Disorganized

I swear, it’s a true fucking wonder that I haven’t killed myself yet. 

This past week (month? Year?) of therapy has just been impossible. I’m trying so hard to make sense out of what feels so complicated and confusing and hurtful, yet I seem to make no progress. 

I tried yet again today to talk to my therapist about my belief that she can be cruel and sadistic in her withholding of reassurance and compassion. She seemed genuinely surprised, and then frustrated. 

She reiterated that sometimes she can’t be the thing that reassures me. She said she “can’t re-parent me” and that I need to provide that for myself. 

I asked her what, exactly, the reference point on that is supposed to be. If I need re-parenting because my parents failed so spectacularly, how exactly am I supposed to know how to parent myself? 

She said I need to use my imagination. 

I then asked where in my life I would have ever got any messaging that would even allow my imagination to come up with things like self-love or self-compassion? She said I’d need to create that; I’d need to find a way to see that I’m valid and worthy. 

I told her I felt unwanted and as though I don’t belong anywhere. She said that seems painful and told me I need to believe that I am wanted and I belong. 

Whatever. 

She kept telling me I was speaking in the abstract, which made it hard for her to address my specific concerns. She wanted me to go back and find an example of a time when she was withholding. I told her it was cruel to ask me to revisit a time when I was vulnerable and did not receive reassurance from her just so she could NOT reassure me yet again. 

So I said I didn’t want to go there and she responded that there was nothing for us to do then. 

Okay. 

So instead, I talked about disorganized attachment; how the intense pull towards her matches the intense need to push her away. It’s confusing and terrifying. She validated that experience and said we may just need to exist in that very uncomfortable and difficult space for a while, until we can move through it enough to lessen the intensity. 

Maybe. 

She asked me outright what she could do to eliminate my suffering, which felt more like a challenge then a genuine inquiry. I explained that I didn’t think anything she did could eliminate my suffering, but I do think there are ways she could help to ease it. 

But the problem is that she seems very invested in the idea that I need to experience my suffering in order to heal.

Very Jungian. And very true. 

But I don’t see why both things can’t exist together? I think I can experience suffering alongside the experience of getting reassurance and comfort from her. A sort of emotional scaffolding, if you will. 

At the end of session, I asked if she was around this weekend to talk. I explicitly told her I wanted to be able to talk to her this weekend. She said she’s around, but may not be able to return my call as quickly as usual (which is fine). 

Then I spoke of how awful it feels to essentially hate her/feel rejected by her at the exact same time I am feeling like I desperately need to be able to talk to her. 

So there’s less than a minute left in session and for whatever reason, she responds to that by saying,

And I wonder what’s with the feeling that you need to talk to me?

I am fairly certain she asked that to be curious about my experience around this, but holy shit did that ever feel like a rejection! 

I felt like she was telling me to not call her, or to not need to talk to her. The implication that I need to be curious about my desire to talk to her over the weekend (as if I’m not always curious about every little thing I think and feel, especially around her) really seemed like it was motivated by some negative reaction she was having to me. And the fact that she posed this question when we had zero time to discuss it’s impact felt really unfair. 

As I stood up to put on my coat I just started sobbing. I felt so alone and worthless and confused and angry and helpless. 

I struggle to describe how utterly horrible it feels to be in the presence of my therapist lately. I just feel myself spinning out of control and I feel so desperate to regain any sense of power. 

I don’t even know what to do anymore. 

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25 thoughts on “Disorganized

  1. dangerousvoyager says:

    Do you get any sense of what your therapist will do with the information if you can come up with specific examples for her? Does it feel as if she is asking from a genuine attempt to understand and work on the problem based on those examples, or rather looking for something to argue against, to give yet more reasons why she can’t give you want you’re asking for and that you are wrong to even ask? How has she handled similar information you’ve given her in the past?

    It just strikes me as similar behaviour to people who push back on a no by asking ‘why?’ and then coming up with endless arguments as to why your reason isn’t good enough, and underneath it all is their belief that needs are more important than yours, that you should do things their way regardless of whether that works for you.

    I don’t want to be overly critical of your therapist when I haven’t been reading your blog closely enough to have any overall feel for the relationship, it’s something only you can really tell, but maybe thinking about this might help with a decision as to whether she is the right therapist for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kat says:

    please at least interview some other therapists, just to test the waters and see if a better fit is possible. you don’t have to make a fast decision or tell her about it. but allow yourself to view your options. i’m sorry you’re having so much pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paper Doll says:

    It must feel so impossible right now. I do believe you have a really good point. How are you supposed to parent yourself, if nobody models it for you? Above all, I really hear and validate all this pain. You have every right to be angry and confused and feel rejected while simultaneously wanting to reach out. It’s a confusing time, and I don’t think anything you’re feeling is out of line or unwarranted. Thinking of you. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. plf1990 says:

    I really think maybe meeting with some other therapists might be a good thing. You are completely and totally right about how are you meant to do something you have no modelling for. You need to find someone who is willing to do that for you. Seriously. Xx

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Sam Ruck says:

    Hey Andi,

    I know it’s been awhile since I’ve commented. I try to stay out of things lately after getting blacklisted from ANOTHER d.i.d group. But I hate to see the pain you are in.

