I have done a lot of thinking since my therapy session on Monday. I still agree that what is happening with my therapist is good for me, but now I am realizing how angry I am. Anger is a hard emotion for me. I often don't let myself feel it. The past four days I have not only been feeling it, but taking it to that unhealthy place where I ruminate about what I'm going to do with it. I realize that going into my next session yelling and accusing is not going to be the most beneficial way to deal with it. I also know that ignoring it and attempting to just "see what happens" is not healthy either.
So here I am caught in my dilemma: do I go in, guns blazing, asking my therapist the various series of questions I have or do I sit back and see what happens? And if neither of those is truly effective, what's the middle ground? Before I really dive into my options, let's look at what's bothering me:
Why is my therapist so caught up on my ER visits?
Last session was the third time since the beginning of February that my therapist has asked my opinion of why I was in the ER so often in the beginning of the year. I get that maybe some of those visits weren't necessary, but I don't get why she is so hung-up on them. I have trouble asking for help and when I do decide I need help it's normally because I have decided I'm in crisis. So this is something I need to work on. I realize now that a lot of the pain I was feeling was from flashbacks of being abused, but acknowledging those flashbacks is hard and being in the moment to realize that the pain is a muscle memory is even harder. I still don't know what ER visits were for "real" problems and what were for psychosomatic issues. I'm embarrassed by this self-perceived flaw of mine. So I'm not thrilled to have it pointed out several times by my therapist.
Why am I suddenly hearing a lot of "what do you think? what do you need?"
Granted, my therapist has always been the one to push me when I try to delve into hard topics. Never before have I experienced her using the "what do you think" clichè as a first line of defense. Normally she'll have a quiet moment of thought then either ask me questions for clarification or explore the topic with me. Suddenly I find myself bombarded with these questions. I wonder if on some level she is just so exasperated that it's hard for her to hear the same questions from me over and over again. I also wonder if she is struggling with the idea of continuing therapy with me. I know it's hard to hear me say "I want to change" over and over again just to see me end up inpatient or attempting suicide or hurting myself over and over again. It's been almost ten years of this off and on and I'm tired of it, so I can't even imagine how she feels. However, I do feel I have the right to be taken seriously if she has decided to keep me as a client. It may be hard, it may be exhausting, but I am STILL her client and I STILL deserve to be treated as such. I'm not the friend who keeps coming back with the same crisis, I'm a patient who is having a very hard time accepting what getting better means and who needs help facing the fact that I deserve to get better.
Why is it that I felt slightly attacked last session?
Perhaps it's my own interpretation. More than likely it probably is. But I still felt that during my last session my therapist was definitely frustrated with me and my crisis. She was trying to make several points and attempting to distance herself from me (or so I feel), but in doing so I felt I was being punished and shamed for what I did. I know it wasn't right. I know I definitely made several mistakes that must have had a severe impact on her, but she made the choice to keep working with me.
What this all boils down to is a series of things that I have to address with my therapist. I need to do so in calm manner and express myself, but I can't disconnect the way I normally do when addressing problems with the working relationship we have. It makes me uncomfortable to confront her, but I know that in order for me to keep making progress I have to do this. I know my best bet is to be upfront with her as soon as the session starts. Let her know what I feel about the last session and give her a chance to process with me what happened. After all, she is human and has feelings too. On the same note, she's my therapist and I deserve to have therapy cater to my needs.
It is very hard to even acknowledge this anger. I fret that I feel slighted just because I'm embarrassed. I fear that I took everything in the wrong manner. I seriously am afraid I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. In the face of all of this, I realize that these might be true but I'm still angry. And there's the dialectic. I have every right to feel angry, but I have to choose to be effective with it and not destructive. It seems the time has come for me to acknowledge, feel, and deal with anger rather than pushing it down like I normally would. This is the first test in bringing my true self into the therapy room: allowing my anger to be there and address it rather than deflecting with something positive that has happened.
Seems that my life is no longer made of baby steps, but long adult strides that must continue at an even pace.