Feeling a Little Too Much

Disclaimer: I need to talk about how I’m feeling, but am close to certain that at least some of what I am feeling has a lot more to do with the past than what is going on here and now. Not sure I’m up to sorting it out right now. There’s hurt, and some anger floating around, but I’m not completely sure about what. I’m probably reacting to things that aren’t really happening outside of my memories.

I have an announcement to make: I’m human and have all the same feelings everyone else does. My ability to clearly explain the processes and the necessity of boundaries and the mechanics of the therapeutic relationship is not a “Get out of Jail Free” card. My intellectual understanding helps me in that it can illuminate the need to do the work and it can provide hope that I will come out the other side, but it does not, in any way, shape or form, exempt me from having to go through all the feelings.

Understanding, accepting and even agreeing with BN’s no hug/holding policy does not take away the pain of not being able to get a hug or be held. Sometimes I can long for that with every fiber of my being and it hurts. It hurts in a way that takes my breath away. Knowing that BN cannot be available all the time; at the end of the session, I have to get up and leave like everyone else, doesn’t mean that sometimes my insides aren’t screaming when  I have to leave. That going down the steps can feel scary and like I’m dying a bit. Knowing that not being able to know BN fully, not being able to share a meal, or a holiday or to be important to him the way he is to me is absolutely necessary to protect the work we do, does not mean that those limits do not hurt. It all hurts, sometimes in a way that is difficult to carry.

I have been in a very triggered place. My sessions lately – which I’m just not capable of talking about yet, still processing – have been about integrating some very painful split off memories and I am finding myself almost engulfed by the feelings and experiences of my younger self. I am feeling and facing things I never thought possible because BN is willing to walk alongside me. I am very grateful for him because I am also exquisitely aware that I NEED him; I am not capable of facing this alone. But needing him is painful and scary. I know that I am trusting him on a very deep level (way beyond of what I ever thought myself capable) but the younger part of me, while finally believing it is safe to finally feel and understand these experiences and emotions, is also convinced that safety lies only in being with BN. But I’m still limited to only one hour a week and it’s hard. I have to keep soothing and reassuring the split off part that there is also safety away from BN, while also stopping myself from just showing up at his office or home and refusing to leave. Being successful at doing so does not come without a cost.

I feel tender and raw and easily bruised and not up to arguing about what is right and necessary or being challenged when I share something I found helpful. There are days when it feels like I have a target painted on my back. And because I choose to speak up so freely and lay out a case for what I believe good therapy looks like and make myself vulnerable to share deeply, I can draw fire.

So for the record: I do not believe I am always right (some days I have trouble believing I’m ever right) nor do I believe I have all the answers. I do not think everyone has to heal the way I do; I am only sharing the way in which I heal in the hope it might help someone. I do not feel like I am any better than anyone else trying to heal. I am stumbling along, often in circles, confused and groping in the dark and struggling to understand myself. And sometimes, when I am really struggling with transference and feelings from the past, I can question if I am doing the right thing, am I on the right path, are the boundaries really set such that I can heal, have I really made any progress or am I just bullshitting myself? I am weary and worn out and would just appreciate some space to find my way, without having to be certain or defend my choices. Just because I refuse to give into it, does not mean that I do not feel helpless at times. A feeling I loathe more than any other. This is not an easy battle for me either, just one in which I feel the need to be engaged.

I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say or quite why I’m upset, there’s been a complicated swirl of events and encounters cross-pollinating with the work I am doing. I am struggling with feeling invisible, as if I do not matter and am not a person (did I mention projection earlier in this post?) and I’m not sure from where it’s all coming. More than likely these are feelings from the past. I probably won’t understand until I have a chance to talk it through with BN on Thursday but I just felt a deep need to speak tonight, so I’m writing this in an attempt to understand. Maybe it is just that I feel like I have little hope or answers right now and needed to be able to admit that. Maybe no one is even expecting me to have those things; the pressure is internal.  Sometimes the passage grows dark enough to obscure the light.

  1. Moto
    March 10, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    You are so brave to post about your struggles and that you don’t have it all figured out. For me that gives me hope that it is ok to take our time and it is ok to hurt and to feel raw. I honestly and truly appreciate you being vulnerable. As you say though it can come at a huge price and for that I am grateful to you. Please know you don’t need to defend what you feel and know is right. Hopefully, there are those around you, whether in RL or Online that can step up when you do feel defeated and down. I firmly believe everyone we encounter is here for a purpose. Maybe it is just to say, hey I am here and I hear you, or maybe it is your BN that is walking along side you while you very BRAVELY tackle the young feelings. It sounds like you are doing amazing work, though very difficult, and really getting down deep.

    Know that you are the most important thing to you. Please take your space and lean on your readers or those of us on the forum.


    • March 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      (((Moto))) Thank you so much for replying and for what you said. Honestly the post felt whiney and peevish, so I was feeling a bit exposed to leave it out there (harder to show my uglier side) so I really appreciate you being so understanding and supportive. xx AG


  2. March 10, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    “My intellectual understanding helps me in that it can illuminate the need to do the work and it can provide hope that I will come out the other side, but it does not, in any way, shape or form, exempt me from having to go through all the feelings.”

    AG, I totally get this. I don’t have an online presence like you do, but I write a decent amount, and I understand my therapy process intellectually, much like I think you do, and if I were asked to I could often describe what I was feeling and how I was reacting as it’s happening, but it does not prevent it from happening.

    I was at the end of an appointment a month or so ago, and it was one of those appointments that felt like it was ten minutes long. I was so angry and almost in disbelief that it was over. I wasn’t done being with her, and just because the clock said so I had to leave. It took a great deal of self control to act like an adult and leave.

    I paid the receptionist as fast as I could and as soon as I got to my car I just sat there and sobbed. I’d never done that before. It just wasn’t supposed to be over. I wanted to run back up there so bad. I just stared at the building up where her office was and was just so angry that I’d been cut off for another week.

    I got myself composed enough to drive away, and as I was driving through the parking lot I started crying again, because by driving away it was really over.

    My adult self understands appointments and schedules, but some other part of me just couldn’t accept it. It’s brutal. All of the intellectual understanding in the world doesn’t make that feel any better. I think sometimes it makes it more frustrating.

    I also randomly cry at times when I miss her and want to be able to talk to her or spend time with her not in her office. It ain’t easy.

    I think you’re also dealing with how ugly people can be online, forgetting that a real human is on the other side of the screen, and people are very harsh. I’m sorry that you have to deal with that.

    I often go from thinking I’m making good progress to feeling like I’m lost and hopeless. Here’s a portion of an email I sent to my T about two months ago:

    ” I feel totally lost in this process right now. I don’t know where I’m going next or what to do. I don’t know what to do or say. I don’t know what to work on next. Our last session felt really awkward to me. I know I’m not providing much feedback. I feel like I’ve lost my bearings or something. I’m scared of messing this up or doing some kind or irreparable harm. I feel so lost and stupid right now. I could offer a bunch of reasons why I might feel like this but I don’t know what’s true. I know the last two sessions before Christmas were pretty difficult. Maybe I’m scared of more pain…. ” You get the idea.