    I’d like to suggest that you are coming up against the very real limitations of what a therapist can provide. What you are wanting is reasonable, but you really don’t want a therapist to ‘re-parent’ you. Your relationship with her is built upon the exchange of money. Not trying to be cynical, but if the money stops flowing so will the relationship most likely. That is NOT the kind or relationship anyone can safely be attached in!

    I’ve pretty much re-parented all the girls in my wife’s system. No, not the host, but the other 7 girls definitely. Even for my wife’s host I am their primary attachment figure. Is your wife unwilling to do the same for you???

    I believe a good therapist is invaluable but NOT as an attachment figure because of the structure of the relationship. That’s why I hate that ISSTD co-ops attachment language as if they can pick and choose what parts of attachment theory they want to use and disregard the most important parts of it.

    I’m sorry for your pain. But your wife and if you have any friends or healthy family relationships is where you should be looking, not your therapist.

    Take care,
    Sam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thanks Sam. My wife is incredibly nurturing, kind, compassionate, empathic, and attuned. For the most part, my therapist is as well. I’m not really sure what re-parenting is, or what you mean by that, but I don’t really believe anyone’s job is to re-parent me (including myself). I went without parenting and my job now is to figure out how to work around that and find creative ways to meet my own needs, even in the face of such neglect and abuse. I do think that requires modeling and examples of such treatment from others, but ultimately (for me) the window of parenting has closed and cannot be opened.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This.shaking says:

        Ummmm .. Andi… I wouldn’t throw reparenting out of the window so fast – I just did a quick google search and there’s a lot of interesting stuff. BTW, my T, who teaches trauma and dissociation at the postdoc level, does, I believe, reparent me (she, and other docs have said to me they don’t know how I survived the first go round!) I know I am a great Mom and grandma but I find it hugely difficult being treated that way myself! wow.
        Lots of luck and sending love – TS

        Liked by 1 person

  6. M says:

    Hi Andi
    I wanted to express that I understand some of what you are going through. I am in 4 times a week analysis and I guess as you go 3 times your T is also psychodynamic trained. I have spent the last 2 years trying to get reassurance from my T from everything to does she care, will she leave, am I too much. Again like your T she will rather we look at the reasons why I need this than give this. I have shouted, protested called her cold, cruel. What she gently explains is that by providing this would be offering a band aid, I need to experience these feelings words just can’t provide that and I will only experience care, reassuraance etc through time and internalising the relationship. I kind of get it now, it’s like parenting I want to rush in and protect my child, wrap her in a bubble but that wouldn’t serve her well and she would not develop the capacity to grow and to know in herself she is enough.
    It’s so hard as if you don’t have a positive experience of being parented then how do you know where to begin from. But you do have healthy positive relationships to draw that model from, your wife, friends and T to some degree.
    I think your T does care and I see her perspective it just sometimes seems she is a bit clumsy with her approach and her use of language. This may well be lack of experience or just her manner. I also think there is so much grief in what you say and I wonder if you are wanting the reassurance to somehow avoid looking at this, I’m not criticising I know the pain of a messed up childhood and also know how use every tactic not to grieve as it’s so overwhelming and raw. You are on the right path though and you are an inspiration.
    M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Hi! Yep, I am in psychodynamic psychotherapy and my therapist takes a very Jungian approach. I agree that she’s often clumsy in her language and approach, but I think we’re both trying to navigate some very precarious territory. I most definitely think I’m avoiding the grief I need to face by focusing on what she does or does not do. Thanks for commenting!

      Like

  7. liferolle says:

    I hate all this for that reason. Why do therapists act like they don’t give a fuck that our emotions don’t matter but why w feel that way. Ugh I’m so sorry for the experience. I suggest also looking around again as its something you need. Some don’t some do. You and I both do and that is ok. I am totally sick of explain the ritual abuse to people and they have no compassion or empathy. I said to her one day after her millionth ‘how does that make you feel?’ And I scowled and said I’m fuckn here because I don’t know how to feel. She stopped asking in that way. I hope you get their this with her or find someone who will be more what u need

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Karen Beth Courcy says:

    You know, it took me a long long long time to admit that I had a young me inside of me… we all have a young part inside of us … when hurt and abused and have gone through a hard past, that young part in us stops growing up… well a part of my 10 years of therapy so far and healing is helping that young part “grow up” and a part of our work in therapy with my therapist is helping to “re-parent” the young part inside of me… he has helped me to do that .. to allow that part of me inside to trust …. so yes your therapist can help re-parent … not re-parent YOU but to re-parent the young part inside of you that is hurt and confused. I plan to write about this maybe this weekend … I am back to writing again …. But its important process to re-parent and I am surprised your therapist said she can’t do that for you, or with you … she cant reparent YOU or do it for you, but she can do it with you. Andy my therapist has really helped me with that process for the past year… hard but I have healed many wounds!

    I hope that you can find a way to help that wounded little part inside of you … it took me a long time to admit that wounded child inside of me.

    Karen

    Like

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