I don’t often sit in silence and say nothing, but I did today. For almost twenty minutes. And A was like, “I really want to invite you to be present today, and that starts by breathing.” And I didn’t even try. I told her I didn’t want to be there. That she didn’t feel safe. That I had so much to say but something was in the way. And she asked about the resistance and I still said nothing.
And she gave it a few minutes before saying that every fibre of her being was there with me. That she was 100% there and listening. And asked what was stopping me from telling her what was going on.
And I said it was stupid and I was scared of her leaving and that I hate being attached and then I essentially word vomited at her. I laid it all out. The fun thing, the scheduling, the fact that being attached is so unfair. It’s so fucking unfair. And yet, it’s representative of success! She really identified with me when I mentioned feeling exceptionally creepy for wanting to simply have some form of A signal, like the bat signal. Or a pocket version of her to carry around. And I was like and the worst part means that it’s working… I trust you. I fucking trust you.
And she was like “PD, you chose me. I don’t remember how – the internet or something. But you came in, and sat down, and after your interview session, you chose me. But here’s the thing. I also choose you. Every time we are here I am choosing you over everything else. Because I care. *I shook my head at that* And I know, I genuinely know that you don’t believe that. That neglected kids, and I do believe that you were neglected, form this opinion that they can’t be loved unless they do something extraordinary or ask for attention. I will never need you to do anything other than be here and do your best to choose me too. Because in our time together, here, in this room, I am always choosing you. It is no secret that I’m trying to heal that for you. That idea that you need to do or be anything other than what you are for me to care about you. You don’t need the biggest story or the most tears or anything like that. ALL I need is for you to do your best to choose me when you’re here. And I know that’s a big ask. I’m not unaware. But when you’re not here, or present, or choosing me, I have to find you. I have to meet you somewhere else, and it disconnects us. And I’m so happy you told me everything you did today because it emphasizes connection instead.
And the word fun. I wish I could remember exactly what context I used that word in, but know that I take this incredibly seriously. You matter. You matter to me, and the work we do in this room is heavy. It is consuming. I feel like it’s important you know that it is hard for me, too, and I don’t take it lightly. We do have our moments of fun, but that isn’t the focus. This is about your healing.”
I told her the third thing I’m frustrated about is the fact that I’m attached. That the relationship is me getting what I needed and have needed for so long for 1.5-3 hours each week. That to get that, I need to pay her. The fucking unfairness of it all. That I end up doing and saying things that are mean or push her away because I’m afraid of being close. That she has a life and kids and other clients that she thinks about. That I go home and think way more about her than she ever thinks about me. And I get that it’s by design. I get that if she cared the same our relationship wouldn’t be a therapeutic one. I get that if she didn’t hold boundaries she would be doing more harm than good. I get it. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like a child. I feel incapable.
Intellectually I understand how it works. But I’ve never gotten this far. I’ve never been so in it. I’ve never had a therapist who didn’t fuck it up before this point with shitty boundaries or trying to explain away my emotions. And how frustrating it is. And how angry I am. And how all of that means it is working.
A didn’t mess it up like every other therapist I have had. Instead of trying to make me feel better or placate me or pretend the connection isn’t happening she looked at me and said, entirely seriously “I know. I’ve been there. And it sucks.”
“I find it hard to believe that you have your own A out there.”
“I do, and I often wish for her. Less now, but I still do. I understand. It doesn’t make it better but the only thing that does is continuing to move through. And I’m here for as long as you want to move through, as long as nothing unexpected happens, I’m here. I know how important this is to you and that’s okay. It’s okay. Everything you said today mattered, and was important. And it’s okay.”
I could feel my guard lower all the way. And I told her everything I have needed to say for the last month. I told her I needed an Ativan to sleep last night. That I’m tired. That I’m overwhelmed. And that I fear the pain I’m in right now is outweighing my ability to cope. I told her I’m worried about myself because my desire to self harm has skyrocketed the past 7 days. I told her about the pregnancy scare. I word vomited it all. I told her that when I am in pain I turn inward. She identified with that.
And she made room for a second session with me, tomorrow. She made room for me. She has a choice in this. And she is choosing me too.