Progress…I think

I left my session yesterday feeling like M was avoiding what I wanted to talk about because it involved my feelings about him.  As I thought about what happened over the last week I realized it wasn’t quite like that.  Instead I could see how this very familiar feeling that M wouldn’t discuss my feelings about him evolved.

It started with M telling me that he thought I had fortitude.  It wasn’t the main point of what he was saying and it was actually more off hand which made it clear to me that he believed what he said.  It is very unusual for M to express any kind of judgement or assessment of me; even things that could be construed as positive.  I’ve been angry about that often and I’ve accused him of refusing to give me any assurance of our working relationship.  When he said it, my almost instantaneous response was to feel very uncomfortable and I changed the subject immediately.

Later I thought about why I was uncomfortable.  Did I disagree with his belief? Definitely in some areas of my life I have no fortitude.  What do I think fortitude is?  Do I even know what he means by fortitude?  I wrote him a short email telling him I had been uncomfortable with his statement and that I wanted to discuss it further in our next session.  I felt like I was finally getting a handle on how to do “therapy” properly.  Guess what? I didn’t feel that way very long.

So we started to talk about fortitude; what it was and what it wasn’t.  He asked me why I didn’t think I had fortitude and I wouldn’t tell him.  Then he gave me an example of something that I did recently which showed fortitude.  I admitted that it could look like fortitude but it wasn’t really a very important things in my life.  I said he had given the one example that I couldn’t argue with and then he gave me another.  That is when I fell into a deep, dark pit.  M encouraged me to talk about what I was feeling but I was overwhelmed.  Eventually I asked him to stop talking to me and when the session was over I asked him to move to the other side of the office so I could pack up and leave without him looking at me.  It has been a long time since I was so ashamed that I couldn’t face him at all or even move while he was watching me.  I felt a desperate need to quit not just therapy but life.  I kept thinking of ways to kill myself.  I know I wasn’t actually going to kill myself but I was obsessed with thinking about doing it, like it is very important to have a plan in case things get to be too much.

I think I fell into the pit because in an instant I realized that even though M thought something positive about me (that I had fortitude) and expressed it to me freely; it didn’t have much impact on how I feel about myself.  I am sure that is obvious to most people and even I intellectually understand that you have to like and respect yourself most importantly.  But some part of me believed that if I could be sure M liked and respected me then I would finally be able to feel better about myself.  I spent my life wanting to be liked.  I grew up in a family where no really saw or liked me.  For example, my mother got up at her 75th birthday party and announced to about 125 party guests that she had never said anything good about her children while they were growing up because she didn’t want them to think too highly of themselves.  She wanted to say on that occasion for the first time that she was proud of us. My own memories would suggest she was consistently and actively critical of me often punishing me for doing things that she had never talked to me about.  There was no chance of me feeling conceited.  I was desperately trying to figure out what was fundamentally wrong with me and how I could hide it, but I digress.

The next part came when I realized that I’ve spent years feeling like if M would be more expressive, or more supportive, or more there for me it would make a huge difference.  I felt needy and vulnerable and desperate for his approval. And it didn’t matter to me anyway.  But I still want him to approve of me in some agonizingly childish way which feels even more f*** up than my actual childhood.  So I went to my next session (yesterday) to discuss it more and we couldn’t understand each other.  I felt like M was avoiding my feelings by cognitively analyzing why I felt like I didn’t have fortitude and why I might feel uncomfortable with him saying I did.  Like maybe I was afraid that he wouldn’t think I was in pain anymore and expect me to be better.  I’m afraid it is a blur and I left thinking it has happened again and M is avoiding this huge issue because it is about me being needy and wanting something from him.  I started to feel like I misunderstood what he said anyway and it probably wasn’t an expression of any positive feeling about me.

Here is the progress (if that is what it is called), I realized that M wasn’t avoiding the topic I was.   I wanted to talk about it but I am drowning in shame and self-loathing for feeling the way I do and wishing M would feel and express positive sentiments about me.  I feel like it is a pathetic thing to want from a therapist and it is even worse to want it even though I’m not going to believe or accept it.  It feels like my personal hell is to want to be cared for and to search endlessly for that caring and then not be able to accept it when it shows up anyway.

