Since I haven’t been writing in my blog, I must give a rundown of my week, otherwise the therapy recap won’t make sense. So my week in a nutshell:
Tuesday night: fight with daughter
Friday: grocery shopping trip with boss’s housekeeper (who is now my friend) – really fun
Friday night: daughter tells me she is sick with either mono or strep, she is 1000 miles away at school
Sunday morning: send mean email to boss
Sunday mid day: send email apologizing to boss
Sunday afternoon: cousin calls to tell me she has attempted suicide twice in the last two months and doesn’t know what to do
Monday: telephone to aunt to discuss situation with cousin
That’s about it.
I just started talking from the events on Friday until the events on Sunday. It went something like this:
“So, on Friday I went grocery shopping with my boss’s housekeeper. I really love her, we get along great and we have a lot of fun when we go shopping. We laughed a lot. Then we were pushing our carts back to the car and she said, ‘I’m so happy, just doing this.’ And I said that I was just thinking that too. But I felt really badly that I hadn’t said anything, that I never would say anything like that and I wish I could. Then Friday night my daughter called to tell me she was sick and I got anxious about that and I felt bad because we had had a fight Tuesday night and she said she felt sick all week and Sunday morning I sent my boss a mean email, and then I sent another one later apologizing, and he said ‘no problem’ then half an hour later he sent another saying ‘I’m sorry you have a sick child far away’ and then a couple of hours later my cousin called to say she tried to commit suicide twice in the last two months and she doesn’t know what to do and she talked for 50 minutes and she asked me if our aunt knew about my issues and I said she didn’t and my cousin said she was surprised because she thought my aunt and I were so close and I said we are, but I don’t talk about things like that, and then Monday I talked to my aunt and I told her that I don’t know how much help I can be to my cousin because I’m not in such a great place right now and my aunt said, ‘well you’ve never tried to kill yourself’ and ‘I know you have issues, but you’ve never been as bad off as cousin is’ and that made me feel bad because I have never opened up to her about my problems even though we are close, and that’s about it, why are you being so quiet?”
I looked at the clock, and only 10 minutes had gone by since I walked in, but it seemed like I was talking for at least 30 minutes. How did this happen?
J said that was good and he was being quiet because I was talking, now can we go back through the whole scenario and talk about emotions? So we did that.
I told him that I recently heard the term “emotionally unavailable” and I feel like that describes me. He asked me where I got that term from and I said it’s on google, mostly referring to men, but I think I have it. And these things that happened with people this week made me realize just how emotionally unavailable I am. Someone had once made a comment about my writing, saying, “She doesn’t put her feelings in her writing, so it’s kind of flat” and I remember this and thought it is probably true and also a sign of my “emotional unavailability.”
J took a different approach than what I thought though, in that he tried to convince me that I am not emotionally unavailable and I have high expectations of myself in this area, as in most others. He said when I was grocery shopping with my friend, that just because I didn’t come out and say “I’m so happy this is fun” it doesn’t mean I wasn’t emotionally there. I was laughing, and joking, and having fun and she could see this. I told him that is true, but I want to be able to express emotions. He said it’s easy when you are having fun, and people like to hear that you are having a good time with them.
Then he said something a little creepy. He said “I don’t mean to be crude, but [and I can’t remember exactly what went here, either he saw this on tv, or read about it, or someone asked him] how to talk dirty in bed, and the answer was ‘you just do’”. Hmmm….I don’t have a problem talking about sex at all, not that we ever have, but this just seemed a little off the wall to me. I think he could have used a different example, that’s all.
He said, so when you are having a good time you just tell the other person. There are no barriers. And I said, “Yes there are barriers!” He asked me what they are, and I told him they are the fact that I don’t trust anyone, and I don’t like to vulnerable. He explained that if I tell someone I am having a good time, or I am happy in their presence they are unlikely to say “Well, I’m not!” Even if they aren’t having such a great time, or aren’t so happy with me, it will likely make them feel good to know how I feel in that moment, so they will give a positive response.
