Disruption and Rage Part II


TW*** CSA, rage and really bad language

For the first part, see Disruption and Rage Part I.

NOTE: I have really appreciated everyone reading and all the supportive comments. I am planning on replying but putting this out there has evoked an enormous amount of shame about my neediness so it may take me a bit. Truly sorry, I am at a loss as to where all the intensity is coming from.

I really dreaded going to the session. As I told a friend, the memory of giving him the heart box was a very special one; one that I returned to in times of stress. I was terrified it would be destroyed and I would lose something very precious to me; a dynamic that echoed the abuse by my father that we had discussed many times. At this point, that dread is feeling like it was a foreshadowing. It’s taken me so long to actually write about, that the session is a bit blurry. It wasn’t all that clear to begin with since I was pretty activated throughout. There were times when BN was speaking to me that what was rising up internally all but drowned him out. So I have these powerful vignettes that stand out but am not sure I have them in the right order, so forgive me if this seems a bit confusing. On the other hand, if it is confusing, it’s doing a good job of conveying my internal states.

We started by discussing my email and how I felt about the box. BN was very encouraging about me expressing my feelings. I started by saying how angry I was at the other client (yes, the phrase “dumber than paint” was used) and at how cluelessly they had behaved. That it was obvious to me, and I would think most people, that the things on his table and around his office were gifts from clients and while I do enjoy seeing the things other people bring, I would not interfere with and most definitely not add to or take away from something else on his table. Then, I told BN how unprotected I felt, that the heart box represented such a significant moment in our work and I thought that it had also meant a lot to him when he received it, yet he seemed perfectly fine allowing someone to add to it. His sitting by and watching this happen felt terrible. By now I was feeling pretty angry and it was showing pretty clearly, even if in halting fashion.

BN told me that if I wanted to give him a gift and have him keep it locked away, he would do that, but he wouldn’t be happy about it. That he thought it was important and a good thing, that the gifts he received were present and shared, that everyone could interact with them and learn from them. That he wanted people to have the freedom to engage with and learn from the things in his office.

I was split into two parts hearing this. The more adult, mature part of me heard him as being very gentle and what he was saying fit very well with what I know of him. “Life begetting life” has always been important to BN. He claims no credit for my healing, but speaks of being the vessel through which the healing flows. That there is no need to hoard since there is enough love and life to go around so to speak.

But the wounded, young, deprived part of me heard this as a death knell, that the dreaded hammer was finally falling. After the session, I wrote an email (that went unsent) to BN trying to describe what I felt in that moment:

You told me I was no longer alone and I believed you. You told me I could trust that this really was something good and it wasn’t going to disappear on me. And then you sat across from me and told me that no you would not stop anyone from doing what they wanted with my gift. You will not protect me from the interactions of other clients, I am on my own with that. I don’t know if I am finally just really facing what it was like, If I am just ripping away an illusion I have built up in my head, but what this feels like is realizing that my sense of safety, of your office being somewhere I did not need to protect myself is gone. I do need to protect myself because you won’t. I feel exposed and like an idiot for every believing that I would be anything but on my own. This is the blow I have been waiting for all these years, it has finally fallen. I keep reaching inside for that place I can stand and its gone, my chest is once again hollow. It’s not that you are not there or that our connection is not intact, I do believe you when you say that, it’s that I have believed it be other than it was. The truth is that I was abandoned a long time ago and abandoned I remain. I let myself believe things were different. But now its broken and feels like it is broken beyond repair. I don’t know what hurts more, that I no longer feel safe, or that I allowed myself to feel safe in the first place.

I know this is not the truth of our relationship, but it is the terrible place from which I have been trying to make my way back. BN does protect me, but does not see this as something from which I need protection.

BN honed in very quickly on the re-enactment taking place. In fact, I think one of the things that has been bothering me is that we moved SO quickly to the past, that the present wasn’t adequately dealt with. (Sidenote: getting why I haven’t been able to talk, there are some very powerful emotions rising up. I’ve been shutting down to get through the break. Not sure how smart that has been.) He talked about me going towards some very difficult material and the need to integrate it and that I was re-creating the situation where my boundaries were being violated and I was being abused while my mother stood by watching. He tried to lead up to this subtly by trying to get me to see it, but I really wasn’t cooperating. He started by telling me that although I was angry with the other person and him, that maybe I was angry at other people too? To which, in a lovely manner, I replied “Not in the fucking mood for cryptic BN, if there’s someone else you think I am angry at just fucking tell me!” I must have sounded serious, because he told me that I was angry with my dad for abusing me and with my mother for not protecting me. About which I thought “D’oh! I thought I was missing something!” as being angry at my parents seemed pretty obvious.