I’m not sure what happens next.  I’m clear that I’m ashamed of myself and don’t want to tell M how I feel about this but I desperately want him to know all the things I can’t say.  I think it would be progress if I could stop being so needy and wanting so much.  Instead it had taken less time for me to see the way my mind twists and turns to end up in the place where I’m angry at M and I start thinking if only he would (fill in the blank) then I would feel better.

Digging deeper – part 2

I’ve been struggling with writing the second part of this post and I think it is because there is so much confusion for me about what does M think of me? how does he feel about me? why does it matter to me? should it matter?  I tried to address some of that in my second session of the week.

M asked me if I wanted to discuss the dream and I told him that I felt like his email saying that he wanted to hear about my dream made a difference in how I felt about sharing the dream.  I spent time thinking about why it felt so different to me and came up with the following.  During the session M told me he thought it would be helpful for me to discuss the dream which is an opinion that I’m not sure I agree with.  His email felt like he was telling me his feelings which are impossible to disagree with.  I didn’t think that he “wanted” to hear about my dream because he was interested for any personal reason like not being able to stop staring at an accident or wanting to laugh at the freak show in my head.  In the session I didn’t know if he wanted to hear about my dream or if he just thought it would be helpful for me to talk about it.  The other obvious difference is that when I read his email I wasn’t in a room with him and I frequently interpret his emails as much more understanding and committed to therapy with me than how he feels to me during a session.  At times I’ve wondered if someone else writes his emails (not really but maybe someone else reads them).

M told me that he thought the things he said in session and the comment in the email came out of the same feeling which was that he wanted to hear about the dream because he thought it would be helpful.  We talked a little bit about the different emphasis I heard compared to his feeling they were very similar.  Finally I asked him why he wanted to be helpful which seemed to me to be part of what he was expressing and he started laughing.  He answered with “I like being helpful which is true about me and part of the answer” and then he said “another part is that I care about the pain you are in.”  He talked more about how the dream effected me and how he thought it reflected an intense fear or conflict I was having.  By the time he had finished talking I had covered my face and was crying really hard.  I was holding my breath to keep myself from making any noise which is something I do whenever I cry so hard that I’m afraid I’m going to sob

M asked me what was making me so sad and when I calmed down I told him I didn’t really know but what he said didn’t help.  He asked me in what sense didn’t it help,  I didn’t really know why or what I meant and this is where I usually look at the clock and see how many minutes are left in the session.  I end of feeling like it is taking to long for me to figure out what he is asking and then I start feeling bad about how much time I’m wasting so I cry more and then I shut down until the session ends.  Since  knew we were having a 1.5 hour session, I don’t remember even looking at the clock and instead I kept talking even though I didn’t know what I was going to say or if it would make any sense.  I told him that I felt like I was asking him a question and either I couldn’t ask it correctly or I couldn’t understand his answer because I just felt so frustrated and sad about our conversation.  It was like I was looking for some kind of proof and I couldn’t get it and that it felt like what he was saying was kind of unrelated to me.

After a long pause, M said “that I care about the pain you are in seems unrelated to you” in a very interested way and even I could hear how odd that sounds but I told him that was true.  Then I said maybe it didn’t feel  personal because I didn’t understand why he cares.  M asked me if I thought I had to do something for him to care and I didn’t even try to answer.  Then he told me thought I was expressing a very basic feeling that it isn’t enough to be cared about because there is something that fundamentally doubts that I am worthy of being cared about.  That made things feel impossible because I desperately want to be cared about and I can’t be cared about.  It felt terrible and I told M that.  M said he didn’t think I couldn’t be cared about but being cared about came with so much doubt for me and I spent so much time looking for proof or for something to make the caring seem real and understandable and that it sucked that it was so elusive for.  I was covering my face and crying and M voice started to go weird like he was having trouble breathing or talking properly.  Then I dried my tears and told M about the dream.