    It’s hard not to have doubts. Sometimes when it gets really dark you just have to resolve to keep moving. And reach out when you need to. 🙂


    • March 11, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      I know you get this. I often find the first 24 hours after a session, when I’m in this place, are the worst. Lately I have been accessing such young memories that it’s not only been exhausting, it’s also made it tougher to leave. A couple of sessions ago, I did something I’ve never done, which was when I got to the bottom of the steps, I just kind of collasped and sat down on the second step. Not sure how long I would have been there, but someone came out of one of the downstairs office, so I got up and made it to my car. It is not unusual for me to cry once I get to the car, so I usually sit there long enough to make sure I am safe to drive. BN once told me that I should call whenever I need to, even if it’s by the time I get to the parking lot. 🙂 I have never done that but I would guess that about 80% of my calls to him happen the evening after a session or the next day. I think what makes it so hard is that my feelings and pain are legitimate and about things I did not get and deserved to have. But it is also true that BN is doing nothing wrong, and so much right. (In the session before the last, I came out the other side of the grief and realized I was feeling something I had never felt before: small but not alone. It felt like a miracle!) It’s kind of confusing, because really you just want someone to fix this and make the pain stop, but no one can. So then I get angry and while BN is definitely up to handle my anger, and even welcomes it, it can feel wrong. And yes, sometimes when it’s dark and you’re exhausted, you just want to sink down into a puddle and not get back up. I am more grateful then I can say for everyone’s comments, for having other people give me their hope. xx AG

      Liked by 2 people

    • Pop
      March 13, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      I can really relate to the feeling utterly lost in the process and feeling hopeless, then feeling like I’ve made progress…then back again. You’re absolutely right about keeping on moving. Think Churchill said something about going through hell and keeping on going. Things can and do change. I also think that the latter stages of therapy are very much like this and make it so confusing and exhausting.


  3. NextInLine
    March 11, 2015 at 1:57 am

    AG, I agree with so very much of what you have said. Like judy75, I do not (yet) have a presence on line but do make a living as a writer, so words are my refuge and my bailiwick. What you described in a way sort of mirrors what I am going through right now with my therapist. Yesterday I was leaving my oral surgeon (horrible physical issues going on, nothing life threatening but very painful), and after bad news and a massive setback, I passed his office and saw him unlocking his car. It took every ounce of energy I had to not U-turn like a mad crazy bitch and pull into the parking lot and sob on his shoulder. Not that it would have been OK, although we do have a marginally different dynamic about touching than you do with BN. I really understand the need, though. He is generous with time and emails, but his boundaries are as well set as BN’s, I think, and as defined. He is willing to reconsider things, which I definitely appreciate, but he will call me on my crossing the line in a heartbeat..

    From what you have written here, though, it sounds as though you have received some pretty substantial negative feedback about what you share with us. I find that so difficult to believe, simply from my viewpoint, simply because you are so open and vulnerable and honest and risky, all traits which only serve to inspire me. I cannot even conceive of judging you. As far as I can tell, we are still and always our own worse critics. You do not need any other coming in at you when you are so kind and giving with your words.

    When I hear you discuss your feelings, and how your process this work you do, and how incredibly difficult it is, yes, your struggles help me feel less alone. I hope in expressing them, it also helps you feel more connected to those of us who are trying to find our way as well. I certainly find harbor in your words, and nothing can be more important. I think finding your writing has helped me immeasurably, if that is any kind of help, or motivation to keep on. I did not find this peevish or in any way whiny. Simply honest about your feelings. There is so much more I would say, and maybe I will later, but pain meds pull me away for now.

    I cannot express how terribly much I appreciate reading your words, your honesty in your struggles, and yes, your intellectual and emotional contribution to this conversation.


    • March 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm

      Next in Line,
      First may I say I’m really sorry about the pain from the oral surgeon? I do not have great teeth (genetically) and no matter how good my dental hygiene end up with problems. I had to have one of my molars out a few years back and there was a small fragment of tooth left in the socket and it was some of the worst pain I’ve ever been in. I rarely take pain killers and never finish a prescription of them (too much addiction in the family so I treat controlled substances with a LOT of respect) but I finished the whole thing. Thank heaven I had an appointment with my periodontist and he noticed the fragment and asked if he could remove it. The relief was so palable, I almost kissed the man! Which would have embarrassed him terribly. 🙂 So I hope that you have a swift recovery. You have my sympathy.

      I really feel for people who actually drive past their therapist’s office in the normal course of a day. BN and I live about an hour apart in opposite directions with his office in the middle and in a location that I do not go that near unless I am going to see him. In ten years, I have never run into him anywhere but at his office. So kudos for the self control! The way I’ve been feeling this week, I think I would have tackled him and just clung to his ankles. But you’re right, BN is very generous with his time and contact policy and has consistently worked really hard to meet the needs that he can meet. And I truly, as an adult, recognize his need for the boundaries and his time away from me. Even with his limited exposure to me, i can only imagine how difficult it can be at times to sit across from someone for 10 years, never abandon them or deliberately hurt them and listen to them still expressing fears about being abandoned. I don’t know if I would have the patience. So I almost end up in a rapidly flipping cup half empty/cup half full situation. And right now, the voice of the small deprived child is tipping things decidedly in the half empty direction and she’s angry about the deprivation and doesn’t care to hear any reasonable explanations for why it is continuing (not really, but it can feel like it), she just wants what she wants when she wants it. Which is ok when you’re three, but a bit shame inducing as an adult. 🙂

      And as far as the criticism, I honestly think I am just overly sensitive right now (although there have definitely been a few interesting people along the way). In some ways, the way I am crying out right now is just one big “But what about me?” from childhood. I am very grateful to have such gracious, caring, compassionate people in my life, like you, who respond so lovingly to reassure me about my worth. I am truly happy that you have found such solace in my writing. Just know that I have also found solace in being able to write it and have people who want to read it. It is healing both to be heard and to bring meaning out of what happened. Thank you. xx AG


  4. Mand
    March 11, 2015 at 4:39 am

    I want to hug you. Thank you for writing. Thank you for sharing I have blogged my own journey on a well known website for the past year, and have now stopped. I, too, feel like you. And I struggle to understand why others who have been hurt in similar ways, feel it ok to attack those of us who share our healing journey. Walking with you in the dark, completely understanding this.

    Thank you for your courage, bravery and eloquence. It is a guiding light.


    • March 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      Thank you for wanting to hug me, nice to know someone wants to. 🙂 I am sorry you have felt attacked. It has not happened (very often at all) on my blog, but elsewhere on the internet, i have definitely run into people who have felt comfortable saying some pretty abrasive things. And I have not always behaved well when it has happened. The truth is that we all carry our wounds and our reactivity and sometimes they don’t mix well. I am grateful that I am much more often met with the kind of response everyone is leaving here than the other kind. But as BN always tells me, if I walked into a room and there were 10 people and nine liked me and one didn’t, I’m making a beeline for the one who doesn’t. 🙂 Not being liked can be a real trigger because it was dangerous as a child and I am slowly developing a thicker skin. It’s also a matter of understanding that often the hostility has very little to do with who I really am. Thank you for the kind words, i really do appreciate the support. xx AG


      • Mand
        March 11, 2015 at 4:29 pm

        Thanks AG. To be fair, my blog was never attacked. It was another thing I posted. And the angry, negative response was too overwhelming.

