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.
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