I left the session feeling exhausted and sad but thinking I had made some progress initially but it didn’t take long for me to feel differently.  I started feeling like I wanted M to say that he cared and he had avoided saying it as usual.  Then I listened to my recording of the session tonight and I think he did say it but I keep forgetting.

Exhausted and almost numb except for the ache in my chest

Tonight I had an 1.5 hour session with M. He asked me if I could come an hour earlier tonight because he had a cancellation and I agreed and asked if we could have a longer session. I was sure he would say no but he said we could. Instantly I felt anxious, what if it was one of those sessions where I couldn’t speak? How long would it feel? How much crying could I take? I had a lot to talk about.

I saw a webinar by Dr. Janina Fisher on Shame and Self-Loathing in the Treatment of Trauma last week that gave me lots to think about. I had tried to talk to M about it and eventually asked if he would watch it. He suggested we watch it together and then discuss it which felt too difficult. There was a lot of things she suggested in the video that are very different from how M does therapy. I think the approach she discussed would be helpful but it seems wrong to ask M to change how he does things so it felt difficult to watch the video with him. Even so I went tonight with my laptop which has the webinar stored on it in case we decided to watch it. I also spent a couple hours making notes from the 50 minute presentation and summarizing them in an easy to read format so we could discuss what I found interesting. I always prepare for my sessions which doesn’t seem to matter when I sit down and find myself confused and frozen, struggling to say anything at all.

After a difficult start in which I told him I didn’t know if I wanted to watch the video and I didn’t know what to talk about. Finally I asked M what he thought I should talk about which caused him to laugh out loud because there is no shortage of things to talk about and I know he won’t choose a topic for me. Eventually M told me that I have been stuck in the same place for awhile. I can’t seem to talk about anything that is important to me except to mention it. I am frequently frustrated with him, how he responds, or what he does. I keep telling him that therapy is too hard for me, that it is torturous and I need to find a way to make it more manageable. Finally he said what I’ve been dreading even while I’ve been marshaling the arguments to support it. He said if there was something about him, how he thought or spoke, or that he couldn’t give me the support I wanted and needed, then I should find someone else to work with because I shouldn’t be muzzled.

We kept talking. I asked if he had made a decision about stopping therapy and he said NO he hadn’t. I asked him why he asked to watch the video if he was going to talk about me finding a new therapist. He said that this was my agenda and he was talking about it because I had been talking about it or around it for months. He is right I have been but I kept hoping that he would be able to help me through this impasse and being angry at him that he couldn’t. We discussed how much I prepare because I’m trying to do therapy right so he won’t leave me and how scared I am that I’m failing. As gently as he could he told me that I couldn’t actually control what would happen in a session by preparing and planning for it. He said therapy, like life is something that can’t be controlled and that trying to control it and failing left me feeling more vulnerable.

We agreed that when we met next Monday we would talk more about how and why I try to control and contain things (him, my emotions, my speech, my reactions) in therapy. I don’t know if I can and what if I try, really try and still can’t?

So much anger directed at me

M cancelled my session today because of bad weather. I suspected he would but I was still upset when I got his email. I wanted to talk to him about wanting him to respond to something I say and then when he doesn’t respond feeling like I have to stop talking about it. What I didn’t want to talk about was my conversations with my eldest daughter over the last couple of days but we had another painful one tonight.

Four days ago my 16-year-old told me she wanted to talk to me about something. She started by telling me she wasn’t going to university after high school (she just finished a week of exams) and I wasn’t thrilled to hear that especially since she doesn’t seem to have any plan at all. I thought that was what she wanted to discuss but actually that was just her warm up topic.

