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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

The Repair Part I

August 16, 2013 12 comments

I am back with the promised account of my last session. This post is the first of two (it got REALLY long). It was a very long, very intense session, so I’ll do my best to describe what happened. As in the last session that I described in Disruption and Rage, there are exchanges that stand out, but sometimes the order in which they occurred can get a bit fuzzy. And honestly, it feels like there is no way to convey just how powerful and intense this session was. As BN said later in the session, we were in right brain territory and it is in that place that words often fail. I do want to say up front that I experienced that my relationship with BN is very real, involves deep care on his part, I even dare say love, and some of my anger and all of my fears were based on my past. Even in the midst of being angry with BN, I am immeasurably grateful for him and his (sometimes appreciated, many times hated) boundaries.

I also want to confess that this feels scary to post. I am uncomfortable (such a weak, inadequate word) with my anger, so to allow others to see me at my most angry can feel like everyone is going to be deeply disappointed in me. But I thinks its an important part of owning this part of me to speak of this here. Sorry for all the bad language; to quote BN “you do like to cuss.” Especially when I am angry. 🙂 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

Time to Run: The Power of the Amygdala

August 5, 2013 31 comments

A member on the psychcafe forum, Closed Doors (CD), started a discussion about what dependency on your therapist means. In the course of the discussion, I ended up writing a formula for what happens when we want to run from our wish to move closer. With CD’s kind permission, I am going to reproduce it here.

She asked for examples of how other people have been dependent on their therapists. In discussing what dependence looks like, the conversation turned to the shame that can arise around recognizing that we have needs and how terribly vulnerable it is to express them. CD is returning to therapy after a long break, which she took because the feelings and need for her therapist were feeling too intense (Raise your hands if you have ever experienced this. Yes, yes, I see those hands. You can put ’em down now. :D)

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Some Handy Links

August 2, 2013 23 comments

Greetings all, just a quick post to provide some useful information. 🙂 I am working on a post to talk about how I am actually doing but its slow going. Promise I’ll get there eventually. But in the meantime, I have a couple of useful things to share. Continue Reading

Peeking out

Hi All,

I’m attempting to come back out and play, but its a bit harder (and more complicated) than I thought it would be. Of course, when isn’t it? 🙂

First, I want to say thank you so much to everyone who left such supportive comments. Your care and interest was the difference between me just bolting and coming back. I’ll be responding to comments over the next few days.

I am feeling much more rested and not nearly as fragile, but am struggling with just a boatload of shame. I continue to be affected by a number of events, including being cut off from my mother, and the online mess (although both of those are mild at this point) and other family stuff (about which I am being vague to protect other people’s privacy). But I have also been working in therapy on looking at my eating/body issues, which have tripped off a lot of realizations about beliefs about myself and my worth. Continue Reading

Sitting

September 30, 2012 13 comments

Greetings Gentle Readers,

I know I have been quiet as of late. News of both my brother’s death and my aunt’s revelations have knocked me off-balance and sent me back into my past in a way that has not happened for a long time. My work schedule has been quite busy, as well as my husband’s, so on top of the emotional stress, there has just not been a lot of free time, but I saw BN Thursday morning and wanted to post an update. I’ve been working on this post for so long that the last sentence originally said “I saw BN this morning.” I am somehow….gagged. As if attempting to voice what I feel inside is so impossible, that words fail and I simply turn away, again and again. So I am going to just finish this post and put it up no matter how it sounds to me, just so that I might speak. So if I sound strange or somehow not like myself, that is probably what you are hearing. Continue Reading