The Repair Part II


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.

We went back to talking about my father and my anger about him. I was trying to let myself feel it in the moment and BN was telling me it really was ok, when I got really triggered. I was absolutely flooded with terror and started hyperventilating and dissociating. I was working really hard to slow my breathing down and open my eyes, when BN asked me what was I feeling? Anger? I managed to gasp out “No. Fear.” BN told me that I didn’t need to be scared anymore, that it was safe to express my anger to my father. It got really, really intense with BN telling me it was ok, to just express the anger and tell my father that he wasn’t allowed to hurt me anymore. He was actually suggesting things I might want to say to him, because I was still paralyzed with fear. Somewhere in the midst of that, I found my voice and started screaming at my dad.

***TW: Really bad language and graphic speech
“You don’t get to f***ing hurt me anymore. You hit me, you better make sure I don’t get back up. You m*****f***ing son of a bitch, what kind of person does this to their child? You are a piss poor excuse of a human being and an even poorer excuse of a man. Do you think raping your daughter makes you a man? Because it doesn’t, you were never a man. I f***ing hate you for not protecting me the way you should have and instead being the one to hurt me. Who does that, who f***ing does that to their own child? Touch me again and I will f***ing kill you!” ***End

It was frightening and powerful and a relief to actually allow myself to feel and express the rage I never could. I remember being surprised when I was done to still be there. BN told me that what had happened to me was terrible and I was justifiably enraged. That our anger is there to help us protect ourselves but I was trapped in that horrible bind of needing my father too much to be able to give voice to my rage. That it was important to do what I did and allow that rage to be voiced. He described what he had seen, including that I had become mildly dissociative. I told him I was bordering on a flashback, that at one point, I had actually been scared he was going to hit me although I realized that was really about my dad. One thing, that only dawned on me later, was that BN in encouraging me to voice my rage, said a lot of things I might want to say but that also made it clear that he was pretty angry about what my father had done.

I realized later when I had time to reflect on what happened, that BN went back to those terrible moments where my instinctual reaction of rage, because I was being so hurt, HAD to be shut down, but this time, with his help, I recognized that I could finally express that anger.  I have dug so deeply into the hurt, but I think BN was right (shocker huh?) that I needed to be able to FEEL that rage that could never be expressed in the moment.  It was a very profound reclaiming of power, of recognizing that the powerlessness of my childhood no longer holds true.

I think it was about then I glanced at the clock and realized that we were out of time. I said to BN that I was trying to calm down and he told me it was ok, we had ten more minutes (we went another 20. BN very rarely lets a session run long, but has done it when I am not in a regulated state. So much of his behavior during this session made it clear that he realized both how difficult and important the work was.)

We were sitting and talking and winding down, when I told BN that I was a little worried that since I was trying to express my anger that it wasn’t ok if I felt scared. But that the fear was such a reflex. BN kind of stopped me and explained that he didn’t have an agenda. That he, of course, remembered our last session and knew we would need to discuss it more, which was reinforced by my calling the night before (OK, inward sigh of relief, he had not forgotten). But other than that, he was open to whatever happened. He had no plan in place, he again mentioned not being smart enough for that. He told me that we both knew that there was no controlling what went on between us, that what we needed to bump up against would come up. That yes, he couldn’t get around that he was my therapist, but that the closest parallel was a parental relationship so that I was safe to express my feelings. That I needed to learn that I could rage against my parents and not be destroyed by them. Which set me off again. I told him that I had never experienced that. He told me that was why it was important that I could get angry with him. Just as a parent wouldn’t say to their four-year old “Fuck you, I’ve had a bad day too” he wouldn’t make it about his feelings. That he truly understood why I was angry and wanted me to be honest about it. That while he was my therapist, this was real. In fact, he said “this is as real as it gets.” He told me again how moved he was. It’s hard to convey because words are inadequate, but his care was palpable. It is in these moments that I am truly sure that he loves me. As my therapist. 🙂