He also said that part of the problem is that I am so scared of my anger that it is close to impossible for me to allow myself to feel it and express it. That it was important that I could own this part of myself. He started asking questions about my parents and how I felt about what happened (wow, can’t begin to describe how jumbled up this all feels). As I tried to answer, my discomfort was pretty obvious and he continued to encourage me to just express how I felt.

I talked/screamed about how horrible it was that my father did what he did to me, who harms their child like that? That he left me nothing for myself and how outraged I was about that. How I was enraged but had to hold it in. That I hated my mother for not seeing what was going on, for just standing by while this was done to me. BN asked if my parents were there, what would I want to say to them? And the rage really hit. Which I am evidently really protecting myself against, as I am drawing a blank about what I said; although I remember erupting in rage, it’s hard to remember what I said. I do remember wanting to tell my mother that she doesn’t get to be angry at me and cut off the relationship, that I am one who gets to be angry. That she is the one who failed me. And I told my father how terribly he had hurt me and how pissed off I was to be treated like something he could just fucking use, then toss away. He was supposed to care for me and protect me against what happened to me, but he was the one who had hurt me instead.

Then BN asked one of his really hard questions: what do you want to do to your parents? It’s difficult to be honest about this with you gentle readers. The darkness and depth of rage I carry is not something I am proud of or like to admit, but it’s there. I told BN that I wanted to tie them both down so that they were completely helpless, then I wanted to hurt and humiliate them. BN asked if I wanted them to know how I had felt. I said that I wanted them to understand EXACTLY how I felt so oh yes, I want a whole lot of people just standing there watching me hurt and humiliate them while they DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to stop me. Then maybe they’ll understand what they put me through.”

BN told me that this was anger, plain and simple. But that it scared me so much to express it and it has to be ok that I did. I think it was at this point that we circled back to discussing the heart box. I can’t quite remember how we got there, but I was expressing how I got that BN could not be my parent, that he was my therapist nor could he make the losses disappear. BN started to reply to me and said “Well, you kind of get it.” It felt like an explosion went off in my head and chest. I have NEVER behaved this way in session before, but I threw my hand in the air and said “stop talking, stop right there” then sat, visibly, but silently, struggling with anger. To BN’s quite astounding credit, his reaction was to say “AG, just say it, you don’t need to be scared of the anger, don’t think about it, just say what you’re feeling.” Which got through, ’cause I started screaming “FUCK YOU! I kind of get it?!? How dare you, how dare you say that to me! How many fucking sessions have I sat here across from you in immense pain from recognizing that fact? How much grief and pain have I faced in acknowledging that loss? How many times have I explained it to other people? I have faced these losses and not run away and you’re telling me I kind of get it? Go to hell!”

It was both terrifying and a relief to just get that out. I am having trouble remembering what BN replied but do know he was understanding and accepting and did not get defensive. Later in the session, he told me that the “fuck you” had sounded pretty sincere ( 🙂 ) and he was glad I was being honest. That he felt connected to me in that moment because he was hearing how I truly felt. That it was important for me to know that it was ok to express those feelings. He knew I carried a lot of rage, but was so scared to express that part of myself, that I often held it in. He asked me how deeply did I think I had gone in expressing that anger? To which I replied “a shallow pie tin?” and we did share a brief laugh. I expressed how I was feeling so frustrated at feeling this way and struggling to express my feelings, that why was I back here and BN told me that whenever you hit another area of unintegrated feelings, it would throw you back to feeling this way. That we had been touching on my feelings about my body and my sexuality, that I had been pushing away for a long time, so I could feel like I was back to square one, but that it wasn’t true. That I really had been healing and that he thought I was very close to the last piece.