She tried to stay calm but eventually yelling at me that she was so angry at me that I was overweight and unhealthy (I am morbidly obese and have some physical limitations because of it.) She told me she is afraid I’m going to die young and that isn’t fair to her and it makes her so angry that I won’t even try to lose weight (and I feel like I try to fail at losing weight everyday.) It was painful having her attack me at my weakest point and I struggled to accept her feelings. I told her I knew she loved me and that I accepted and understood that she was angry at me. Then she got more upset because the fact that I accepted her anger made it even worse because I clearly wasn’t going to change how I ate. I told her that It was a complex issue that wasn’t going to be amenable to an easy fix. She says she knew that but she was still angry that I didn’t care about her feelings enough to change. It was a difficult conversation but I thought we weathered it together.

The next night we started discussing my eating and exercise habits and how they developed in my childhood. I hoped sharing with her some of my difficulties would help her understand me and hopefully defuse some of her anger. I talked about my parents incredibly critical attitude where they had me convinced I was fat in the second grade. I stopped taking or eating lunch at school in grade 4 and they didn’t notice. We talked about how my parents but their sons in all kinds of sports but not their daughters. These things weren’t new to her (she has had her own experiences with my parents judgement) but I was trying to describe how events in my life have impacted my view of myself and my eating habits. I was struggling because my daughter knows that my parents were neglectful in many ways but not about any overt abuse.

While I considered what or how much I could say, my daughter surprised me by asking me outright if I had been molested as a child. I didn’t consider lying and just said yes. She was surprised even though she had asked the question. I told her I wouldn’t tell her any details but that the perpetrator was someone who was part of my large family and that I saw throughout my life. I also told her that I had told my parents when I was 14 and they had never mentioned it again and we all continued on like I had never said anything. I don’t think my abuser knows I told my parents and they certainly continued treating him and me the same. I managed not to cry and the conversation moved on to other things that happened in my childhood and early adulthood. After I worried that I might have made a mistake telling my daughter.

Tonight my daughter asked me if she could ask me more questions about the abuse although she knew I might not be willing to answer them. I agreed. She started by asking me if anyone else in my family was molested and I told her I wasn’t comfortable telling her other people’s stories but I told her I thought I was the only person who had been abused that way for years. Then she told me that she didn’t understand why I still talked to my parents. She got really angry asking why I didn’t cut them off when I was an adult, how I could keep seeing them, that what they did (ignoring what I told them) was so wrong she didn’t think there is any grey area. They aren’t good people and why in the world would I continue a relationship with them. I know she was angry at them on my behalf but fairly quickly she also got angry at me for not cutting them off. I tried to explain my attempts to maintain a relationship with all the members of my family but she couldn’t understand. She kept asking me if I knew it was wrong and that came close to asking me what was wrong with me that I could keep seeing them. It was so hard because while I do know my parents were not good parents, I am still not comfortable with so much anger expressed towards them. I feel like no matter what happens my daughter is angry at me. Eventually I told her I was sorry I told her and that made her furious and she called me a bitch because she was glad she knew and it explained so much of her life but she just needed to understand why I didn’t cut them off. Eventually I had to tell her I didn’t have an explanation that would satisfy her because it was such a black and white thing for her that she couldn’t imagine my position.

I’m afraid that I’ve hurt my daughter more than enlightened her and I don’t know what more I can say.

My father calls

I have had a draft of this post I’ve been working on for weeks so I apologize in advance for its length and any mistakes I haven’t found.

The week before Christmas my son handed me the phone and my father said “it’s me, Dad”. I can’t remember him calling me before. Once he called me because he had an episode and couldn’t remember where my mother was or what he was doing alone in the house but I have no other memories of him calling. For much of my adulthood we spoke only when I called my parents house and my mother wasn’t home so my father would take the opportunity to talk to me. Those conversations happened less frequently over the last seven years as I’ve distanced myself from my FOO so I call my mother less often and I share less of my life with either of my parents. He asked me if I remember the conversation we had last spring. I said “I thought you would never mention it again.” Now I need to give some history but rather than go back to our conversation last spring I’ll start earlier.

