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Re-assessing

Posted by Qrious , 05 August 2014 · 44 views

I'm hoping I'm not the only one reassessing after today's T session.

I managed to bring up trust, and my lack of it. He was straight in with the 'how do you feel about the trust between us?' Ts. So needy-sounding, so predictable. Anyway. He hadn't done this in a while, a blissful absence of conversations about our relationship, so I tried not to eye roll while he shared that building trust had been difficult for us both - I do appreciate that I am very guarded and he at least labelled my passive aggressiveness as a coping strategy, rather than focusing too much on how miserable it made him feel.

Hopefully he didn't take my reply to the next question as more of the same.
T: So how do you think you are with trusting me now?
Me: Talking is easy when there is a finite number of sessions left, a clear deadline... Four weeks ago you hadn't shaved, and the week after you seemed shaken and confused days of the week.
T: yes. I was having a tough time, going through some personal issues.
Me (nodding): it was worrying. So that's how trusting I am. I was worried.

Does that sound like a massive non-sequitur? Starting exposure therapy while watching your T start to crumble... Not good. And as I had already told him, I've built myself a to-do list of all the stuff that isn't on the five-more-sessions-of-therapy list. Formidable, as I described it, forward-looking, mine. Yep, he asked to see it, yep, I said no. But in my ham-fisted, ungainly way, I think I managed to get across that I'm trying to not lean too hard, because I see, and I worry.

I then managed to divide 'trust', which I can sort of do, sharing 'secrets' with him, and needing 'which I would rather walk barefoot through a box of rattlesnakes than do'. So a fair way to go, then!

Reassessment no 2 is multi faceted. My husband finally said he 'would do anything to make [me] better', so I bought him a book, 'When someone you love has PTSD'. Then got increasingly angry when, true to form, he failed to read it. We talked about this, eventually, he started to read, then on the first day, held my hand and cried. Really cried. I have never seen that. He cried, and talked.

Today, he asked me if I thought his mother - fainted in her living room, broke neck, now years later tetraplegic, widowed a month after fall while still completely paralysed, suicidal, has panic attacks, has clearly described dissociation to me - has PTSD. Yep, thinking so. It had occurred to me, I'm just not in a place to try to help.

I then shared something that occurred to me about my father. How incredibly stressful a major heart attack at 35 must have been. How he never got any help with that trauma, or living with the threat of early death. How when he had an affair with a woman who had had cancer and understood that a little better... I really wish I had been older and better able to understand that when he talked to me about it, and to show compassion.

My husband then made this spot on observation, that that must have been really important for my dad, as he could imagine my mother's reaction:

Dad: I almost died
Mum: think how awful that would have been for me!
Dad: I was really frightened; I still am
Mum: think how awful that would be for me. I would have no money. What would I do? It would be too awful for me.

Sadly, he is spot on about my mother, who is, as I told my T, one of the two things that make me feel close to suicidal. Spot on. SPOT ON.

What I wonder now... My T has suggested my dad was a narcissist. I wonder... Maybe he was struggling. Maybe the controllingness, the rages, maybe they were PTSD too?

Sigh. The other thing we discussed in my (very busy) T session was my tendency to get into abusive relationships, touching on my way of acting the apologist for their bad behaviour. And this is how I trap myself in my own knots... Right now, with my dad, am I understanding or condoning? Does the first of those excuse abuse, does the second justify a fear of being kind and making allowances for people?

Knotty knotty knot knots. Someone lend me a sword...



Q,

I am NOT surprised you have struggled with trusting your T. How can you if he admits to struggling with personal issues during his time with you? Not wanting to be harsh, but really, his struggles? So NOT your problem.

When someone has had a childhood trauma that has made them mature sooner than they should have, the first thing that happens in therapy is that you automatically look to take care of the therapist. My T took a while to figure out that I was manipulating her to talk about HER worries. Her husbands health issues. Because it meant I could hide. I admitted- as you did- that I was worried about HER state of mind, HER health. The second she cottoned onto this she stopped my deflective questioning. She skilfully let me know that she had realised what I was doing and that my sessions were to be about ME, not her.

Bummer.

I wish your T had done the same. I can understand that any thought of progressing further in your current situation would- in my opinion- now feel intolerable. Time to wrap up, take stock, and look for pastures new me thinks.

On another level- OH. Wow. That is wonderful. That he connected on an emotional level. That he was willing- despite his resistance- to read the book. He must have been very fearful- and he overcame that fear. For you. Also interesting that he had his eyes opened re: his mum.

As for your parents. Hmmm. I would change my opinion on the new info you have given. Clearly your mum was VERY dependant on your dad. Narcissistically so. Never about him, but rather what he could do for her. Makes you wonder about her own upbringing........

Thanks for a wonderful, thought provoking blog. There is so much emotional honesty and insight in your writing. You are no longer hiding in the shadows. Rather true you is starting to step out. And it is wonderful and heartwarming to see.

:hug:

Miranda
:hug:

I then managed to divide 'trust', which I can sort of do, sharing 'secrets' with him, and needing 'which I would rather walk barefoot through a box of rattlesnakes than do'.

 

Thanks for this - very helpful.  I DO think there is a distinction, although yesterday I was tending to think of them as a therapeutic package deal.


I then managed to divide 'trust', which I can sort of do, sharing 'secrets' with him, and needing 'which I would rather walk barefoot through a box of rattlesnakes than do'.

 
Thanks for this - very helpful.  I DO think there is a distinction, although yesterday I was tending to think of them as a therapeutic package deal.


Thank you for sharing that - I was wondering whether I was trying to re-define language, whether it was a bit mental of me to separate. Good to know it doesn't sound too crazy!

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