After my therapy session with E on the 4th of July, I am irritated, then self-loathing, then furious, then despairing. I hate E. But part of me also loves her, longs for her. If I have to break it into the different “parts” of me that we work with in therapy, I would say my little girl selves just want everything to be fine with her, while my teen self wants to rage at her or refuse to ever see her again. You can imagine the internal dialogue.

It is hard to sit with that, so in the evening, I text E, saying that being ultimately alone was unbearable, because alone I couldn’t repair the wounds that overwhelmed me. She texts back that some people find comfort for existential anxiety in religion, and that not wanting to face existential realities can make people neurotic. And something about how I am not the only one who has concluded that the problem is my own lovability.

Clearly we aren’t getting closer to one another with this line of conversation. On the contrary, I am growing ever more agitated, turning Rage inward (afraid to let Rage direct itself at her, I think now). A few hours later, I decide to leave the question of existential angst aside and talk about the emotions I am grappling with.

The desire to hurt myself is very strong.

I pause and breathe and ask myself, why? What in me wants to do that?

It is Rage, I think.

Glad you are listening. What is rage wanting to convey?

“Why?!? Why can’t you get it right?”

“Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.”

“I am so sick of you.”

Reflect back, “it seems like you wish I had this all figured out. It seems my pace is too slow, that my efforts aren’t soothing the deepest hurt you fell…” Stay present. That helps.

E is right, but I am not it any mood for it. I drag my husband away from whatever he is doing to go watch a crime series on Netflix, under the theory that when all else fails, I can escape into dark portrayals of fictional crimes.

I don’t text E the next day at all (I’ll show her!), but inside, I was raging. Raging about work, about my boss, about the news, about US politics, but above all about how my therapist doesn’t get me and about how I am clearly asking her for more than she wanted to give. I am texting her too much. (But she told me I could!) I am progressing too slowly. I am just one more piece of work for her, and a tedious piece at that.

By Wednesday, the youngest parts of myself are grieving at the loss of connection to E. They love her. They miss her. But my friend (?) Rage is standing in the way of connection. And she (Rage) just keeps growing because I am not doing anything to soothe her.

I really need help with Rage. We’ve put her off since late March. 

I agree. Let’s keep focused on this.

I roll my eyes. My chest is exploding NOW, and E tells me, “oh yeah, good topic for us to talk about later in therapy.” Fine, then. I will just wait until next Monday. Or maybe I won’t tell her at all. I’ll just quit therapy. It obviously isn’t helping. She can’t even see when something is urgent.

But a few hours later the little ones are tugging on my skirt, asking me to try again to connect to her. Tell her how important it is, they insist.

I don’t know if you realize how big and intense and immediate this is. I’m afraid to even text you about it. It’s so poorly contained.

Do you know what you are needing/wanting from me? I’m not sure how to respond. I care deeply. I want to be present with you as you explore your anger and rage. I see your rage is activated and big. Help me know how I can best assist you right now.

I don’t know. It’s just hard to be alone with it. 

I’m right here. You’re not completely alone. I’m sure it’s overwhelming energy. Continue to ask it to play fair with you. Tell it, “I’ll give you time and space. You don’t need to haunt or overwhelm me.” You have not allowed yourself to own and acknowledge much of the rage your body has experienced. It kind of makes sense it’s coming out big and bold. Give it forms–safe forms–to be expressed. Ripping up magazines comes to mind. You’ve done this before, I remember, and your dogs got all excited. Maybe ask [your husband] to take them out for you. Your anger is legitimate. Don’t let it dishonor you by causing harm to yourself or others.


Cause harm to others? When have I ever (intentionally) caused harm to others? Does she think I would do that?

I am lost within the rage and for whatever reason, nothing E says is helping. This frightens me and plunges me into despair.

Meanwhile, I am going in to the office late every day and not focusing very well while I’m there. I am behind on a grant proposal. I just can’t care. There is a lot of turmoil going on at work these days, some very toxic stuff from the CEO making everyone unhappy.

Two police shootings of black men in two days. How can this keep on happening?!? The world is simply fucked up; no polite way to say it.

I decide my goals for Thursday are: 1) go to the office; 2) do not let rage pour out at some random person; 3) hang on to the idea that I won’t always feel like this.


  1. Do you think if you expressed anger with E directly, she might respond to you in a more connected way?

    I agree it’s odd that she went off on this philosophical tangent, leaving you to read all kinds of things into what she is saying. I hate it when my T gets into his theories, and this particular situation seems more so.

    Sometimes at work it is best just to disengage for a while, until some of the bad things blow over….

    Hope you find a way of dealing with rage that helps.


