We talked about Kat, and about the election today. I will maybe write about that in another post, but it’s just too much to write, right now. The very significant part of my session was what followed the talk of the election, and feeling overwhelmed and like everything is too much.
“You can always email me or call me.” Bea is trying to reassure me that I’m. It alone this week, with hubby leaving today to go hunting.
As she says this, I cover my face and hide. I don’t know why, exactly, but Bea telling me I can email or call her makes me feel sad, or maybe hurt. I shake my head and cry a little. I try to say but I can’t, and the words won’t come out.
Bea talks about how with hubby being gone for so many days, she can see how that would feel alone. She asks me if I have plans for the days he is gone and I shake my head. Cheerfully, she says, “This is your thing, this is what you are good at! Scheduling yourself!”
I shake my head, and moan, “But that’s what feels so out of control. I can’t even make a schedule right now, and I always have had that to fall back on. Everything is a mess.”
“Okay. If it is too hard to schedule things like you usually do, let’s just plan your evening how I do it. Tell yourself, maybe I will go to the pool today. Or, maybe we will watch a movie tonight. It doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s just a plan, so,you can feel safer, so the day has some element of choice or control to it. It’s okay to not have a fully scheduled, down to the minute, plan.”
“Maybe,” I say.
“I’m finding myself wanting to rescue you, to keep this week from feeling out of control, to take away all the bad feelings, to protect you from feeling this. But that’s not helpful to you in the long run. I can’t rescue you from these feelings. If I could go back and rescue the little girl, I would.”
“You can’t rescue me……and you don’t need to. But maybe….it’s nice to hear you want to. Like feeling taken care of or feeling safe or not alone?” I’m not sure how to explain it to her. I just know that hearing she wants to rescue me feels real to me, and it feels like she really cares.
“You aren’t alone. I’m right here, and this week I am just an email or phone call away.” She is trying to reassure me, and instead her statement has me bursting into tears. “Something touched a nerve. What happened?” She asks gently.
I have my face buried in my hands and my blanket scarf, but I’m still trying to stay more upright so I can be a *good* client. (It’s crazy, I know, but I’m overly paranoid about anything that might turn Bea shrinky again.) I shake my head and cry. “I…..I….” The trouble is, I don’t know why this is upsetting me so much, “I….you said I can email or call…….” I know that is what upset me, but I don’t know why.
“Yes, yes I said you can email me or call me this week– any week. It just seemed a reminder that it is okay might be a good thing.”
“It doesn’t FEEL okay. I can’t…I just can’t. I…..I know what you said, but I can’t email or call. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I shouldn’t be upset about this.” I’m crying so hard it’s sort of amazing Bea can understand what I’m saying.
“Do you want to come in? You can come in then, if email or phone doesn’t feel okay. All you have to do is ask,” she says lightly.
“I can’t. I can’t ask for what I need!”
Bea waits a moment, and when all I do is sob, she says, “This is okay, it is okay to email or call or come in. I’m thinking you are feeling the vulnerability in reaching out. Is that maybe right?”
I slowly nod. “If I email….or call…..or ask to come in…………and you…….I………if you aren’t……”
“If I’m not there, it’s worse than if you never reached out at all?”
“Yes…..it’s so much worse. And I can’t do it. I can’t handle that.” I tell her.
“I am okay, and I am here. This is just a normal week, so while some nights I might work late, I’m here and I will respond.” Bea tells me.
“I shouldn’t…..I shouldn’t need…….I mean, I should know you are there.” I say it in a tone that clearly says I am disgusted or annoyed with myself.
