Therapy, 11/22/2016

I had just nearly finished this post and I somehow totally deleted it.  Therapy was difficult today and I had not anticipated it would be.  I went to therapy feeling pretty good about completing part of a homework assignment and eager to share what I had written with MT (my therapist).  But, I also had to talk to her about an email exchange yesterday.  To start with, where I live had a pretty major snowstorm on Monday.  I was supposed to see MT on Monday due to it being a short week because of Thanksgiving.  Well, there really was not much snow where I live, but 30 minutes away, MT was slammed and she cancelled her appointments for the day.  That was fine with me because I was tired and really, the idea of napping on the couch with my cats was very inviting.  I was also scheduled to see MT today, and yesterday afternoon I received an email asking me to make my appointment for today either 2 hours earlier or 4 hours later as MT had an emergency appointment with her college aged daughter.  I could not finagle the later appointment, but moved some things around, got some help from a friend, and emailed MT back saying that I could do the earlier appointment.  About 30 minutes later, I received another email from MT, saying never mind, they had the appointment rescheduled for today and we were back to the normal time for today.  I emailed her back saying, okay and I’m rolling my eyes.  And my reasons for saying I was rolling my eyes were frustration with changing all sorts of things and then changing them back, solidarity with MT for the frustration of doctor’s offices, and I thought the whole situation was kind of funny.  Well, at midnight, MT emailed me back, really?  why?  thanks.  And I thought, uh oh, that pissed her off some how.  So when I arrived at our session this morning, while I was taking off my coat, I said, yes, I was rolling my eyes.  MT replied, well, I found that to be not very compassionate.  I told you it was an emergency appointment.  I would have thought you would have compassion for what I was going through with my daughter.  I just replied that I thought she would understand that I was being funny, and that she might understand that I would find that whole situation frustrating, and that I didn’t think it was a life and death situation (honestly, I was figuring toothache) because MT was not taking the entire day off.  She said that she said emergency so that I would understand the gravity of the situation and I said that my kids have emergency appointments all the time and that it doesn’t mean life and death.  So, MT said that she took my comment as being not compassionate, but also said it was not my job to have compassion for her and asked me if we could move past the whole thing.  I agreed and we went on to discuss Thanksgiving and menus and cats and my socks and how much weight I’ve lost.  I felt kind of distracted because I was not okay with the end of the conversation.  In truth, I was angry but I couldn’t figure out if I was over reacting.  MT made a comment about what I wanted to work on and I distantly said I did not know.  She asked about my homework assignment and how it was and I said it was fine, but made no move to get it out to share with MT.  MT asked me what was going on and I said nothing.  She said, well maybe you just don’t  feel like working today.  I shrugged, and then said, I am not not compassionate.  MT said, well, there it is.  I explained my frustrations, my idea of what an emergency is, my feeling of solidarity around the frustration of doctors’ offices, and where I was coming from when I wrote that.  I felt very distant while I was trying to explain this and I felt like I might not be making much sense.  MT asked why I didn’t just say all of that earlier when I first came in.  I told her that I had not been able to because I had to think about what she said.  MT told me that I tend to back away from conflict and I need to be able to say what is going on for me.  I told her that I just cannot do that, that I have no words and it takes me a long time to come up with the words.  MT told me that I could just say that whatever she had just said was not sitting right with me, but that I needed time to think about it before I discussed it.  I told her that I can’t do that because I’m pretty sure that people won’t wait for me to sort out my thoughts.  MT replied that she would have waited.  Honestly, I’m not sure that she would have.  Then she asked me if I had ruined a whole session over her reply to my email.  