        Thank you for responding. I struggle knowing I exist in reality, and it is always reassuring to be heard. May I wish you, and anyone else on the healing path for CSA, all the best. We must remember, we are not alone, even though it can be so very lonely.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Morg55
    March 11, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Thank you for sharing this. It helps me to realize that I’m not the only one who longs for so much more in the therapeutic relationship. Unlike you, I’ve never discussed wishing for a hug or (gasp!) wanting to be held, so I can’t be sure of what he would say. (I definitely will not approach the thoughts about curling up in a little ball under his desk (sound familiar?) or sneaking in the back of his car so I could go home with him, hoping that he and his wife would just take me in like a stray cat! Frankly, it has taken me 18 years to ask about shaking his hand, much less ask anything else. I’ve only recently begun to want this comfort from anyone, including him. This feels like a milestone for me and possibly a crucial part in the healing process, but what do I do with all of those feelings? I don’t know how I would react to hearing him say “no”, so for now I don’t ask the question. Interestingly, there are people who provide “cuddling for a fee”, so I could always look there if I felt really desperate. (I’ve been on my own since my divorce in 1997).

    Sharing your thoughts with us, even (and maybe especially) when you don’t have things all worked out in your own head, is a priceless gift to those of us who are in a similar place. Somehow, the struggles can create a bond between perfect strangers, and I feel that as you share a pain that is so familiar to me. It’s so hard not to wish for more, when everything you need seems to be right in front of you! But, as you say, the boundaries have made it possible to get to that place; they are crucial for the process to be successful :(. Thank you, AG, for helping me to take another look at this. For me, I think it comes down to the question of whether I can hear “no” and not feel like everything has been a lie. I’ve read your posts about this issue over and over again and I know how painful those doubts were/are. We desperately need this relationship to be REAL. And if it’s real, wouldn’t this comfort come naturally?….I guess that, despite all the work we’ve done, there’s still that little bit of uncertainty. So, I will focus on having the courage to be as open with my T as you have been with BN. Thanks again for sharing this with us.


    • March 11, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      You have reminded me of something very important which is that I now routinely say things to BN that would have felt impossible even a few years ago. I tell him I want to live under his desk and in recent sessions have been just able to say from that very young place “I wish you could hold me right now” or “please don’t leave me” knowing it’s ok to express my feelings. Part of what is so confusing about this is the deep, utter certainty I carry on one level of BN’s love and commitment to me, while still being able to feel scared about the relationship. The time warp can sometimes be a bit dizzying.

      BTW, I think it is a sign of progress that you now want these things. One thing BN has been crystal clear about is that my wanting him to hold me, wanting a hug, wanting to have him as my father, are all natural, normal feelings. There is nothing wrong with how I am feeling, even though to say yes to some of these things would be very damaging. It can be hard to hold onto knowing there is nothing wrong with asking but the answer needs to be no. I also understand not wanting to risk hearing the “no.” Somewhere early in my life I decided no’s were too painful so I would not risk them. BN and I have done enormous amounts of work around this, including email and scheduling. I found out that hearing yes is not nearly as important as you being heard, of having someone hear your feelings, including your feelings about hearing a no and continuing to care for you and stay connected. But I will confess that it took me a very long time to ask about a hug, because I wanted to be certain I was strong enough to hear a no. OTOH, i will also tell you that some of our most healing work has revolved around the times that BN has said “no” to me. And there are so many things he says yes to.

      Thank you for telling me my writing has helped you so much, it really is a balm to hear each person say that, it gives me the inspiration and courage to continue writing, knowing that it allows us to reach across the gaps as we heal. xx AG


  6. GreenEyes
    March 11, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Yep wanna wrap you up in a blanket and hold your little girl parts right now. This is some of the most painful, gut wrenching experiences you will ever go through. I so often struggled with wanting to be with my T in the midst of those feeling memories of abandonment and neglect and it seemed cruel that sessions ended and there were no hugs, no bedtime stories and no time spent walking in the park or drinking hot chocolate. Its ironic that the process of being heard, contained and loved evokes so much grief over what was missing in earlier life and it is tragic you missed out on so much and were so terribly abused. Remember if he gave you those things, your younger parts would feel so confused and may also not be able to really express and know the rage and devestation you felt about how your parents behaved, which she is fully entitled to do and probably needs to for deeper healing (sorry if that sounded preachy, am taking my training T hat off now). One thing that helped me (to varying degrees depending on how much of my adult self was able to show up) was knowing my T had (and has) a space in his mind and heart that is just for me. And vice versa. Hence, we are never really apart. Huge hugs it will get better xxxx


    • March 11, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      ” Its ironic that the process of being heard, contained and loved evokes so much grief over what was missing in earlier life and it is tragic you missed out on so much and were so terribly abused.”

      (((GE))) I know that you have walked through this hell, thank you for reaching out. I quoted the above because it is so true. I have told BN that at times I hate him because he is making it possible for me to feel this and I really never wanted to. He gets it (followed by another explanation of how healing this ultimately will be. I am afraid my enthusiasm is lagging a bit presently. 🙂 ) And I really do know, from having a front seat to it happening too many times, just how damaging getting what I want would be. I truly understand that BN’s boundaries are not the deprivation I knew as a child, they are deep signs of his care. They just evoke the unprocessed pain surrounding that deprivation. He has the lovely job of evoking painful feelings he is not responsible for, and then being patient and non-defensive when they are directed against him. I am humbled by what he is willing to do to see me healed. And thanks for the reminder, I really do know that BN carries me with him as I do him and while I’m sure he doesn’t think of me as often (at least I hope not, the man does have a life!!) i also know that I cross his mind and that he is absolutely there when I need him. Thanks again hon, its really good to hear from you. xx AG


  7. March 11, 2015 at 9:18 am

    You know how much I admire you and look forward to your posts. I open your posts even before notes from my kids on Facebook. I had 2 opportunities to open up on Monday – one with my friend and Nurse Practitioner and the other with Elizabeth, my T. I cried the entire time through both of them. Crying, I told Liz that therapists are like Weathermen…the help us say 50% of the time, but they also hurt us just as much. We are “groomed” to be vulnerable, trusting, attached so deeply to them, but they are protected by boundaries, and reality and then when they move on (whether to their next client, to another State or into Retirement), we are left reeling, hurting and wanting them so much. I think the feeling of wanting someone to hug and hold us tightly, to tell us everything will be okay, to protect us…it’s something we all feel if we are deeply into the therapeutic alliance. You know I (and all the rest of us who read your blog) think the world of You. Wish we could all get together for a weekend to just share, and cry and be there for each other. You know you are an inspiration to so many of us. Please keep sharing…in sharing, we understand there are others out there also hurting…that we are not alone. It truly is Real Life-Real Pain-Real Love. You are the Best!