I told him that part of what was making me so uncomfortable was that my feelings for him do contain a romantic/erotic component, but that for a while in our work, it had been feeling more paternal and that was more comfortable. That I knew as I tried to delve into this, the romantic and erotic feelings would come once again to the forefront and it was just so humiliating and uncomfortable to sit across from him and express those feelings for him when I would NEVER know how he felt about me and whether he had any similar feelings for me or was repulsed by my feelings for him. That it felt terrible. To which BN gave a less than satisfying answer, especially considering the raw place I was in. He said “but isn’t that part of the human condition? Don’t we all experience unrequited love or not being able to know the other person’s feelings?” Seriously dude? I express excruciating pain and angst, and you decide to start an existential discussion?

We were getting near the end of the session and BN expressed again that he was glad I was expressing how I was feeling, that he knew this break was coming at a bad time and that as we went forward we could discuss all of these issues including returning to the here and now of my feelings about the gift. I still had the ceramic thingamabobby in front of me. I told him I did not want to put it back in the heart box and would it be ok with him if I just left it on the table? (at that point, I decided I wasn’t going to extend so much sensitivity to a person so wholly unconcerned about me by leaving it in the other heart box I had brought. Possibly petty, but how I was feeling. Or it just made me feel too vulnerable to pull out another box. Got me.) He told me he was fine with that and got up and went to his desk to schedule my next session. I sat feeling extremely uncomfortable. I finally said to him “BN, I am really afraid that you are going to think so poorly of me for doing this.” He stopped and pushed away from his desk so he was facing me and said “it’s really ok with me whatever you want to do.” So I left it sitting on the table, got my appointment card, shook BN’s hand and left.

I ended up emailing BN that evening and expressing how lost I felt, and told him that I had wanted to hear from him that the box had meant something to him and also asked for reassurance. I got a very brief answer back very late ( much later than he usually emails). Guessing it was a busy day but he felt it important to reply. The next morning I was still really struggling and knew the email wasn’t cutting it, so I called. I pushed BN very hard during the call. I told him I had asked a number of times but he had deflected every time and I really wanted an answer; had the gift meant anything to him? Honestly he sounded slightly hurt when he answered, which was oddly reassuring. He told me that of course it meant something, that he takes my loving feelings very seriously. I told him it felt very scary having to deal with this when he would be gone for four weeks and he gently reminded me that if I needed him I could call. I haven’t.

I have essentially been a needy, confused mess and wandering all over the transference map. In the first few days I wanted to quit so badly that I decided I was not allowed to make any decisions for two weeks. I have managed to gain enough perspective to know that my projections and my past are terribly cluttering up the landscape. It been a strange couple of weeks which included two weddings, sewing drapes, visiting one of my daughters in NYC where I got to see Arthur Darville (Rory in Dr. Who) in the musical Once on broadway (which was amazing!) and got my first tattoo. So life has continued but with an undercurrent of feeling like I am too much and too needy and too angry. Oh, and I forgot about overreacting. I have pulled so far into myself because it feels like I have to be wearing everyone out. I see BN in five more days and I am terrified. I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing or how to go about it. I hope he got a lot of rest on vacation, I suspect he’s going to need it. I so hope he is not dreading seeing me, as I need him to help me sort through this mess. Thanks for reading.

  1. August 9, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    (((AG))) I just want to give you a hug. And ask about your tattoo. (We need DETAILS! 😉 )

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    • August 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      ((((CT)))) Thanks for the hugs, it helped to know you were there. As for the tattoo… 🙂 My husband and daughters had all decided to get a tattoo together and because Disney is such an important part of our lives (we’re Disney Vacation Club members and have a LOT of wonderful family memories) they decided to all get Mickey Mouse tattoos. I have always been very anti-tattoo but when it came down to it, it just felt wrong to not be part of it. So we all went together and got an outline of a Mickey head. It was the first for my husband also, and we both got it on our right shoulders. One daughter got in on her leg and the other on her forearm. The tattoo artist was a really nice guy and did not laugh (at least in front of us) at the incredibly vanilla, middle-aged suburban couple getting their first tattoos. The kids were very excited and really happy (quote “you guys are crazy” in very approving tones). It just felt right and very bonding. It wasn’t as painful as I expected and I didn’t embarrass myself, but that’s it for me. 🙂 Oh and if i am honest, I feel every so slightly badass. LOL xx AG

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      • Mrs. Sharkey
        August 20, 2013 at 9:40 am

        I should warn you – tattoos are addictive. 😉 Got my first one a couple of years ago and I’m already planning my second.

