About the staring ---- do you keep watching someone if they aren't looking at you? I mean, when I am talking to Linda regularly, she just looks at me normally. But when I tell her difficult things, I don't look at her, because it's not comfortable. Or when I am processing things or am crying, I look at the wall or floor or something. But I feel like she is staring at me. I know she's not all the time, and sometimes she purposely looks down, I feel, if she can tell she's making me uncomfortable. I just wondered.
Also -- you didn't answer whether it was pretty normal for your clients not to look at you while they are telling something difficult. And, again, does that send some message to you, or is it just something that happens?
I guess what I want to know is if I should try to look at Linda when I am telling this stuff. If I do, I won't feel like she's staring at me, but it is hard to face her. But I also don't want to be "saying" somethiing and sending some message to her by not looking at her.
No, not really. I look away if the person does, unless there is a reason to look at them, like if they are upset. But it's not really staring. It's more of just interest and concern.Some people will look away when upset and some do not. It depends on the person and what they are talking about. Some people feel ashamed, which is pretty common, and others are angry or are making a point and need to look directly at someone. It does tell me about what they are feeling. But feeling upset and looking away is common in therapy. Therapists see that as a normal part of therapy. You are looking at this as very significant. In therapy, what you say and do does show how you feel, but it's not like the therapist stares at you intensely and sees every little thing as significant. It all tends to blend in together as part of what is going on. You can choose whether or not you look at Linda. It doesn't matter either way. What matters more is how you feel and what you are saying. And if you do feel uncomfortable with Linda looking at you or you feel strongly about looking at her, try talking to her about it. I know you have done that before, but maybe it is a bigger issue that needs talked out. There is nothing wrong with that. Kate
Okay. I just wondered if that was part of the shame and embarrassment I feel. Because I usually maintain eye contact with people to whom I am speaking. I was thinking how different it is when I'm in therapy. Linda probably really isn't just staring at me. It just feels like it because I wonder how she is reacting to what I am telling her and my expression of emotions, and what she is thinking because of it. It is different for me, and so I probably am too concerned with what she thinks about that stuff. And I can see that she probably is looking at me when I'm upset solely because I am upset. Also, I think she watches more closely after that whole EMDR session when she had no clue I was having a flashback and dissociating. And we have discussed it. I told her that I sometimes can't stand being in there with her, because of what she knows. She has offered to turn around with her back to me while I tell her stuff, which would make things more awkward. She got to where she would sit kind of off to the side when I was telling the stuff. But their new offices are done and her office is so much smaller than her old one and the ones she was in temporarily. She's right there now. It does help me sometimes to see the expression on her face every once in a while. And if she never looked at me at all, I might think she wasn't listening or wasn't interested or was reaffirming that I am horrible because of what I am telling her.
I don't know why I was thinking about all this. I just was. I wonder if I became able to look her in the eye when discussing these things, if that would be an indication that my shame is gone or lessened. ??
Kate, how screwed up am I? I thought I was so normal, but none of this seems normal. I am so up and down and I am not used to having a general feeling of sadness or just feeling bad day after day. Don't you think this has gone on for an awful long time? Way too long? I've been in therapy for almost a year now, much of the year, I've been going twice a week. Am I just stuck in a situation where I am perpetuating my own victimhood and feeling sorry for myself? Please be honest with me, because if it is a matter of me having a bad attitude, I can remedy that, if I know. I can't believe how much trouble I'm having dealing with this. I mean, I made it through being torn up inside and out, my arms and legs being almost black because of them kneeling on them, bleeding for weeks ... And was able to recover without pain meds or medical help, and even hide it from everyone. But I can't handle this emotional stuff. One of the links you gave me had a quote from a woman saying that emotional pain flat out hurt worse than physical pain. I think that is true, although it seems that shouldn't be the way it is. What do you think?
I know you told me before to "sit with" my feelings. Is that still what I should do? Even when I am feeling more and more regularly down? Will it help me work through this, or is it self-perpetuating? Am I making myself unhappy??