    • March 11, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      Thank you for understanding. I do know that it can feel like the boundaries are only there to protect the therapist and the reality is that when they need to, because of life’s demands, they will move on, but I do not think the pain is wholly of their making. I remember once talking to BN about how painful it was to be parted from him or how long those long breaks can be (there have been a number of times where we have done 5 or 6 weeks breaks) and he has explained that it is not as hard for him because he experienced more secure attachment and when you’ve had that, separations do not feel so threatening. It is more difficult and painful for us, but it’s because of how we were injured, not just because of what our therapist’s are doing. Those boundaries also protect us. But the therapeutic relationship has such unique boundaries that it can be very painful and very puzzling. There isn’t another relationship that is so important that you would be faced with just completely cutting it off. It feels very artifical and the ambiguity is what makes it so hard to trust, and we already have enough trouble with that. Thanks for your care and support. xx AG

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Little Blond Girl
    March 11, 2015 at 9:27 am

    (((AG))) It can feel like you are very alone in these feelings. I, for one, don’t really talk about them because people in my real life don’t understand and I don’t feel secure enough to have an online presence (besides these occasional comments). I do try and talk to my husband but realize how sensitive I am about it all when we end up in a nasty fight because he tries to get me to see things in a different and broader way and I just want him to tell me my T is an ass for not giving me what I want (we’ve been dealing with end of relationship stuff – not that it’s ending, just that I can’t seem to get past the reality that it will end). But at the same time, we develop relationships with our Ts that others can’t understand. There are things we wish we had (hugging perhaps) but so many things we get that are wonderful and to have anyone tell us that our relationship, our journey, isn’t the best way for us is painful (I don’t know what happened, but I know that my relationship with my T is precious and others, who aren’t in it, can’t really, truly understand).

    I thank you for sharing how lost you can feel sometimes, how you don’t have it all worked out. I have been stuck in the world of a small child, struggling with the realities of my relationship with my T (love and leaving aren’t easy subjects) and have an adult understanding of why things are a certain way, but there are so many parts of me that want to throw a temper tantrum because I’m not getting everything I want, when it feels like it’s so clearly right there and then I start to wonder how much of it is a lie because if I can’t have it all, how can any of it be true.

    I appreciate just being able to read your journey, even if it is different from mine, because I feel like someone else understands what it is to need someone who isn’t really part of our lives, but is, and that makes me feel less alone. And it’s okay that your journey is different from mine, just like it’s okay that mine is different from yours.

    I hope that you are able to find some peace with whatever it is that is going on. Know that you have helped me in ways you probably don’t even know, just by sharing, by being honest and vulnerable and not having it all figured out. So thank you.



    • March 12, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      That’s it exactly! When my really young memories are dominating, the focus tends to shift to what I didn’t get and am not getting. So when people come at you really hard and in a rigid way when you’re really struggling, I find it tends to undermine my sense of the relationship. Very much how you described what happens when you are stuck in the world of the small child. And I very much appreciate your respect and acceptance that it won’t look exactly the same for us both. The truth is that BN gives me so much and as they say “the proof is in the pudding.” I have experienced a lot of growth and healing working with BN and really, that’s the bottom line.

      Thank you so much for your reflection of how intimate and individual our relationship with our therapist can be, it really helped me to read this. xx AG


  9. EBB
    March 11, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Your words came at a very serendipitous time for me. I finally told my T that I feel wrenched apart when I leave him, and feel very raw indeed. He asked me how long these feelings last. I said a few hours. I won’t even ask for a hug, because I know this is verboten in therapy. But I’m sure you know how much I want and need it. AG, you have been so open and such an inspiration for me. Nothing that you ever say is whiney or ugly. [OK, so perhaps I idealize a lot] but your posts and the wonderful replies are the only refuge and sounding board I have, apart from therapy. I feel so much less alone with my feelings. Turns out, I have huge trust issues. My female financial professional made a major error that could have cost me thousands of dollars. My husband and I just began to employ her, so her relationship with us is new, but we really respect and like her. I became so hurt that my lack of trust in her became displaced or transferred onto him. I felt as if my whole world had fallen apart and I began to question whether my T had ever gone through therapy himself; I believed in a psychotic fashion that the whole thing between us had been a fraud and a lie. I couldn’t trust myself or my own judgment. At first, he wouldn’t answer my question about whether he had gone through therapy himself, but said he would at the end. He wanted to hear me out. This was incredibly painful to me. Like all my thoughts and feelings were wrong and I couldn’t trust anyone. First he reality checked me. How did I feel about what he was doing so far? Has he disappointed me or done anything to make me doubt him? I said No. At the end he told me that yes, he had gone through therapy, and lots of it. I left and told him I wanted to hug him. I was using all the strength I could muster not to hug him. All’s well that ends well…my finance woman was able to rectify the error. And my trust in my T was reaffirmed. At the end of the last session I had with him, where I told him about my end-of-session agony, he said : “I hope leaving here is not too bad for you today.” Sweet!
    Thanks again, AG, for helping to make me feel safe and less alone.


    • March 12, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      I’m really glad that the timing of this was good for you. It’s funny, you know, I really did think of this as just a “throw away” post, something I needed to get off my chest and it’s been surprising (and good!) to hear how it has resonated with other people. Makes me feel less ugly and whiney (and yes, you do idealize, trust me, my family could set you straight!). When you’re trust has been deeply betrayed as a child, you spend a lot of time being hypervigilant and waiting for what feels like the inevitable betrayal to happen again. The symbolic weight of therapy is such that any misstep or misattunement by our T’s looms so much larger because it evokes the horrible pain and fear of the previous betrayals. You did exactly the right thing, which is go back in there and talk about all the feelings. It’s how we heal the disruption and learn that this person really is safe and that being close in relationship, where we can risk vulnerability, are actually good things, despite our feelings telling us otherwise. I am honored that my writing has helped you to feel safer and less alone. No small things. xx AG


  10. March 11, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Oh, AG, I wanted to respond when I read this yesterday, but I was post session, with my daughter on a play date, and I fell asleep instead. Mostly, I just wanted to say that I hear your pain and struggle. I don’t think that it’s whining; I think that there are times when we simply need to know that people can hear and accept all of us, not just the “pretty” parts.

    It may be mostly coming from the past, but that doesn’t mean that the need for a corrective experience in the here and now is any less valid. As you can see, there are many people here who have no trouble accepting you as a full person who hurts, feels vulnerable, needs comforting AND is strong, compassionate, giving, and all around amazing. You are all of that, not just one side or the other.

    BN is a fantastic therapist, but no therapist is going to be able to be perfect for any client 100% of the time. Sometimes it is just because they are tired or had a family member die. Sometimes it is because they have a vulnerability that overlaps. Sometimes it may be that something that helps you most of the time creates limitations at other times, because different parts need different things.