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        • August 20, 2013 at 10:12 am

          See!! I knew I SHOULDN’T have crossed that line, the things we do for our kids! 🙂

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  2. August 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Wow, AG, the courage that you showed in this session and as you have continued to deal with this over the last several weeks amazes me! Just wow!

    I hardly know where to start responding and don’t want to write a book in your replies, so just a couple of thoughts…

    First, I get the rage and wanting for your mother and father to understand just how horrible it was. I was horrified when I found myself wishing with all of my might that it was my mother who had suffered the abuse, not me. I still don’t quite know what to do with that one, because it goes beyond wishing that every single horrible, terrifying thing happened to her as well, so she would understand, to wishing that she could take my place and I could give her all of that pain instead. And just last week I had fantasies about what I would do to my father if I didn’t have to worry about any repercussions/morality/etc.. It was a rather brutal picture. Yes, I understand that these are natural responses to being hurt the way that we were, but it is so hard for moral, loving, compassionate, generally gentle people to have intense fantasies about causing immense amounts of pain and suffering to anyone, never mind some of the people they should be able to love most.

    I wish that I could respond as honestly as you did to BN when you screamed at him. I still don’t believe that I can get that angry and not have it totally destroy the relationship. Yes, you are having troubles with fear from your expressing that intense anger, but the fact that you were able to means that a lot of you knows that it was safe to scream at him. That your anger couldn’t destroy the relationship. I am impressed, because I can imagine the distance that you had to travel to get to that point.

    Many thoughts of support…

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    • August 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Cat,
      Thank you, more than I can say for understanding both having the feelings and how profoundly disturbing it can feel to have them. BN has made it very clear that the violence in the feelings is a human response to being so threatened and abused. Both people’s responses and BN’s calm have been very normalizing.

      As for being able to express my feelings, it has been a long hard road, paved with BN’s patience and non-defensiveness. It hit me today in session (we were talking about my breakthrough about the anger at my dad) how much we both had risked. I am very grateful to him for being so rock steady and accepting. He has not changed one iota in the face of my rage. xx AG

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  3. August 10, 2013 at 12:34 am

    ((((AG))))

    My heart aches for you as I read this. You are SO brave. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to express that kind of rage at BN and to be able to overcome that threshold you had to overcome to express it, I’m sure, was an absolutely monumental effort. FWIW, my T has always said anger is the healthy part of the self that is standing up–that knows when it is being abused or hurt and is not going to take it. I have used very similar foul language in relationship to my mother when I think of how I was treated. The level of rage that you describe I have also felt, at times. The feeling of being that angry and out of control is terrifying. It may be normal but it sure doesn’t feel normal.

    It is so painful what you are going through. Feeling despairing about a relationship with a T is one of the worst feelings I know. Having a secure relationship with my T is so comforting and when it has been thrown off course it feels as if the bottom just fell out of my world.

    I am sending all kinds of comforting and caring thoughts and feelings and hopes your way. The fact that you can even write about this in such a coherent way (I was totally able to follow your session) and are continuing to show up and do the work and self-reflect and try to understand yourself–and post it here!!–is amazing. To me you are so resilient and brave and I am so inspired by you.

    Many hugs,
    DBS

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    • August 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      DBS,
      I really appreciated everything you said here as I felt very understood. Sitting on the other side of the disruption, it sems nigh unthinkable that I was so close to despair,but as i told BN on Monday, I thinik its the closest I have ever come to just quitting and giving up. “The bottom just fell out of my world” describes it exatly. I am still relaxing into, and thoroughly enjoying my sense of being secure and loved.

      And you were spot on bout anger. One thing BN reflected is that my anger is appropriate. I often feel like any expression of anger is too much. I remember once getting angry during a couples’ session and the following week my husband and I both described me as “enraged.” BN litterally interrupted to tell both of us that I had only been angry and when my husband asked for a measure, he said, three, maybe four, out of ten, and explained why he believed that. We have a running joke about the BN scale of anger. This whole re-enactment has made it clear to me why my anger scared me so.