My childhood

I was sexually abused by two older male family members. They lived with my family and were over ten years older than me. I should make it clear that they didn’t know about each other. They both abused me separately. The abuse started when I was very young and I think ended by the time I was 10 but I’m not sure because I don’t remember much clearly, a few specific incidents that happened in my bedroom or the bathroom. Memories that are like snapshots with no beginning or end just flashes. During my childhood I told nobody what was happening. I was sure it was all my fault and I was to blame. I had a lot of fears as a child. I was afraid of the dark, I had nightmares. I frustrated my parents and my older siblings (I am the fifth of my parents six children).

My teens

When I was 14 years old one of my abusers moved to the city my family were living in and my parents invited him to stay with us until he got settled. It was very difficult. I was struggling with being a teenager, trying to figure out how to be like everyone else when I felt disgusting and my parents were overly controlling. I wasn’t allowed to have any money, go to stores, go out in groups with boys (certainly not individually). They didn’t trust me which added to my guilt. It is ironic that they paid so little attention to me as a child and didn’t have the slightest clue what was happening under their noses but once I passed the age of 13, they were prison wardens. Those rules didn’t apply to family members though. So I spent several months trying to juggle all these different things. My family member might pick me up after school and take me out for a ride or a movie. One night he showed me my first porn movie. Eventually he told me that what had happened between us when I was little (4 or 5 by his memory) would never have happened with anyone else because I started it. He said I was special and he loved me and he hadn’t found anyone else to love like that in his life. It was overwhelming. I was 14 and he was almost 30. I felt so guilty, look what I had made him do. I was confused by his confession and things got even more confusing when he stopped talking to me after and focused all his attention on my younger sister.

Eventually, I told my parents. It wasn’t planned. It happened because another family member told about being abused by a different family member and that is when I learned that I wasn’t the only one this had happened to. My family was filled with offenders and victims and there were hidden layers that I had not glimpsed before. When I told them my father was upset and hugged me and my mother had no reaction. My father asked me why I hadn’t told him before because he was worried when my relative started spending so much time with my younger sister and stopped talking to me. I told him I never left them alone. I asked if I could see someone so I could get help (I was thinking a therapist) and my father said yes we would get help. We went to sleep and when I woke up it was like I had never said anything. We continued to see those family members. I waited for my father to bring it up but he never did. I went to their weddings and celebrated holidays with them. My mother continued to treat me like I couldn’t be trusted. After about a year I admitted they were never going to help me and I was furious but I couldn’t do anything because I was still under their complete control.

As an adult

There is no way to summarize what happened when I was an adult. If you have experienced something like it you can imagine. I was furious but couldn’t admit it because my parents have always told me how much they loved me and how perfect our family is. If I didn’t come home for every family dinner, or didn’t call home enough, or didn’t listen to them, then they were disappointed and made sure I knew it. I tried to put it behind me because it was all over a long time ago. I knew what had happened. I knew they couldn’t deal with it but there was no point in still being angry about it because I was an adult and I could take care of myself. I got married, had three children, remained close to my family. I had occasional fights with my parents where I got angry at how they told me what to do, how to parent my children, and my mother would cry because she had to tell me what to do because she loved me so much. Fighting with them didn’t help, they didn’t change how they behaved and I couldn’t stay away from them without feeling very guilty.

I started therapy at 38. My presenting issue was my weight. I was morbidly obese and I couldn’t control me eating. My parents had been telling me my whole life how unhealthy I was, how I overate, how I was lazy and didn’t exercise like my siblings. When I was pregnant my father told me I was hurting my children by bringing them into the world with such an unhealthy and damaging environment (he meant my obese body). I told M about the abuse when he took my history. I told him I was over it and it didn’t affect me. I said bad things happened to lots of people and this was mine but it was in my past, not my present or future. It might have been believable if I hadn’t broken down into uncontrollable tears during that speech. It was the first time I had talked about the abuse in decades. I went home that night and sat in bed crying, while my entire body shook.

