Here is the draft of the letter I wrote to Linda. I would appreciate your thoughts/suggestions.
Also - as to your last post - the arguing wasn't mean or even irritated - it was more verbal sparring, and she would usually refuse to engage me. She would say things and I would pick them apart. She would try to explain why I was wrong, and I would do the same. I think I may have done the same thing with you, and you kind of put a stop to that. :] Linda stopped engaging me on those issues, too, but it took a while.
The whole EMDR thing is troubling to me. But everyone makes mistakes - even therapists, right? Shouldn't I give her another chance, or at least try?
The information thing - I don't know if it's too much or not. Probably. But we like each other. She invited me to her husband's concert thing (which was really good) because she knows I appreciate music and he's a good song writer. She keeps saying she wants to come hear me sing and play drums. That's fine, and it might be good for her to actually know who I'm speaking of (C, Jamie, etc. - she's already met P.). But I could see an issue if she formed her own opinions of them. There are things I wish I didn't know - but I asked. On the other hand, I think it's good that she shared some things- so I don't put her on some kind of pedestal, which would be easy to do.
Okay, so here it is:
This is difficult to write, but I think there are some things I need to say and you need to know. I feel like over the past few weeks, there have been a few things that have happened that have really hurt me and, I am realizing, have threatened/jeopardized our therapeutic relationship. I just don't feel as safe as I did, or as trusting. That might not be fair, but it's how I feel. Things have been compounding since we tried the EMDR.
You probably have little clue what I'm talking about. Let me try to explain.
First, as you know, the EMDR went terribly. There was no way you could have known how it would go - it was worth a try. As you also know, my reaction scared the crap out of me. I understand that you didn't know what was going on. And that was fine. I knew I had my hands over my ears - they were still there when I "came back" (for lack of a better description). But then you mentioned in our next session that I had been rocking. After I thought about that later, it really bothered me that you didn't know I was having some serious problems - or at least that something more was going on than me crying hard. I mean, to my knowledge, I have never held my ears and rocked - or at least while I was not having a nightmare. That's certainly never happened during any of our sessions. Why didn't you know?
You promised me a while back, when we were going through some difficult memories, that you would never leave me deep in a bad memory, and you would always bring me out of it. I know you would have if you had known what was going on, but I feel upset that you didn't catch it, like you don't know me or read me as well as I thought you did, after all these sessions. And regardless of the reason, or even if there is no reason, you didn't or couldn't do what you said you would.
Then, last Monday, you mentioned something about the "safe place" thing. I had totally forgotten all about that. We went through it a few months ago, when we were planning to do the EMDR, but you haven't mentioned it since, and we didn't talk about it or practice it before we did the EMDR. When you were reading the "instructions" back then, didn't you say that it was important to make sure to be able to go to the "safe place" easily before even starting EMDR? I know I wasn't able to do that really well when we tried it before, but I think we were supposed to practice it before doing the EMDR? Why didn't we do that? I don't know that it would have made a difference, because things seem to have fallen apart very shortly into it, but I don't understand why that precaution wasn't taken. Also, I didn't feel you warned me enough about the possible negative consequences of the EMDR. I had read a lot about EMDR on the internet, and I think I even told you that I had read where people said that it had had some bad effects and that it was sometimes rough, even if it was working great, for a few weeks. You said that it would probably be tiring and would stir some things up.
When I met with Dr. Krakow (sleep doctor) the first time, he asked if I had gone through any PTSD treatments. I told him what we had done so far, and told him that we planned to do EMDR. He saked me if I understood what I was "getting into." I said yes, because I thought I did, although I thought his wording was strange. It makes more sense now.
Since that happened when we tried the EMDR, I have looked up a bunch more stuff, and there see,s to be story after story of people who are thrown into bad flashbacks and sometimes even experience them over and over for weeks.
I guess I just didn't realize that it could end up so badly. I figure that if you thought that was a possibility, you would have warned me, and I'm not saying you withheld anything. But why didn't you know what might happen?
I was also a little taken aback last Friday before our session, when you said we didn't have to do EMDR that day if I didn't want to. It surprised me that after what happened, you would think there was any chance I would want to do EMDR again that week - or any time in the near future. In fact, I was surprised that it was even an option - that you would allow me to try it again so soon, after what happened.
After our last session, I was upset and hurt. Not so much at first, but more and more that night when I thought about our discussion and your response to my letter (that was the 2nd letter).
I had told you in my letter that I saw you as a "mother figure" - what I considered to be the "ideal," and that I expected you to mother me/take care of me sometimes. I told you this (even though I was not proud of it) for two reasons: (1) because I thought you should know (if you already hadn't figured it out), because I know it is a result of/plays into my childhood parent issues we have discussed; and (2) I wanted to explain why I may have been overly upset when you didn't "rescue" me from what was happening from the EMDR.
You seemed to pull out the physical comfort part of my desire for a maternal figure. That was not at all the point. I tried to tell you that. You started talking about your being trained more on the medical side of things, where touch is not used, and I told you that was probably, actually, a good policy - but that wasn't the point. The point I was trying to make was how I saw you. I was not asking you to be physically affectionate/comforting with me. Maybe my letter was unclear, but I was trying to clarify it with you. But you seemed to ignore that, and continue. You were kind of jumping around a lot, but you were saying that you didn't grow up in a family that did that, that you could do that with your daughters, your mother, and your mother-in-law. You talked about how you were allowed, but generally, didn't touch clients, and then you were saying something about how we should be, as Christians. Then you said that there have been a few times when I was struggling, when you thought about sitting next to me and patting me on the back or something, but didn't.