He asked me more about the fight with my daughter, and I explained that, it really was just a typical teenager type thing, but I felt bad because we didn’t resolve it before we ended talking for the night, and then Friday she called to say she was sick. J asked me if I was upset about having fun with my friend that day because my daughter was sick, did I feel guilty about that? I told him I did not feel guilty about that, should I feel guilty about that, the reason I was sad about the friend thing is because I want to be able to express emotions like she did. And he restated that he really doesn’t think it is a problem that I didn’t say anything, because I was displaying emotion in a different way.
J asked me about the “mean” email, and I explained to him what had happened. My boss emailed me that he is having angst about becoming an empty nester, and that email just happened to come when my daughter was sick and my email back to him was all about “just you wait, it gets worse, wait until you have a long distance fight with your kid, and then they get sick and there isn’t anything you can do about it…..on and on.” And he replied “Thanks a lot.” I felt so ashamed of myself, I know I was triggered by his comment and it came at a bad time, but I wasn’t empathetic at all and basically I tried to one up him. But J said the fact that I sent an email apologizing, telling him that he caught me at a bad time and I shouldn’t have taken my anxiety out on him, and then my boss sent me back two emails, the first saying “no problem” then the second saying he was sorry my daughter is sick, was really good and we both expressed our feelings and worked it out. And I spend the whole day Sunday thinking he would fire me, but my boss moves past things really quickly, and when I saw him Monday the whole thing was forgotten. I told J that I suppose things worked out ok, but I felt that my boss and I kept missing each other, emotionally. (PS – my boss expresses emotions very freely, and to everyone he talks to).
I’m not sure we got to the suicidal cousin (PS – I went to see her last night, I wanted to make sure she is ok). J said something about getting my emotions out on my blog (not sure I do that according to some of my readers) and I said that I miss my blog. He asked me why I’m not writing in it (I didn’t remind him that we already spoke of this). I said it was because I thought I was using my blog as a replacement for talking to people in real life. He asked if I am now talking to people in real life, and I replied that I feel like I am talking more to him, and he agreed. He wanted to know if it is such a black and white thing, the writing. I told him that I do write occasionally, but about less important topics, like recipes, and it isn’t very satisfying. He asked if I set a time limit for not writing on the blog and I didn’t, and he said maybe soon I can go back to it. He asked when my writing group is meeting next, and I’m not sure, but I said I don’t write stories for the group that are anything like what I write on my blog anyway.
I think he tried to reassure me that things in the past week went better than I made them seem, and I told him that it seemed like it was one event after another showing my emotional unavailability and each time something happened it made me more sad. I believe I used the phrase “emotional unavailability overload” and he brought up the How To Talk Dirty In Bed For Dummies thing again, which was just as creepy the second time.
I’m a bit confused. I want to open up more to people, be able to express my feelings verbally. But J is making it seem like I don’t need to do that, that my expectations of myself are too high. Does he think I will never be capable of this? That I should just accept things the way they are? He knows my goal is to have better relationships with people and to connect more with people, and I thought to do that it would be good to be able to express myself emotionally and be more vulnerable and open with people. I have a lot of questions for him next week I suppose.
And another thing. I few times during the session I got teary eyed, and I think my voice got wavery or breaky once or twice, and J just continued on talking as though nothing was happening. Is that a normal t thing to do? I’m frankly not sure what t’s are supposed to do when a client gets emotional, or even cries (gasp). And I don’t even know what I would expect or want him to do. Say “Are you ok?” or “Why is xyz making you sad?” or ignore it, which is what he does. He just continues on with whatever he is saying. Which I guess is ok, not making a big deal out of anything, he knows I don’t like to draw attention to myself, which is pretty difficult to avoid in the therapy room when one is being stared at like a bug. I don’t know, just wondering what other t’s do.
Later in the day I checked the voter registration website for my state, because I was thinking of changing my political party to an independent one (I am currently registered for one of the two major parties), and I learned that anyone could enter anyone else’s name, zip code and birthdate and see the results which include their full name, address, polling location, and registered political party. So I entered J’s information, just for kicks, and, gulp….he is registered in the party that I am not. I won’t say which one of us is which, but they are the two major parties, and I didn’t like what I saw. It’s ridiculous, his political views have nothing to do with my therapy. Besides I should have known his views based on the cars he drives. Not that one’s choice of cars is a definite determinant of their political viewpoints, but sometimes it is. I was surprised, and I’m still trying to figure out why. Another interesting psychological puzzle.