When I was 40 my eldest child (a girl) graduated from middle school. When she excitedly showed my parents her dress, my father told her it looked like it was too small for her and she would have to avoid all sugar and treats until after graduation. At the graduation, my mother spent 15 minutes before the ceremony telling me how fat I looked in my dress, asking if I had gained weight, and acting like she didn’t believe me when I said no. I decided I had to confront my parents and tell them they weren’t allowed to comment on the weight or appearance of me or my children. It lead to a huge fight. Why was I so sensitive? couldn’t I hear some advice? that is just how people their age and nationality talk about appearance, it isn’t insulting. When I wouldn’t back down my mother switched tactics and started to cry and tell me how much she loved me and she was sorry for anything she had ever done that had upset me or I had been hurt by because that was never her intention and how could I believe that of her. That fight led to individual phone conversations with each of them later on.

During those conversations I told them I was angry at them for doing nothing about the abuse when I had told them about it 25 years ago. My mother said “what do you want me to do? say sorry?” and then explained there was nothing to do because the abuse was over by the time I told them. My father told me that I didn’t understand how complicated and difficult it was for him because the family members were my mothers’ family and not his. He told me he didn’t know what to do and that I hadn’t told him when I was a child. I was glad I told them I was angry but their response was all about them still.

Last spring

It has been 2.5 years since I spoke about the abuse on the phone and we’ve never mentioned it again. I’m talking to my father (on the phone again) about my asthma and he starts to explain how it is caused by my obesity and how I became obese because of my eating as a child. I disagree with his story and tell him so. He gets angry and tells me that if I were a reasonable person I would listen to what he says. I get so angry I see red and I tell him he doesn’t get to call me unreasonable. He doesn’t get to tell me what I do wrong as a parent or a person. As far as I’m concerned he failed me by doing nothing about the abuse and so I don’t want to hear his opinion about anything. I say he lost the right to speak to me like he knew better than me when he did nothing to help me as a child. He says I didn’t know what was happening when you were a child. I say I was still a child at 14. You were the adult and you found it difficult. Imagine how much harder it was for me. My father switches and says he doesn’t know what he can do to help me but he is willing to meet me to discuss the abuse in my childhood “once and for all”. He doesn’t know what good it would do but he will do it. I am surprised and tell him we should discuss it in the future. Then I didn’t hear from him until just before Christmas.

Back to the present call

My father says I’ve been thinking about our conversation last spring and I want to set a date to meet to discuss it. I don’t know how it will help or how we could meet. I ask him if he is calling because my mother isn’t home. He says yes and I realize that if we have this conversation we have to do it without letting my mother know about it. He starts to get emotional and talks about how he is getting older and he doesn’t know how much time he has and he doesn’t want to leave this unfinished between us. A lot of different things go through my mind, like did he find out he is sick, why is he asking now? I have to leave the room because I am sitting with my three kids at the beginning of this conversation so I start to head for some privacy and by the time I get to my own room the conversation has switched.

Now my father is telling me about his life. He is talking about his young adulthood when he went away to school and wasn’t married. He talks about his childhood in another country. He tells me how unhappy he is because he has nothing to do and my mother won’t do anything he wants to do. They usually go away every winter but she won’t go where he wants to go. She has turned down three ideas and he is miserable. He talks for 45 min with me saying very little. I’m trying to figure out how this went to talking about me and my pain into his memories. I’m torn between feeling angry that he seems to have forgotten me as he talks on and on without even needing me to say anything and feeling sorry for him. When he first said he wanted to talk about my childhood there was a part of me that was so happy it was like I was finally getting my heart’s desire. Another part of me was so worried that he was upset and worried about dying. I wanted to tell him it was okay, I was okay and we didn’t have to talk about anything about him. Then I was angry that he was ignoring me again. It was so disorienting, like on of those funhouses where the floor isn’t flat and you can’t seem to walk.

I managed to ask him if he was worried about his health or had received bad news and he said no but at his age it could happen any time. I suggested that he write some memoirs while he was stuck here for the winter because it was something he could do without my mother’s permission or help. Then I started to get off the phone. He said he would like me to make time to meet with him in January because it would have to be after the holidays. Only after the call did I realize that he had managed to dig up this just in time for our huge family gathering where we would all pretend to be happy and nothing bad has ever happened. It wasn’t easy. Now I’m avoiding answering the phone because I’m not sure what I want to say.

