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You can come back now

OK, I’ve officially had enough of BN being gone. I’ve got 10 days left to go (so 25 down, you would think that, at least, would feel like an accomplishment) and it stretches before me as an impassable eternity (no hyperbole there, nope! :) ).  The last seven or eight months we’ve been doing so much work around shame, and I did not realize just how important it has been to be able to go see BN and be in a safe place where I could, however painfully and hesitatingly, speak about the shame I was feeling. It provided a regular pressure ‘bleed off” so that things did not hit critical mass. Continue Reading

‘Tis the Season: Strategies for coping with a therapist’s absence – Part II

This is the second part of a two part series; the first part is ‘Tis the Season – Part I.

We’re discussing strategies for helping us to get through our breaks in therapy (of any length!). We left off at journaling  and the strategies are continued below. Continue Reading

‘Tis the Season: Strategies for coping with a therapist’s absence – Part I

This is the first part of a two part series. (It got a little long! :) ) Life has settled down considerably but- of course- I am now working six day weeks because of a very demanding release going out the end of the summer. So I am re-engaging but would appreciate patience with my response times to comments and emails. But it’s really good to be back, I’ve missed everyone! Thank you all so much for you’re understanding and support while I have been away. Continue Reading

Nothing wrong all along

April 28, 2014 17 comments

Ann left a comment on my last post:

AG, if you don’t mind sharing, what exactly helped you recognize that BN was totally comfortable with your relationship with him?

Instead of answering in the comments, I thought I’d write a post about my last session instead. So my thanks to Ann for providing inspiration. :)

I know I have been speaking about my work with shame recently, but in some ways my work has always been about shame. BN and I have recognized a pattern, often discussed, since the beginning of my work with him. I was worried I had manipulated my way into working with him (which is actually pretty funny in retrospect as manipulating BN would take someone a lot smarter than me :) ), that I had no right to be there, that I had been there too long, that I was too much and too demanding, that I was too dependent and too needy. I’m sure you’re catching a theme here. I found reason after reason why I shouldn’t be seeing BN. Continue Reading

Wanted, not needed, to go

Greetings dear readers,
First I want to say thank you to all of you who commented and read my last post (Therapy isn’t enough Redux) and all the support you offered. There was a lot of very wise insight offered, along with a lot of love and compassion, that helped me get through a very difficult passage. It was through reading all of your comments that I was able to go through the process of understanding my feelings and what was going on and through your support that I found the strength.

I had actually talked on the phone with a good friend of mine who had gently asked how I was feeling about my previous session? She has known me a long time and witnessed my many creative attempts to flee from BN, right after I had allowed myself to move closer and the intimacy to grow deeper. She pointed out that I had felt very close to BN and deeply cared for and in that past, that usually scared me. Evidently that dynamic is still alive and kickin’ and predictable. :) Continue Reading

Therapy isn’t enough Redux

March 25, 2014 86 comments

Greetings dear readers,
I am in the midst of a disruption, probably unknown to BN, of my own making and struggling with what to do. It is forcing me to re-examine my role in therapy and what I am trying to accomplish, and therefore, how I should proceed. I am writing this post to try and sort through my beliefs and feelings and see the best way forward. I would appreciate any feedback or perspectives that anyone wants to offer.

I had gotten very triggered by an event last week, that I took into my session last Friday. The event had triggered some very deep feelings – the early, primitive, inchoate, supremely disorganizing kind – which I wished to explore and understand in therapy. We did really good work. I was able to stay with the feeling without dissociating and put some words to what was going on (a deep-seated, primitive terror of abandonment as it turns out). BN was very connected and very encouraging and made clear, in a fair amount of detail, how well I had faced and handled the triggering event and had dealt with the feelings coming up. That he knew they were difficult to allow into consciousness and tolerate, but that I was doing really well with that and he saw improvements in a lot of areas. The session, while brutal, hugely increased my understanding of the dynamics involved and really helped reduce the pain and anxiety created by the trigger. I had a very deep sense of BN’s compassion and his approbation. Continue Reading

Reliving the Shame

September 24, 2013 38 comments

I just had a deep insight into shame (which I suspect is going to sound D’oh when I say it) that I want to write down before I forget. I have been doing some rather intense work in therapy lately, which I will eventually talk about when I can find words. It has centered around my feelings about my body, my hatred of my body, the deep shame that I try to make about my body but which is actually about me, all of me (ironically enough since part of the work is accepting that my body IS part of me). Continue Reading

Coping with Grief and Abandonment Part II

September 12, 2013 24 comments

This is the second post in a two-part series on Grief and Abandonment, see Coping with Grief and Abandonment Part I.

I’m sure it will not surprise any regular reader of this blog to realize that BN was a huge part of how I coped, even between appointments. BN has a very generous contact policy, I am allowed to call him 24/7 including when he is on vacation. If I leave an emergency message with his service, he calls back within an hour. If he is on vacation and doesn’t answer the service in a certain amount f time, his backup (a wonderful, warm, empathic man) calls back, but always offers to have BN also call; it’s just a longer wait than usual. (I have higher standards for contacting him when he is on vacation but have done it. Earliest I have ever called is 8 AM and the latest is 10:30 PM although BN has made it clear that 2 in the morning is ok if I need). We very rarely do any processing during phone calls but when the grief threatened to overwhelm me, or the fears that BN would also abandon me, would rise up, then  a short phone call would help to ground and reconnect me. Most of mine are under three minutes and it’s not unusual to keep it under one minute. BN once referred to my “patented one minute phone calls” when I was worried about calling too much. :) Often it wasn’t what he said but just the sound of his voice and experiencing that he was there that would do the trick. Continue Reading

Coping with Grief and Abandonment Part I

September 10, 2013 18 comments

GE asked the question below on the Ask AG page:

im wondering if you are wiling to share some of the strategies you used to cope with grief and abandonment feelings when things got rough during your recovery.

As I said in reply over there, this is an excellent question. Since I see grieving our losses as being at the heart of our healing, we should probably learn how to grieve, right? I have been grieving, one way or another, for a large part of my time in therapy, so this might turn out to be a bit of a laundry list, but I am hoping that everyone might find something that they can use in their own journey. Continue Reading

The Repair Part II

August 18, 2013 19 comments

This is the second part of a two-part series, for the first part see The Repair Part I.

I ended the last post having just done a bang up job of expressing my anger at BN. I told him that it had felt good to just let rip with that, but it also felt very wrong. He told me that it was really ok I was angry at him, that my anger was real and it was safe to express it, that it was important for me to learn that being angry didn’t mean that I couldn’t appreciate and value the relationship nor would I destroy it. When he said that I became conscious of a very deep fear. I sucked in some air and told BN that I needed to ask him something. Would he be able to hang onto that for me? He asked me what I wanted him to hang on to. I told him I needed him to remember that all of the gratitude and respect I had expressed for him weren’t gone even though I was so angry. In one of the most powerful moments in the session (which is saying a lot, trust me), he looked straight at me and said “AG, it never even crossed my mind to think that. “ Cue waterfalls. I seriously started sobbing in relief. I told him I had been so scared that I had lost him. He told me that I could not lose him, he was right there.

Continue Reading