    I don’t know if this is the case or not, but just to throw out an idea for you to consider… The fact that BN is a male therapist has a whole host of benefits and drawbacks when a person was sexually abused by a male. It gives you a chance to prove to yourself that men can indeed be trustworthy and safe in a regular, hands on way that I don’t have, working with a female therapist. That’s a huge advantage. You have been able to work on boundary issues with a male; also huge. I could go on, but I’m sure that you know the benefits far better than I do. There is a drawback, though. The physical boundaries probably need to be far more strictly held in a female/male therapeutic relationship, in order for you to be sure to maintain your sense of safety. Part of it may also simply be BN’s way of working. He Knows that he has to maintain a safe environment for you, so of course he is going to stick with what he knows works.

    Unfortunately, that leaves you with this sense of needing to create a physical connection of safety and soothing, but knowing that you won’t get it. In some ways, you are almost getting the message that it isn’t safe to get it from BN. That must be deeply confusing inside. As someone who can and does get this from her therapist, when it seems most appropriate, I think that it is important to say that your need for that connection isn’t inappropriate. In some therapeutic alliances, you could get it, but then you wouldn’t be able to get some of the other marvelous things that you get from BN, because you wouldn’t be with him.

    I suspect that I got lucky with my therapist, because the option for physical contact turns out to be very important to me and I suspect that there are few therapists who can do it as cleanly as she can. It is culturally natural for her to have lots of physical contact, so she personally has no baggage about it. However, physical contact with someone who gave off even the faintest whiff of unease or worry would be toxic.

    Sending you lots and lots of care and support….


    • March 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      ((Cat)) I found myself nodding vigorously the whole time I read your comment, thank you! EVERYTHING you said was very insightful and good for me to be reminded of. I very much appreciate your reflection of me as a whole person, as I can still struggle to see that and to be ok that I am human and some parts aren’t that pretty, to accept all of me.

      And I absolutely agree that no therapist is going to be perfect. This is really about the young part of me being out so strongly wanting some of the things I can’t get from BN. The truth is that BN is a gifted therapist and one who is particularly well suited to me. I think we have done really good work together and if that means giving up a few things I would like, such as a regular appointment or a hug, the tradeoff is more than worth it.

      And what you said about a male therapist resonated very strongly with me. My first therapist, who did hug me or hold my hand btw, helped me in many ways, but I also think it was vitally important for me to work with a male therapist. So many issues and boundaries have come up with BN BECAUSE he is a man that I do not think I would have ever dealt with if I had continued working with a woman (I want to stress that I believe this is true for me, not a general rule. I think I was pretty avoidant about issues around my father and working with a male left me little choice but to engage with them. I needed the extra push.) And you’re correct that physical contact with my history becomes more problematic. As I have dug deeper into my body issues and sexuality, I have experienced a very visceral, in the moment, knowledge that BN’s boundaries were vitally important. Touch from him has a lot of potentiall to injury, which I think far outweighs any benefit. I have other sources to get loving touch from, but there are things he provides I have no one else for. But yes, on another level, it can feel confusing to feel so safe and loved, but be told touch is off limits. The little part of me has a tough time reconciling that. And BN has made it quite clear whenever we’ve discussed it (which has been way too often 🙂 ) that this feelings are healthy and normal and that there is nothing wrong with me wanting to be held. That the no is about taking care of me, not saying that what I want is wrong. We have also discussed how damaging and scary it would be for me, if he hugged me and I picked up any hint of anything erotic on his end. I’d probably run screaming from the room.

      It’s just really strange to keep going deeper and feeling closer and knowing I am trusting him more than I ever been able to trust anyone, but still running into the fears about trusting him, and is it real and will I be betrayed? The past and present can clash at times. Thanks Cat, I really so appreciate everything you said. I feel very understood which helps immensely. xx AG


      • March 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        I am so glad that what I said was useful. I was worried that you might think that it was a criticism of you or BN and it wasn’t meant as such at all. Just an acknowledgement of how complex and multifaceted our needs are, particularly in cases of early trauma and disorganized attachment. It sucks that if we had only had one person come through for us enough when we were kids, we probably would still have issues, but they wouldn’t have this depth and complexity.

        Sending more thoughts of support, soothing, and strength.


  11. PWW
    March 11, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you for being you. For being willing to share both your wisdom and your brokenness. I know you’ve been treading through deep stuff with BN of late, and yet, you’ve still put yourself out there for us, and I just want to say that it’s appreciated. You are loved and respected by so many of us. I can relate to much of what you feel about the no-contact stuff — it is excruciating, and I have yet to let myself really acknowledge and feel it. I admire you for how much farther along you are in your work and the depths that you are willing to go — and then, share about! Take care of yourself and let yourself hear the care from many of us. xx


    • March 12, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      ((PWW)) I know you more than most people get how hard the no-contact stuff can be. I am so grateful that when I am vulnerable and share my brokenness, to be met with such compassion and care. You all are part of how I am learning that vulnerability, as terrifying as it is, is also a good thing. Not being alone with these feelings is a very good thing. I do however, want to make clear that in this case, I don’t think writing about this was really all that altruistic. 🙂 I needed to say it and am very grateful for everyone’s responses. xx AG


  12. TOF
    March 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    I have never commented here or anywhere else for that matter before. I suppose I’m one of those invisible people in cyber land that just reads stuff. I happened upon your blog a few months ago, and it really made sense to me. I’m one of those people who tries to understand things intellectually. I think it’s my way of trying to bypass my emotions. As with many things in my life, I just kind of accidentally began my journey into therapy a little over a year ago. It has been a rough road, and your blog is helping me immensely. I can’t thank you enough. I probably would have given up on the process by now, if it had not been for this blog. The attachment I feel in therapy really scares me. Your honesty has helped me understand and not feel so alone. So from one of the invisible people, thank you so much for writing this blog.


    • March 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Welcome to my blog and I am honored that you used your first comment to support me. 🙂 Trust me, I understand bypassing emotions, I did so for a long time. I can still find it VERY frustrating that all of my understanding does not get me out of needing to feel the feelings. But I will admit that life has become much richer after letting my feelings in. And therapy is hard work TOF and not for the faint of heart. Be proud of yourself for sticking with it. I am really glad my blog is helping to normalize your feelings. I hope this won’t be your last comment! ~ AG


  13. MYB
    March 11, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Dear AG,

    I only comment once in a while but as I read each of your posts, I am so comforted knowing that others out there totally understand what it feels like to be going down this road and how each and every time you state what I am feeling so well. Your opening up about your journey makes me feel so much better about mine, knowing that I am understood. Knowing that I am not a total freak for freaking out when my T goes on vacation or dealing with transference (yes it certainly is a b*tch!!!) to name just a couple.

    I was reading the comments and I just wanted to say to you and Judy75 that I e-mail my T a lot right after a session. I see him twice a week and he’s frequently getting e-mails from me within an hour or two of the session ending. I realized that it’s because so much gets stirred up in session, it just doesn’t end when it’s time to go. I can’t tell you the amount of realizations I’ve come to after a session just because my mind is still working away on what we talked about in session.

    And for what it’s worth…my T’s office is across the street from my apartment!!! It kinda sucks. Let me just say, I was here first. About a year in to my therapy, he moved offices. He had no idea that we would be neighbors. In some ways, it’s great. I just walk across the street and there I am but yeah, seeing his office day in and day out, especially on my “bad” days…it’s very hard. There’s a certain level of comfort in seeing his office every day and knowing he’s there, like it can kind of steady me, but more often than not, it’s hard.