      Thank you so much for your support and thoughtful comments through this. xx AG

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  4. GreenEyes
    August 10, 2013 at 1:30 am

    AG, i’m not sure i have the literary ability to convey what i want to.
    i agree this is a re-enactment of what happened when you were growing up. Having your boundaries run over, your heart destroyed, your trust utterly shattered. You didn’t deserve that. I think you’re being too kind to your parents; I simply want to MURDER, HACK and MAIM my folks for what they did and didn’t do. How any parent can betray their child this way is beyond my ability to understand.
    I also suspect you are terrified your rage will destroy BN and will turn him against you and lead to you being rejected and abandoned. That he will be so horrified by your sexual feelings that he will throw you out of the office and refuse to see you again.
    AG he’s safe. He is not your parents. He’s loved you and loves you in a way nobody else ever has. The way all little girls need to be loved to feel safe in the world.
    BN will hurt you because he’s human and we all hurt people in life, particularly those we love most. But that hurt won’t be one that destroys you. It won’t be in the same category of the hurt you suffered with your parents. I am so deeply sorry for what you endured. You have enormous courage in facing your struggles and bringing them to light in therapy and here with your readers.
    Hugs, love and blessings xxxx

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    • August 21, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      (((GE))) Forgive me for not telling you at the time, but you have no idea how very much it helped to read this. I NEEDED the clear reminder that BN is NOT my parents and that he is safe. You seriously boosted my flagging courage, thank you. I also appreciate you sharing the violent feelings towards your parents. I don’t have a problem with you feeling that way, I understand it. So not only does it help me to feel like less of a monster, its gives an avenue to accepting these feelings in myself. I am blessed to have such people as you walk on my journey with me. love, AG

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  5. Bourbon
    August 10, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Wow. I am also feeling hope that you were able to express so openly and honestly and it all worked out okay with BN in the end. It struck me that in a way he is injecting a sort of group therapy type thing in the consulting room by having the gifts all laid out and allowing other people to tamper with them. I see why he’s doing it but can also see how it was a hard thing to deal with initially as you were not prepared for a group therapy type aspect to what you have with BN. I hope that makes sense…just my thoughts. Xx

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    • August 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      Bourbon,
      This was also really helpful to read. I actually participated in group therapy once, years ago, and this really helped me put things into perspective. It made total sense and was really helpful, thank you so much. xx AG

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  6. Ann
    August 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Wow! You are the bravest person I have encountered! I can’t imagine being so honest about the emotions you admit to yourself and us. I believe many of us are learning vicariously through you. Soon you will need to start charging big $$$ for your example! If it is safe for you, maybe it can be safe for me. I imagine there are many of us sitting by you in therapy, learning it is safe to trust. I especially connect with the times of frustration when your T’s responses feel inadequate! I also am dealing with anger toward my parents. No matter what I do, it is never enough. At 56, feel I should have it emotionally under control, but I don’t. Two weeks ago, after an hour with my mom, I woke up gouging my nose in my sleep. It is still healing. I haven’t been self-harming since my teens, and now I am doing it in my sleep! My T is very steady and is patient with me coming around to face my own anger. Your T sounds very safe as he welcomes your anger and even said it made him experience more of the authentic you. Thank you, thank you for including us in your journey. You never know who you are helping. Also, remember you don’t owe anyone a response. Just keep working towards health and lean on your husband and T for support. Xoxo Ann

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    • August 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm

      ((((Ann)))) You are like my own personal encouragement squad. Thank you so much for your steadfastness and presence through this, it is so appreciated. As I said to GE, I have been so blessed by this community coming alongside of me and you have been such a big part of that. I am truly happy to hear that my writing is helping but know that being heard and having somewhere that it is safe to be open about my experience has been very important to my healing. And sorry about your parents. I’m 53 with more years of therapy behind me than one woman should ever go to, and its still tough dealing with mom. The truth is that its just a really, deep significant connection, regardless of who is on the other end of it. We’ll get there. Everything will be ok in the end. 🙂 much love, AG

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  7. muff
    August 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    “I told BN that I wanted to tie them both down so that they were completely helpless,’ Good stuff AG.

    This kind of thinking with feeling was very hard for me to accept at first. We have walked around for so many years with that amount of anger in our heads, and then some. It’s about time the child was given the opportunity to finally speak.

    Terrifying stuff AG, but oh so liberating.

    As T would say…’.keep it flowing.’