“There’s no shoulds. I think it makes sense, that you would worry about me being there if you reach out. That time I wasn’t there, that was traumatizing. It hurt, a lot. I didn’t know, I should have realized, where you were in terms of attachment and how hard relationships feel to you and how scary it is for you to really trust another person to be there and care. My responding when I wasn’t really present or grounded, that was really scary and hurtful. It made it feel risky everytime you reach out to me now. I know that. I’ve been very aware of that since that time. I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of it before, I should have realized, and I am sorry that it hurt you.” She says all this in a caring, but matter of fact voice. She isn’t upset that I’m still struggling from that rupture. And she has noticed how hard it has made it for me to reach out. I often go between appointments with no outside contact because I’m unsure and unwilling to take that risk, and she has seen that, but she also wants me to know she is aware and being very careful to be fully there. And it’s true, but every email, and the few phone calls/text messages, she has responded to me from a *I am here and I am me* place. Usually, these kinds of conversations feel unbearable to me, but I feel oddly okay with this one. It is actually helpful because then I know that she has noticed and that she is wanting to reassure me that she is there.
“I think I shouldn’t need this. I shouldn’t be this needy. I……I’m sorry…….I don’t know what is wrong with me.”
“You are dealing with a lot. We’ve been working on this, all this trauma stuff for a while now, and Wednesday was the first time I’ve heard you say ‘he hurt me and I had no control’ and have that be a statement you were saying and not a question you were asking me. This is a big deal. It is a lot. It is very overwhelming and hard to face. Facing a little at a time, just like you have been trying to do is how this works. It will take some time. You shouldn’t have to do this alone. Part of my responsibility to you, part of that unspoken contract I have to you, is that I will support you. To me supporting you doesn’t mean just in session. Sure, for some people it might, but not for this deep kind of trauma work that is sending you back to scary places and feelings. It’s okay to need support.”
“Maybe,” I whisper, tears still falling, but not as hard as they had been.
“That’s good. A maybe is better than a no,” Bea tells me.
We sit in silence for a few minutes, me working on stopping my tears and Bea just sitting with me. As I’m lifting my head out of my hands, and wiping my face, Bea nod her head towards my bag, asking, “Is that an Alice in Wonderland coloring book?”
I nod. “Yeah. Kat and I have been coloring it in the mornings.”
“Did you color the cover?”
Pulling the book out of my bag, I say, “Yeah.” I hand it her, and motioning at the cover, “This is what I did this week.”
“It’s beautiful.” She flips through the pages, I haven’t colored yet. “These pictures are beautiful. Where did you find this?”
“Target or Meijers, I can’t remember now. I can bring it on Wednesday and we can color it,” I offer, shyly.
“I don’t want to ruin your book,” Bea says.
“It’s okay. Kat colors on it. I’m working on that perfectionistic stuff.” I shrug. Yes, it drives me nuts to have Kat color everything crazy colors, and not in the lines, and not how I see it in my head. But she loves coloring in Mommy’s special coloring book, and it’s not a big deal. It’s not like I’m framing these, and I can always buy another.
“Should we make a coloring date, then?” Bea asks.
I nod, slowly.
“Okay, then. But I won’t color if you aren’t coloring,” she warns.
“Okay. I’ll color,” I say softly.
By this time, I have sat up, scooted to the edge of the couch, and slipped my shoes back on. I stand up and say bye. I feel a little sad and overwhelmed, but also like it will be okay because Bea isn’t going anywhere.
“Bye…..I’ll see you Wednesday, but I’m here before then,” she reminds one last time.
I nod, and head downstairs. There are still tears behind my eyes although I’m not really sure why. Once I’m on the road, heading home, I let those tears fall, too. There is a lot of grief inside me right now.
3 thoughts on “She’s still here and it’s okay to need her (11/14/16)”
There’s such a quiet sadness in this. It’s really moving. Thank you for sharing this, Alice – it makes me feel better about not being over Nikki’s lack of attunement a couple of weeks ago, when I said I was suicidal and she told me to go for a walk and forget about it. It helps, to have a reminder that it’s okay and normal to feel distrustful and guarded after misattunement and I don’t have to get over it immediately.
oh alice, i really feel for you. but it really is ok, you arent being too needy. trauma work is hard going. your dealing with so much. always here for you ok? only an email away. xxx
Thank you. Trauma work is hard. It’s just so ingrained in me that needs are bad.
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