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Archive for the ‘abandonment’ Category

‘Tis the Season: Strategies for coping with a therapist’s absence – Part I

This is the first part of a two part series. (It got a little long! 🙂 ) Life has settled down considerably but- of course- I am now working six day weeks because of a very demanding release going out the end of the summer. So I am re-engaging but would appreciate patience with my response times to comments and emails. But it’s really good to be back, I’ve missed everyone! Thank you all so much for you’re understanding and support while I have been away. Continue Reading

Ambivalence, thy name is mother

April 23, 2014 40 comments

I am feeling… ambivalent. It is my mom’s birthday tomorrow, her 78th. We have been estranged for over a year since my birthday last March. Long story, which I have told elsewhere, but she was given information from an aunt that went a long way to confirming I had been sexually abused by my dad. I waited for her to contact me and she never did. Then, come to find out, she got angry about me not wanting a relationship with her. I know, I know, I got abused and she’s the hurt one eyeroll but I think she’s trying to protect herself. Unfortunately, it’s once again at my expense. But I also get how very difficult it would be to face that the sexual abuse actually happened to me. Continue Reading

Therapy isn’t enough Redux

March 25, 2014 88 comments

Greetings dear readers,
I am in the midst of a disruption, probably unknown to BN, of my own making and struggling with what to do. It is forcing me to re-examine my role in therapy and what I am trying to accomplish, and therefore, how I should proceed. I am writing this post to try and sort through my beliefs and feelings and see the best way forward. I would appreciate any feedback or perspectives that anyone wants to offer.

I had gotten very triggered by an event last week, that I took into my session last Friday. The event had triggered some very deep feelings – the early, primitive, inchoate, supremely disorganizing kind – which I wished to explore and understand in therapy. We did really good work. I was able to stay with the feeling without dissociating and put some words to what was going on (a deep-seated, primitive terror of abandonment as it turns out). BN was very connected and very encouraging and made clear, in a fair amount of detail, how well I had faced and handled the triggering event and had dealt with the feelings coming up. That he knew they were difficult to allow into consciousness and tolerate, but that I was doing really well with that and he saw improvements in a lot of areas. The session, while brutal, hugely increased my understanding of the dynamics involved and really helped reduce the pain and anxiety created by the trigger. I had a very deep sense of BN’s compassion and his approbation. Continue Reading

So, how am I doing?

December 20, 2013 41 comments

Cat’s Meow (of Living while Healing. If you haven’t read her yet, do so. She writes with incredible honesty and insight.) asked how I was doing in a comment. I started to answer her but it got so long, I decided to turn it into a post. 🙂 Thanks for asking, Cat!

I’m hanging in. 🙂 It’s been a bit tough going lately, but I am essentially sound. The situation with my family has improved, but is ongoing, and some aspects are very triggering, feeding into the deep work on shame I have been doing with BN. It’s difficult to speak of, both because shame tends to make me want to isolate, and I do not feel free to speak about the situation because of other people’s privacy concerns. Continue Reading

Coping with Grief and Abandonment Part II

September 12, 2013 26 comments

This is the second post in a two-part series on Grief and Abandonment, see Coping with Grief and Abandonment Part I.

I’m sure it will not surprise any regular reader of this blog to realize that BN was a huge part of how I coped, even between appointments. BN has a very generous contact policy, I am allowed to call him 24/7 including when he is on vacation. If I leave an emergency message with his service, he calls back within an hour. If he is on vacation and doesn’t answer the service in a certain amount f time, his backup (a wonderful, warm, empathic man) calls back, but always offers to have BN also call; it’s just a longer wait than usual. (I have higher standards for contacting him when he is on vacation but have done it. Earliest I have ever called is 8 AM and the latest is 10:30 PM although BN has made it clear that 2 in the morning is ok if I need). We very rarely do any processing during phone calls but when the grief threatened to overwhelm me, or the fears that BN would also abandon me, would rise up, then  a short phone call would help to ground and reconnect me. Most of mine are under three minutes and it’s not unusual to keep it under one minute. BN once referred to my “patented one minute phone calls” when I was worried about calling too much. 🙂 Often it wasn’t what he said but just the sound of his voice and experiencing that he was there that would do the trick. Continue Reading

Coping with Grief and Abandonment Part I

September 10, 2013 19 comments

GE asked the question below on the Ask AG page:

im wondering if you are wiling to share some of the strategies you used to cope with grief and abandonment feelings when things got rough during your recovery.

As I said in reply over there, this is an excellent question. Since I see grieving our losses as being at the heart of our healing, we should probably learn how to grieve, right? I have been grieving, one way or another, for a large part of my time in therapy, so this might turn out to be a bit of a laundry list, but I am hoping that everyone might find something that they can use in their own journey. Continue Reading

The Repair Part II

August 18, 2013 19 comments

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.

Continue Reading

Backfire

August 13, 2013 15 comments

We got back today after dropping my younger daughter off at college. I am finishing up a 12 day break from work that was a complete whirlwind. I had a nerve block, did a three-day trip to NYC, a block party, dinner with friends, then a two-day trip to Western Pennsylvania. I go back to work tomorrow, which is good as I think I could use the peace and quiet. 🙂

I also see BN for the first time in a month; I have a session at 11:30 AM tomorrow. Trying to get to sleep last night, I ended up worrying about walking into his office and seeing that my heart had been taken out of the box and that BN had let it happen. I then proceeded to imagine some highly dramatic exit scenarios. Needless to say, it took a while to get to sleep. Continue Reading

Disruption and Rage Part II

August 9, 2013 30 comments

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. Continue Reading

Disruption and Rage Part I

August 9, 2013 23 comments

TW*** CSA, rage and really bad language

Well, I think I have hidden in my cave long enough and its time to poke my head out and talk about what is going on with me. I am most of the way through a four week break in therapy due to BN’s vacation. In what we both agreed was spectacularly bad timing, we had a really brutal session, including a difficult disruption, just before the break. It involved what I will readily concede was a re-enactment on my part and a lot of rage towards my parents. It also included my best effort to date of expressing anger at BN in the moment. I have been struggling to stay stable and try to understand all that is going on but to be very honest, I am feeling GONZO confused so part of why I am writing is to try and sort through what is going on and understand.

A disclaimer before I go on, which is that I am angry and in a way that doesn’t lend itself to being particularly fair to the other person. So I want to say up front, and center, that BN was very patient with me, very encouraging about me allowing myself to just express my anger and amazingly non-defensive. If I had been talking to me on the crisis line, I probably would have ended the call as being too abusive, but he thanked me (!) for my honesty. Continue Reading