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    • August 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Thanks so much Muff! I had a feeling you’d be happy about that one. 🙂 Long journey getting to this rage but vitally important. Glad to see you over here. 🙂 xx AG

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  8. PumpkinEater
    August 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    GreenEyes is right, and so well stated. His hurt won’t destroy you, and having read all about him, it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be “hurt” in the way you think. It sounds more like he is standing on the sidelines cheering you on. I would be–what an enormous breakthrough for someone who has so much trouble expressing and/or feeling anger. Huge, huge HUGE stuff, AG. And as a sidenote, I have read your blog for awhile now and your struggles echo my struggles so closely that I often return to your posts for guidance. You have the unique ability to verbalize when others can’t. Never be ashamed of what you’re going through. You are not alone.

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    • August 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      Pumpkin Eater,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting! My apologies for taking so long to respond. I so appreciated the encouragement and being able to “see” BN through your eyes. I was very close to despair and was grateful that so many here were able to hang on to the truth about BN for me. It made a very real difference. Thanks for taking the time. I am very glad that you have been able to find hope and encouragement in your turn from what I write. It’s good to know I am not alone. 🙂 ~ AG

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  9. August 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I identify with all of this. I’m going to say that all this is probably a good sign, but feel free to tell me to fuck off, because when my therapist says that to me, that’s about what I want to say to her. 🙂 But she’s usually right.

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    • August 21, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Meghan,
      LOL That seems to be a “privilege” I reserve for BN. 🙂 And you were right about it being a good sign. And I’m not big on the “oh you poor thing, this is terrible” approach when something else is going on, I truly appreciate honest, thoughtful feedback, even if its hard to hear. If I feel too fragile to hear the truth, I try not to post. 🙂 Thank for the understanding and humor. ~ AG

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  10. Marijke
    August 12, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Hi AG,
    Wow, you’ve gone through some pretty tough shit lately! Glad you’re back and in awe for your two equally painful and powerful posts. It’s awful when our needs are so overwhelming and feel like they can never really be met completely. I get that a lot with my T too. She likes me, I know, might even love me. Our relationship is sound but it will always remain a therapeutic one, touching sometimes at that of a mother/child but always for therapeutic purposes. But my needs are still those of an infant, profound and overwhelming, and difficult to satisfy in an adult context, be it with a T or anyone else, for that matter.
    I really get you being angry about your heart box and I think your BN sounds like being a bit too well-balanced about the issue. They’re not perfect either, these T’s. Just human, like Greeneyes says.
    Good luck with your next session. We’re all with you.
    Big hug
    Marijke

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    • August 25, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Marijke,
      Thanks so much for understanding this. I really do deeply understand why the limits of the relationship are there, but that does not prevent them from being horribly painful at times. I had to laugh when I read what you said about BN being too wwell-balanced, I have a good friend that I am very open about therapy with and she has a very high opinion of him, but when I hit the part about him saying unrequited love was part of the human condition, she was like “give me a break.” and went on to say that she thought this response may have been more about who he is than the therapeutic boundaries, 🙂 Honestly, its kind of nice to know that even BN is not perfect (athough I must admit in the end, I think he made the right call about this, Rat bastard 🙂 ) Thanks for being there, xx AG

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  11. Little Blond Girl
    August 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

    AG, you are much stronger than I think you think you are. I am very impressed that you could express some of that anger at your BN. Your last three posts have kicked up a lot of stuff for me. I have been struggling with anger/rejection/love with (for) my T and haven’t been able to really express all of it in such a genuine way. The feelings got so overwhelming that I told him I needed a break from therapy, from him. Then two days into a 6 and a half week break I send him an email saying that I couldn’t do it (long story – as they all are – but 5 days til the end of a 3 and a half week break). Unfortunately, I can put a check mark beside a lot of what you have said in your last three posts – and am still struggling with what I’m doing, with figuring out what I want, with accepting limitations and boundaries, with moving towards while my hamster amygdala screams at me to move away, with less than perfect responses from my T and with overwhelming feelings I’d rather just not have. Know that your experiences, your story, help to help us figure some things out (hey, after your post on the hamster amygdala, I emailed my T during our break for some reassurance…). Be gentle with yourself, none of this is easy, but you’re worth it. LBG

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    • August 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm

      LBG,
      I can tell that you really get what this is all about, you perfectly described so much of what I have struggled with as i healed. I am as grateful for your understanding as i am sorry of the way you arrived at it. It was very encouraging to read what you said about my being stronger than I realized because I felt anything but. The support was really priceless. And go you! for calling your T for reassurance, not easy but oh so important. xx AG

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  12. Mrs. Sharkey
    August 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Ouch. That all sounds so hard and painful AG. So much of what you wrote is so familiar – the session being a blur, emotional states being all over the place.

