Disruption and Rage Part I
TW*** CSA, rage and really bad language
Well, I think I have hidden in my cave long enough and its time to poke my head out and talk about what is going on with me. I am most of the way through a four week break in therapy due to BN’s vacation. In what we both agreed was spectacularly bad timing, we had a really brutal session, including a difficult disruption, just before the break. It involved what I will readily concede was a re-enactment on my part and a lot of rage towards my parents. It also included my best effort to date of expressing anger at BN in the moment. I have been struggling to stay stable and try to understand all that is going on but to be very honest, I am feeling GONZO confused so part of why I am writing is to try and sort through what is going on and understand.
A disclaimer before I go on, which is that I am angry and in a way that doesn’t lend itself to being particularly fair to the other person. So I want to say up front, and center, that BN was very patient with me, very encouraging about me allowing myself to just express my anger and amazingly non-defensive. If I had been talking to me on the crisis line, I probably would have ended the call as being too abusive, but he thanked me (!) for my honesty.
I have told the story in a previous post of giving BN a stone heart in a heart box to represent my coming to trust our connection (see i carry your heart). BN was very touched and the heart box has sat on the table in his office ever since, along with a lot of other tokens obviously given to him from other clients. It’s come up a number of times in our work, mainly centered on the heart being open or not. And I find it very comforting to see it there when I go for sessions. It’s tangible evidence of our connection being in place, even when absent from each other.
A few months ago, I walked into his office to discover that someone had put something in the heart box, alongside the stone heart. It’s a small ceramic object, which even after examination, I don’t get. I said something, very casually, the first time I noticed it and BN didn’t really say much beyond the fact that he had noticed it was in there.
So every time I walk in his office, this is bugging me. Because it kept eating away at me, and I knew I felt a bit ashamed of how I felt, at our session before the last one I finally said something. I told BN that I really wasn’t happy about sharing my heart box, that I wanted to be the only one, but I also realized in reality I am not the only one in his heart, just as he is not the only person in mine, so I had been leaving it alone. But if I was honest, sometimes I just felt like “get your own damn heart box.” But that I didn’t want to take it out, because I was afraid that would be really hurtful for the other person. To which BN replied “or they just might put it back.” He was very affirming about me being entitled to my feelings, and also talked about knowing that my sessions were completely mine.
I should probably also mention that we did some pretty intense work around me realizing that I had dragged my feet long enough about body issues (ok and sexuality. Which BN brings up EVERY DAMN TIME). I realized that waiting until I felt ready to face this stuff wasn’t a good idea. At one point, BN asked me when I thought I would be ready, to which I quickly retorted “absolutely never.” We both a good laugh about that one. So we are heading once again into deep waters, and I am starting to understand that I have another (please God, the last) integration process to go through. All of which is throwing me back into feeling like I have made no progress and/or am literally the slowest client in the universe. BN is telling me different, but you know that feeling that they have to say that to you…
So I did the mature thing after our session and brooded over it. I think once I admitted to BN that it bothered me and had him be so accepting, my feelings really started to emerge. The more I thought about it, the more obnoxious it seemed to me that the other client put something of theirs in another person’s gift. OK, the phrase “dumb as paint” sprang to mind. I mean, I’m hesitating to move it because I am not sure what it means to them, and then it hits me that they weren’t all that concerned about my feelings. And even though I felt immature and petty for feeling it, I was really hurt that something so important to me can’t be just mine. And, tentatively, I admitted to myself that I was a little bugged that BN was fine with it. Followed by wondering why I was focusing on this when I had important work to do.
How many times will I forget that this is how the important work gets done? By being honest about what gets evoked in our relationship?
I posted about it on Psychcafe which was helpful in that people totally understood my feelings. But as the discussion went on, people were coming at the thing from all different angles, including someone wondering why all of my anger was directed at the other client and not BN. I ended up feeling so confused, that I wrote an email to BN. A long, anxious email detailing everything being kicked up for me. I had gone so far as to buy another heart box so that I could move the doodad without looking hostile. Don’t worry, I got over it. 🙂
I said, in part:
I realized that I really am not happy about someone placing something in there. It was a very significant gift for me which marked a truly important turning point in our work. There is something deeply intimate about it for me. And we talked about knowing that when we are in session, then that is my time to have your focus. Part of the meaning wrapped up in the heart and box for me is that it represents the uniqueness of our bond. Not that I am the most special person to you, or more important than anyone else. but I am me and you are you and what is between us is unique (as is your bond with other clients. Sorry I know you know this, but I want to be clear I understand it also). I also see it as representing both sides of our relationship (we are both the box and both the heart). So this feels like an intrusion into a sacred space. It’s my father not allowing me my boundaries and to have space that was truly mine.
I also said that I knew it had been a gift to him, so I wasn’t sure that I really had any right to be upset about what was done with it. I finished by telling him that I knew I was in a highly reactive state. He responded and told me he was looking forward to discussing it with me and that he thought the process would help. (First thought: Hey, you said you would never lie to me! Second thought: And you think I’M the one who needs help?!?) He ended by reassuring me that our connection was solid.
I’ll talk about the session in my next post, Disruption and Rage Part II.
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