Don’t Wanna Send a Card

When I was saying my goodbyes to E almost two months ago, I read off to her a list of things I had wondered if would be okay after we ended therapy. Could I send her an occasional meme or poem, say no more than twice a month? Yes. Could I text her if there was big family information, like my son getting engaged? Yes.

[Side note: My son got engaged! And I adore his fiancée. I couldn’t be more delighted.]

Back to my list of questions to E: Could I send her a birthday card in October? Yes.

Well, you know what? It’s October, and I don’t want to send her a birthday card after all.

I feel a little guilty about this, actually. I want to want to send her a card. I want to think, “Oh, E did so much for me over the years. I’m grateful. I appreciate her. I want to wish her happiness.”

But instead, what I honestly feel is mad. I feel mad at her. Can you believe it? After everything she has done for me? I hardly can.

But I do. I feel mad about old ruptures that we really just papered over and never truly resolved. I feel mad that she didn’t help us face them together. Or maybe what I really feel is that I was not understood, which means I was not seen, which means (at least to a wounded younger part of me) that I was not worth making the effort to see. And that makes me (or a wounded younger part of me) feel hurt and angry.

I don’t know exactly what I am going to do about this. Except, you know what, I am not going to send a card. I am not going to ignore the feelings of this hurt, mad, perhaps unreasonable but still tender little part of myself. She can be mad if she needs to be. I’m committed to listening to all parts of myself, the easy ones, and the not-so-easy ones too. I won’t override her feelings and send a card that isn’t an authentic reflection of my whole self.

Not that I think E will notice much either way. She is an extrovert, with a big circle of friends. She throws herself parties, if she feels like it. She has plenty of people who love her, and she deserves that love. She has many good, caring, generous traits. That can be true, and it can also be true that maybe she didn’t do a good job healing up some pain between us. She can be a good person, a good therapist, and I can still be pouting and mad about ruptures we had several years ago.

Happy birthday, E. I don’t begrudge you a lovely birthday, with cards and presents from many people. There just won’t be one from me this year.

CREDIT: Photo by Monirul Islam Shakil on Unsplash
  

12 comments

  1. Good for you for listening to the parts of you that are mad and hurt and all the feelings. I think you’ve experienced tremendous growth over the years Q but at times it’s come at a really heavy cost to you. I feel like I grew a lot with Em but not because of what she did but because I worked hard. Obviously you and E has a positive relationship but there were definitely places she couldn’t go with you and parts that deserved more attention and that does feel like being unseen and abandoned to those parts that so badly needed more. So, yeah, don’t send her a card, still see the good but also give space to that hurt too. Also, congrats to your son. That’s lovely news. X

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are so right. Some of my growth came from E’s support and what she taught me. And some of my growth came from me learning and growing to fill in the places she didn’t or couldn’t address.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow Q, reading this has unleashed an angry part in me that I didn’t know was there until your words sunk in. Honestly, this place is sometimes more of a therapy room than therapy is! Thank you for sharing this. It’s kind of poked something in me that feels strange to me but I think is good.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great to read that you are able to be true to all parts of yourself. What a long journey to be able to do that! For me its a real work in progress still. And for me too, some of the wounds of therapy still hurt.

    Congrats to your son!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am not always able to be true to all parts, but I’m really trying. Sometimes I scold or shame myself a bit, but then I notice it and intentionally shift to a more accepting position. It’s certainly become easier over time, but it isn’t always automatic.

      I’m sorry some therapy wounds still hurt you, too. It’s very hard to heal, isn’t it? Yet still worth doing.

      Like

  4. I love this, Q. It also resonates with me, I’m feeling particularly about a rupture we had last year that I don’t think my T handled well or really resolved her part in. I think this is part of grieving the relationship, though, as we move from this long term work.. there is the expansive time now to feel the depth of the emotion around the situation, now that the relationship is over (or on a long pause). I’m sure we won’t always feel this way about our long term Ts, but the conception of the whole relationship will now have added to it more nuance around the disappointments we felt, along with the overwhelming good we held on to.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for this comment. I have been asking myself in recent days if I’m nursing a grudge or in some way being unreasonable. But perhaps when I’m away from the regular weekly contact and it’s ups and downs, I do have room to feel things that I didn’t fully make space for before.

      There are quite a few relational things that E and I never settled properly, and it makes me both angry and sad. After all the good she gave me, I wish these unsatisfying emotions weren’t so dominant at the end. But perhaps honoring them now will eventually give me room to let the love and appreciation take over. We’ll see… and I’ll try to remain open to letting it be whatever it is.

      Anyway, I really appreciate knowing that you feel something similar. As always, it feels very validating and normalizing. 🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m trying! I do believe it’s the best way to be a healthy person, and I’m gradually getting better at it, but as I said to Ellen (above), it’s not automatic or easy.

      Right now I am very tired and jet lagged after a long trip. I know it’s easy to judge myself harshly when I’m this exhausted, so every time I start down the path of negative thinking, I stop myself and say, I’m in no condition to give this serious thought tonight. I’ll wait to really evaluate this once my body no longer reverses day and night. I guess just that is a way of trying to honor myself, or at least not go myself any harm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely! Even as I’m reading your compassionate response to yourself after your trip I’m thinking, “wow, I have some growing to do.” I would get fully lost in berated myself before even coming close to identifying a need for self compassion.
        I completely get that it isn’t automatic or easy for you, but I am also impressed and inspired that you get there. You make the conscious choice of self kindness in these moments. That’s huge and often counterintuitive for a survivor…And it’s incredibly inspiring! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

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