My therapist called me last night and left a message. She told me that she was just wanting to check in after our first session, especially since it was such a long session and she imagined difficult. She reminded me that I can call and leave a voicemail message for her anytime, and that she checks them regularly. And she said she was thinking about me. What a nice gesture, right. You would think…
Rather than me feeling reassured by this call, it sent me into a tailspin. I couldn’t drive. I sat by the side of the road in my car for over an hour. I was up half the night. It sparked a war inside of me.
Her reaching out didn’t feel safe. In fact, it shattered the sense of safety I had been feeling with her only one night prior. It blasted those walls of comfort and security and left me feeling dazed, confused, angry, exposed, and unprotected. Why was she reaching out? I hadn’t asked for that. I hadn’t told her I wanted or needed her to call me. And yet she did. Why. What were her ulterior motives. What was she to gain from connecting with me.
Of course, the rational, adult part of me understands that more likely than not, she had no ulterior motives, and she was reaching out because she cared, and she wanted to express that. However, other parts of me felt otherwise.
I wrote her an email expressing what I needed. It was excruciatingly painful. I told her that any contact outside the office that she initiates triggers me, and to please not do it. I also asked her if she could please not respond to my email, because even that doesn’t feel safe. Connection hurts.
My first instinct is to run. To run as far away from her as I possibly can. However, it wouldn’t be her I’d be running from, it would be the pain. I realize that. There are two kinds of pain. One is traumatic pain that hurts and doesn’t help. The other is growing pain, where the pain in fact is there to tell you something so you can learn and grow from it. I know this pain is growing pain. I know that if I stick this out, and work through these issues with her, that I will be one step closer to where I want to be. It doesn’t mean however that this type of pain is any less excruciating.
It hurts me at the core of my being. Connection, trust, reliability. These are issues that somehow became so broken and skewed along the way in my development that I don’t know how to trust them or have them be in my life without it really hurting. Without it setting off a war.
There is a war going on inside of me but I am not backing down. I am not ready to surrender. Not yet. I will get my boots and helmet on and sling my gun over my shoulder and head out to the trenches. I’m terrified at what awaits me. Absolutely terrified. But it’s my own wounds that I need to face. Not anyone trying to hurt me. Not anyone with an ulterior motive. I don’t feel ready to face myself and my wounds, but then again, I don’t think I ever will be.