Dear A

A, 

I find myself (unfairly?) frustrated with you today. I know that first and foremost you are a Mom, and that things happen, but I was really hanging on to Monday’s appointment. It was my lifeline. I needed it. 

I had such a rough few last days in MO and that is what I was clinging on to and your email kind of crushed me. Not only did it come immediately after I argued for the right to see you and called in some serious favour with my boss – but it also made me feel abandoned.

My instinct was to cancel everything as a way of punishing you — which logically would only hurt me. I am not sure you would care, really. But it’s my way of protecting myself. Because I needed you on Monday. Not on Tuesday or Thursday – Monday. And I needed you Monday evening because I can’t come back to work late after 11 days off and I cant go to work emotional at 9am. And I know you don’t ever work Monday’s but if I remember you said “I will be in the office anyways so let’s go with that.” Why make the appointment if you can’t commit?

I needed the promise of you. And I needed fiancé and Lu and N. And I got none of that and in fact got my reassurance and promise of you torn away from me. There was a pervasive loneliness I haven’t felt in a while. Of not being understood by those around me. I was driving around yesterday and I was like “so that’s what that is. Hey MO loneliness, it’s been a while.”

And your email felt so formal, too. “I apologize for the inconvenience” is like something you write to someone you don’t know. I needed you to recognize how big this was for me. How much this change YOU were instituting might affect me. I needed you to write something like “I realize this is probably a stressful change, and I hope we find a time to meet. I wouldn’t do this unless it wa San absolute emergency.” I felt dismissed, and I didn’t like it. Consistency in my therapeutic relationships is key – and I don’t think your childcare problems should become my responsibility to weather. 

My initial reaction was to take a break. “Maybe I need a reset week”, “maybe this is too much”, “maybe I should just see her Thursday and give myself time to settle”. 

I know things change. I know stuff happens and will happen – but I really needed it to not happen right now. I promised myself I would wait until tomorrow to cancel or not – but I am not feeling super hopeful about us right now… and this is the worst place for me to feel that way. 

– PD

Addendum: I emailed her after writing this and asked for Monday at 8am instead. I am hoping it’s still available. If not, I am probably going to cancel Tuesday and try to regroup. 

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16 thoughts on “Dear A

  1. Rachel is right. You get to have your emotional experience, whether or not someone else thinks it’s fair or right or good. Consistency is a big necessity in a therapeutic relationship.
    I get the abandonment, and I think you’re right: she shouldn’t have offered a time that she couldn’t stick to. And the formality she used could contribute to feeling abandoned and lonely.
    I also agree with Sharon. Your trip to MO was triggering, but before it, things with A were going well. Hopefully once you’re back, things will settle into their regular rhythm.
    And I really hope she still has that Monday slot for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The formality I think really got me – tell me it was unavoidable. Once I calmed down though I did see she offered two other fairly immediate times that are flexible with my work hours so there was some consideration… just not enough. The emails from her are always so formal – and it’s actually reflective of her sticking to her boundaries, so that’s good I guess. If I had to guess I would say she’s anticipating a good storm from me.

      But Sharon is right too – it is hard NOT to frustrate me right now with where I’m at.

      She kept that Monday slot. If I had to guess its not a real slot – she’s being accommodating. 8am isn’t usually an appointment time she has open.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad to hear that the slot is still open. She probably is expecting stuff from you, but you’re coming back from a triggering environment which is okay. The formality being a boundary related thing makes sense, I hadn’t thought of that before.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Me neither until right now – she is insistent emails revolve only around scheduling and bringing in feelings would have messed with that.

        Maybe I will let her lead and see if she apologizes or mentions it in person. If it’s a boundary thing I’m much more willing to accept the formality (odd, huh)

        Liked by 1 person

      • That makes sense, and I don’t think it’s odd. Boundaries are really important to you in order to preserve the relationship, so if it’s a boundary thing, it might be easier to take (if that makes sense).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You demonstrate a gentle, compassionate way of affirming your own experience. You should be proud of yourself! It may not change A’s actions, but it does affect yours.
    Sometimes the only people that ‘get us’ at the moment is ourselves. The hope is that, one day, that will be enough to keep you from despairing.
    You matter.
    Even when other people do or say things that lead you to question your own value as a person.

    I can see your self-awareness shine through your writing. Not everyone — not even many Therapists!– are that self-aware. That’s half the battle right there– to see all of ourselves and embrace even the less sightly parts.
    Peace to you, PD. And hugs as you process your disappointment with A.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kristen – for this incredibly kind and poignant comment. I have been told I’m self aware but can forget it. Thankfully A is as self aware and will likely apologize or at least be able to better explain things to me in person. I can’t believe I haven’t seen her for almost 12 days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad to hear you are confident A will be able to smooth things over with you. Misunderstandings will happen. But I really like how you state your own perspective here. If I was your therapist, I’d be beaming right now (and apologizing for causing you any distress. Even if I didn’t intend to, it was still the unfortunate result)

        Like

  3. I really don’t think your frustration is unfair – this is really affecting you, and that is valid. There is no set amount of emotional reactivity that is pre-agreed upon that is fair or not fair, you know? This sucks, you get to say that, and that is okay. You didn’t get to tell your mom all the family stuff that affected you wasn’t fair. You know? Why am I pushing this so hard? Not sure, but I am 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate that 🙂 that I am allowed to be frustrated and feel what I feel – it is really affecting me – and I appreciate you pushing this.

      I didn’t even realize I was kind of apologizing for my feelings – I guess that habit has kind of come back in. I know A would tell me it’s okay too. Now that the end is near I have a bit more hope and less despair.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The middle part is always the roughest for me too – the first day or so is pretty good, and the last day or so is pretty good. The middle is rough, feels like it will never end.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m just guessing, but I imagine being in MO is making everything harder. Once you get back on track with A, I’m guessing you will feel much better. I know that feels difficult right now, but things had been going well before this time of distance, during which you’ve had lots of things triggering you. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon, you are completely right. It is making everything more difficult — being constantly triggered for 10 days with little break has not exactly helped me keep my brain on straight.

      I’m thankful I’ve lashed out here and not at her in email – my emails have been very stable even if there is a bit of “this is not working for me” thrown in there. My guess is we will resolve this Monday am and then get into stuff on Thursday.

      Thank you for the added perspective

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh PD, how I recognize the frustration and pain you feel…. And how I truly get what it means to feel abandoned. I am sure A doesn’t mean to be dismissive in any way but it’s so hard not to feel that way, isn’t it? I hope that things will improve for you. This sounds similar to how my group therapy was cancelled yesterday and how that triggered the out of control cutting.

    I hope you’ll be able to get the appointment you need. As you’ve said to me, so I’ll say to you, be kind to yourself as well in this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did get 8am Monday and now I just have to figure out how to let my already frustrated boss in on it – I am leaving it alone for today.

      I mean to be fair to A she did offer a time I can normally do – before or after work.. but it will have to be a shorter appointment. And it won’t be talking about what I need to talk about. But at least I will see her on Monday. I’ll probably read to her from this letter

      Liked by 1 person

      • Good! I’m glad that you’ll at least be able to see her. I’d be terribly upset too if I had to cancel with S. One time I had to and I was in a terrible mood for the rest of the day. It’s funny isn’t it, how we can be so ecstatic to see someone that we barely know personally but trust so implicitly…

        I’m definitely guilty of being overly reliant on S. I really do need him though.

        Liked by 1 person

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