The Beginning Part II
For the beginning of this story, please see The Beginning Part I.
So when I left off, I was going to see BN alone, to tell him about my growing feelings for him. Did I mention the insanely scared part? I managed to explain to him that I was experiencing strong feelings of attraction that were really confusing me and told him about the articles which recommended taking these feelings to your therapist. I shared how his understanding and accepting me were so appealing, that I felt less alone than I had in a long time. BN was amazing (I was still capable of being surprised by that at this point in our relationship :)). He told me that he thought I was very brave to come and speak to him, that he was glad I was experiencing such a strong sense of being connected and that all of my feelings, no matter what they were, were acceptable and welcome in his office. Then he reassured me that he had the boundaries and nothing inappropriate would happen so it was safe to explore these feelings.
I almost fell off the loveseat I was sitting on. Then I burst out into very noisy tears of sheer relief that I wasn’t being sent away. It was such a weird experience because he was MUCH calmer and incredibly more accepting of my feelings than I was. So when we finished the session, I thought we were done with that. Ah, naiveté, your name is Attachment Girl. 🙂
I did tell my husband the next morning about why I had gone to see BN and about my feelings for him. Because of his own history, my husband was very understanding. I have deeply appreciated that through this whole process, which has now extended into years, my husband has been patient and understanding and accepting of my feelings. At times, as you’ll see, all three of us have discussed the dynamic, with BN paying close attention to any sign of my husband feeling threatened. May I say, that there’s nothing quite like your therapist discussing your feelings of attraction for him with your husband that makes it crystal clear nothing will happen. Which was healing in and of itself as there was no sense of the “secret” as there had been surrounding the incest with my father. It was part of the contrast, and a very powerful part, between then and now.
So I figured that was that. But my subconscious had different ideas. A few days later, I had a really intense dream, which led to recovery of a bad abuse memory. I really needed to process the memory and talk about the feelings but had nowhere to go. So I went back to my husband, explained the situation and asked for permission to see BN just ONE more time for help. Which my husband was fine with (things were much better between us at this point). I went to see BN and we had a good session. So once again, I figured I was done. Which was a relief, because I was starting to feel guilty because I had agreed not to see BN, but here I was grabbing the odd appointment. But at the same time, it was getting increasingly more difficult, because whatever I took to him, he helped me to understand and feel better. I loved having one on one time with him and had started counting the minutes between sessions. And my husband and I only went every two to three weeks, which was starting to feel like an eternity every time I faced that gap. I was feeling guilty about how much I really did want to be able to keep going to him for individual therapy.
But each time I went, it seems something else surfaced and I needed help with it. Reflecting later, I realize that this was the beginning of the “I really want to get closer to you, but as soon as I move closer I need to run!!!!” dynamic showing up in our relationship. So I convinced myself that I needed a therapist and since BN wasn’t an option, I’d find another. I knew of another therapist that several friends had seen; we actually had some connection in our personal lives as he was involved at the private school my children attended and we went to the same (large) church. He also had the same first name as BN, which made conversations really confusing. 🙂 For the purposes of this post, I’ll call him TempT.
I saw him for five sessions while at the same time seeing BN in both couples’ and an odd individual session or two. The truth was that I was getting so much more out of my sessions with BN. What I learned seemed to fit so well and help make sense of my behavior (it was about this time that BN became aware of my disorganized attachment behavior and started telling me about attachment theory, a subject upon which I had hitherto been ignorant.) The truth was that I really wanted to continue to see BN, but I felt like a selfish, manipulative, greedy child demanding what I wanted. I knew it was “wrong” of me to see him. But here’s the interesting thing about being honest in therapy, both BN and TempT came to the same conclusion: I should be working with BN.
We had a couples’ session with BN, my husband and I, in which we again discussed my seeing BN alone in addition to our couples sessions. The truth was that I was trying a very sophisticated version of “RUN!!!” As we all talked about it, it turned out that my husband really didn’t have a problem any longer with me seeing BN alone (did I mention he is a very generous, loving man? Not sure I could have done that. ) His only worry was what happened if things took a bad turn and didn’t work out between him and I. To which BN said, and I quote: “If things go South and AG is suing you, me and the doorman, then I’d work with AG to find a new therapist. But you saw me first, so I would continue as your therapist.” I was really struggling at that point in the conversation with a deep feeling of just being beyond help. Why did I have to go back to individual work again? Why wasn’t I capable of being on my own? BN then made one of the most impassioned speeches I’ve ever heard him make. He told me that I kept stepping away from relationship to be “cured” so I could come back and have a relationship, but that I needed to be in the relationship to be healed. That he thought he could help me, that he refused to believe that I was any more damaged than he was or that I was incapable of living a full life. So at the end of that session, we all agreed that I would continue coming to see him. And the rest as they say is history. 🙂
I met with TempT and explained and he handled it perfectly and agreed that it was where I needed to be. We parted on very good terms with his door still open. Things took a while to settle in with BN. At first, I was only going to see him every two weeks in between couples’ sessions, but eventually I settled into a weekly appointment as our couples sessions became more infrequent. And little did I know that the dynamic of wanting to come, but feeling guilty about coming, was the central issue we would work on for years to come, because I was unconsciously setting up the dynamic of wanting to both go towards and away from my father. It’s been a long, difficult, confusing, messy path we have walked, BN and I, but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. For I have also healed more than I could have imagined and opened up to life in a way I never thought I could. BN’s belief in me made all the difference.
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