    Hugs to you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 12, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks for sharing that you have some of the same experiences after a session. And you’re right, a lot of times it’s about the processing going on. I have definitely emailed or called BN after a session because I put something together after I left and didn’t want to wait to share it with him. And, wow, across the street?!? I admit the whole short commute to session thing is great, but I would find that really difficult and incredibly distracting. So yeah, I can understand where it might be hard. Have you ever talked to him about living so close? ~ AG


  14. monsoon
    March 12, 2015 at 2:13 am

    I don’t comment often either, but I felt really upset on your behalf. Well, and on my behalf, because I don’t want anyone to discourage your honesty and vulnerability – if I had not found this blog, I would not have persisted with therapy and would still have felt that I am alone in the attachment and pain and fear I feel. You are such a source of inspiration to me! So, I just wanted to chime in here and say, I care too. And thank you. And let me know if I should head over and punch someone 😉 Take care of yourself! (((Hugs)))


    • March 12, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      (((Monsoon))) Totally cracked up when I read the end of your comment. 🙂 Thank you for the offer but I don’t think any punching is necessary, especially as I think a big chunk of this really is my own sensitivity and reactivity. And don’t worry, if I was going to give up, it would have happened by now. 🙂 And BN would kick my butt, oh so gently, if I tried to retreat back into my cave. The truth is that living more fully and putting myself out there has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying (so many people saying I have helped them is truly lovely to hear). It has also opened me up to some hurts, but the whole point of therapy has been to learn that I can be hurt and handle it, so it’s safe to risk more. In many ways, this blog is a practical application of the things BN has taught me. Thanks so much for all that you said. xx AG


  15. NextInLine
    March 12, 2015 at 4:28 am

    AG, I have some more to add but was wondering, and please don’t get all freaky deaky, and totally feel free to eliminate this from your comments, but there are things hat I would love to try and address with you. I do not at all know net protocol, I am a total beginner but was wondering if I could just email you or is that not ok? I am good with whatever response you have, I just feel that I would love to have more discussions with you. If this is not Ok, I am so fine with that, but I do not want to cross your boundaries (hella shit, learned from the best), and, yes, this is risky and completely different from me and my ways. And if ok,, please feel free to delete this response, but I just find that you are so erudite and thoughtful and if possible I would love to have more conversations with you.

    I am happy to let you know who I am and why I am approaching you and give you a ll my details before you say yes, because I get trolls are ubiquitous,, so I am personally willing to give all that shit up. It is seems so few and far between that people can say what they feel in truth, that they can touch our hearts, that their honesty can actually resonate within what is left of our souls. You do that. Is that to much to say? I am sorry, I have been reading you for a long time and I do totally suck at commentating because I am a lurker. Because, you know, my thoughts and words really don’t mean anything in the long run. But you answer all of us, and you are so kind and forthright, so I am asking, and I totally and completely understand if no is the answer. I just thought, for once in my goddamn life, I would try.


    • March 12, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      You’re welcome to email. 🙂 There is an email address available on the front page of my blog, ag@boundaryninjatales.com, which preserves my identity and frankly, I get enough info when someone posts to be able to track the people I need to, so I appreciate how willing you are, but a lot of people write and it’s ok. It has to have been scary to put this out there, well done! The only caveat is that I do have a growing amount of correspondence and do confess it is becoming difficult to keep up at times since I do have a lot of other responsibilities, so my response times can stretch out pretty far at times. If that happens, I usually try to send a quick response to let you know there’ll be a delay so you know its my resources and nothing to do with you. I also appreciate having whatever conversations people feel safe enough to have out in the open, because then everyone can benefit from it. All that said though, you are more than welcome to write. xx AG


  16. Emma
    March 12, 2015 at 4:50 am

    Dear AG

    Thank you for your post… As always so much of it resonates. My T is on holiday this week and I feel so fragile from her absence. Hearing your struggle makes me feel less alone and less shameful about allowing myself to grieve her absence because I just need her to be here. She gave me something of hers to keep while she was away which has helped massively with keeping her close and her acknowledging and responding to that small child part but I just want her back now! Your post helped me to feel less alone and soothed a part of me that needed it so thank you


    • March 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      Sorry you’re going through a break, those can be tough. I understand, I think, that sense of fragility. I am glad this is helping you be more comfortable with your feelings. There’s nothing wrong with them, we miss our attachment figures when they’re gone, It’s actually a very important developmental step to learn that the connection is intact through absences until eventually we can carry a sense of someone’s presence with us all the time. (Think of the difference in a parent leaving a three year old and 16 year old. The difference is the 16 year old has a lot more experience with Mom and Dad coming back, and still loving him and he’s also picked up some of the skills he needs to regulate his own emotions).This is one of those blessed areas where therapy IS enough to heal us. I hope the break goes faster than you expected and thank you for taking the time to say this. xx AG


      • Emma
        March 13, 2015 at 3:01 am

        Your message made me smile 🙂 Your words sound so much like like the voice of my T who has to remind me of these things so often… Thank you for responding, it’s very heart warming xx


  17. FindingMyVoice
    March 12, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    (((AG))) I completely understood this… every single word. And my therapist does hug me, and holds my hand sometimes. It helps me to talk about the hard stuff, to get the words out, and since she is a woman, it doesn’t trigger the sexual abuse. BUT, BN is right that he can’t give you what you really need. While my T’s hugs do feel wonderful in the moment, at the same time, they don’t fill the very deep hole left there by my mother… not even a little bit. All the feelings you express regarding BN still happen to me, that deep, tormenting longing for my therapist is still there, and I do get held appropriately in sessions. I haven’t figured out what it is that I’m really needing… yet! 🙂 Take care, AG… and thank you for your honestly, as always.


    • March 15, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Sorry for the delay in responding (this is for everyone’s comments after this one also!) I was out of town for a wedding over a long weekend. I really appreciate you sharing that even if I was getting the touch, that the loss is still there (you sound a lot like BN 😀 ). I saw BN on Thursday and was able to discuss the topic with him which really helps. He is very accepting of my feelings and very patient about revisiting why he keeps that boundary, and that always helps. I honestly don’t think I need touch in therapy as much as I need to look at my reactions to not getting it. I very much appreciate that I can feel comfortable revisiting the topic as many times as I need to. It was very kind of you to share this (and I am sorry you understand the pain.) xx AG


  18. e.
    March 12, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Dear AG,
    I am a silent reader of your blog. I am in a therapy myself, and struggling a lot with everything I’m experiencing related to it. I want to talk about my therapy all the time, I want and I need to talk about my upcoming feelings and about the intensity of the transference, but no one, who was not in therapy, would really understand these things. And that somehow isolates me (just like the things made me enter therapy). So I was struggling. I am still struggling. But. I found your blog, and reading your posts offers me a bit of relieve. (And it is not even on my mother tongue!) The maturity of your insights truly amazes me. You are clearly highly intelligent on every way, and I’d like to thank you for being here for us, for the silent readers.
    I guess I just had to say this “out loud” 🙂


    • March 15, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting, I am truly touched that so many people are risking coming forward (yes, I know posting a comment feels pretty scary, especially when you’re doing so for the first time) in order to support me. Thanks so much for doing so. It is also very heartwarming to hear that my posts are helping you feel less alone. And last but not least, may I say your English is really excellent (and I find it highly flattering that you put in the effort of having to translate what write but reading anyway!) ~ AG


  19. gentlewind
    March 12, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    HI AG

    Just wanted to thank you so much for posting about the transference pain as you did the other day. I so so relate and am extremely appreciative of your blog. It makes me feel less alone. Your sentence about the pain taking your breadth away rang true for me and I thought it really captured how overwhelming the pain can be. It’s hard to walk through…sometimes I don’t know how I make it. But reading your blog and about your similar experiences (and I’m so sorry you have to suffer as I do) is very comforting and I’m grateful that you are willing to share.