He told me about another patient earlier in the week who was really angry about the fact that he was having feelings. In the middle of discussing it, he said the man reached out and slammed my heart box closed and said “I don’t fucking want it open.” We smiled at each other and I said “pretty clear message huh?” and BN said “yes it was.” It was his gentle way of letting me know that my gift to him was helping someone else. We sat for a few beats, then I quietly asked “who opened it back up?” And the utterly wonderful answer “I did” came back. I told BN “thank you, that really means a lot.” He laughed and said “until you come in next week and see it closed and get pissed at me.” I laughed too and said the open and closed thing never bothered me, it was just having something else in the space (we finished that sentence together). I told him I knew I shared him with other clients but I was not ready to have a symbol of that in front of me.

We got up to make my next appointment and I realized that we had gone 20 minutes over! As I was thinking “ok, that was pretty rough,” BN said, standing over his appointment book “I think sooner rather than later right? How about Monday?” I was just hoping for an appointment some time next week, so that was lovely to hear. I think of BN as being so rigid sometimes but the truth is that he does flex, he just saves it for the really important times. But all of this added up to conveying to me how very much I truly matter. Those moments of screaming at my father, and if I am honest, being open about anger at BN I had been holding at bay, felt very significant. Especially taking back my power from my father (I never had to do that with BN since he had never taken it). I felt a lot more at peace walking out, but very drained. I think its going to be good to be able to talk to BN about what happened on Monday; I think the ripples will be spreading for some time.

Thank you all so much for your support through this. I know I have been in a funk, not to mention throwing a temper tantrum, and have not had a very reasonable view of what was going on. I appreciate everyone sticking with me through it, normalizing and accepting my feelings, while continuing to gently prod me towards reality. This community really helped pull me through.

  1. dpblusee
    August 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Wow AG!! Is this really the first time you’ve ever expressed that kind of rage towards your father? That is amazing. I would have guessed with what happened to you and how long you’ve been in therapy that this would have surfaced. If not, it is SO wonderful that you were able to express it finally and you SO deserve to. I am sure it was terrible in the moment and I so feel for your suffering but I too have felt this intense rage and know how very essential and true it is to let it out. It is YOU standing up and saying never again, literally and figuratively, just as you did and incredibly eloquently I might add! 😉 (Those “F” words were “invented” for a reason!)

    I am so glad that BN was there for you in every way you needed and it sounds like such a profound experience that you two shared.

    I really have nothing else to say except my heart aches when I read this for both the sadness, anger, terror, dissociation and the repair and connection that was restored, which is the best feeling when you can feel truly loved and safe and secure after all of that volcanic emotion is expressed.

    Many hugs,
    DBS

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GreenEyes
    August 19, 2013 at 12:21 am

    AG you are one awesome lioness. OMG I don’t know whether I want to high five you or hug you (probably both). You are one couargeous girl and I am soooo proud of you for hanging in there and working through this incredibly important part of your healing journey. And BN sounded like the truly master therapist and wonderful person through it all. He no doubt cares and loves you very much. No need to apologise for being in a funk or a cave, this is some of the hardest work you will ever do. I imagine the healing that will come from this will have a profound impact and I couldn’t be happier for you. Huge hugs xxx

    Like

  3. chewing taffy
    August 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

    *deep breath* POWERFUL.

    Like

  4. muff
    August 19, 2013 at 9:28 am

    “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.”

    Just thought it was worthwhile repeating that AG.

    Like

  5. Outsider
    August 19, 2013 at 9:48 am

    You are so courageous. Thank you for such a tangible example of what it means to work in therapy. I know that there will continue to be ups/downs, but I’m glad you’re seeing BN meet your needs. Thanks for being willing to share your journey. If I can be 1/10 as brave as you, I might actually get somewhere. 😉

    Like

  6. Little Blond Girl
    August 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Despite the conflict and the bind and how hard it must have been to express what you did, you must have felt very reassured and close to BN in those moments. Good for you 🙂

    Like

  7. Mrs. Sharkey
    August 19, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Wow. That was incredibly powerful to read. I can only imagine how you must be feeling right now. I know you probably know this, but I’m going to gently encourage you to practice a lot of self care. You’ve been through a lot. {{{{AG}}}}

