Are MnMs a suitable breakfast?

I had session with A this morning.

Last time I was late, so I left extra early, and ended up 40 minutes ahead of time. I sat in Starbucks and did the metro crossword, but I hate being early – I try to arrive exactly on time.

I read all your comments too, and one thing that stuck out to me was that I am, in fact, having feelings. So that’s what I started with.

A surprised me though, with an apology. She said she was so caught off guard by my disclosure that she had a knee jerk reaction and did something that as a counsellor she shouldn’t have done – and that was labelling my experience before I had had a chance to label it first. I honestly didn’t even notice… I was so out of it that I didn’t remember what she was talking about. 

She said “sometimes, in the moment, I forget to check my experiences at the door. And my knee jerk reaction was to say something that as a counsellor I shouldn’t have said. This is about you and your experience and how it felt for you. I am not an investigator nor a judge and I shouldn’t have put words to what you were going through. I should not have revealed my emotions. So I apologize.”

I was struck by this for two reasons. I have had counsellors make this mistake before, their counter-transference or issues they’ve dealt with come into my sessions. But I have never had a counsellor realize it on their own and apologize for it. She was genuinely apologizing for making it about her thoughts and feelings and not about mine. And I didn’t even feel that way so the moment it happened must have been so tiny, and fleeting, but I respected her a lot for bringing it up.

Second, I was struck by the fact that she is oh-so-human… and I liked knowing that. I liked that she made a mistake and owned up to it and took our relationship seriously enough to bring it up with me. It made me feel safer. She is a human. She has her own shit. And she is so aware of it. So I was really struck with gratitude that she was so committed to her growth and self-awareness. She is going to make mistakes, as we all do, but it was really nice to know I can trust her to own them.

She also accidentally called my assailant a douchebag at some point and then went “shit, I shouldn’t have said that.” But it was such a shared human moment that we both laughed. Those conversations took up maybe 4 minutes total – but they felt important to me. I like counsellors who are aware of their own shit. It made me trust her more. 

I found just talking through the emotions I have, feeling heard and held within our space, and being told what I was feeling is okay and normal and natural – I found it all very helpful. 

We talked about addressing my needs and how this incident has brought to the surface feelings of grief I’ve tried so long to avoid and ignore. We talked about them being scary to feel. I was dismissive with myself and said I would never learn how to defend myself and she was like “I know you see that pattern. So I am going to call you on it now. You don’t get to project your current narrative onto your future – we need to reframe the conversation.” We have gotten close enough that she is calling me on things she let me just kind of work through before, and I like it. I like the more difficult work. 

She also asked me to try to articulate things from my point of view – not anyone else’s. I find focusing on me so hard because my whole life was about caring for others and NOT doing that. But I showed up and did my best and she said “PD, I admire the strength with which you approach these things. I know you don’t like it when I ask you to focus on you – I see the struggle. But you work through it. You show up. And I am proud of you for it.”

So, overall, I feel better today. We didn’t get too heavy cause I had to go straight to work… and it’s hard for me to do that after an emotional session.

As I left, and went to go grab what I call my “shared my feelings” MnMs, I called back to her office “are MnMs a suitable breakfast?” And she yelled “always!” And that interaction made me smile.

So I am not good, or perfect, or feeling happy – far from it. I am walking around and hanging out with grief – but I feel supported and cared for and held and all those things when you know someone is there for you and that’s all I can ask for right now. Gentleness and kindness and compassion will continue to be important for me. I also think her admitting her shit got in the way was a really important moment for us and has solidified this connection and trust in a way I didn’t expect. 

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21 thoughts on “Are MnMs a suitable breakfast?

  1. It sounds like you had a really good session. ๐Ÿ™‚ Our therapists owning up to, and apologizing for their mistakes has a strange way of making us feel safer with them. It’s nice to see the more human side sometimes. Oh, and MnM’s are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Does She Even Believe Me? | Paper Doll Therapy Blog

    • Oh also, S started calling me out on things too about a few months ago. I don’t like it because I don’t want to be called out BUT I’m very thankful that he does – the more he does it, the easier it is for me to learn and let go of the bad habits. Also, it does show that he cares and he’s not enabling me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Feeling your feelings is very difficult to get used to after you’ve been used to suppressing them. It’s also really hard not to judge some feelings as acceptable and others as not, and not to judge yourself as ‘mean’ or ‘immature’ or whatever based on those feelings, especially if those messages have been reinforced by other people.

    I think you can read those words – “all feelings are acceptable” – over and over and it doesn’t really sink in until you go through the process of feeling the feelings and then thinking about and talking about why you feel those things, and what you do with those feelings. What I mean is, it isn’t something you can understand just from reading the words or having someone tell you about their experience. You have to go through it. I’m just starting to realise all this myself.

    M&M’s. Yummmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am starting to realize this too – thank you for your comment. It is tough to feel and very jarring. The events of last week are unfortunate but I think they jarred me to a place where I am fully aware of how buried my feelings are and that’s progress, at least, an opportunity.

      I want to run from them and hide but “been there done that” so let’s try something different this time.

      And yes, A gives me MnMs every session. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. It is a struggle and it is painful. I think the pain I am starting to feel is compounded after years but starting to show based on Friday’s incident.

    And I don’t hate it. Not yet, in fact, I think Friday has become a catalyst for greater feelings and exploration and maybe finally letting go…

    Being human IS hard.

    Haha MnMs became a thing after the first time I shared my feelings with her she happened to have some in her office. And now she keeps them there for post sessions, but normally I eat them at night. But today they were breakfast!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I laughed at the title of this post ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m glad A is examining herself and her reactions, that shows she’s a good counselor. I also found the douchebag comment funny, and relatable, because my counselor has called people in my life douchebags before too and I found it really funny. Humor is very therapeutic, I think.
    You’re working really hard. Like you, I also like working on the harder stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad too – I honestly didn’t notice she had defined the experience for me (I just remember feeling validated which means her definition must have matched what I already thought but hadn’t voiced yet so I didn’t think about the disconnect like she did)

      It was so funny for me because she is normally really composed – and in this situation she had just finished telling me she needed to keep her opinions out of it and then called him a douchebag less than 10 minutes later.

      I was like “it’s nice to see you’re actually human”.

      It feels like a time that progress can be made… as long as I am aware and on top of how I’m feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes a lot of sense, that what she said matched how you felt.
        Counselors are human, and I think it’s important that they show us that, somehow, some way. Mine used to tell me constantly that counselors are human and they aren’t perfect. I used to think only perfect people who never had an issue and who never struggled with anything were able to be counselors. I laugh at that now, but I really believed that. They are human, and showing us that helps us to be more open with them.
        This is definitely an opportunity for progress and to learn lessons. Once you get through it, it’ll be easier to see them. For now, just do what you need.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow!! I love that you had such a good session with A.

    I have a lot of my own feelings and thoughts about your posts the last few days… likely, because I can relate to so much of what you are going through. It’s a struggle to be comfortable being human– to accept that we cannot know all or be perfectly true to our higher selves all the time… that people can hurt us. Deeply. And we are often left to process that pain alone. I have spent much time in my own inner struggle to avoid reverting to either a superhuman or subhuman view of myself. I am neither of those, but in some respects, am still capable of channeling both. I am weak and strong. Victim and perpetrator. Helpless and all powerful.

    Being human is hard work. Thankfully, sometimes we find good people to walk next to us as we journey on life’s path.

    And, I’m envious of your breakfast fare;)

    Liked by 1 person

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