    • March 15, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      Thank you so much. I know I keep saying it, but I really mean it, it is so very encouraging to hear that my writing is helping people feel less alone. This struggle to heal can be so painful and chaotic and overwhelming at times, that it’s so very important to know that you are not alone and that other people can carry hope for you when you have none. Thank you for taking the time to say this. xx AG


  20. Rebuilding Me
    March 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    AG, I sure wished I could drive over and give you a big hug. Your posts elsewhere and here are invaluable to me. I want you to know that!

    When I read this entry, I worried that you are under attack in the here and now and I sure hope not. Perhaps it’s the past, muddied with today, but I worried because of the disclaimer paragraph and other references to a target on your back. I sure hope not because what you provide to many, many of us is so very important. Just because you are an excellent writer and have a good grasp at the journey of therapy does not make you immune to the pain of the therapy itself or BN’s boundaries. I completely understand that.

    Thank you for taking us along in your journey. That takes a lot of guts and I have learned a ton from you. I love that you are willing to risk by sharing what has worked for you. PLUS, your willingness to go out on a limb and say what you believe good therapy looks like.

    I respect you AG. I truly do. I’d love to be able to sit with you over a glass of wine and do whatever I could to give back to you what I have received from you.


    • March 15, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      (((RM))) A glass of wine sounds like a great idea! 😀 Thank you so much for the support and care, I am a bit overwhelmed at everyone’s responses and the compassion and care. The sense of attack is really a combo of things I would normally shrug off intersecting with transference and being raw from the memories I am accessing. No worries, but I so appreciate you feeling protective of me. It was also really helpful to hear that you see me doing a good thing by discussing what I believe. And you are giving back what you are recieving RM, you just did. xx AG


  21. March 12, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Please know that I don’t say this lightly….you are my hero in so many ways, and you have helped me more than I could ever express.


    • March 15, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Thank you, that was an incredible compliment and I am truly honored you would feel that way. xx AG


  22. saba
    March 13, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Hi AG
    When Im on a break and read your blog, I always find something that makes me feel better. This post (mostly its comments and your replies) is one of them. Thank you AG for sharing.


    • March 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      Thank you so much, I am truly happy you find comfort here. Thank you for saying so. xx AG


  23. Pop
    March 13, 2015 at 9:22 am

    It’s funny how we all have such different experiences and reactions to things yet are all in the same place. Sometimes I’m truly baffled by it all.

    For instance, when I read that someone lives opposite their T’s office I immediately wanted to look at houses for sale near mine 🙂

    Another example. And I do not want this to come across as undermining of the general theme here – the yearning to be held/touched etc. I can’t imagine how that must have felt as a child. Well I can imagine it a little bit, and I don’t like it one bit. My heart goes out to everyone of you who has that hole in your heart.
    I was given a great deal of physical affection as a child. (Nothing that overstepped sexual boundary in the classic sense although sharing beds and other private space intrusions) I don’t feel I crave it or yearn for it. In fact, I am actually a little withdrawn physically – I find it at the expense of truly listening to what someone is saying. I would be horrified if my T hugged me because I would be back to square one – caught up in a physical relationship rather than being cared for and understood mentally. I crave being mentally held. And from this perspective I can see why a T’s boundaries are so important. Instead of helping me address normal childhood pain of separation, my parents refused to go through it, treated me like I was an extension of them. What I crave is something internal, not external, that I can carry around with me, because being held mentally is not time or space dependent – it is always available 🙂

    I hope this doesn’t come across as anything other than just a different perspective.

    Pop xx


    • March 15, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      Thank you so very much for saying this. I think your feelings are an excellent example of what I am trying so hard to convey about touch, which is that its use in therapy very much depends on both how a T practices and a client’s needs. Touch is not a bad thing for all clients nor is it an unmitigated good for all clients. I think we make a mistake when we insist that something that is healing for us would be healing for everyone. As strongly as I can yearn about being held or experiencing touch, I have experienced a lot of growth and a sense of safety at times, from my T withholding it. I think that your need to experience separation and individuation, to find mental support, instead of a physicality that would be experienced as intrusive is just as legitimate a need as the person who knows they need to be touched in order to heal. I truly appreciate you sharing another perspective as it serves to remind me that while there is much that can be shared along the way, and strength to be found in each other, each of us also has a unique healing path and we should be slow to insist that we know what healing looks like. And funny enough, BN can be so attuned and available to me that I often feel held, even though nothing physical has taken place and I never thought of it that way but it is easier to carry that with me. “This is the mystery that holds the stars apart, I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.” The connection transcends space and time. xx AG


      • Pop
        March 16, 2015 at 8:32 am

        From my own experience I know that I can get incredibly defensive about my own process and cling to a sense of certainty about it all, dismiss other approaches and other peoples opinions etc when deep down I am very, very fragile and unsure myself. When I don’t know what’s going to happen next, usually when something long dreaded is about to emerge and I feel like I’m losing control. It’s a way of feeling more in control I guess. I actually do feel quite strongly about the psychoanalytical process perhaps being the only answer for a certain group of people. I am it’s biggest advocate – I’ve watched friends enter very dubious modes of therapy and think they really need something more, and watched others benefit from a few sessions of cbt (and been extremely jealous!). But when you feel the need to ram something down someone else’s throat – that’s just covering up your own insecurity.
        I have to believe I’m in the right process because I could have bought 12 super yachts by now with the money 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Marijke
    March 13, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Hi AG,

    I have so little time nor energy to deal with ANYthing these days and also twenty thousand reasons why – no, I’m not going to mention them, it would be extremely tedious 🙂
    BUT I really do want to let you know I’ve read your latest post and am thinking of you. I’m sorry this stretch of the road is so extremely hard for you and hope what lies ahead will be worth it…
    I think you are an exceptionally beautiful human being, and your latest post just proves that once more.
    Jung’s idea of individuation puts forward the ‘integration of all opposites into the self’ as the ultimate goal in life, so please go ahead and be as whiny, peevish, ugly, angry, envious etc as you are rational, collected, beautiful, reasonable and happy.

