Wednesday I had my first session with E after the month-long therapy break I had instigated. I felt a little nervous ahead of time, but also firm in my decision to tell her, “I’m ready to think about changing the way we work together. Can we use our time today to talk about options?”
And it some ways, it seemed to go just fine. It was nice to see her, after the break, and she seemed happier and more relaxed than the last time I’d seen her. She listened to me and responded to my words in ways that indicated she really heard me.
And yet I wasn’t entirely honest with her—again. I didn’t tell her about all the anger I have felt, thinking about our relationship. I made it sound like I wanted to talk about seeing her less often, but we didn’t include stopping therapy altogether as one of the options to discuss. We didn’t say anything about that, even though it is an option I am seriously considering.
I did say, “I think there are two big issues that feel quite unfinished to me. One is about sexuality. In that area, I’ve decided that my immediate next step is not the emotional side of things but rather a visit to a pelvic floor physical therapist.” The scar tissue I have from my surgery five years ago seems to have hardened, or somehow changed in a way that has made intercourse incredibly painful.
“The second issue is about getting triggered around our relationship, around attachment, connection,” I went on. “That can still really throw me off balance, and while I’m better at recovering than I used to be, I can still be dysregulated for days.”
All that is true. What I didn’t add, that is also true, was that I no longer believe that she can help me with that.
She said something about our ability to work on that more. It has to do with my mother, of course, she said, and maybe we can talk more about what I wish I could have from my mother and how I can give it to myself.
Nope. I don’t want to do that. I mean, we’ve done that some, and yes, I know I have to give myself what I wish for now. But I just don’t want to have that conversation any more. I know it, I have taken what I can from it.
What I really probably need to talk about with her is the anger I feel towards her. I am sure it would help if she acknowledged and validated it. However, I am afraid to do it because 1) I of course have little experience telling people I love that I am angry with them; and 2) I am afraid she will react defensively or angrily and things will spiral out of control for me.
I guess I have two options. I can face my fears, have this conversation, and accept whatever consequences it may bring. Alternatively, I can end or reduce therapy without having this conversation. I know, however, that this will second option, even though it seems easier, will actually leave me unsatisfied. It will leave a distance between us, the way important things unspoken do.
I don’t like this, that I am afraid to speak more directly to her about my emotions. I don’t want to be the kind of woman who avoids hard things and pretends things are okay that aren’t. I have spent many years being that kind of woman, and what has it got me? Years and years of depression and loneliness.
So somehow, between now and Wednesday, I need to figure out how I am going to approach this frightening conversation. And I have to figure out how to steady myself enough that no matter how she reacts, I will be able to hold myself together and keep working. No falling apart and hiding from the world in my bed. I don’t have time for that anymore.
PHOTO CREDIT: Cherylyn Ang on Unsplash Somehow I related to the rumpledness of this little bird.