I haven’t posted for a long time (nearly two weeks!). I had a very hard week last week. The last time I posted, I was set off when my therapist contacted me last Sunday to reschedule last Monday’s appointment. It pushed all my “I’m not important; I don’t matter; she doesn’t care” buttons. I knew that my reaction was exaggerated, yet at the same time the feelings were enormous and real.
What’s come from that is kind of a long story, so I’m breaking it into pieces, starting with my rescheduled therapy session.
I walked into session last Monday already upset that I was so unimportant. On top of that, I felt guilty about being upset. What grown up woman flips out because her therapist asks her to move up their session together?
It wasn’t a good session. E went into her abstract, philosophical mode, as she occasionally does: You feel alone because that’s what it is to be human. Ultimately we are all alone. We are born alone, and we will die alone. We can’t expect anyone to really be there with us. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the reality. We all have to help ourselves because no one else can.
WTF?!? I’m distressed and feeling rejected, and she tells me, get used to it; that’s how it goes?
No, wait. She’s just talking existentialism. She’s not even talking to me at all. Something I said made her think about existentialism, and she’s just taken that thought and running with it. Who is she talking to?
You’re not special, she went on. That is what I learned from my therapist years ago. We all have our own particular capacities, but that’s just how it works. None of us is special.
No, wait. She’s not just talking theory for her own entertainment. What she is actually saying is this: stop expecting so much from me. I thought I mattered to her. I thought we were connected. But no, I really am just one widget fitting into one of her slots. She checks off her slots each week, and the billing company mails off a bill, and done, she can go home and have her real life.
She gave me a little more time and space, with the texting, but now she’s regretting it. She thinks I am asking to be treated like I am special, like I deserve more attention and consideration, and she’s telling me that’s not true.
She talked and talked. I got quieter and quieter. I usually take notes but I started scribbling on the paper, harder and harder, until I tore through it. At one point I thought about saying STOP THIS but at the same time, I felt confused. This was E. She is a good therapist. She knows what she is doing. She must be right. What is happening? Unable to make sense of it, I just crawled into a dark space in my head and didn’t say much of anything.
And then the session was over, and I left, a little dazed.
It didn’t take long for dazed to turn into resentment. I don’t want her to tell me that feeling rejected and abandoned and alone is the normal human experience. We are all alone. Fuck that. I thought connection was supposed to be good for mental health. I thought depressed people were supposed to seek out connection.
And resentment, in its turn, morphed into self-loathing. So I’m supposed to find all the connection and care and comfort I need within myself. Right. Why would I want to trust my SELF. That’s the same SELF that allowed many men to touch or use or fuck me, without fighting back. That’s the SELF that stomped out her own intuition and common sense in favor of the preferences of others. The SELF who married a cruel, narcissistic man. The SELF who held back in graduate school, who bit her tongue. The SELF who even now wastes her days lying in bed, depressed and demoralized. Who does nothing meaningful with her free time. Who is lethargic and needy. Who can’t locate herself except through the eyes of others. Who still doesn’t even know what she feels when the pelvic floor physical therapist sticks a finger in her vagina. (“Does that hurt?” “Um, I’m not sure.”)
That SELF is supposed to save me? That is my source of strength and comfort?
And then, from self-loathing into rage. That’s not good enough! It makes me so mad! Anyone who hurt me is off the hook, no responsibility? My therapist doesn’t have to be invested because we are all alone and I have to do this myself? I can’t! I don’t want to!
SMASH! I could break a window right now. I could bring a baseball bat down on a piece of furniture, c-r-a-c-k!
I am NOT NOT NOT reaching out to E. I’m mad at her. I feel tricked, deceived. She promised something and then rescinded it. I feel rejected. All she offers me now is my own appalling, useless SELF. She offers me loneliness and the responsibility of fixing something which is unfixable.
Hello, Rage, come on in. Make yourself comfortable.