    I have read some of the comments and agree with them all, most of all those who mention how instrumental you have been in other people’s healing journey. My heart is filled with gratitude for the wisdom and compassion you have so generously shared. It has helped me enormously on my path. I also relate with your struggle with wanting to be liked. Our brain have a negative bias, it’s a reptilian reflex. So if you add to that all the hurt you have been put through, no wonder you find it hard to just relax into just ‘being’.
    My T very recently told me healing occurred when positive experiences started outweighing the negative ones, sort of tipping-the-scales thing, so here’s my little pebble to add towards your growth. Amazing, isn’t it, how you thought this would me a ‘throw away’ post and this happens!

    A huge great big hug from for little and big AG.
    I’ll be thinking of you the next 13 days – got a new stock of candles yesterday 




    • March 15, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      (((Marijke))) Thank you, I so appreciate how you welcome all of me including my peevish, whiny side. 🙂 I must confess to being utterly shocked about the response to this post, I am truly touched at how many people have come forth to offer their support and thanks. And their understanding of the struggle this is. And thank you for your candles, the glow provides light and warmth across the miles! I hope life eases up for you soon, I know it can be quite overwhelming at times to keep all our balls in the air at once. (I really hope that metaphor makes the leap over the language barrier!) much love, AG


  25. Ann
    March 13, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    AG! What a caring group of readers you have here! I have not only been inspired by what you wrote, but by all the insightful responses! I really can’t add much to what has already been said. I wondered if in the midst of your pain do you ever project it back to your BN? Lately, when I feel “crazy” I start to irrationally wonder if my T is causing it! Is he the one making me feel unstable? We discussed it and he said he believes that he loses some clients when they begin to get caught up in emotional pain and feel it would be easier to just quit. The pain is too much and it seems to them quiting is the best solution. But you never quit! You continue to slog through all the painful crap. That encourages me to stick with it too.
    Xxxx and Ooooo Ann


    • March 15, 2015 at 11:36 pm

      I am very seriously blessed in my readers and how supportive all of you are! And I very much agree about the insight, it really helps to get other people’s perspective’s especially when you feel like you have none. Do I ever project my pain back to BN? BWWWAAAAHHHAAAAHHHAAAAA. Ann, my dear, some weeks I am projecting so much the man should sell tickets and popcorn. 🙂 I told him at our last session that sometimes I hate him because he is making it possible for me to feel and process these split off feelings, and as much as I know I need to in order to heal, it’s really difficult and painful and I don’t want to feel them. So it can feel like my pain is his fault. But I am also seriously blessed in that BN is so patient and non-defensive that he can hear those feelings and returns only acceptance and normalization. But please trust you are not alone in doing that. xx AG


  26. Liz
    March 21, 2015 at 4:52 am

    I am going through a rocky time with my therapist right now, and this post hit close to home for me. I now see how important boundaries are, and they are something that should be discussed right away so no one (especially the client) is left guessing. My T does hug me. She gives great hugs. My T also has held me on numerous occasions. I have been seeing her for 10 months now, and in the beginning, I was a hard egg to crack. Most definitely, I would not allow myself to cry in therapy, despite her insisting how important it is. As I started to get more comfortable, the tears finally started, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was uncomfortable….and upset that I couldn’t control myself. My T would occasionally come sit by me on the couch, reassuring me that I needed to feel this stuff and that I wasn’t alone in doing so. She’d rub my back, or just hold me….stroking my hair, letting me know things are going to be ok. Then, just as quickly as it started, she recently took it away. She said she would no longer be coming to sit by me, that it wasn’t part of her therapy treatment. She said she did it to help build my trust in her, and now she felt it was sufficient enough that we could continue on, and I now had the ability to look inside myself for that comfort/strength. I had recently disclosed some things that were very difficult to do, so of course I blamed (and still do) myself for her decision to deny me this type of comfort from now on. Having had it, then having it taken away seems unbearable. I’m devastated. I don’t know if this damage will be repairable or not. My trust has been shattered (when she said her reason behind it was to help me trust her more to begin with), and I told her from now on, I will be wondering what she’ll take away next. I’ve been upset and trying to talk about it, I wanted to know WHY. Although I’ve gotten a few answers, I don’t think she wants to tell me what it was that encouraged her to take that touch away. She also is getting frustrated by how I’ve reacted to this, not wanting to let it go. At least I’m standing up for myself, something I never would have done 10 months ago. Thank you for allowing me to share. I’m still quite devastated, and just feeling a huge loss. Kudos to your therapist for sticking to his boundaries, as much as it hurts. At least you know he’s consistent….which is a good thing! Hugs to you!


  27. Janice
    April 11, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Oh my gosh, thank you AG for this post! And thank you to the rest of you as well for your responses. Let’s me know I’m normal, at least in a population of wounded souls…. I am incredibly ambivalent about my therapy right now (month 10) and I’m so attached to and also so angry with my therapist and all of her 7%# boundaries! Right now I am feeling distrustful and confused. Like you AG, I don’t know what to focus on or where I’m headed right now, and I keep trying to get her to give me more guidance on this (too much, overwhelming, can’t decide how to spend my precious 50 minutes). It is so hard not to be angry with her…and then I wonder if I should spend my time talking about the anger and mistrust or if I should overlook that and try to share the tender stuff…and I’m nervous about causing her to pull back or want me to go away if I keep bringing up the doubts and anger and mistrust month after month after month after month. Oh god, and to think that I’m spending $2 per minute to process my anger toward her. And Liz, just when I thought she was “cracking my nut” she took e-mails and hugs away and I’ve been more guarded for months and months. Ouch. This process is SO HARD!


    • April 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Hi again Janice,
      As you read in my other reply to you, the plate is a bit full at the moment, but briefly, I would spend time talking about the anger and mistrust. The relationship is the therapy and what comes up in our therapeutic relationship — which carries a huge symbolic weight and therefore stands in for so much else in our lives — is usually the same issues that we struggle with in other relationships. And trying to be open and vulnerable with someone when you are angry and distrustful is not only very difficult, I think it can be damaging. Anger and distrust are our emotional signals that something is wrong in a relationship, so to push past that and act like everything is ok, is training ourselves not to trust when we don’t feel safe. If there is any abuse in your background, that is a lesson you need to unlearn. So don’t feel like talking about anger or mistrust is keeping you from the work, it IS the work. It’s how we learn to do all our relationships, by being able to practice and learn in a safe relationship that is focused on our needs. ~ AG


  28. Dee
    June 12, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Dear AG thank you so much for sharing your experiences I am not in therapy but am experiencing so many similar feelings with a male good friend. I had not realised how disorganized attachment I am. For weeks I have truly felt like I was going crazy. It is a platonic relationship but he is very open for a guy and can openly talk about past trauma with people. there are times when I want to be open and honest as its very important to him that I completely trust him as he has told me he completely trusts me, and at the same time I feel like running. I didn’t realise how much I was closed off from people, as I have very close friends but I guess there are emotions I don’t share so for myself it’s been confronting that I am not who I thought I was. Anyway I just wanted to thank you for sharing as it’s helped me understand why I feel like I could break and yet still reach out to try to be closer to my friend….although it is very scary that he could break me, through no fault of his own because of my brain screaming be close, don’t be close.


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