Wow, it’s been a few days since I’ve written. I’ve been blah, what can I say? Yesterday was therapy day, same as every Tuesday for the last year. Year? Yes, year. I’m really concerned that J, my therapist, is losing patience with me. Granted it took me at least 6 to 9 months to start actually talking to him, so I guess he realizes I’m not going to be a quick fix. But still, it seems like we talk about the same thing every week.
He started with the usual question, “What are we talking about today?” And as usual, I was quiet. I did have things I wanted to talk about, namely cupcakes and wellbutrin, but I was unable to get started so there was some silence. Either J doesn’t like silence or he assumed I had nothing to talk about. Why would someone go to therapy if they had nothing to talk about? Hmmm… So he said, “I’m curious to know, where are you on your flow-chart of guilt and shame?” I’m so sick of this flowchart! I’m sorry I gave it to him now, because that is all he is focused on. I told him I wouldn’t be cutting anymore. He asked me why. I said I didn’t want to disappoint him or make him feel like a failure. I said I was sorry I ever told him about the cutting because now I can’t do it anymore. He pointed out that I have cut since I told him about it, and I responded by saying that I don’t think I can do it anymore. His feeling about me is a deterrent to cutting. Darn.
J asked me what I am currently feeling guilty about, and I said that I feel guilty about the dread I feel in having to talk to and visit with my mother more often now that her husband has died. He asked why I dread spending time with her and I told him it’s because she is critical. Then we had a looooooonnnnnggggg discussion about why I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. And that guilt is comprised of expectations and anger. If one doesn’t meet expectations one can feel guilty. However these expectations might not be based on reality. For example I feel that I must talk to my mother every day now that she is alone, whereas before I would talk to her about once a week. And if I don’t talk to her every day I feel guilty. Who’s expecting me to talk to her every day? Is that an expectation I have created in my mind? Or did I get it from my mother, or my sister, or society? J said what if it’s ok to talk to her two times a week? I asked him if he would call his mother two times a week if his father died, and he said yes. I said, “You would not.” He admitted he wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to call her twice a week. There can be extenuating circumstances, for example one’s mother could live far away and it would be expensive to call. I said, “We’re just talking about my circumstance, not what if’s.”
This went on and on with examples about recycling, and toys left lying around by a two year old, and cars getting scratched. Ugh. Then he explained about the anger part of guilt, but I got totally lost. He says I’m angry about something. I don’t know. I guess I’m angry that my mother’s husband died because now I have to fill in the space in her life. But I’m not angry at him for dying. I don’t what I’m angry at.
I didn’t talk to J about this, but I am angry about the fact that my plans have to change due to my mother’s husband death. I had my emergency exit all worked out. But I can’t do this to my mother. I can’t imagine her telling her friends, it would make her look bad. Anyway, not to digress.
We ran over by 5 minutes. I said, “It’s time to go.” He said, “I know.” But he kept talking. He was really trying to make his point about feelings and how we can’t control our feelings and they aren’t good or bad, and we have to differentiate feelings about a situation from feelings against a person. I don’t even know what he was saying by the end of the session. I would say that he talked at least 75% of the time.
I think, in a nutshell, he was telling me that I shouldn’t feel guilty about not wanting to spend time with my mother. Yet, on the other hand he said we can’t control our feelings and they aren’t good or bad. So that seems hypocritical. I am going to take this seriously however. My mother is critical and judgmental and difficult to be with. Just because she is my mother doesn’t mean I should be overjoyed by having to talk to her and see her all the time. It’s ok to have some dread about it. I’m ok with that.
After I left therapy I went to spend the afternoon with my mom, she wanted me to read some papers from her lawyer and spend some time with her, which I was happy to do. However, it was a mistake to do this right after therapy. After therapy I just want to crawl in a hole and die for a few days, and being with my mother was not a good after therapy activity. I patiently put up with all of her criticisms and judgments (not about me for a change). At one point she was judging my cousins, two girls in their 20’s who aren’t exactly the most mature proactive people quite yet, and I said to her, “Your expectations are too high. They are not going to do what you want.” She didn’t want to hear that, but I felt good saying it. I think I might do that more often.
One thing that did freak me out during my session was when J told me I was angry “with that social worker who was your son’s therapist.” I never told J that my son’s therapist was a social worker. All I told him was his first name and the kind of therapy he did. I asked J a few months ago if he thought he knew this person, and J said he didn’t think so, but since he didn’t know his last name and I wouldn’t tell him he couldn’t be sure. I have to ask J about that next week. My biggest fear has been that J and my son’s old therapist are friends, or acquaintances, and I would just die if they are.
I never got to talk about the things that are on my mind. Not that what we discussed isn’t important. I’m not sure how this is supposed to work, do we talk about what’s on my mind or do we talk about what J thinks is important? For the past few months it seems he’s directed the therapy. About an hour after I left this was on my mind, so I sent him an email saying that when he asks me what we are going to talk about and I don’t answer, it doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to say. It just means it’s hard to get started. He replied within a couple of minutes saying, “OK, thanks.”
I guess cupcakes and wellbutrin are trivial, and I realize that we need to talk about big things in order to have progress. But all of this talk about big issues is making me feel worse and worse, do I have to do it every week? After every session I think I need to quit, I cry all day, I feel like shit for at least 3 or 4 days. Is that the way therapy is supposed to be?