  2. Hija de la chingada! Nodding my head hard at all of it. Wishing you were into voodoo and that you could make an E doll and stick some pins in…reading about your experiences triggers my own abundance of rage.
    Not about me, though. It’s about you. I really wish you could tell her to fuck off, but I know you’d never do that because that’s not your routine. I was gonna write “it’s not your style”, but I think it’s more accurate to say “routine”, because that’s how it goes, behaviour, we react based on fear a lot. I understand how you’d be terrified not to have E in your life and telling her to fuck off just might make her close the door on you permanently BUT it might not.
    My feeling is rage is taking over because the needy Q has been dominant for a while (the extra texting and after hours communication with E). My feeling is you are right to think that E is closing herself off or shutting down and that is total bullshit.
    BUT rage is necessary to put some distance between you and her. I think she’s protecting herself and doesn’t want you to get lost in her, because the goal is for you to stand strong on your own or be more self-sufficient in the healthiest sense of the word.
    I wonder how she’d react if you asked her to do some role-playing and she had to take on the role of “the enemy”….how’s that for abstract? 😉
    You are soooooo amazing! Estoy contigo. I honestly think rage is a sign that one needs to take one’s power back.
    Rage is actually giving you the “gift” of power, without the judgment of “oh rage is a really bad thing”, it’s helping you shift power, separate yourself from others so that you can be clear on what you need.
    If you’re the one paying for her services, I think it’s totally reasonable to ask her to stfu, but in a very nice, diplomatic way….as you seem to do with her.
    You have every right to feel and think the way you do. I hope you can make the best of your time with rage. She’s actually very ‘useful’.
    Un gran abrazo xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Q, this sounds incredibly difficult. If T started lecturing me about existentialism when I was feeling alone and disconnected, I would lose my godamn mind. Her approach at the moment sounds terrifying and not helpful. I’m really sorry that you’re going through this. E usually sounds much more connected to you.

    It is possible to perhaps straight out tell her that you’re concerned she’s pulling away because you feel like you’re too much? I apologize if suggesting that is unhelpful.

    Therapy can suck so much and this sounds like a really rough patch with E. Also, a lot of things happening in the world are genuinely terrible and worthy of feeling rage about.

    Rage is scary and can feel really alien and foreign (well, that happens to me because I’m not used to really accessing it). And I imagine feeling tremendous rage at E is scary, because you also really need her. It sounds like she would be willing to work this through with you, if you did express rage at her. But I realize that’s almost ludicrously easy for me to say, and this situation is so difficult and painful to navigate.

    Basically, to sum up my rambling, I really hope you are able to work this through with E and I’m really sorry that you’re having such a rough time.


  4. Q, I am just going to ramble and hope that it goes somewhere because this post really speaks to my heart. I have RAGE permanently engraved on my upper thigh in the form of couRAGE. COURAGE hides rage or maybe rage can be turned into courage–I don’t know but a few years ago I was just filled with self hatred and RAGE appeared on my leg because, of course I don’t know how to let it out. LIE is hidden in BELIEVE and ughhhhh.
    So we take a breath.
    I had this thought about what abuse does over time. It hardens your heart. Everything and everyone is stupid and it’s easier to keep everyone away. I’m fine or I will be fine and no one can help anyways. So I might as well just quit therapy. But maybe I need to “show her” by cancelling a few times so that she knows she screwed up because she should have known how to help and what I needed. However I can’t just share without creating a story. My mind is filled with stories and ways to explain why I feel as I do. Why is it that I can’t just be angry. Like oh, that didn’t go well and I feel upset…I hope next week is better.
    Love you Q. I can’t seem to finish my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lace up those combat boots and stomp around, Rage. You don’t have to be angry at Q – you are right, there’s too much fucked up in the world, and you get to be PISSED about it. You have been so skilled and so wise and kept reaching and reaching and it hasn’t helped and you don’t feel better and that SUCKS, and you get to be PISSED about it. If you want to smash things with a baseball bat, you can. If you want to paint a horrible picture of E and tear it up, you get to do that too. If you’re alone in your car and you feel like screaming at the top of your lungs, do.

    A wise woman recently told me that I don’t have to hurt myself when other people let me down. It’s a good way to open the door to let rage out, but I hope you are finding other cards in your hand to play, other windows to open. Because I care about you and I don’t want you to hurt yourself, and also because I want the rage to have a voice, and turning it against yourself seems to take that away.

    You’re doing awesome. Keep hanging on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the other commenters said it well. Rage is scary but important too. You said in your recent posts Rage has simmered down. She might still need things from you though. I imagine she is still there, just waiting, because there is a reason for her.


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