It’s been awhile. I’ve been reading everyone’s posts, I just haven’t had the words to comment. I’m sort of here and gone. It’s messy.
Last I wrote, I had seen Bea on Friday during Kat’s session. And that hurt. It was hard. I spent the weekend very numb, very much in this bubble of perfection. I did some crafty things, some sewing, and the usual housewife and mom type things. I didn’t stop to think, until Sunday when hubby went out fishing and our old nanny (who is now like family to us) came to visit and hang out with Kat. I should have gone out, and ran errands. Instead, I took a bath, and with that down time, all the worries and hurt and confusion came rushing at me.
I did the only thing I knew to do. I wrote Bea an email.
I literally feel sick and scared when I think about coming to therapy tomorrow. A part of me is so afraid that this is the beginning of the end. The teen believes that everyone leaves, no one wants to deal with her, and eventually they all get rid of her, and it just took you longer than most. Crazy, I know. Nothing that bad has happened, I am really over reacting and this is not what is happening and that I am being this drama queen, but I can’t stop my feelings. Well, I can stop them for a while, but they come back. So annoying. Part of me wants to go to therapy tomorrow and just smile and be perfect and okay and really shut you out, but act like nothing is wrong. The teen wants to either not go, or if I make her go, she wants to sit in silence and be petulant. The little girl wants to go, and give you this insanely long letter and talk and have you say everything will be okay. And maybe the teen wants that, too, in a way, but she is too scared that you will say nothing is okay and that she has to go.
There was more, but that was the gist of it. So, that email began this long email conversation, which essentially resulted in me deciding I could show up to therapy and feel mostly okay with it.
I’ve copied the more important parts of the emails below…..(it was a LONG talk, lol)
From Bea: I’m glad you sent this! I understand that it will be hard to come tomorrow. The main reassurance I can give is that I’m working really hard on my own self-care so that I can be emotionally available. The loss of a secure base and a person offering unconditional positive regard is huge, don’t get me wrong, and I am taking responsibility for that. Engaging in my own self-care is the path to repair. I’m not going anywhere, and I’m committed to repairing the situation. It’s actually surprising that I haven’t hit one of these patches before this–nobody can be “on” as a therapist all the time. It’s a good time for me to reevaluate my boundaries and self-care to keep this from happening more often. Again, it was–and is–about me and my stuff. I’m sorry you have been suffering with all these thoughts and worries:(. That makes me feel bad. Please let yourself off the hook!
From Alice: None of this feels okay. I’ve read it, thought about it, read it, wrote back, deleted what I wrote, read it again, cried, tried to distract myself…..but it doesn’t feel okay. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry because I want to be okay with everything. All of this scares me. I sent my email so I could feel less anxious and nervous about all this and about therapy tomorrow and I only feel more worried and scared and upset. This boundary talk scares me. And I don’t want you to feel bad. I really, really don’t. I know everyone has stuff, even you. You’ve told me that before, and I do know that. But I’m scared. I’m scared your stuff means you aren’t okay, and I want you to be okay. In a selfish way, yes, but also just because I want you to be okay for you. But selfishly, I can’t talk to you, I can’t make you listen to all my crap, or say things I’m afraid will make you feel worse, or I don’t know, I just can’t do this if I am afraid you aren’t okay. I’m freaked out.
And I just want to talk to you, but I also don’t want to talk to you at all. I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I’m scared and upset and afraid. And I really just want you to be okay. Nothing feels right.
From Bea: I am okay! There isn’t anything you can say or need right now that will change that. My stuff is always going to be there, and I always have to manage it just like everyone else does. I know how to do that 99% of the time, and I am feeling back “on” again. I’m not worried about my stuff continuing to be a problem, and I hope you can stop worrying about it as well.
Increasing boundaries and self care just means staying on top of my needs, just like I hope you and everyone I see will do. If I’m working too many hours in the evening, I need to cut back. If I need to spend half an hour meditating in the morning, I need to make space for that. If I need to stop reading the news because it’s overwhelming me, I need to do that. Whatever it might be that any of us do for healthy self care and boundaries, I need to do it. It’s my professional obligation to you and everyone I work with. It’s just time for me to give this some extra thought
You can say whatever you need to, and please do. Nothing is going to make me feel worse, I promise! None of my stuff is originating from my work, and nothing that you need to express is going to make me put up a wall or withdraw or anything–I’m no longer experiencing that need to protect myself. It’s okay!
From Alice: I want to believe it’s okay, I really, really do. I’m just…I don’t know the word. Like, I read this and thought, okay, it’s okay, she’s okay, okay. But the next thing I think is, “or she is saying that to make me feel better and stop freaking out.” My rational guess is that you aren’t just saying it’s okay, and I’m only worried about that because I am a person who will say things are okay just to make someone else okay….ugh. You know what I mean, I think.
From Bea: I’m not just saying it–I am okay! (She also explained why she had such a hard time being present when she came back from vacation, and that actually helped a lot. It was reassuring. I’m not posting that here, because it’s not my stuff to tell.)
From Bea: The little girl need not worry– I’m not going anywhere until retirement. 🙂 Yes, send the long letter if it feels right.
I sent the long letter, which was basically a culmination of all my freakouts the weekend she was gone, and all my fears and triggers around her emails, and her not really being here even when she came back. I’m not going to post that because a lot of it is similar to what is written in the few previous posts and it’s very, very long.
From Bea: Dare I say I’m not surprised by any of this??? It all makes sense, and it fits with what I kind of figured was going on? Your lack of emails to me always speaks as clearly as your emails, quite honestly. I want to check and see when I sent the “shrinky” and distant emails last weekend. I will then be able to explain why they had that quality. It was indeed lack of availability on my part, for various reasons, and I’m curious to see what was going on when I sent each of them. I should have given disclaimers with them, but I’ll at least give them after the fact. I was well aware that you were suffering–but also that I couldn’t really do anything about it. 😞 I think going through this tomorrow would be very healing, if difficult. Two things stood out to me as very positive–first of all, your writing was outstanding, and secondly, you were finally really expressing big feelings about Kenny. You may feel ambivalent about that, but I thought it was a real breakthrough!!!
From Alice: Okay. Tomorrow, we will go through this. Just one more stupid silly question. You aren’t retiring anytime really soon are you?
From Bea: Hahaha! No, I probably won’t be able to afford to retire for another twenty years!
And so, the flood of emotions and worries and confusion lessened, and I started to feel like I could breathe again.