s totally understandable. But the rupture and repair should be productive in moving past that. I’m reading an excellent book on attachment in therapy at the mo, it’s called ‘Trauma and the avoidant client’. I’ve got a lot of the same issues and it is really helping me understand better.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Rachel says:

    What just happened with your therapist is such a clear example to me as to why it is vital that therapists working with clients with extensive trauma histories not treat us as if we are “typical clients.” For a “typical” client, it is appropriate (although I would still have called to check in, if someone was 30 min late, regardless of trauma history) to some extent for client to direct and guide the treatment, and if they don’t show up, fine. But for those of us with trauma – it is highly re-traumatizing not to be reached for when we are pushing (which you weren’t). It isn’t enabling, which I think so many therapists believe. We need someone actively engaged and willing to flex boundaries and their role. A passive approach does not and will not work with trauma clients. Part of the healing aspect of the therapeutic dynamic is having someone stay, actively, when we aren’t there (either physically or emotionally). We have such difficulty staying connected inside of ourselves, so we need them to be that steady symbol for us, and that requires them to reach and extend themselves over and over. I imagine it feels vulnerable, with clients so prone to running away, but it is essential. I say all of this to validate your hurt feelings over her lack of follow-up, and to say your perception is not off. Regardless of how eloquent and “rational” any explanation she gives is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much for this. I read it before session and although I didn’t explicitly quote it in session today but I went in with this comment in mind, aware that there are alternatives ways to respond. Ways that may be more appropriate or effective with trauma. I needed this so much today.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. e.Nice says:

    I get that feeling too. Kind of like putting out distress signals and not getting any response. I just want to say you are worth it, you do matter. I think you do to her too, she just missed it

    Liked by 1 person

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