I Know, I Have a Bad Attitude

This evening I am going to group therapy for the first time. It’s an on-going group that E runs with eight women. She’s invited me to join it before, and I’ve always said no. This time she pushed a little harder, plus I thought it might be good for me, so I said okay, I would try it.

The idea is that I would give up one of my two sessions per week during the week that group meets (which is every two weeks). So in that sense it marks the beginning of a gradually reduction in therapy. Perhaps that’s why I’m going into it with such a crabby attitude.

I know another factor is (again) the Effexor withdrawal effect. Maybe I’ll write about that in more detail in another post, but I’ll skip the details for now and just say that since I recently went down about 2 mg, I can’t sleep for very long at a time, I feel uncomfortable in my body, and my joints hurt. I think I would be grumpy whether or not anything was changing in therapy.

I see that my last post was all about attachment pain, and it was written a month ago. If I were to sum up the past month of therapy, it would mostly be about that same thing. Attachment pain gets triggered, then it calms down a little. Then it gets triggered, then it calms down. Then I think E really hears me, then I feel she doesn’t get it at all.

Add in there a painful blow-up again with my older son (the one who prompted this blog going private, if you remember), and a sweet celebration of my husband’s milestone birthday, and there you have my month of November.

So, as I started to say, I’m trying out group tonight. At noon, when I would normally have had an appointment with E, I texted her, saying I was nervous about the change. Her response was all about how it would be fine, there was no hurry, we’d figure things out. I said it’s fine for *you*, my dear E, and there is no hurry for *you,* but my lonely, abandoned part is a toddler, and she’s very agitated right now.

Looks like she needs some of your presence and tenderness.

That’s what she texted me back. Argh! Why does she do that? On the days that I can take care of my own needs for presence and tenderness, I do that. I don’t text her every day anymore. I probably text two days a week. But when I text, it’s not to ask her to tell me I should take care of myself! It’s because there are days I still need more than that.

That’s why I say that sometimes I think she doesn’t get the attachment wound stuff. She’s so warm and generous in so many ways. But she’s just as likely to go into her shtick about existentialism as she is to offer any comfort to my youngest, fearful self.

It’s not her framework. I have never heard her use the words developmental trauma or polyvagal or schema therapy or complex trauma or even attachment wound (though I have used that a couple of times). And maybe the framework doesn’t matter, if the need gets met. But am I getting the need met? I feel like I just keep getting told that I have to find more ways to meet my own needs.

That’s right, I guess. But is that all the help I get with that?

So I didn’t answer that text. And while I’m not quite sulking, it’s hard to imagine that I will go into my first meeting of group all warm and cheerful. I am carrying a chip on my shoulder. The other women may just to decide to vote me off the island before I’ve even fully landed there.

Deep breath. Breathe, Q, breathe.

I’m going to be okay. I’m doing well in many ways.  Even with all this confusion, I do know E cares about me. We’ll either figure this out, or I’ll figure out if I need to get another therapist for this part of the work, just as I am working with another therapist on sexuality. Maybe E is my safe home base, and I have to contract out for specific services now?

It’s good to remind myself that she has shown herself to be caring and empathic and understanding in so many ways. That little part is so quick to run back to her default thinking: She doesn’t love me. She’s tired of me. She won’t care anymore. I will be abandoned and alone. 

Wish me luck in group. Wish me the ability to drop that chip on my shoulder and make some real life connections that, in time, might be as rich as those I have found here on WP. That would be a soothing balm for the pain of existential loneliness.

 

10 comments

  1. Group is scary. Change is scary. I had a horrendously bad attitude about group and I think it all came down to some underlying fear and shame. I don’t know how to “fix” that unfortunately. It is a vulnerable experience for sure. Hope it ends up being a good thing for you. There can be value in that setting, even with as difficult attending group can be. Are these some of the people you attended that retreat with? I’m sad that E missed the mark. That hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have had a lot of resistance to group, but I have also told myself that WP is like an asynchronous group, and look how healing that’s been for me! So that’s how I convinced myself to even try it. But it was a weird thing. I’m not sure if it’s really what I need right now or not.

      Yes, it was some of the same women from the retreat, which also made it less scary to at least try out. There’s one in particular who is very dear, sweet, and insightful.

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  2. Making a change like that is hard – new relationships to build, changes to the structure of therapy itself. Especially the bit about having to share your therapist with other people! With all of the attachment stuff close to the surface, I’d want to feel very secure in my relationship with my therapist before I would be prepared to share. WP does feel a bit like a therapy group, but one of the things that makes WP feel safer is that you can more or less sit on the edge of the group and watch until you are ready to participate, something most group therapists/moderators wouldn’t let you get away with IRL. I hope this develops into something helpful for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right. Plus on WP, you can engage with the people you want to, not necessarily everyone out there. You can pick the ones whose style and experience and way of expressing themselves resonates for you. Whereas in group IRL, whoever is there needs (and deserves) your attention and respect, whether or not it’s directly serving you. So maybe I have to be less selfish. Also sharing E, ah, that can be hard. I have already seen that a bit in the two therapy retreats we did. It felt confusing at first. But in a way it could help me detach a bit from her. I can see, oh look, she is a caring therapist to others too, and oh, right, she is really and truly not my mother (both sad but also good for me to get a grip on).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that’s a big step starting group. I’m sure you’ll work out what feels right in time. I hope you can talk to your T about the text exchange and how little Q doesn’t need to be told that adult Q needs to be there 🤮. The attachment stuff certainly comes in waves doesn’t it? I hope your withdrawal settles soon too. It feels like it’s a really hard process. Take care xxx

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