Today has been a whirlwind of emotion. Before my therapy session – ranging from agitated to anxious to restless, circle back to the beginning, then, Repeat! Driving to my therapy session – a complete lack of feeling and an overall numbness coupled with anxiety. All this in anticipation of my appointment with my therapist.
/The session itself/
It’s hard to know what to say about it, or where to even begin. Rather than going into the specifics of what was said, I’m going to address the underlying tone and feelings that emerged.
My therapist was relatively unapologetic and overall fairly defensive. There were several instances where she said that she heard what I was saying, and that she would do it differently in the future. As promising as this might sound, to be sitting there listening to it was not very comforting. There was lots of explanation on her part of why she did (or didn’t do) certain things, and then the general conclusion of hers that her home office was probably not the best place for us to have our therapy together due to the issues that I’ve been having. I explained to her that she was missing the point entirely. I have not had a problem with her home office at all, except for what happened last session with her husband. And that’s what I wanted to address. She seemed to be justifying everything that happened, and making it my issue (rather than a boundaries issue), and that just wouldn’t do. I was trying to tell her that what happened should not have happened, however it didn’t seem like she was ready or willing to hear that.
Another thing that bothered me was that at some point, when I shut down and stopped talking, she kept pushing me to talk. Even when I curled up my legs under me and wrapped my arms over my head. It didn’t feel safe. And yet she continued to push and push. If only she had just sat there with me, and let it be okay. Just accept where I was in that moment, and try not to change it.
There’s a lot more that happened, but at this moment, those other things don’t seem as important, and besides, I just don’t have the energy to type it all out right now. Suffice to say, I am feeling torn about what to do and how to proceed. I really didn’t feel heard, understood, or listened to. And that’s what I was really hoping for, because that would be the first step in our rebuilding a sense of trust.
Honestly, I think she felt a bit panicky, and possibly attacked. Although that was not my intention, I was angry and upset, and I was expressing myself. I wasn’t holding back. [I must say, I was not mean or hostile – only honest with how I was feeling.] However, as has taken me many years to learn, I am not responsible for someone else’s feelings. It is not my job to take care of other people and to hold back expression of my own feelings to ensure that other people are comfortable. The fact that she seemed to have a hard time really hearing what I had to say, the fact that her overall demeanor was one of defensiveness, as well as – the most important one – that there was a general lack of genuine empathy and concern, well… those things are enough to give me pause.
My only hope is that this was a temporary reaction. That after the dust settles, (hopefully) the more sensitive, empathetic parts of her personality will emerge. Because if she remains as rigid and formal and clinical as she did today, I really don’t see us being able to move beyond it. The therapeutic relationship after all is built upon a level of comfort and trust, and without that, you have nothing.
Moving ever forward. One step at a time. I can’t see the path in front of me, but I must trust that if I hold the intention, I will end up where I want to be. My ultimate goal: healing.