I told her that I did not think that the session was ruined and that I had had to think about what was going on for me.  MT kept saying that I’m allowed to have a voice and I’m allowed to state my opinions, but I felt badgered by that because in all of my relationships there are things that it is not Okay to be, say, or feel.  I felt myself getting further and further away and my eyes were welling up and my throat had a big lump in it and I’m not really sure right now why I was crying.  I kept trying not to let the tears fall and looking up and MT told me that I was rolling my eyes again and why do I keep doing it when she keeps bringing it to my attention.  She tells me that 50 year olds are too old to roll their eyes.  I wasn’t rolling my eyes, but there was no way I was going to convince her of that.  Then she asked why I didn’t ever say before today that it is difficult for me to reschedule things when she wants to change my appointment times, as my never saying anything made her think that I had no issues with being so flexible.  I told her that my sessions are very important to me and that I do most anything I can to make sure that they happen.  My ex therapist who was very abusive used to say that schedule changes dysregulated me too much and that if one of us could not make  my regular appointment then that week would just be cancelled.  That meant I often went two and three weeks without an appointment.  I am not willing to do that with MT and I will work really hard to make sure I can attend whatever time she says.  I’m realizing though as I write this, that I pay MT, and I should not be paying for constant schedule changes and I am going to tell her that next week.  I understand that change does happen, but it should not be happening for one or two sessions every week.  ******no, no, no- every month*****.  That is going to be difficult for me to address but i’m going to have to figure it out.  Even my wife has commented recently on the chaos that is created in our family by the number of changes that MT makes.  Don’t get me wrong here, I still think that MT is the best therapist for me at this time.  She challenges me and I know that I am going to learn to speak up for myself in working with her.  MT gets really defensive when she is called on some of her weaknesses, and I don’t suspect she will ever acknowledge that to me, but I can understand it and learn to stand up for myself.  But, it’s hard.  I’m not sure that I’m always as strong or capable as MT thinks I am.  I really do go to therapy twice a week because I need to.  MT spent lots of time with me today working on the fact that she really is not abusive ex therapist.  I know that, but ex therapist was not always abusive either and I hold my breath sometimes waiting for the tables to turn.  MT is not the first person in my life to suggest that I act in a not compassionate manner sometimes and I’m working really hard on dealing with that.  I’m not sure if it’s true or people mistake my reserve for being not compassionate.  MT told me today that she does know that I really am a compassionate person, but that confuses me because if she knows that, why would she even bring up that my comment was not compassionate?  Why would she not first check what I meant by it?  And honestly, it’s very difficult to be totally compassionate when one really has no idea of the other person’s life.  I really know nothing about MT’s children or how she is as a mother or what could possible be going on in one of her children’s lives.  MT keeps very strict boundaries and I know almost nothing of her personal life and I don’t ask.  She is very defensive of her boundaries and brings them up on a regular basis, to help me learn how to set boundaries with other people.  I left my session today in tears.  I really like MT and I want her to respect me and I feel like some of her expectations of me are just too much sometimes.  I am a warrior, but I cannnot fight for my kids and for me and for my rights in therapy all the time.  Sometimes, I need to be just who I am and be accepted.  When I was leaving, MT kept encouraging me to take a deep breath.  I could not because if I did I was going to wail out loud.  Tears were already pouring down my face and no matter what I did, they would not stop.  MT said that she had not expected today’s session to end like that, but that I would be okay.  I told her I really wasn’t sure about that.  MT replied that I was trying to punish her and I told her no, that it wasn’t all about her and walked out the door.
All I can say for today’s session is ugh.  I’m not always sure how things go wrong when they do.

