Kate -- Yeah -- I'm not sure what she does or does not recognize. She hasa lot of experience, but I also know she worked in the schools for years (she was a teacher at some point and then a counselor, and I think her doctorate is in education, actually) and I also know she works a lot with kids and teenagers and families, but I know she works a lot with individuals and trauma issues as well. So I don't know.
I know she can tell when I get defensive and argue intellectually - mostly to self-blame issues. And she just cuts me off now and says she knows what I am going to say, but she is right. But, if I push her away, I know she won’t stop and say “you are pushing me away because ....” or “pushing me away is not going to change the feelings ...” like you have done. She will totally back off and do what I want. I think it is not in her personality to be pushy. And I appreciate that – it is probably part of why I am comfortable with her. But I am really good at defending myself from things. I know that. I do not like to manipulate situations at all. I can’t stand it when other people do it, and I don’t want to do it. But I certainly am smart enough to know what to say to get to a more comfortable place, to get her to totally back off, etc. When things hurt, it is very very tempting to employ these. I just am not sure she’s ready to call me on it. She’s too nice. Plus – she thinks I have worked very hard at this since I have been in therapy, which I have. Once I realized that I wasn’t just going to go for a few sessions and bolt like usual, I have really made an effort. And she is right – I have had to push myself to do it. So she thinks that if I don’t want to do something or am scared or hurt and am avoiding it, it must be too much for me, because I generally push myself. I think I need to explain to her that we are dealing with apples and oranges, sort of. I have pushed myself. Just to go to therapy and stick with it and do all the work I’ve done on my own, etc. And it has not been pleasant, but I can push myself to continue. That is totally different than when we are dealing with a certain thing during a session - or when I am trying to tell her out loud or examine my feelings. Yes – it is difficult, and yes, I want to be able to stop if it becomes way overwhelming. But - especially with my feelings – my instinct is to avoid. And I need a push sometimes. It’s different than being able to push myself in general to try to deal with everything. Does that make sense?
What do I tell her I need? I’m not sure. Can you help with that?
Busy morning already at work. I decided to bring my dog with me. Unfortunately, I was on a conference call this morning and she wouldn’t stop whining. (Fortunately, it was a call with my dad, a VP of the bank and their Ohio attorney, all of whom I’ve known since I was a kid, so they understood). She is laying on her blanket chewing a giant rawhide candy cane right now. She apparently just doesn’t want me talking on the phone. :)
Yesterday when I told her I wanted to go through the feelings at the same time, she said that when I get to a point where I start feeling strong feelings of guilt or shame or self-blame, she wants me to tell her, and then she will help me back away from that. She said we will deal with those feelings, but separately and later. She said those feelings are “special” and need to be focused upon separately. ??? I get that - kind of - and I think that will help because in a lot of things, my guilt/shame is so overwhelming that I can’t tell if I have any other kinds of feelings there. But the shame is going to be a pretty constant feeling. Just being partially undressed brought on shame, and that never changed until they left, let alone the other stuff.
And I noticed yesterday — Linda tends to ask what I am thinking – not what I am feeling. But she does ask how I feel on the suds scale or whether I am in memories or if I am feeling intense feelings. But she usually doesn’t ask what those feelings are. One time, a few months ago, when I was feeling like I was going to explode, she asked me to try to write down all the feelings I was having. I did
, and the next session gave her a page filled with everything I thought I was feeling at all. She seemed overwhelmed by it. She asked me about a few things on the page, but then we never talked about it again.