At the time, I was just a little frustrated and a little embarrassed, because I felt like you felt I was asking you to be all touchy-feely with me or complaining because you weren't. That wasn't the point. Yes, as we have discussed, I lacked physical affection as a child and need to fulfill it, but I can do that elsewhere (Pat, for instance), or can learn to provide it for myself. I didn't expect you to provide it. In fact, I always assumed there are rules about that. But I couldn't get that across. That night, though, thinking about our conversation, it really upset me. You didn't even have to explain any of that, but in doing so (I'm not sure you realize(d) it), you said that, from my childhood, "of course" I needed physical contact 0 that I simply needed it, you were allowed to do that in the therapy setting, but you choose not to with me. This is the exact kind of message I got from my parents - you were directly reinforcing their message that I was not entitled to physical contact (although others were) - and I thought you had said that this was not a good message for me to have gotten when I was younger. That really hurt my feelings - and it was unnecessary, considering that wasn't even the point I was trying to make. It became an issue when you said that stuff, though. It wasn't the issue of physical contact, it is the issue of what you said and how you said it, and it made me feel unworthy and small. I know you did not mean to hurt me and that you would never hurt me on purpose. And I know it had to be difficult to read my letter in front of me and respond right away. But knowing my issues, I would have thought you would have been careful about saying something that is so sensitive to me, especially coming from you, who I had just said was a mother figure. Again, I know you didn't mean to hurt my feelings, but I ended up hurt.
Also, I feel like you don't have a whole lot of desire to keep trying to help me, since the EMDR didn't work. I was surprised that you seemed to have no plan or thoughts about how to proceed, and it was pretty clear there's no urgency now. It's fine that you aren't sure where we are going from here, exactly. I imagine you need some time to think about it. But I felt, in how you were saying things, that you weren't really interested or motivated, since we weren't going to be doing EMDR. Maybe it was just my impression, and I do understand I had been upset since what happened the week before). I don't know. But I feel like you didn't really care so much anymore, and had been counting on the EMDR to take care of things.
Also, at some point, I had said, joking, "I bet you didn't think this would take this long" or something like that. You said that you knew, when you got my intake report, that it would take a long time, and that you knew it was a more difficult case, and that's why you thought they pushed it up to you. Why would my "case" be any more difficult than others? It's not like I have a mental disease or disorder. I would imagine that trauma is a fairly common issue in therapy. What makes my situation more difficult?
I feel like what happened when the EMDR really damaged me and set me back. It was so upsetting and my feelings of shame became so much more powerful. And the voices and the dissociation or whatever it was and getting stuck in the intense flashback were really scary and left me feeling different (not in a good way), and I still feel that was. And the fact that I felt like you left me to fend for myself and didn't help me makes me feel that I was totally without a net and I fell. I felt before that you would protect me no matter what we were doing in therapy, but now I don't feel that way. And the fact that you basically reinforced one of the very painful messages from my parents hurt me. I know you didn't mean it, but it still hurt me - it didn't protect me.
I just don't feel totally safe anymore, and I don't totally trust that you will keep me safe when we're trying to work through things in therapy.
I used to have total confidence and trust - I felt like even if it was difficult, I could know it would be okay. But now I don't feel that way. I feel like my trust has been fractured in some way.
I don't know how to repair that.
I feel alone.
I am torn. I really like you, as you know, and felt comfortable with you almost from the start. I have trusted you since early on. It is really rare for me to feel so comfortable and trusting, and to be able to share everything as I have. And I feel like you have helped me so much. And I have grown very dependent on you, which you know.
I don't want to give up on therapy, especially now - because in the whole "it-will-get-worse-before-it-gets-better" process, I feel like I am still stuck in the "worse" period. And I don't really want to go to someone else, because it is extremely doubtful that I would feel comfortable with someone else and I also don't want to start over. I know if we stio now, I won't go back to therapy.
But I feel really vulnerable. I don't know what to so.
I share these things with you, not because I want to complain or make you feel bad or anything negative. I just am unsure how to continue, and the alternative to telling you how I am feeling about all this is me just going into each session not saying much and just going through the motions, andeventually just not going anymore.
I don't know that I really want to discuss any of this. And I'm not sure how to rebuild the trust/confidence/feeling of safety or if it id possible.
I need to think this through more, of course, and it might feel differently once the fear and some of the aftermath subsides.
I think that meanwhile, we need to take things slowly, and I think I would like to come only every other week for a while.
Also, on a separate note, would it be possible for me to look at my file and your notes? I don't need a copy of them, and you can be there (I probably can't understand a lot of it :] ).
I don't want you to be upset or feel bad or anything. I just needed to let you know what is going on in my mind and what I'm feeling.
Well, it's already Easter in the Eastern time zone, so happy Easter! Do you hide eggs for your son? I am looking forward to dinner with P's family, which is basically my family here. Plus- P's niece os the office manager at my old firm still, and she is so excites I'm coming back. We are good friends and always have a lot to talk about, but it will be fun doing some planning! Plus- P's aunt and uncle (not too much older than P) will be here. They also go to our church. I love them. They are so awesome and her aunt, especially, says exactly what she's thinking, and she's treated me like family for a really long time. In fact, I call them aunt and uncle, and they tell people I'm their niece. Some girl at church was complaining a few years ago about how she should be doing a solo, but C picked me, and he always picks me and I'm his favorite, etc. and was complaining about me. P's aunt was standing in the group to whom she was speaking, and she said, "you don't know who I am, do you?" and this girl said "yeah, you're Gxxxxx." And G said "I'm Shay's aunt." The girl just got silent. I'm sure she was confused because everyone knows I have no family here. But it made me feel really good. And she acts like I am her niece. It's really nice.
Well, better get to bed. It's officially Easter here, too!
I better get some sleep or I'm not going to make it to the sunrise service :]
Have a safe trip!