    Anger is a scary emotion, and how many of us were taught how to handle it? As far back as I can remember, I was told that feeling or expressing anger was bad. I’m sure that’s a familiar message to you and many of us who follow your blog. Realizing how much anger our child-self still holds towards our parents is particularly scary, because it’s so easy to get thrown into that headspace where you realize how dangerous it is to feel such anger towards people upon whom you depend for your survival. It’s such a primal place to be.

    I will confess that I think BN is somewhat off base with regards to your gift of the heart box. You aren’t asking him to keep it locked away. You’re just asking that he not let anyone tamper with it, and I think that’s perfectly reasonable. I don’t understand why he feels that everyone who comes into his office should be able to interact with all the gifts people have given him. Look at, observe, comment on, ask questions about? Sure! But why the need for interaction?

    {{{AG}}} You’re doing great work.

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    • August 25, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Mrs. Sharkey,
      What you said about the anger and how scary it can be to experience it was spot on. As I talked about in later posts it was going back to that intolerable moment of being absolutely enraged but too terrified to express it that was so healing. Anger has always been a difficult emotion for me and it makes sense to me that I have come back to it again despite all the healing I have done, And I understand you disagreeing with BN, I know I did. 🙂 He said to me at our last session (post repair) that he got that some people would wonder why he didn’t just protect the box. But he felt that there was something deeper that we needed to get to. Oddly in the end, it doesn’t really matter who was right or wrong, just that we dealt with the feelings evoked and worked through it. Thanks for the encouragement.

      And oddly enough I think that I was so desperate to have BN protect the box, because on some level I believed I was incapable. Being able to stand up to my father in that moment, reclaiming my power, made me realize that I can protect myself. It was crucial for me to realize that while also realizing in many critical ways BN does protect, just not where I can do it myself. Adulthood can be a b****! 🙂 xx AG

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  13. Peter
    August 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Sounds like BN saw this as an opportunity to get you to express your feelings, and to explore the underpinnings of those feelings. He could have easily said, “Sure, I’ll keep it locked-away” if he wanted to avoid conflict. Instead, he either asserted his preference, or maybe even “a” preference, knowing that it might force you into the feelings you ended-up having, and also, to assert yourself.

    If this is the case, he’s quite clever. 🙂 And he’s not abandoning you. He’s doing what all good parents do — and what all good therapists do, as surrogates for the parents we never had — leading you to independence. That road isn’t easy. No, that’s an understatement — it sucks, period. For a long time. But it’s necessary if we’re ever to enjoy freedom from the malaise we deal with. Like the neediness. 😉

    Please don’t feel ashamed by feeling “needy”. What person doesn’t want to be loved and recognized? And how much deeper is that desire going to be in those of us who were denied the love and attention we should have had when we were children? We need all the compassion we can get. The “neediness” will work itself out over time, because it will become less and less necessary as you grow. I have a long way to go myself — my “inner child” tries to attach to anything with a heartbeat! 😉 But I have seen improvement over time. You deserve the love you seek. 🙂

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    • August 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      Peter,
      Thank you so much, thee was so much insight in what you wrote about the role of a parent/therapist, in retrospect, I think you nailed it. 🙂 I also very much appreciated the reminder that I am deserving of compassion for having these feelings. And the recognition of my deserving love. All important points! ~AG

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  14. Fari
    May 14, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Hi,
    I have a narcissistic dad. I fear my anger too. My therapist always encourages me to express it. This post was very helpful for me.

    Like

    • May 14, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Hi Fari,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. I am sorry about your father, I know from reading I have done that growing up with a narcissistic parent can be very difficult and damaging. I am glad that you have a therapist who encourages you to express your anger, because its very difficult to do when you so deeply fear it. Thanks for telling me the post was helpful, it’s a real encouragement to me. ~ AG

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