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11 thoughts on “Therapy, 11/22/2016

  1. I’m sorry you had such a tough day with so many challenges. I think in part MT might have sensed some frustration due to the schedule changes and therefore almost provoked the anger to come out by making the statement about you not being compassionate. I think nothing is achieved if there is anger of some resentment but of course I can’t be for sure. Perhaps her own struggles got to her and while she is a therapist, she is also human, not that I’m trying to make excuses for her. It might be awkward to go back, not knowing what to expect and you have to get past today’s session in order to move forward. So perhaps remembering this and acknowledging MT’s own struggles can help in doing so.
    I’m sorry for the tears sweet Patty and even we never talked, I see all the good and the compassion written all over your face and know you are a gentle kind person. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I know and unfortunately words at times are very tough to get past. They touch us in a different way that can leave further emotional scars and I hope you can find a way to put them in a place that they don’t control you in a way to impact your sessions. You have achieved so much with MT and I know this means a lot to you as well.

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  2. I am a bit shocked at your therapist’s behavior. She couldn’t understand that you moved things and had to get a friend to step in to accommodate her emergency, only to have her say, never mind, and then you had to switch everything back around? That she not only inconvenienced you, but your friend too? Really?

    Does she not understand that when someone has been abused, they carry deep seated beliefs that don’t allow them to speak up for themselves? Even with years of therapy, these beliefs can act out when we are stressed? Of course you back away from conflict! Conflict equals danger! And it can take time for us to have “normal” reactions to situations (my reactions are often delayed). As for your not being compassionate? WTF? You are the patient- it’s HER JOB to be compassionate. And juggling your appointments all over the place? Every week? Not ok at all.

    LOL! Here I am, all ticked off on your behalf. Must have pinged on memories of a psychiatrist I saw back when I had been molested, and she created more harm than healing. (She actually asked me if I orgasmed and if it felt good when I was being raped- for 2 years. Un-freaking-believable).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ugh to your past psychiatrist. That lady was a Fucking nut. You are right about the delayed reactions. In reading your comment, I’m realizing that I’m pretty impressed that I managed to bring my feelings,up in the same session, rather than waiting until another session down the road. Thank you for being ticked off on my behalf. It helped me to see that my anger is appropriate. And yes, conflict almost always feels like a life or death situation to me.

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  3. I had kind of the same reaction as mariner2mother – I couldn’t help feeling that your therapist was putting a lot of blame on you and your supposed lack of compassion, while she wasn’t thinking at all about what it was like on your end to be rearranging things.

    Also, if she knows it is not your job to be compassionate with her and worry about her life, then why did she even bring it up? She could have said, “thanks for accommodating,” and if she felt hurt or frustrated or anything else, she can process that on her own.

    And she is making it HARDER to provide your honest reaction if she tells you that your reaction is not compassionate enough. Of course after abuse we all struggle to even know what we want, much less articulate it. She knows that. One way she helps you get past that is by making it very safe for you to say what you think in therapy sessions. Then you get the practice and build confidence and start taking that outside of therapy. So I don’t see why she has to get on your case like that.

    Sorry, I know you benefit a lot from working with her, and I’m glad of that. But I don’t feel she was fair or kind about this, and she hurt your feelings. Maybe it’s connected to her defensiveness, but still, doesn’t seem okay.

    You are awesome, Patty, and you seem to plenty capable of compassion to your blogging friends. I hope the session doesn’t continue to weigh on you and that you can enjoy a good Thanksgiving with your family.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I can imagine this would make you nervous. It’s okay to talk about it, if you feel able, or not to talk about it yet, if you aren’t ready. There isn’t a deadline that says if you don’t do it right away, you will never get to talk about it.

        You can also copy and paste the post into a document and send it to her ahead of time. That way she can think about it before you talk. I have done that with E before. Sometimes I include the responses (without names) and sometimes I don’t.

        Or you could write down ahead of time a few things you want to say and bring that with you, use it if you want, or don’t use it if it doesn’t feel right.

        Whatever you do, Patty, it’s okay. You are a warrior queen, for sure, but you can pick the time and place for your battles. We all love you and will be cheering for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I totally believe your therapist was trying to make you feel bad for her shitty actions. Its hard when sessions are cancelled or moved it brings up alot of emotions. They should know that and be compassonite to you over it not the other way around

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  5. I don’t think you are ever too old to roll your eyes… and I relate to your need for time and space to formulate your own thoughts. I often feel the words catch in my throat – and even if I can sort out everything going on in my head into a coherent thought, I still struggle to get the words out. When I am really angry with my therapist I write it all down in a letter which I give to her at the beginning of the next session. This way she can take it in, in real time, but I don’t have to worry about how to say what I’m feeling. Finding one’s voice is hard.

    Also – scheduling changes are very disruptive and should be the exception. I’m the same way though – I will rearrange my entire day so as not to miss an appointment. I think you need to make sure your therapist knows just how much you value the time and what you will go to make an appointment. And she needs to acknowledge your commitment when you’ve accommodated her schedule.

    Finally, there’s no such thing as a wasted session. It’s your time to use however you like. Maybe this session just stirred up some simmering anger and resentment, but now you get to use the laboratory of therapy to get curious about what happened/is happening between you. I say this knowing full well that it’s these scenarios that make me the most anxious, but I also fully believe it’s where the most healing and growth occurs.

    And yes, it sucks that you get to pay to process whatever is going on between you and your therapist. There should be a “therapist screw-up” discount for the time spent dealing with the fallout.

    Good luck to you. Stay strong.

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  6. Pingback: Typo Trouble | Becoming a Warrior Queen

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