    So glad to hear that BN was there for you. Also, I swear like a sailor both in and out of my sessions, so nothing you say is ever likely to shock me. 😉

    Like

  8. August 19, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    That was so moving. How incredibly brave of you to be able to sit there through that in the face of anger, and know that you and BN would both be there on the other side. Props to you! Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    Like

  9. Ann
    August 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    So powerful. You have progressed so far in your journey. Also it is obvious your T cares deeply for you. Therapists are as human as we are and will be fonder of some patients over others. I think he is truly touched by your pain and hard work. I am continuing to learn from you. I am sure Monday can’t come fast enough! Xoxo Ann

    Like

  10. Mallard
    August 20, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Wow. Just, wow. I was speechless after I read these two posts. You managed to convey the raw emotion in such a way that I felt as if I was being carried along inside your story. I think where I felt your pain the most was in the “backfire” post. I could so empathise with questioning your own reality, the relationship, what you’d built together and just wanted to cry when you were worrying that it hadn’t ever been real.

    I am so glad that you have come through this and it’s not just BN that needs credit for sticking with it. You showed epic levels of bravery!

    Like

  11. August 21, 2013 at 9:05 am

    i cheered for you out loud when i was reading the angry part and then cried afterwards. you go AG

    Like

  12. Jenny
    August 21, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    AG, you are, in a word, amazing. For having the courage to work through this with BN and for sharing it here. Thank you.

    Like

  13. muff
    August 25, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Is there a cuppa in this house?

    Like

    • August 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      For you Muff? Absolutely! and some bicis (hope I got that right :)) to go with it. Still working at catching up on replying to all the comments, but doing well. Work is ramping up again as well. Same old, same old. 🙂 xx AG

      Like

  14. Liese
    September 1, 2013 at 9:42 am

    AG, I’m so glad BN is back from his long vacation and you’ve had a chance to see him and will see him again soon. It sounded like a powerfully healing session. I am dying to know who took the object out of your box and why. Did he tell you?

    Like

  15. Willow..
    April 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Wow, I know you wrote this a while ago, and am reacting selfishly, but I have a feeling that your experience – and your ability to stay the course – will prove in the next few months to be an inspiration and a comfort that there is a ” through”, that the world will not crumble…I only get to see t abt once a month, although will be going for the next 3 consecutive weeks, and have a feeling that anger is waiting for me. It’s just so scary, and scary enough that I’m afraid anger might get physical with t, and that thought alone is too much to contemplate. I think my t is very good, but have not had an experience of anger. Am very afraid of what anger ( or should I say Anger) will do. Your words offer me encouragement to stay the path. Thank you, AG,for being brave enough to share your path.

    Like

    • April 8, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Willow,
      I don’t think that’s a selfish reaction at all and am really glad that my experience can provide you hope of getting through your own anger. Trust me, I know how terrifying it can be. I was also really scared of hurting BN if I let my anger out. I was expressing that in session and seeing the depth of my fear, BN made it very clear that he was capable of keeping us both safe, even if it meant having to call the authorities. I was really relieved; only in therapy would someone telling you they’ll call the cops on you be comforting. 😀 I think that feeling goes back to the level of rage a child can feel. We fear destroying our parents. If we are never allowed to express our anger, then we never learn that we can do so safely. A good place to start is by discussing your fear of anger. I wish you the best in working this through, let me know how it goes.

      PS My apologies for all the unanswered comments on this page!! ~ AG

      Like

  16. muff
    April 26, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    “It was frightening and powerful and a relief to actually allow myself to feel and express the rage I never could. I remember being surprised when I was done to still be there. ”

    It really is about survival isnt it?

    Like

    • April 26, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      It really is Muff. The belief that it would destroy me to express the rage was so strong, because at one time it was true. I had to hold that rage in to survive. But no longer, now surviving and more importantly, thriving, depends on realizing that I am no longer powerless and do not have to continue holding it all in,

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