I just got out of session and I think I somehow feel worse than I did going into the hour.
I don’t even know how to understand what is going on right now, let alone attempt to explain it. I don’t think I made the best decisions about how to discuss the intense trigger I felt on Monday (and still feel).
It was a mess for the first half of the session. At one point she said,
“It feels like you were late and that is somehow my fault and now you’re angry with me for it.”
Which made me just lose it, prompting a heated battle. And then she stopped us and asked me what I needed from her.
“Just listen to me.”
So she asked me to start over, to begin again and to try and disregard all that had been discussed about this issue in the previous 30 minutes.
I thought about it for a minute and then more or less went through everything I had written in my previous two blog posts. I gave a narrative timeline of how I experienced the last session and the time until today’s session.
I talked about feeling like I am ultimately disposable to her. Replaceable. Irrelevant. Unimportant. Worthless.
I talked about how this is supposed to be a relationship between two people. A therapeutic relationship, yes, but one that still involves two of us. I talked about feeling as if I am the one solely accountable for the hour of session and what happens to us, to the work, to me.
I said that her failure to be concerned or to reach out and check in despite me being very late for session for the first time in 168 sessions sent the message that I do not matter, that she is not interested, that she doesn’t care, that it’s not important to her, and that I am not worthy of her concern or curiosity.
I told her that I understand and respect her policies and methods, but it’s not enough for me. I said,
“I need you to fight for me! I need to know that we’re in this together and that you care. I need you to show me that I am worthy when I cannot believe I am worth it. I need to know you won’t just discard me if I am not able to be fully invested in the work or the relationship. Because therapeutic or not, I am only half of this relationship and if you won’t fight for me, or for us, then I feel completely alone and scared and worthless. And that is just not good enough!”
She sat quietly for a moment and then asked if I wanted to hear a response. I said no so we talked around it for a while but then she asked if she could say two things:
1. She was absolutely concerned and curious about where I was and why I wasn’t in session at 5pm.
2. She would have called if I had not shown up at all.
Then she reflected on her statement about the therapy session being my hour to do with as I please.
“That was just not an appropriate response because it doesn’t even address what you were bringing up by mentioning that I hadn’t called to check in.”
Then she spoke about how she uses something like lateness to explore underlying themes with clients. So she doesn’t like to interfere with attendance because she wants to allow the dynamic to play out as it needs to in order to bring it into the analysis.
“But I can see how it can come across as uncaring or coarse and I will think about that more for how it works or doesn’t work with you.”
She said all the right things and seemed genuinely interested and I could tell that she desperately wanted to connect with that deep trigger I was feeling. And maybe we did get to it a bit but I can’t really tell.
I don’t even know what I feel. Unfulfilled, I think. I needed something from her. I still need something from her. Not only am I unclear as to what that need is, I don’t believe I could get it met even if I did know.
It feels like this is all for nothing. These triggers, these huge emotional explosions that destabilize me and make my life feel chaotic and scary and lonely, are not okay.
I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep feeling this way – a way I cannot even seem to name or articulate.
It’s like dying of thirst when you don’t know what thirst is, let alone how to get water.