I feel like a little girl

Last Monday I had a session with M that was so upsetting. Near the end I begged M to get to make his point. He said he didn’t have a point. Then I accused him of trying to drive me crazy and I meant it. I felt like I was on the edge of an abyss and he kept pushing me closer and closer to the edge. I think he was frustrated because I wasn’t able to hear what he was trying to say. He apologized for how difficult the session was at the end and I said it didn’t do me any good that he was sorry. It was incredibly painful and since that session I have felt exhausted. I’ve seen him three times since then and each time the session starts okay and at some point I become so sad. I’ve been trying to tell M why I am so sad but I don’t think he understands.

The session after the terrible session I told him some of the things I’ve been trying to tell him about how I felt about him touching my arm and me telling him that I love him. I felt like I said a lot of the things that I’ve been struggling with lately and that was a good thing. Then a few days later I listened to my recording of the terrible session and it felt like I was listening to somebody else. Usually when I listen to a session a few days after it, hearing it brings all the feelings and thoughts I had during the session back to mind. It gives me a chance to journal about things that I didn’t talk about. This session wasn’t like that at all. I knew it was my voice but I couldn’t remember what I was feeling and I couldn’t understand why I was so upset. I could hear in my voice the absolute desperation I felt. I could hear how angry I was at M when I was accusing him of driving me crazy but I couldn’t figure out why I felt like that. I don’t feel like the me that listened to the session 5 days later or who has been trying to talk to M about it is the same me who was in that session.

Trying to talk to M about the different “me’s” and how awful it sounded to hear the me who was so desperate and frightened. I don’t feel like M knows what to do next in therapy. He wants to understand what was so upsetting in that session and so he is asking me lots of questions but I don’t know why I was so upset. I can’t explain something to him that I can’t understand myself. I think that is why I am so sad. I’m afraid that I’m going to be stuck in the me that is in so much pain and makes no sense. I’m afraid that M doesn’t know how to help that me because he can only talk to the me that answers questions and can talk to him. I told M that at the start of the terrible session I had things I wanted to talk about (the touch and the I love you) and he kept talking about something I didn’t understand and so I wanted him to get to the point. He wondered if that was what triggered me, feeling like he was monopolizing my time and preventing me from talking about things that were vital and important. When he said that I just went silent again because my instantaneous, gut reaction was I don’t know what is vital and important. Eventually I told him that I could own that there were things I wanted to talk about but I couldn’t say that they were vital and important. He told me that they were vital and important because I wanted to talk about them. To him it was that simple. I wish the child in me could believe it.

It is so hard to write

I realized that I haven’t written a post in a week. I wrote a quick post last monday after my session and planned to come back and describe more about the memory that is haunting me right now. I haven’t because it is too hard to write about what is going on for me now. Just like it is too hard to talk to M about it. I spent my second session last week feeling frustrated that M didn’t recognize how much despair I feel because we keep having terrible sessions where we can’t talk about my memories and what they mean. He quickly started asking me questions trying to get at the memory and I felt like he hadn’t heard me. Of course he had heard me but he doesn’t think that we can’t have the conversation about my memory just that we haven’t had it yet so he was trying a different way to discuss it. After 40 minutes I got so frustrated I just told him what I was thinking and why I wanted to remember more of what happened even while I was at the same time being afraid to remember more. I said I don’t think any conversation can help me with this and he said he didn’t know either. Then he was quiet and thoughtful. I changed the subject and told him a story about my son to make us both laugh before the end of the session. I am going back this afternoon and I don’t know what comes next. What I am facing: my health, my memories, my fears about what might have happened; none of them are going to change if I talk to M about them. He doesn’t have any magic words and usually he doesn’t have many words at all. It is so hard to open up and then if you don’t even think it can help you it seems incredibly stupid to open up at all.