At A Loss

I’ve done so much writing and talking and thinking about this therapeutic rupture since last week. I’ve written ten pages in my hard copy journal, several blog posts, tweets, and personal conversations. I’ve talked my wife’s ear off about virtually every thought and feeling that’s come to my mind.

But I still feel at a complete loss about what to do come tomorrow afternoon when I see my therapist again.

Wife and I tried doing a little role play to practice for the opening of session, but I couldn’t get into it. I’m so paralyzed by the fear that my therapist is going to terminate me or somehow radically change the rules that it’s hard to envision any conversation until I know what’s happening in that aspect. Could be nothing, could be everything.

I want to set the interaction up for success, but I’m struggling because I’m still so angry with her for her failures. My emotion runs so deep and is very intense. So the adult part of me wants to use my “wise mind” and approach the session from a place that is not defensive, but open. The scared parts of me, however, absolutely refuse to be vulnerable. And I get it. This therapist hurt me and I’m hesitant to trust that even if I went in there calmly and tried to articulate what I was feeling, she’d shut me down again. Which, quite frankly, would be humiliating.

But I also don’t want to go in guns blazing and immediately activate the walls around both of us.

In a fantasy world, I would go in and tell her all this – that I’m struggling to even know how to talk to her because the need to rage at her is battling against the need to connect with her and fix this mess. And she would respond with empathy and compassion and, together, we’d navigate a very painful and tricky dynamic.

But I don’t know that either one of us is capable of such a thing and that sucks.

I’m very much open to ideas or suggestions, so if something comes to mind – something that has worked for you in the past, or that you think might work here – please share.

I’ve got 26 hours to figure this out.

ETA: Also, I don’t distinctly remember sending the parasuicidal email that triggered all of this nonsense, but having gone back and read it, I’m feeling a lot of feels about the fact that my therapist blatantly ignored a communication that threatened suicide, even passively. I’m sure she did it because she doesn’t want to reinforce that kind of behavior, but my god, what a fucking risk to take.



24 thoughts on “At A Loss

  1. Jean says:

    What has always worked for me is to start off by saying I am having a lot of difficulty talking right now. And why…I am afraid that I will say the wrong thing and mess things up, I am afraid that I will hurt her feelings, I am afraid that I will stir up memories or feelings I can’t deal with, etc, etc, etc. It’s honest, but it doesn’t mention the what it is that I am having trouble talking about. It seems to pave the way, and it gets us on the same page.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. plf1990 says:

    As a tip for starting the session tomorrow – could you sit in a different seat or space? If I need to say something without getting upset or in a specific way I sit in a different seat to make sure I’m in a different headspace. It might help. Supporting you in whatever happens x

    Liked by 3 people

  3. bodypolitical says:

    First- sending you so much support. It sounds like such a hard place you’re in.

    Like other commenters, I was dismayed by her use of the word violated. That just seems like the wrong word. Would it be helpful to reframe some of the narrative about what happened, at least for yourself?

    More like:
    You were going through something intense. In an attempt to communicate clearly and to be heard, you pushed at some boundaries that were previously unclear. One of the emails discussed self-injurious impulses, which concerned your therapist. In attempt to clear up boundaries she withdrew email contact, framing it as protecting herself, when it should have more communicated and understood )by her) as a means to keep you safe. You never threatened or harmed her in any way.

    I may have missed some details/chronology here, but sometimes writing stuff out in this more detached way can be helpful to me and can activate my “adult.” Maybe if you guys could agree on a version of events like this, it would give you more space to discuss what could have gone differently/where to go next.

    Sending you strength and support.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. ambivalencegirl says:

    I think the worst is the waiting. Waiting until the moment you come face to face with her. The anxiety, the anger, the fear, the sadness…the racing heart and the words that no longer form coherently.
    I still don’t quite understand the situation. I know you sent the email and she said no more but I was under the impression that she has never allowed emails or was it that you just chose not to email her? Was it your rule at first because of what happened with Z?
    I am thinking your T will be understanding and is simply setting boundaries for the parts of you that are obviously really struggling. Should she have read the email? I don’t know. It’s complicated isn’t it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      I was not allowed to email her about anything but logistical stuff like appointments and payment. Yes, waiting has been both excruciating and exhausting. I’ll be glad when it’s finally over. She actually did read the email, but she didn’t do anything. Yes, so complicated!


  5. Paper Doll says:

    Yes. What a risk she took.

    Could you write her a note, from the wise minded place, that outlines it? And simply hand it to her? Something that you can write now and that your wife and/or friends you trust can take a look at and something that says all you want to say without being destructive or defensive? That’s my best advice.

    I want you to know I’m still very much here with you and willing to read anything you need to share. Additionally, I want you to know that this has helped me address something with my therapist… sometimes I find difficult times easier knowing they’ve assisted someone else in addressing things.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Blooming Lily says:

    I agree with PD. For me, when things are this charged, it’s hard to be in “wise-mind” in the moment, even if I’ve tried to plan it. But if you write from a wise-mind place, then you have that on your side. Good luck. Here if you need me. xoxo

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Blooming Lily says:

    (Also, going in with guns blazing is not a good idea, even if you want to, so you are correct on that. I did that with T during our last major rupture (after the hypnosis) and it was a complete and utter fucking disaster, because it just made both of us defensive and prevented us from accomplishing anything. On the flip side, going in and “sugar-coating” / “fixing up” everything is also not a good idea, because that’s what I did with J during our rupture, and it didn’t even work (and left me more upset than ever). So yes, you are correct that wise-mind is the way to go, even though it’s hard af to get there…)

    Liked by 4 people

  8. skinnyhobbit says:

    I agree with trying to write. Me, we had a rupture because she kept insisting “well do you want to remain a victim or not?” which I took as victim blaming.

    I took in a one page letter I wrote as rationally and non defensively as I could. (I’m a huge intellectualiser). I explained how the victim / survivor dichotomy could be extremely hurtful given how pervasive “stop being a victim” is.

    Gave it to her but she wanted me to read it aloud rather than avoid her by giving her the letter.

    So I read it aloud while uncharacteristically crying every few words in this…extremely broken voice I couldn’t control via my usual intellectualising, rational, detached, numbed out mind.

    She realised the hurt I was. She soothed me and apologised.

    I wish you the best of luck. May your therapist step up.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Laura Black says:

    I haven’t been in the same situation, but have faced some similar feelings with my therapist. I’ve always found it easier to write down what I want to say to her, even if it’s just a few sentences that clarify what’s gone on and to set the version of events straight from my side. I think you also should establish some means of contact for emergencies, as your email when you were feeling suicidal was important and helped keep you safe. It’s not too much to expect contact from her when you’re in crisis. To me, that’s an essential part of the therapy, especially when going into painful trauma related stuff, which inevitably evokes intolerable feelings in all of us. You need that safety net and I don’t think it is wrong you of you state that. Good luck today, I’ll be thinking of you x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Thanks, Laura. She generally allows me to contact her via phone whenever I want, whether crisis or not. And I think that’s a lot of what helped me prevent situations like this in the past. I’ve actually never really had a proper crisis where I felt like I needed her before, or at least in a long time. But something clearly went wrong here and we need to talk about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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